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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Indian Kids: Playing marbles & catapult

In my childhood, it was a common sight to see kids playing with marbles or boys running with the tyres and wheels. The slightly elder ones graduated to games like gulli danda and later on to kabaddi and other desi sports.

It's rainy season. Two decades back it was usual to see kids playing in the sand and making mud houses. Also, kids would enjoy for hours playing much more 'silly games' like the one with a rod. The boys would throw the iron rod and the depth to which it went into the ground, determined a boy's success.
After India's world cup win in 1983, the advent of television and the steady rise of prosperity, all these 'unsmart' things faded away from urban India. Even in villages you no longer see the games which kids played in the past.

On a recent visit to a 'lost town'* in Central India, I felt as if I was again back to my childhood. In the first photo, you can see kids sitting on a platform, around a mazaar, and immersed in their games--two kids are counting their glass marbles (kanche), two others are comparing their collection of cards with movie titles and stars printed on them.

Others are playing one of the desi version of ludo-type games in which kids use chalk to make a pattern and then play with pieces of stones or the gotis (gotiyan). In every street or corner, I found the kids loitering, collecting matchboxes or playing games.

The two kids with innocent and earthy looks one of whom aimed at me with the ghulail (slingshot or catapult) were sitting in the morning when I passed the area and again when I walked back in the evening, they were sitting there.
The Indian Muslim street (or for that matter any ghetto) is quite similar in most cities of North India, and the unemployed youths and kids are still seen simply sitting and whiling away time or playing such games.

As I was busy in my job, I couldn't roam around and get many pictures, but the town had a strange effect on me. I will write about it more in coming days. Though the trip brought back nostalgia, it made me sad to see the lack of schools and dispensaries.
Goernments won't open schools (long back it seems state governments have stopped opening schools and left the field open for private schools). The parents have no option but to let kids roam and play. A few years from now they will also help their parents in weaving, carpet making and bidi industry.
One political party will announce a commission a la Sachar, the other will oppose it and things will remain just the same. [*I call it lost town, because there is no railway connection and nowhere iin this town you can see the signs of an emerging and shining India, which is being talked about all the time.]


ajsuhail said...

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Anser Azim said...

Thanks for changing the topic and posting a lighter subject. That reminded me my own kagaz ki kashti,
kanche(golian), muhalla cricket, lakri ke balle, nange pairon football khailna, pair kai angoonthon ka soojna, eeton kai wicket, bachpan kai dost, maktab aur maderse main taat kai chechak zada (joot bag, stained with ink!!)) bore per bath ker perhna, takhtian likhna, aur nana nani kai hathon her takhtee per 10 paise ka milna, us paisee ki chaat aur meethee golion ka maza, paani mein bhigte huai school se gher ka aana, July aur August mein school kai khulne ki khooshi, nai kapian aur kitabon ki kharidari........... aur na jane kya kya......!!!!!!
I was happy to see those kids in those skull caps... that reminded me my experience with the muhallah mosque, earthen pots for wadoo, the
coldest water from the hand pump in the summer and the joy of praying together with friends!!!!

yade maazi kuch ajeeb hai ya rab
mat cheen mujhse hafiza mera
anser azim

mohammadshamim said...

You write well but I have seen that you never mention the name of the town in your stories. Any journalistic reason ?

Pilid said...

Hi dude! I happened to chance upon your blog while doing a google search on something else.

I suggest that you add a brief profile of yours with a link on your blog so that it is easily accessible. I do not have time to read through all your posts right now but I look forward to visiting your blog more often in the future. So long....!!

imran mulla said...

goood to read other than ususal type of stories which are always written about

kutu said...