SHIVA Keshavan is my new hero, writes the NECC's Rachel Anderson.
I’m a sucker for a tale of pluck and determination against the odds and they don’t come better than an Indian Luger.
Leaving aside the fact that you have to be slightly unhinged to throw yourself 1.5km at 80 mph on a tin tray, it is his training regime which is really impressive.
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Given that India is not generally noted for snow he has to train on a wheeled sled on mountain roads. Anyone who has ever been on an Indian mountain road will know they are the preserve of landslides, potholes, the odd elephant and a lot of traffic.
If ever there is an incentive to steer well it is the prospect of whizzing under a truck and straight off a sheer drop. And no, they don’t close the road.
There are less elephants in Stockton, and (this year) less snow, but this week I came across a story of innovation and plucky determination.
One of the local photographers took a fabulous shot of Stockton and posted it up online only to receive a tweet that it looked so good it couldn’t possibly be Stockton.
Affronted at this slur against the town and knowing beauty is not just in the guide books, the photographers have set up www.realstockton.org or @real_stockton.
They are asking anyone who is in and around the Stockton area to send them their pictures of scenes, people and things beautiful, interesting or both with a view to telling a better story about the town than usual.
So far people have found beauty in Ropner Park, Billingham and a banoffee waffle. The site is growing and people are recognising just what they have to be proud of, although I imagine the banoffee waffle disappeared shortly after the photograph was taken.
When we are doing our best to portray the best of the North-East to attract people to live and work here @real_stockton shows us the way. It’s also us having a bit of fun and perhaps not taking ourselves quite as seriously as usual.
Unfortunately, Shiva came last in Sochi, but he had a go and has made the world think differently about India and the luge. Real Stockton is trying to do just the same. Hmmm..Photographed sliding down the high street at 80mph in a cat suit on a tin tray, any volunteers?