Originally developed as a training methodology for wrestlers, Mallakhamb’s own name entwines Sanskirt and Hindi to literally means “pole wrestling.” The ritual of greasing both the equipment and athlete in castor oil mirrors the Indian kushti wrestling tradition of dousing both ring and wrestler in ghee.
The climbing, joyfulness, and irreverence of Mallakhamb are said to be informed by the spirit of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, and its strange apparatus reflect his anatomy: the pole is his phallus (which is why Pole has no female practitioners) and the rope is his tail (which is why the rope is exclusively climbed with toes, as using the soles of feet would be disrespectful).
After the steaks, chops, breasts, ribs, thighs, hams, tenderloins and briskets are removed, there’s a fair amount of gristle, fat and offal remaining on a butchered animal, and early on, people realized this could be put to good use. One of these products is the hot dog, a classic of pre-cooked, processed meat.
According to neuroscientists our brains come pretty much hard-wired to be tricked, thanks to the vagaries of our attention and perception systems. In fact, the key requirement for a successful pickpocket isn’t having nifty fingers, it’s having a working knowledge of the loopholes in our brains. Some are so good at it that researchers are working with them to get an insight into the way our minds work.
The most important of these loopholes is the fact that our brains are not set up to multi-task. Most of the time that is a good thing – it allows us to filter out all but the most important features of the world around us. But neuroscientist Susana Martinez-Conde, the author of the book Sleights of Mind
, says that a good trickster can use it against you.