Posts Tagged ‘game’

Visit to Shivamogga, Mathur, Kudli, and Sakrebailu, 080417 to 100417

April 19, 2017

Kiran Kannappan and I went to Shivamogga to help conduct a summer camp for 85 rural children, under the aegis of



run by Shaila, Shruthi and Adarsh


Morning prayer

Story-telling, some Sanskrit shlOkAs,


nature around the campus, basic birding


Red-wattled Lapwing on the school campus

basic origami,


basic cartooning


…these were some of the things we went through with the very receptive children.


On the 9th evening, we visited


where Sanskrit is taught, and still used extensively. We visited a couple who have settled down there, having built this beautiful house:




Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Mathur

We then went to the shAradA temple at Kudli


as it was about to close.

On 100417, we visited the Sakrebailu Elephant Camp.



Kiran decided that we would return by the afternoon train rather than wait for the overnight one…so a memorable visit to Shivamogga came to a conclusion!


lagOri, Kaikondrahalli kere, 080117

January 8, 2017

We often lament about our children using tablets and X-boxes all the time…but I find, often that even our urban children are quite in touch with the traditional games of childhood.

Today, when I went to Kaikondrahalli lake, I found this pile of flat stones, with a young girl piling them up carefully.


I knew that a game of


was in progress, and waited a bit while the girls surrounded the pile of stones and began their game.


The game involves a ball and a pile of flat stones, generally played between two teams in a large outdoor area. A member of one team (the seekers) throws a tennis ball at a pile of stones to knock them over. The seekers then try to restore the pile of stones while the opposing team (the hitters) throws the ball at them. If the ball touches a seeker, she is out and her team continues without her. A seeker can always safeguard herself by touching an opposite team member before the ball hits her.


There are some other rules that may be added in different regions of the country.

So here, to please all of us, is the scene of children (the girls were dressed to the nines for an event at their school, which is adjacent to the kere) playing a traditional game which does not need electricity, and which is one that their parents and grandparents have probably played!

Meanwhile, The Booda is growing up….

June 26, 2014

Here are a few pics clicked by AM ….whether it’s video games or board games, our little fellow is involved…..!

a pwn cflra 070614

The audio is coming from this side, Amma!

booda mobile 230614

Well, here…is he going boating or sumin? I dunno!

cuirve rvr st pk bch 080614 booda dk

I’ll be seeing him and his sister soon….looking forward to that…!

“Lattu”: Traditional tops

April 1, 2014

Playing with tops is a boy’s sport in India.

This is not a sexist statement, it quite simply is so; I have not seen girls playing with tops, from my childhood, till date. As I grew up, I found that there was a season for tops (referred to as “lattu” in Hindi and Bengali), much as there was a season for marbles, kite-flying, cricket, football, and gilli-danda.

Tops came traditionally as wooden globes, with nails sticking out of them. Thin ropes were wound round and round the lower part of the top, which had grooves to accommodate the string. Then, with a sharp whip-like movement, the rope was thrown, and the top would land on the ground, spinning at top speed. Boys could often throw the rope around the nail on the spinning top and get the top to fly up into the air, to be be caught triumphantly; or actually spin along the tautly-held rope itself, like an acrobat on a high wire. It was a magical sight to see the dexterity with which some top “players” could handle their tops.

I took a video of one boy in Anekal, some time ago: You can see how the top is spun, and then gathered on the string again.

The upper part of the top would be painted in bright, solid colours which could change in appearance as the top spun.

I’ve seen other tops being sold, recently, especially wooden tops, brightly coloured, made in Channapatna, Karnataka. But these, to my knowledge, are not “competition” tops.The string, in these tops, was much thinner, or some of them were just spun by hand.

The whole subject had been forgotten when, walking down Bannerghatta Road yesterday evening, I saw some Rajasthani boys playing with tops:


Each boy could throw the top up by putting the rope around it and whipping it up. (You can see one boy doing it in the photo.)

And apart from this, one boy would, with deadly accuracy, release his top so as to land exactly on an other spinning top, and knock it out of its spin. This, obviously, constituted a victory of sorts in the game.


You can see a top lying on the ground in this photo, having been “knocked out” in this way. It was definitely quite an organized, competitive game and took me back to my childhood when my brother and his friends played each evening with them, winning and losing tops, until the “season” ended…in the same mysterious way that the boys knew when the season started, they knew when to put their tops away and go on to the next kind of game!

More affluent children may have their computer games and their X-boxes…but I was glad to see that such fun sports, which do not need batteries or electricity, still survive amongst children.

Many Rajasthani families migrate to our cities to work as construction workers, carpenters, and makers of ceramic and glass artefacts…it was the children of some of these families that I photographed yesterday.

Jigsaw Puzzle, 100913

September 12, 2013

Life…is fitting together the pieces
And making sense of it.
Your parent’s there to guide you
If the pieces don’t fit!


St.Louis, 100913.

Playing Games Together

August 15, 2013

Here we are, playing “Go Fish”, a set-making game..

Playing games together allows a family to bond…and teaches a child a lot more than just how to play that game.

She’s a budding corporate honcho….

March 7, 2013

Kavya decided to play noughts and crosses on her dry-erase slate with her dad. She took the first turn, and here’s how the slate looked when she asked her dad to put down his first nought!

nts n crsss 070313 stil photo DSC01604.jpg

She’s going to make it big in this world…!

Death of a Parrot

July 7, 2011

“Hello, Senor Rod? This is Ernesto, the caretaker at your country house.”
“Ah yes, Ernesto. What can I do for you? Is there a problem?”
“Um, I am just calling to advise you, Senor Rod, that your parrot, he is dead”.
“My parrot? Dead? The one that won the International competition?”
“Si, Senor, that’s the one.”
“Damn! That’s a pity! I spent a small fortune on that bird. What did he die from?”
“From eating the rotten meat, Senor Rod.”
“Rotten meat? Who the hell fed him rotten meat?”
“Nobody, Senor. He ate the meat of the dead horse.”
“Dead horse? What dead horse?”
“The thoroughbred, Senor Rod.”
“My prize thoroughbred is dead?”
“Yes, Senor Rod, he died from all that work pulling the water cart.”
“Are you insane? What water cart?”
“The one we used to put out the fire, Senor.”
“Good Lord! What fire are you talking about, man?”
“The one at your house, Senor! A candle fell and the curtains caught fire.”
“What the hell? Are you saying that my mansion is destroyed because of a candle?!”
“Yes, Senor Rod.”
“But there’s electricity at the house! What was the candle for?”
“For the funeral, Senor Rod.”
“Your wife’s, Senor Rod. She showed up very late one night and I thought she was a thief, so I hit her with your golf club.”
“My new Ping G15 204g titanium head golf club with the TFC 149D graphite shaft? Ernesto, if you broke that driver, you’re in deep shit!”

Games that we play…..

June 29, 2011

Being a large family has some great advantages; playing games (alas, until 2 am each morning) is great fun and we don’t need any other form of entertainment at all!

We’ve been playing



and the variation I learnt, called “Snatch” or


(which is quite different from Bananagrams)



We have not yet got around to playing


as the age variation in the family members precludes a “level playing field”…

But by far our family’s favourite game is


It is not easy to get opportunities to play this game, as a minimum of six players are needed (and all of them should be interested in playing it, too!) Our family is very addicted to this game. I learnt it in my childhood from the family of Alamelu Mami (I learnt many wonderful card games at their home in Kolkata), and have also passed on a liking for it to the Shaffer family, to whom I introduced the game when they visited in 2000. Another problem is that each game lasts about 45 minutes, going up to beyond an hour if there are 8 people (there were, the last two days!)

Since we have people of varying ages and approaches, it becomes a hilarious compendium of smart moves, forgetfulness, mistakes, and sudden recollections of other games played in the past.Idiotic jokes, witty remarks, red herrings, teaching the younger ones the nuances…all form part of the enjoyment of this game. I still do not know how or why this game got its name!

I often feel that companies need not conduct exhaustive interviews…just playing games with the candidate will give a very good idea of the person’s…er…personality.

On this board games post I must also mention Vinit and Surabhi Bhansali who have always thrown open their home most hospitably for board games, and at whose place I’ve spent many enjoyable Sunday afternoons!

Many of A’s friends used to visit me even after she’d gone to the US to study, and we would have regular evenings of board games….most of these friends are in the US themselves, now, and are too busy with careers and family…but the day will come when they get back to board games once again.

I also remember a board game parlour called Brewhaha (a pun on Brouhaha) which was very popular in Bangalore. It no longer operates in the old location in Koramangala, and perhaps it’s closed down.

I’ve included Wiki links for the games…but reading about a game is just not interesting…one has to get into a group that’s playing the game, and learn it!

A snap of the fingers….

March 23, 2009

I watched a song on an old Tamizh movie, where (of course) the hero snaps his fingers at the heroine….

And yesterday, I was teaching my young friend how to do a “gun” with one’s fingers. (You have to keep your left index finger and thumb at right angles, pointing at the target; hook your right index finer on to that angle at the thumb; and then click your middle finger and thumb…this is assuming you are right-handed.)

Snapping one’s fingers…could be a way of keeping time, and rhythm. As one enjoys music, sometimes, the clicking of one’s fingers is quite automatic!

Often, though, it’s an imperative, imperious gesture…the click of the fingers with which a customer in a restaurant summons a waiter (though it is considered rather rude now)…the way someone on the road gets the attention of a total stranger…

Sometimes you don’t want to call someone by name, and click your fingers at them, hoping they will hear that and respond, and you don’t have to use the name in a public space….

And of course, there is the disdainful, scornful snap of the fingers…”I don’t care a snap of the fingers for someone” is quite a literal statement! Or one just says, “I don’t care *this* for him!” and snaps one’s fingers.

In many societies, it is polite to click one’s fingers before one’s mouth as one yawns, not just put them in front of the yawning mouth. Someone once told me that this drives away evil spirits which might enter through the open mouth..perhaps insects too?

It is quite a feat for a child to be able to produce a proper “clicking” noise from its soft little fingers…I remember wanting to do so for quite a long time before being able to! Now, of course, I can click my fingers on both hands…

And I remember that lovely word game which needed the participants to name various designated things….it would begin, I remember, with all of us keeping time by clicking our fingers, and reciting,

If you please
Name some
Names of….”

And this would be followed by what had to be named (Eg, Flowers, or countries….) and keeping to time, each player would have to think of the next name, or be “out”!

Does the snap of the finger also breakthe sound barrier, the way the lash of a whip does? Why don’t wet fingers snap well? Why does only the middle finger produce a proper sound?

And that brings me to the other use I know for clicking one’s fingers…that’s when I think, “Eureka! That’s the answer!” and I click my fingers spontaneously, it’s the equivalent of the bulb lighting up over my head! Or, when I am trying hard to remember something and I suddenly succeed…CLICK go my fingers immediately!

Alas, to my questions above, I can’t do the “eureka” click!

Here’s a Lambani tribesman in Bannerghatta, whom we met on Saturday. He is now settled in the Bannerghatta area, in a small settlement of about 18 houses, but the Forest Department is asking them all to vacate the forest area…. he was busy building a wooden structure, and I was impressed with his skills…and the dignity in his face….