There are umpteen games that we play as kids which never make to the main stream. Everyone knows about soccer, tennis, cricket, volleyball, football etc. I am talking about those simple, small games which remain fascination for few months or years and then wear off. Later as adults, we start following whatever the main stream sports offer.
And if you research, you would find that these games are played in almost all parts of the world with minor variations and they remain source of joy only for a short while during school years.
There was a game I played as a small girl with five stones. I don’t even know the game’s name but I used to call it “five stones”. Later I read in some book that young children in Africa also play similar game. This was a fascination for me for a year or two in mu middle school and I used to practice playing at home daily. Now, I don’t remember the rules but have a vague idea of how to play. Another one used to be “ghasita”. This was not as popular as its cousin “staapu” or “hop scotch”. It involved dragging the main striker along as one hopped over the squares. Even “staapu” and “hopscotch” are not exactly the same.
I enjoyed playing “pithu” that involved marble stones and a ball. It must be one of the most popular street games. There was a game that our whole class used to play when we were in grade 11 and 12. It used to involve two teams and one team had to run to a certain point and come back while the other team tried to stop them. I forgot the name but I used to love playing it. There was another game which also involved two teams and there were four squares drawn on the ground. The idea was to have one whole team in one square while the other team tries to stop them. Again, my memory fails me in remembering the name.
As a girl, I played even more girlish and sometimes meaningless games – clapping hands, jumping and turning around. Then there were others: “kho-kho” – this is kind of duck-duck-goose, “oonch-neech-ka-papda” – where the team has to choose between up or down. If they chose up, they had to be in an elevated position. If they tried to come down, they could be caught. Anyone remember “Chidiya –ud”?
All these were harmless yet fun filled games. Summer was never boring as one can play these over and over and over again. Then the world advanced and video games became part of our life. I have not played much video game. I used to have couple of computer games when I was in college but never got addicted. Tennis, soccer or cricket is not the same playing in a 20 inch screen where a slight movement of your finger can turn the game against you. Few of the computer games I enjoyed were Solitaire, Minesweeper and Tetris.
Now with Wii and Xbox, gaming industry has completely turned around. Now days, toddlers are getting introduced to Wii before their first soccer class. I am sure Olympics would also start featuring popular games played in current times. Last I heard was they were planning to introduce Tetris in Olympics!