From Pizza Delivery To Becoming A BMX Flatland Riding Champion, Annul Pale's Story Inspires Action - Homegrown

From Pizza Delivery To Becoming A BMX Flatland Riding Champion, Annul Pale's Story Inspires Action

A pizza delivery boy, a Mcdonald's employee, a B-Boyer, a skate boarder, a fogging machine operator and a BMX flatland rider; 24-year-old Annul Pale has been all of this and more. Winner of various BMX competitions held in India, Pale lives in a chawl in Kurla and is struggling to collect the money needed for his visit to the Canada Championship in August. The local police in the area is just one of his many troubles.
BMX (Bicycle MotorCross) is a sport that is a mix of racing and bike stunts and is performed all over the world. The kind of competitive sport that asks a lot from its riders, be it broken bones, an adaptive body or even the BMX cycle, which is in itself a pretty expensive proposition. Pale got his cycle as a gift from an energy drink brand. “They saw my skills and gifted this Rs.1.5 Lakh rupees cycle to me,” he said.
[caption id="attachment_58834" align="aligncenter" width="433"]Image Credit: Meteoric Crew Image Credit: Meteoric Crew[/caption]
Pale appeared in ‘India’s Got Talent’ TV series a few years ago, which helped him improve his living conditions but his riding hasn’t taken care of his financial needs. “I do shows and events for people but it isn’t enough for me and my mom. I need to get better than this and improve my riding. I want to go to Canada so that I can find sponsors for myself,” he said.
Pale started learning BMX after he saw an episode on ESPN X games when he was 13 years old. “It used to air at 7 a.m and the year was 2005 I think. I would attend school and learn how to ride a bike later in the night with the cycle I had. I was mesmerized,” he said. He started as a street and dirt biker but moved on to the flatland style of racing in 2011. He practices from 2pm to 11 pm everyday, which sometimes stretches to 3 a.m. He's also had to face many consequences because of his incessant biking. “We used to get arrested by the police. They would beat us and remove the air from our tyre tubes. I was made to do sit-ups in the police chowki. It became a recurring problem. They thought that we are the local miscreants who irritate the public with rash riding, they don’t know anything about BMX,” Pale explains.
Ever since the manager of City Park in BKC has given Pale and his peers the permission to practice though, they haven’t looked back. “We used to practice on the empty backroad of the park near the Mithi River but now we can practice here. Even the cops in the area know us and are familiar about our activities,” said Pale and his peer.
[caption id="attachment_58832" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Image Credit: Meteoric Crew Image Credit: Meteoric Crew[/caption]
Pale is a rising star in the Indian BMX scene according to his friend Manoj Jaiswal, who handles their facebook, youtube and social media activity. “He has won many national and local tournaments. He's one of the best,” he said.
Things back home have taken a turn for the absurd. In the past, Pale’s brother has broken his bike to stop him from doing this. He believes it is a sport for people who can afford it. “My brother would tell me that you get injured a lot, who has the money to keep treating you. My mother would wash utensils in people’s houses to get by and I was ashamed by it. Now, my family is telling me to get married and leave BMX riding. I am so young, marriage is not even on my mind right now. My mother and my brother feel marriage will put a sense of responsibility in me. They say I can’t cook or wash my own clothes, what will I do without my mother? My brother got married and he has a daughter. He looks after them while I look after my mother. She recently underwent an eye operation and that is my worst fear; losing my mom,” he said. Pale’s father died early. “He was an alcoholic,” he said.
Pale receives limited support from his family who do revel in his glory when he appears on TV and shows. Currently, he operates a fogging machine in Govandi, which is used to curb Malaria causing mosquitos. He wants to study but that dream seems far-fetched. “I quit school after 10th standard as I didn’t have money. I am not educated about internet and all this. All I know is hard-work and perseverance. I wanted to study but I don’t have the time between my job and my practice,” he said.
Pale went back to the energy drink brand to gather support for his Canada journey but was unsuccessful. A Canadian BMX rider, the famous Jean William Prevost apparently reached out to Pale and urged him to appear for the Canada BMX championship in August.  The four-day-long trip will cost three lakh rupees and even though Pale has a passport, the situation currently looks bleak. “A  lot of people promise great things but don’t follow through. I got the bike without asking for it, I might get the money too. You never know who from all these people will turn out to be my saviour. I will get to learn so much from the Canada competition. I could get some recognition for India,” he said.
Pale is from a group Meteoric that has three other BMX riders. It was from these people that Pale became aware of other styles. Jaiswal believes there are over a hundred BMX riders all over India but it is not recognized as a sport because of the risk involved. Pale's bike has broken down a number of times too and the parts are not easy to find. “Rahul Murani from ZealotBMX is the only person in India I think who stores the parts. He has also helped us a lot,” said Pale and Jaiswal.
“There’s no value for our sport in India. It’s all about dance, cricket, football and others. If I don’t get to go to Canada, I am planning to go for another BMX event in November,” said Pale before resuming his practice for the day once again.

Annul Pale is on Facebook and you can read more about him here and here.


[caption id="attachment_58830" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Image Credit: Meteoric Crew Image Credit: Meteoric Crew[/caption]IMG_9001715868540

Image Credits: Meteoric Crew

Words:Preksha Malu


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