Friday, September 12, 2008

Do you want to go out and play?

I so want to...

You know what I just realized? In India, a kid almost never gets bored. Why? Because we have games/sports that need almost no expenditure. And while I was reading some of the comments on my previous posts, I was reminded of them - the amateur sports that I grew up playing with the neighborhood kids/friends/cousins. My memory of me playing them is good but the rules I've forgotten for some. Here's my best try to recall them.

My lovely readers, I present to you the amateur sports I grew up playing. As you'll notice, a lot of these have Gujarati names and that's because that's what we'd call them.

Note: All Gujarati words are in italics.

dablaa ice-pice: Or is it I-spies? Or I-spice? I don't know. That's what we called it, without actually knowing the reason behind it. In any case, this one requires any old dabloo (tin-can) and a whole bunch of players. I think this one isn't that famous in charotar area because I usually played this with my cousins when I went to Bhavnagar for holidays. So speaking of the rules, they're similar to hide-n-seek and some more; once we had the players and equipment ready, we would gather up in the large front yard or the little smaller backyard. A circle was drawn in the middle of the field that had radius of a person's foot. One person (we'll call him person A) was appointed as the finder, whose daav (turn) it was to find everyone who's hidden - that is all other players. One of the other players would throw the dabloo far away and person A was supposed to go collect it and place it back in the circle. Until then all other players went in hiding. Then it was person A's turn to go look for all these people. If person A saw anyone (say person B), he/she would run back to the dabloo and kick it away from the circle screaming "dablaa ice-pice". Now it would be person B's daav (turn). If any of the other players can sneak up to the dabloo while player A is away from the dabloo, then they come and kick it screaming "dablaa ice-pice". Person A would take the turn again in that case. This exhausting fun game continues for hours.

kho-kho: This one has two versions - beThi (sitting) kho & ubhi (standing) kho.

  1. beThi kho:
  2. This one needs about ten or so players. The official rules say there must be 12 players but I think a few less are fine too. Two of these players stand at the end of an invisible line and rest of them sit down facing alternate direction in between. The ones sitting down sit in the ready-to-get-up-and-run pose. One of the standing players (player A) begins chasing towards other standing player (player B) to tag him/her. Player A can only travel clock-wise and can not pass from in between the sitting players, whereas player B can travel in any direction but of course it must be around the sitting players, and not like 10 ft away from where everyone is sitting down. The trick is, player A can not cross in between the sitting players but can give a "kho" to a person facing the same direction as player A. Since "kho" is given to a person from their back so now the player who received kho (player C) gets up (player A sits in their spot facing the same direction) and chases player B to tag him/her. There is no rules on how soon person C can give a kho to next player so it's up to them to decide. So the game actually tests the players ability of how soon can they can get away without being tagged for the longest time. We used to play the modified version of the game so we didn't have two teams but just one. When a player gets tagged, he/she will take up the chaser role and the tagger will become the future taggie.

  3. ubhi kho:
  4. This one has almost similar concept as the beThi kho, except for the players stand in a big circle facing alternate sides and the chaser is either trapped inside or outside this circle during their turn until they give kho to a player from their back. The taggie can run around almost everywhere within the circle and near the perimeter of the circle without being caught.

langDi or langaDi: This actually means "one legged". More famous during the rainy seasons mostly as the ground would be cool and wet; in summers we avoided it mostly as the dirt would be burning hot as we played this one barefoot. For this one we draw rectangles on ground with a stick or piece of stone about 2x4 ft stacked so that the 4ft side of rectangles touched one another. There would be about 8 to 10 of these rectangles depending upon how much space we had available where we were playing and then at one end of it was a huge round circle. The other end, we will call it the "begin" area. While traveling in the rectangles, each player can only step in it once and with just one foot so they hop from one end of the rectangles to the big circle hopping on one foot. Players can use both feet in the big circle. There was a dice like piece that each of us made with a broken tile or a flat piece of rock. We used to call them kukari or kuki. All the players come up with a sequence of how they will play. e.g. Players A B and C would decide that they will play in order C, A, and B so then person C takes first turn. (There are ways to determine this as well, but we will talk about it later). So now it is the turn of person C. He/she stands at the "begin" area and throws his/her kukari in the nearest first rectangle. After they do this, they skip stepping into that first rectangle and travel all the way up to the circle. While coming back, they stop in rectangle 2 and pick up their kukari and step out with two feet. As long as they completed this successfully, without losing balance and without throwing the kukari outside the circle, they get to go to next rectangle. Thus, they try to complete all of the rectangles and eventually the big circle as well. Once they finish them all, they turn their back towards the drawn area and throw their kukari with eyes closed on it. Wherever it lands, if within any rectangle then that becomes their home. Meaning next time around they are allowed to step two feet in that rectangle. If it lands in the big circle, they have a choice of what rectangle to pick, you can not pick the circle as your home as it is universal home. Once they have picked the home, they get to decide whether they will allow guests to step single foot, both feet or none in their home. The others have to follow these rules, if they don't then they lose turn. If the kukari goes out of the boundaries or the player loses balance, they lose their turn. There are a lot of variations of this game. One of them being how it is drawn on the ground and the other being how the players bring the kukari back to the "begin" area.

nadi ke parvat: The exact translation is "river or mountain". This was again one of those games that I played a lot more with my cousins as our grandparents home had a huge yard and lot of steps/oTalaa around. I don't know what oTalaa are in English but it's a raised platform like area touching a house, about one or two feet high. So for this one, one player would take a turn (player A) and then everyone would stand around player A (not within their reach, of course) and ask "nadi ke parvat?" Once player A declares whether they want nadi (river) or parvat (mountain) they would get to stand on either the ground (being the river) if they asked for nadi or on the platform areas (being the mountains) if they asked for parvat. The goal of other players (player B) is to try to step in the area where player A is standing and if player A tags them while they're in that designated area, that player B loses. Player B takes their turn next.

pakaD daav: This is the typical game of tag. The more players the better and the bigger the field the more fun the game!

sangeet khurshi: This is our traditional musical chairs. Let me know if anyone wants to know more about this one. I think almost everyone knows how this is played.

satoDi: This is the game they show Aishwarya Rai playing in song "man mohini" of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and all of them playing in milan abhi aadha adhoora hai of Vivah (@ 1:45 mins). There are two teams with equal number of members. Seven round flat pieces of wood or rock are needed. These could be bought out in the stores as well as made at home from old broken tiles or stone pieces. Also, a ball is needed; an old tennis ball, a cricket ball or any other ball that can bounce and dismount the seven flat pieces would do. Be sure to choose the right kind of ball as it's also thrown at the team members. :P So to begin the game, the seven flat pieces are orderly stacked (smallest on top) in the center of the grounds and a circle is drawn around it (about the size of one foot diameter). Then there is a line drawn about 8 to 10 ft away from it. Say team A takes turn to throw the ball at satoDi. One team A member will stand behind the line and throw the ball towards the satoDi to make the stacked pieces fall apart. As soon as at least one of them gets thrown away from the stack, the game has begun. Team A runs away from the ball to try and re-stack the seven pieces back in the exact same order they were placed before. The goal of Team B members is to throw the ball at eachother while hitting one of the team A members with the ball before the satoDi is stacked back to normal position. Whoever finishes first, wins the game. Once all the pieces of satoDi are placed back in a nice pile, one of the team A member screams "SATODI" to let everyone know they've managed to meet their goal. If team B member manages to tag any team A member, they scream "OUT". That's when the game ends. The winner gets to throw the ball at satoDi in next round.

thappo: This is one silly old hide & seek game. The only difference was, we would draw a big circle on some wall with a chalk or a piece of orange brick or a piece of black coal at about 5 ft height from the ground where the person whose turn it was (person A) to shut their eyes would rest their head and hide their eyes behind their palms. This made sure they weren't peeking out to watch where everyone's hiding. They were usually forced to count up to 50 or 100 before they could open their eyes. Once they found someone, they'd rush back to the circle on wall and slap their hand on it screaming "thappo". If some other player sneaked out before person A could see them, they'd run to the circle to do the same before person A got there. In the latter case, it person A would yet again take turn to shut their eyes and recount until everyone hid again, otherwise whoever they found would take the turn.

zoo: The silliest game we ever played and the most fun! We used to play this one in our extra wide living room that was somewhere around 20x20 ft size. But you can play this one practically roomy place with clear ground. A wide belt is drawn on the ground about the size of 5 ft wide to 20 ft long. The player taking their turn (player A) stands within this belt. All the other players stand on one side of the belt and their job is to cross the belt without getting tagged by player A. Every other player must make at least one round trip on the other side of the belt (side B) and back (side A). While other players are on side B, player A can even tag them if they're within their hands' reach or while they're crossing the belt. So then what's the "zoo"? Well, that's the sound other players make while crossing the belt. I think that has been in place to draw attention of player A that there's a player crossing. This gets most fun when only one player is left on side A who still needs to cross over and come back and player A won't let go but face them at all times. The game can go on for hours.

gilli DanDaa: I didn't really play this much as it wasn't too famous around the neighborhood, but do know how to make the gilli and DanDaa and how to play.

gulel: This is our typical game of slingshot. While playing this one, better make sure the neighborhood uncles and aunties are not watching when the flying objects go into their glass windows or car windshields. ;)

I think for the indoor/sitting down games of paanchika, chopaaT, patta, and other similar games there would have to be a separate post some day.

So which one of these you're most likely to play? Or played? Do share.


AmiDA said...

grew up playing these too :)
had forgotten some of the names :) thanks!

chinmai said...

hmm.. nice nostalgic feeling.. played most of these :)

Aspi said...

A most excellent list, Kanan! But what? No Bhamardo? Probably played by just us boys.

Kanan said...

Ami, cool! happy to know the post helped you remember the forgotten names. :)

Chinmai, I know the feeling. Glad you enjoyed reading. :)

Aspi, thank you! :) Is that with the wooden bhamardo with the nail-like one end and a string that gets wrapped around it? Or some other game?

Kalpit Kalaria said...

Thank you for the post I was teaching my kids nadi ke parvat and your post helped me remember rules of the game