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Growing up with traditional games

Nostalgic memories of summertime and school break. Just thinking about it brings a smile and happiness in me.

I grew up in Mumbai, then called Bombay. Every year we had summer vacations for two months - April and May. April would be passed anxiously waiting for exam results, yet with a lot of fun playing different board games, card games and badminton.  Board games we played, were drawn on the floor with chalk. We used shells for dice and game counters were either broken bangles or stones. The game was called 'kaach kaudi' in Marathi, meaning glass and shell… very similar to Ludo. It had two variations, 5 houses or 7 houses.

We used to play a lot of card games (52 card deck). Shuffling, dealing and trying to cheat. There were a few different games and funny names. Some of them if I remember correctly were lal satti (red 7), satti ani aatthe (7's and 8's), donkey( yes that's what we called it), so many others.

The other half of summer was at my maternal grandmother's place. The house was filled with aunts, uncles, sisters, parents, grandparents and their neighbours! At a time there were 12 people and two decks were used to play this very famous game in Gujarat called 'bukharo'. The game was mostly played by elders. One game could go on for hours. My grandmom was the expert! Her team would always win.

The afternoons being very hot, were always spent indoors, with wet cotton sarees over windows and fans. My grandfather used to play cards all by himself, and us cousins would watch parents play carrom board. As a child, this was the biggest carrom board I had ever seen. I used to sit patiently next to my aunt and watch the game, and wait for one chance to hit the stagger.

I smile as I remember all this. 

Another most enjoyed tradition in my family was playing antakshari (hindi film songs and bhajans too). We still do that whenever the whole family gets together. But we miss my grandparents.

These moments spent playing games with them, is all I am left with in my heart. I miss playing cards. I wish I had people around who would come visit for tea and snacks and play cards. While people do play, these days it is on the computer or the phone. The charm of seeing each other, teasing, trying to cheat and getting caught has been lost.

I am reminded of a beautiful Hindi movie starring Rekha and Ashok kumar called 'Khoobsurat'. The movie beautifully shows how traditional games bring the family together, along with joy and happiness… 'Nirmal aanand'. Do watch it here Khubsoorat


---    Nikita Gandhi

Last modified on Monday, 04 December 2017 14:22