It all started with Niki’s post on Playful Memories where the conversation we exchanged over childhood games prompted this post. It brought back flashback moments of the childhood days when I would sneak away from the preening eyes of Mom & Dad to play with kids in the vicinity and at times, playing alone.
I wasn’t brought up in India but a small island where cities are two or three times smaller than small Indian towns. Life could be boring but I guess never for kids. Even a boring life wouldn’t stop most of us to invent games and there is no dearth of them when you open the window outside your home. A small tin roof corrugated Chinese shop was on my way from school, where tiny and huge marble balls in different colors, red, sapphire and blue were put on display. I was fascinated by all of them. I would save my measly pocket money which I bought the marbles for one, two and five rupees. My eyes flashed at the priceless gems which became my most prized possession. A jackpot of sort. Outside my house, there was a muddy terrain and the first thing I did was to dig small holes with a stone to play marble games. I would spend the afternoons outdoors playing alone and expertly placing the marbles between my fingers to make them land with precision inside the hole. It was not an easy task. I sweated and the moment my marble found its way inside, gave me a sense of victory. It was so much fun at a time where small phones or computers were alien to my existence as a child.
Playing street football with childhood friends were an ecstatic joy for us where I would run with the football to meet my friends and we would put two stones on both ends that would substitute as goals. It was a residential area where houses were lined up on both sides of the street and surrounded by a huge litchi tree where the four of us would be divided into two teams playing football and squabbling over petty issues. Often, the ball would land in someone’s property and we would be chased by them. I am someone who would run away from home and played till 6 in the evening when Mom would come to chase me with a stick.
At my neighbor’s house, there was a huge tree on a spacious land, filled with huge boulders and there was a wooden swing fixed to a tree. We would oscillate up in the air to reach the maximum high. I would play with kids who were all girls and I was the only boy. Mom would come and get me off the tree past six since we Indians, of Bihari origin no matter which place of the world we stay believed in this quirky superstition that one shouldn’t stay under a tree after 6 p.m since there are spirits that may harm us. I may narrate about spirits and beliefs perhaps in a brand new post.
Playing with toy cars was another thing that fascinated me as a child and I had quite a few collection of miniature cars. I have always loved Hindi movies as a child, in particular, action films and once my neighbor got a huge toy car with doors sliding open which he brought home and both of us would play with it. One day, we were up for some pranks and imagining us to be actors fleeing away from villains, we burned the car by lighting match sticks to put the car on fire. It was all my doing. Lighting the match stick and first burning the windows made of plastic and it took us hard work to completely burn the car. Logically, the neighbor’s parents didn’t like it and told Mom. I was in for an earful for destroying the toy of my neighbor who was smaller than me.
I was quite shy as a child and would prefer to play alone with my toys and speaking to myself. As I grew up, I would spend my hard-saved pennies buying magazines like Filmfare, Cineblitz and others like Movie Mag which is no longer in circulation. The magazine would cost some 15 bucks at that time and this where the monthly pocket money would go rather than on toffee. Often, stealing few coins from Dad’s pocket would do the trick. Buying cassettes was another favorite pastime and there was a great delight to get a small, shiny poster of the film slipped inside. It was the 90s when the best film songs came. Any guesses! Ashiqui, Khuda Gawah or Saajan.
A peek into my childhood games and growing up days where technology didn’t storm our lives to makes us prisoners. I am amazed what a conversation with Niki could lead to in reviving those days. I agree with her that today’s kids are missing out on both indoor or outdoor games. Yes, kicking the can on the street is something that I would love to do and graduated to tennis or ping-pong balls. What’s your childhood games? Do share with us and don’t forget to hop on Niki’s blog.