In RSVP’s next production, Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota, Surya has an unusual superpower – he feels no pain! Certainly an asset when you’re fighting bad guys by the dozen, Surya has this edge due to a rare genetic condition called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain or CIP. How he uses it to his benefit is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, take a look at a few other examples of people who have conquered pain – Surya, you’re not alone!
Who doesn’t like a plate of fried fish? A crispy, golden-brown sheen enveloping the succulent sweetness of tender fish, drizzled with lime juice and coriander, a humble package of gastronomic delight. At Ganesh Restaurant in the lanes of Gaffar Market in New Delhi, Mr. Prem Singh will serve you up a nice plate of fried fish, and to make it extra special, he will hand-pick it from a cauldron of boiling oil for you! Yes, you read that right. Apart from its wares, this unassuming establishment is known for its head chef, who doesn’t feel the searing heat of boiling oil. With 12 years of experience under his belt, Singh says he learnt the skill from his father, who started this tradition of hand-picking fritters from oil boiling at 120 degrees. About why he doesn’t feel any pain, he says that initially he did, and that with time and practice, he has now conquered the pain, essentially cultivating a superpower!
Imagine you’re walking down the street one morning, humming a tune and pumping yourself up for the day. In a cruel twist of fate, a sharp, a 5-inch knife suddenly falls from the heavens and lodges itself plum in your head. For Xiao Yunzhi, a resident of Guangyan, China, this isn’t a thought experiment, it’s a lived reality. The fact that a breezy wind knocked over the knife from a high rise apartment, exactly as Xiao was walking underneath, is nothing short of a freaky coincidence. More shocking however, is the fact that he walked almost 100 meters with the knife jutting out from his head, before the pain got unbearable! Living to recount his tale, he said the pain was terribly sharp, prompting him to cry out in pain. On the other hand, the doctors who examined him remember him to be extremely calm even in the face of ultimate pain. No medical cause was found that would explain his ability to walk through the crippling pain. Though he did feel the pain, his 100-metre walk has to go down in history as a pain-taming feat!
When it comes to conquering pain, just ask American Tim Cridland, a sideshow performer who has made a living from performing hair-raising acts wherein he subdues pain. Inspired by the tradition of body piercing practiced in some Indian sects, Cridland started by piercing his arms with sewing needles while still in school. He made it his life’s mission to control the way his body feels pain and soon graduated to more painful acts like inserting meat skewers deep into the tissue of his arms and even face. Going by Zamora, the Torture King on stage, he claims that though he feels pain like every other person, he has altered the way his body responds to it, learning to live alongside the pain and not letting it define his physical state.
Move over Superman, there’s a new superhero on the block. She is little Olivia Farnsworth from England, who is not only pain-proof, but can also do without food and sleep! With these three superhuman abilities, she has been dubbed the bionic girl. Unlike others on this list, Olivia suffers from an extremely rare medical condition called chromosome 6 deletion. The extent of her condition is so severe that she was once run over by a car and dragged down the street for ten car lengths, only to emerge out of the ordeal seemingly unaffected, in spite of all the grave injuries on her body, a quizzical expression on her face. She also never feels hungry or sleepy and can go without food and sleep for days at end. Though rare, other cases of chromosome 6 deletion exist. However, Olivia is the only known case who exhibits all the three symptoms of insensitivity towards pain, and the inabilities to experience fatigue and hunger.
The Shaolin monks of China undergo arduous training and years of practice in martial arts to harness the potential required to push their body to the limits, being able to perform feats of great physical and mental strength, and endurance. Their legendary exploits have spawned multiple cult classics for decades – no doubt an inspiration for Surya’s passion for the martial arts! Off the screen too, practitioners of this school have conquered pain by actualizing their ‘chi’, or inner life energy inherent in all beings. From putting a drill machine to their skulls to resisting sharp spears, these individuals can escape almost unscathed from any situation – one for the CV for sure!
Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota releases worldwide on 21st March 2019.