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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Games for Kids of the World

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.

Download the FREE Ebook here

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:


  1. Congratulations Anu and to an extent I identify with your rant, let Chhavi grow up a little and I will completely identify with it!

    1. Thanks Mridula!! oh yes, u will certainly see more of it as chhavi grows!!

  2. Great opportunity for you!

  3. Lovely post Anu! Thanks for taking part in the project. Hope we can teach more kids to have fun playing outside with our book!

    1. Thanks Lucy, it was my pleasure to be a part of this! I really do hope a few more kids go out and play these games!

  4. hmhm..... I remember with fondness the summers that were spent playing 7 stones and Ghilli. Two most common games in our countryside.

    I am looking at the web page right now and I must say, It's a great project. kudos.

    1. Nice to see you here again, Muthu... just noticed that you updated your blog too... and thanks so much for the comment.... that was the whole idea behind the book.. to get ppl like us reminisce about the games we played as well as encourage our kids to play them!

  5. I loved playing traditional games and still remember how we translated "Oranges and Lemon" into a Marathi "Santra Limbu". The other games I remember are Hide and Seek, Laghori, Seven Stones, Skipping....

    1. I wasnt really an outdoors person... more of a bookworm.. but even then we played such a lot of games.... i do remember santra limbu.... seven stones... and as to skipping, i even played with my mom! those were the days!


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