Walk the line with Delhi's Slackline Community
A bunch of slacklining enthusiasts are now bringing this gravity-defying sport to the citizens of Delhi-NCR who are keen on trying out this challenging feat
"If you can walk on the ground, you will be able to walk on a slackline in some time," said Faris Fawaaz, co-founder of the Delhi Slackline Community, while comforting a newcomer who was struggling to find her way on a polyester rope suspended between two trees. As Fawaaz helped the novice take her first walk on a slackline, the joy of trying something new was evident on her face.
Founded a year ago by Fawaaz, an avid mountaineer, and Radhika Agrawal, an aerialist, the Delhi Slackline Community has managed to grow exponentially over time as a result of their regular meet-ups called ‘Slack Sundays’ that take place at Lodhi Garden every Sunday morning. The community’s aim is to introduce slacklining—a sport that incorporates walking or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors—to more people.
A space for all
When we reached Lodhi Garden on a chilly Sunday morning, there was a flurry of activity at the slacklining spot. Even though the sport may seem terrifying to a newbie, the space where they were practising exuded an inviting vibe—soothing music, relaxing mats, et al. The members of the Delhi Slackline Community welcomed everyone with a friendly grin and were keen on helping every individual who was remotely interested to try the sport. Every now and then, a passer-by would halt here, staring in amazement. The eager ones would end up trying the activity with the community’s help. With a number of activities—hula hooping, parkour, acro yoga, and juggling—taking place here, the vibe instantly changed, now seeming more like a picnic.
As the slackliners at Lodhi Garden wrapped up their session around noon, a similar group of slacklining enthusiasts started gathering at Chanakyapuri’s Nehru Park. The members of Slacktivism, one of Delhi’s oldest slacklining groups, also meet every Sunday to practise the sport while introducing it to others. Ever since their launch by Delhi-based German photographer Enrico Fabian in 2013, the group has been regular with their meetings.
Concerns at rest
Though often perceived to be dangerous, both Fawaaz and Tanwar affirm that the sport is safe provided the individual does not rush their way through the learning process. “One needs to know how to take
controlled falls; for instance, you should not be landing on your back. It is also advisable to start with lower lines, ideally about the height of your knee. As long as people know how to take a fall, you can say it is just as safe as climbing or any other sport that is similar,” Tanwar explained.
Slacklining is also believed to cause damage to the trees since the activity entails fastening ropes between two tree trunks. However, both these groups have been extremely careful to avoid any harm to the trees that act as anchor points during their practices. “We pad the anchors with towels to ensure that we do not damage the bark of the tree. If you are regularly tying the rope at the same spot, it [bark] will wither over time and also cause damage. With padding, you can limit this damage to an extent,” concluded Fawaaz.
Learn the ropes
The Delhi Slackline Community, which started a year ago by Faris Fawaaz and Radhika Agrawal, meets every Sunday at the Lodhi Garden. The meet titled ‘Slack Sundays’ features a bunch of slacklining enthusiasts who usually begin practising from 9:00am.
Slacktivism was started by Delhi-based German photographer Erico Fabian. The group usually organise weekly meet-ups at Chanakyapuri’s Nehru Park, every Sunday afternoon from 3:00pm.