Culture, experience, Family, friend, life

Magic of a Bygone Era-1: Play Time!

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Childhood is one of the most cherished phases of anyone’s life. There are moments which plaster huge grins on our faces with sheer recollection. Whether it be the pranks we pulled, the childish petulance or the fun we had just running around, these memories make us long for a time turner. This series is a nostalgic recollection of the time that has passed by so quickly that we often wonder where it all went.

The word “Play Time” used to send us rushing out into the grounds at the speed of light. If it isn’t fun, it isn’t playing – that was our motto. A trip down the memory lane along with a friend made me recollect some of my favorites and all time classic games (with made up rules of course 😀 )


Pandi : A creative and funny game of hopscotch played using flat stones or broken pieces of pottery. A typical round would start with throwing the stone into a box, hop back and forth all the other boxes, picking up the stone and jumping out.  Advanced versions include “holding the stone in the palm”, “alternate skipping”. As the game progresses, there are complex rules governing the ownership of these boxes. Extremely strict LoC policies would be followed to check if the stone was within the stipulated box or not.

Five Stones

Kallaanga: A set of 5 stones or more are thrown and caught in different fashions. Based on how the stones are to be caught, this game can shift from being simple to extremely complicated. Inevitably being screamed at by mom for collecting different types of stones and stashing at home to master this game (at least I have been 😀 )

Lock and Key

Lock & Key: My all-time favorite catch game!. The catcher  locks down as many people as possible and the other players roaming try to free those caught without being locked themselves. When a stalemate occurs, the “it” goes down screaming “sharabi” and everyone runs in to tap the catcher. The one coming in last becomes the next “it”.

Name Place Animal Thing

Name, Place, Animal, Things : Eternal pastime in between classes and free periods. Best played with as many players as possible, given a letter, each one of them needs to jot down a name, place animal and thing. Each unique word is awarded full points and common words are awarded partial credit. The fleeting feel of happiness when no one has the same words as yours is priceless 🙂

Book Cricket

Book Cricket : Flip – stop – flip – stop – Voila! Using boring textbooks, an entire cricket series can be played with runs, wickets, averages and what not. The number of runs scored corresponds to the last digit of the page number with special combinations for extras. The stiff contests and inter-bench tournaments were precious!

pen fight

Pen Fight : The ultimate showdown for the master of the universe,  the war between two or more pens on a desk trying to knock each other out. Lot of strategic thinking behind the scenes to use the right pen and correct shots. One wrong move could send your pen spinning into the jaws of defeat! Quick games in between classes and probably one of the few reasons we used to go to school early! 🙂

Current Pass

Current Pass : A group of people sitting around in a circle try to communicate from one person to another as directed by the “it”. His/her job is to find out how the message is being passed by the group. Plenty of scratching and tickling and giggling! Pity the catcher in this game. Even when possessed with Hawkeye, people always lied their way out of getting caught 😛
red letter
Red Letter : Standing at a distance, the catcher calls out alphabets. The players need to move forward the same number of steps as the frequency of alphabets in their names. The one to get closest to the catcher should touch the catcher once and run back to the start line without getting caught. The game where the catcher could pick off individuals one by one… Absolute control 😀

Chain Catch : The catcher starts running and shouts the name of the person to be chased. At the last second, the player being chased shouts another name who becomes the “it” and starts chasing the previous catcher and so on. A couple of quick chain changes and Loads of confusion and laughter guaranteed 🙂

Ace of Spades

Cards & Board Games :
  Bluffing away to glory on a random pack of cards or remembering the cards discarded in a game of ass or dropping the wild card in a game of Uno, train journeys to birthday parties, a game of cards would be inevitable. Buying services, constructing hotels or getting thrown in jail – part and parcel of the board game Business. Eyes glistening when earning profits, sulking with loss, praying fervently to the all gods to make the dice roll as needed, the game held us all in fascination. Being the banker was always a prestigious thing 😀

The most vivid memories I have are how we used to decide who the catcher of the game would be.

” Oh god please tell me who is the catcher in this game, a e i o u  that is your telephone number 1,2,3, you go free” or “saa-boo-three” or “inky pinky ponky father had a donkey…”

Today, there are several electronic devices in the market that promise the recreation of surreal virtual environments for games. Shooting aliens on screens with controllers, smashing pigs with angry birds, these  are probably in a league of their own. But I wonder if anything would even come closer to the joy of running berserk in the playground in the middle of the day, completely oblivious to the world around and screaming “Lets Play Lets Play”!


3 thoughts on “Magic of a Bygone Era-1: Play Time!”

  1. Good old days. Played most of it. Pen fight was my favorite. The game got so evolved that every time I bought a pen I used to think if it would survive a pen fight. Carrom was another game with so many variations. I miss those days.

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