Today’s headlines read, “Meet the world’s most desirable man! Mr India beats 46 finalists from around the world to take the Mr World crown… and it’s not hard to see why.” Rohit Khandelwal wins Mr. World 2016 title. Good feeling.
This brings unique memories of a train journey in 1972, in sleeper class from Mangalore to Bombay. Among my co-passengers were Manohar Aich, his wife and a son. Manohar Aich had served in Royal Indian Air Force before independence and was happy to chat with me as I was in the active service of Indian Navy.
As the discussions progressed, I learnt that he was Mr. Universe in 1952 at the age of 40. In 1951 he was the runners up. All of his 4 ft 11 inches height was toned muscles at the age of 60 when I met him, very active and jovial. He narrated how he slapped a British officer and went to jail, which gave him ample time for body-building. His nickname was Pocket
Hercules. Very apt. He died on 5th June this year at the age of 104.
Manohar Aich seems to be the only Indian to have won Mr. Universe title. I do not find any other Indian name in the list of winners.
Misses of the world and universe set the Indian silver screen on fire and reap gold. Our Mr. Universe worked in an obscure circus company, touring the country and sleeping in tents. Later, with his sons, he started a gym and fitness centre in Kolkata, where he worked till his end. Today’s Mr. World, already a model, may get to drink some horlicks and mineral water during commercial breaks in TV serials though he may not sign autographs with ball pens. Mistering the world or universe is not as glamorous as Missing them.