If you are in the vicinity of the Family Court at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai after 7:30 PM, take a walk down the lane on the right. You’ll be greeted by a bunch of young boys who are performing crazy stunts on a smallish bicycle and others following suit on skateboards. That’s what happened to me one night. I went and spoke to them and they told me to come back during the day at City Park, five minutes away.
The next day, I was walking around with my cold coffee and a bunch of friends when I saw them: Bicycles spinning round and round, and skateboards flying around. They were surrounded by a mix of onlookers: youth, old and middle-aged, men and women cheering them on. I finally got a chance to talk to them. What’s this street cycling called? One guy named Annul Pale replied, “It’s not street cycling it’s called Bicycle Motor Cross (BMX)”. It’s an off-road sport which is for racing and stunt riding. There was Nikhil skating and Rohit juggling around with a football. Meet Mumbai’s ‘Meteoric Boys’ who consist of members viz Nikhil (Skateboarder), Sagar (Skateboarder), Azhar (Skateboarder), Hrishitesh (Skateboarder), Manoj (BMX Rider), Irzaan (BMX Rider), Rohit (Freestyle Footballer) and Annul (BMX Rider) -from 17 years old to 24 years old.
Irzaan Khan is the hero in this band of boys. He started his journey with a 500 rupee bike and now practices on a 17k bike. “I wasted five years on an Indian bicycle whereas once I got the proper BMX cycle my level of learning improved due to which I could try new tricks and even go on to master them. It’s been an honour that I have featured in ads like Metro Tyres, Avon Cycles and MTV Extreme. In 2013 I bought a 40k BMX cycle and talking about my proudest moment I must say looking back down memory lane what I was few years back and what I am today I must say it’s been an incredible journey”.
Meteoric was founded in 2011 by Manoj Manz and in its truest sense meteoric means ‘Speed in Style’. From 2011 till now they have grown from strength to strength and it’s all due to destiny and their passion for sports. They have performed at places such as Bangalore, Goa, Pune, Hampi, Delhi Hyderabad, Chennai etc. To their credit they even have done events such as Street Performance for Jai Hind College, a workshop held by Red Bull ‘Local Hero Tours’, and have participated in a lot of mall events, college events, promotions, and Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2014) and won the performer of the day as well. You will often find them putting in hours of practise at the City Park situated in BKC.
Most of them come from a humble background and want to make big in life but also want to make India proud. One of India’s best BMX riders, Annul Pale lives in a chawl in Kurla and has had his fair share of struggles to get to where he is today. “I bought a second-hand bicycle of 300 Rs after which lost my father in 2007 and had to take responsibilities at home. I started delivering pizza which earned me a mere 50 Rs per day but today with hard work, struggle, sacrifices and passion I have become India’s best BMX Rider. My dream is to represent India at ‘Red Bull Circle of Balance’ an international competition and proudly wear the Indian flag on my shoulders one day.
What’s unique about ‘Meteoric’ is that companies and sponsors themselves come to promote this group of youngsters as well as the sports that they so passionately follow. Another great thing is that the skateboarders are sponsored by Nick Smith an international skateboarder who built India’s first skate park in Goa. Whereas the BMX Riders like Annul is supported by Red Bull as well as Yohie Uchino – Japan’s best flatland rider.
Rohit Mallah is a 17-year-old teenager who recently appeared for his HSC exams. He started as a B-Boy dancer but never thought he would end up being a ‘Freestyle Footballer’. When asked what freestyle football is all about he adds “It is all about control, passion and technique with the help of football.” His greatest achievement till date has been participating in Street Union, an annual freestyle football competition where participants are given points to rank them internationally.
The skateboarders were more than happy to show us their skateboarding tricks while the freestyler was juggling with his football; BMX Riders were riding their way through with tricks and stunts as we all joined in for a ‘meteoric’ photo session with the ever so loving, happy and funny Mumbai’s ‘Meteoric’ boys.