Maity, who wholesale halloween costumes comes from the industrial town of Kharagpur, over 100km from Kolkata, got hooked to bodybuilding when he was 15, a weak, thin boy weighing all of 39kg. His father ran a shop selling livestock feed. His mother earned by recycling newsprint into paper bags.
His search for nutrition was desperate. He bought wholesale halloween costumes overripe, blackened bananas in bulk because they were sold cheaper at the fruit shop. He worked in a computer shop cropping wedding photos and used all his money to buy eggs and chicken. It was still not enough, so he would go around collecting the starch water that's thrown out after making rice from neighbours, and drink that. But bodybuilding also yanked him out of poverty, and gave him his flourishing fitness business.
Bodybuilding is about escaping your childhood, wholesale swimwear your weakness; it is about overcoming the deep wound of not being able to afford enough food.
In Madhyamgram, a busy small town outside Kolkata swimwear manufacturers where the preferred mode of public transport is an open cart attached to a cycle, I meet Devasish Chowdhury, who has recently started competing at the national level. Chowdhury's father was an itinerant fish-seller, and in a bid to run away from poverty, Chowdhury left home when he was 10 years old. He made his way to Mumbai, where he found work in a sweatshop making gold jewellery. He returned home five years later and fell in love with a girl.