By Arindam Mukherjee
Early mornings in many Indian cities and villages are still often marked by the loud grunts of thickset men grappling with each other in earth pits, punctuated with the thud of falling bodies.
Kushti - a traditional form of Indian wrestling - is alive and kicking, though it is not anywhere near as glamorous as the American WWE wrestling broadcast on TV.
In a nation obsessed with cricket, every city and town boasts of a few akharas (wrestling schools) where wrestlers congregate daily to test their prowess.
It's a hard life and training sessions last for hours. A traditional wrestler also leads a life of abstience: sex, wine, tobacco and drugs are not permitted.
The tough sacrifices though have brought rich dividends. Though cricket stars hog the limelight, some wrestlers nurtured at the akharas have gone on to win medals at the international stage, including the Olympics.
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