Sometime last year, I got a mail from Lucy at Pocketcultures, asking if I would be interested in being a part of a book they were planning. The topic was games played by kids around the world. The idea was to write about games that were easy to play, could be played anywhere, by any number of kids, and didn’t need any expensive equipment. The topic couldn’t have come at a better time.
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Just about a month earlier, a discussion had cropped up at school when Samhith’s athletic sir taught them to play ‘chor police’ ( a chasing game) and ‘sakhli’ (a similar chasing game, except that the person caught has to hold hands with the chaser and both have to catch the next person who also joins hands. Thus, the chain gets longer and the chase more difficult).
A few parents landed up at school, protesting that the athletics period was being wasted playing such games. The teacher tried to explain that he had trouble getting the kids to run for a prolonged period, which is why he had taught them these games so that could realise that running was fun. He specifically pointed out that the kids were happy to play anything as long as it was on their Xbox or PSP, but balked at physically playing the same games!
How true it is, that kids today don’t even know to play with other kids their age, as we used to, without any specific equipment. If Samhith and his friends want to play cricket, they want a complete cricket set! The days of drawing stumps on walls with chalk seem to be gone..... If they want to play badminton, they want a proper court! And if the game in question is football, just any old ball won’t do. The demand comes up for not just ‘proper’ footie ball, but also football socks! How many of us, at the age of 9 even knew that there were special socks for football???
We drew patterns with chalk to play hopscotch, ran around all day, happy to be out playing instead of being cooped up indoors. Even if we were tired, we sat outside talking and giggling, glad to be with our friends. We had our share of arguments and fights, but what we remember most are the good times we had together. We might live in bigger houses and complexes today, we might have a better lifestyle, but I sometimes wonder if our kids actually enjoy their childhood as it is meant to be enjoyed!
That was one long rant..., which this post wasn’t meant to be L
Coming back to Lucy’s mail, I joined the project quite late, and most of the usual and popular games were already done. They, were after all, played in some form, across the globe! I had to think up something new... a game not included already, but something easy enough to play, which would meet the criteria of the book. And yes, I did manage to remember one we loved to play, fit the theme perfectly, and gave us hours of enjoyment....
Wondering which game I am talking about? Go ahead, download the book and find out for yourself! Here is the link: http://book.pocketcultures.com/