My house help and cook have started coming at the same time. While working, they humour me and start listening to my stories. Yesterday, I was talking about my tomboy days, when most of the evenings, as a young girl, were spent playing on the locality streets. We would meet around 5 in the evening, and most summer plays would go on till 8, when the sun would finally set.
Skipping rope, pittu or pitthoo, gallery, hopscotch, hide and seek, gully cricket, marbles, kho kho, to name a few, were our regular games. Ours was the longest gali or alley. At times, more than 25 children from the neighbourhood, age group ranging from a 10 year old to 20 year old, would gather to play tag. Our variation of tag was played with a tennis ball, where the den had to hit their victims, preferably below knee, with the tennis ball, to tag. Each tagged person would be added to the coterie of den and help tag others by passing around the tennis ball to get maximum hits.
Two months of summer holidays used to be a long time, and each year would bring in a range of ideas to add thrill to our young lives. Television was limited to evenings, with one state run channel. Radio was the constant companion. Many an afternoons were spent playing all forms of rummy, snakes and ladders, carom, Chinese checkers, or chess.
I learned chess from my father and brother. Being the baby of the family, they would indulge me initially. However, I picked up the game quickly and it became fun being defeated constantly and occasionally, defeating either of them. Those victories were fewer and far between. They were very sweet. Looking back, I am not sure if they were earned, or handed. 🙂
There was an area at the end of our street that was identified for playing badminton. Some initiated boys and girls, decided to draw the court, get the net, buy the equipment, draw an electricity wire from the pole, and behold! We had a well-lit functioning court with serious game happening in the evenings.
I started playing table tennis with my maternal cousins. In middle and senior school, I played zonal badminton and TT for my school. A couple of years ago, in one of my former jobs, I played women singles to win a runners-up trophy. And, I had not played in decades. 🙂
I taught my husband a card game, sweep. Big mistake! I never won a single game thereafter. Our favourite was scrabble. On good, slow evenings, with no temporary duties, no morning flying, no mess parties etc., we would sit and play. Strange for a young couple, but those evenings formed a part of reminiscences of those cherished times spent together. I still have that twenty five year old scrabble board with all the coins intact, and we still sit down, my daughter, son, and me, and play sometimes.
My son loves to play a game of bluff with cards. In addition, we enjoy playing Uno, Jenga, tumbling monkeys, and cluedo. We have fooled many unsuspecting guests and cousins into playing the game of cluedo on their visits.
My next instalment of flashback will bring some more from my memoir.
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||