Thursday, November 22, 2007

The joys of childhood!

My apartment is on the ground floor and faces the children's play area. This sometimes makes me hate school holidays because I feel like I am in the middle of a classroom without a teacher. Thats only sometimes though. It is great fun to watch these little ones make up rules of a non-existent game and fight endlessly over it :D However, when its not cricket or skating, most of the games are based on TV shows. They have their own versions of KBC with See-Saw being the hot seat and the Slide is where "fastest finger first" is carried out. Once it so happened that I was out on my balcony watching this game and the anchor (on end of the See-Saw :) asked the "audience" the colour of the giraffe's tongue with the options blue, yellow and pink. Unanimously the crowd of 10 children went "what a stupid question it is pink. All animals have pink tongues."

Now that's not the correct answer because Girraffe's tongue is blue-black (can be safely referred to as blue.) I was very surprised at the question itself coming from an 8-year-old but they do watch a lot of TV and for once I was glad that it was probably animal planet or Discovery. Anyways the anchor was now in a fix because the audience was in rebellious mood that he was taking them for a ride. So he turns around and asks me the same question complete with options and I say its blue glad that I did know the answer. Otherwise imagine being embarrassed in front of a bunch of 8-year-olds! Vindicated the anchor continues to the next question while the rest stare at me suspiciously :)

The other games are Tom & Jerry - mostly involving a lot of shouting and running around and various other video game based ones which I am not even aware of! And of course sometimes play "house-house" and "teacher- teacher" V brought up a very interesting point the other day that all these games have to have a name that repeat twice. It is a never house game but house-house :) Coming back to the kids they do get bored sometimes of their games and can't think of what else to do. I know of kids who don't know what to do on weekends when there's not enough people to play cricket with or Cartoon Network is off limits.

I grew up at a time when television didn't exist and the only programme on radio I waited for was "chilipili" (its the sound of birds calling in Kannada) on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. No one could touch me little transistor from Sunday afternoon onwards until 6pm! I would sit on my compound wall with my transistor and listen very carefully. Back then there were no choices of hundreds of toys either. I was almost 11 by the time my brother was "old" enough to play with me out on the streets. So my company was lots of boys who were at least 5 years older than me. That never stopped me from playing every kind of game that was there back then. I honestly NEVER knew boredom! I am listing below some of the games

  • jooTaaTa (what the kids call Tag these days)
  • kaNNA mucchaale (I spy) which we thought was icespys back then :D
  • Dabba (a very localised version of eye spy)
  • lagori (seven stones)
  • kallaa maNNaa? (roughly translated stone or mud? I do not know its English name)
  • choor chenDu (again a very localised version of seven stones)
  • At least 3 types of kunTe bille (hop scotch)
  • kuntu muttiso aata (hop n catch)
  • teacher-teacher - our ultimate way to live out the fantasy of punishing our teachers. Always the attendance register consisted of our teachers who now have to obey us!
  • doctor-doctor - we drew patients on a paper with a lump hidden under that to be operated on.
  • maneyaaTa (house-house) complete with the kitchen set made of mud (not the Barbie kinds). The only ingredients available to us were tamarind, salt and may be green chillies if some one managed to steal it from home. We made everything from it. Tamarind and salt in water was our Sambhar. Tamarind and salt rolled into a ball on a stick was the lolly pop. (Damn my mouth's watering)
  • goliyaaTa (marbles) - Since I was the youngest they would let me win initially :) But eventually I mastered the game and had the most enviable marble collection of over 300!
In school we also played this game "Elastic" a very boring name but it needed the highest gymnastic skills! Somehow this game was restricted to girls only. I was pleasantly surprised 2 years ago when I found out that girls in schools of Arunachal played this game too :) P and I were so thrilled about it but were put in place quickly when 3-year-old daughter of Thupten showed more dexterity than the two of us put together!

We also had innumerable games to play in the class room both when teacher was around and not around :)

Sometimes I wish back in school playing all these games!

One day I asked one of these kids playing outside my house...why do you kids play so much? Of course a stupid question but wanted to see their reaction. By way of answer they all looked at me like I was a pyscho :) But one of them with this tone of "oh you poor grown up" looked up and said to me "what else to enjoy." Life's very simple when you are a child isn't it?


Pavithra Sankaran said...


You know what I'm grinning like that about!

Abhipraya said...

Yes Pavithra I do :D

Prashanth M said...

sigh.. nostalgic.. btw is that eye spy or I Spy??

PS: Wrote a post on Lagori almost 10 months ago

Abhipraya said...

Prashanth: Old habits dies hard I suppose as kid I thought it was eye spy :) Thanks