The Three Veshti-keers

Vyas and his friends Ad and Ap participated in a small skit staged during the Madras Day celebration event at Hotel Green Park last Saturday. It was organized by Spring & Zoom where Vyas and few of his friends have been attending a workshop. With just an hour’s practice, the boys did a neat job. The theme of the event was Madras: Then and Now. The three-some enacted a few traditional games/activities kids engaged-in in those days.. It was quite a sight to see them play an apocryphal game of ‘paandi (hopscotch)’, gilli-danda, bambaram (spinning tops), and climb tree tops for a bite of mangoes:)

There was a cute dance performance by two kids for the same theme and they’d picked the song ‘Vasantha mullai pole’- the original and the remixed version.. Few other kids came up with poster presentations. Though I could not stay back for the entire duration, it was a treat to sit through Historian and Archeologist, Dr.Chitra Madhavan’s presentation on the lesser known temples of Chennai, an impressive account of the wonderful works of art in these temples, coupled with the mythology associated with the deities, their postures etc… One need not be a believer to appreciate the beauty of these sculptures. I have vowed to pay attention to these works of art henceforth whenever I visit a temple. Dr.Chitra also expressed concern at the kind of abuse people heap on these carvings by smearing oil, turmeric, sandal paste, butter and what not! If it helps the cause, I’d like to carry her appeal here and request folks to refrain from doing so! The deities will be immensely pleased with you if they are left in peace:)

Coming back to the games, this event has led me to reminisce about the games I played as a child. I could not help but feel sad for the things the kids miss today.. It felt weird to TEACH the boys paandi or bambaram and to think that I have spent several summers with my friends climbing up and down the mango and guava trees!! Chasing old cycle tyres/tubes with a stick, jumping compound walls with friends unmindful of the hot May afternoons, generally hanging around with other kids in the colony, chewing ‘kamarkat’ bought for 5 or 10 paise, munching on kodukapuli, settling for pallankuzhi (with tamarind seeds for the coins) or dayakattam (dice), or a big round of trade if tired of the sun, is all like a dream.. My grandma joined us in a game of dayakattam or pallankuzhi and was strict about the rules!! Now, other than the big out-door games like cricket, football, tennis etc.. , the kids seem to know little about the simple out-door games.. A dozen beyblades, remote cars, barbies, video games and the like have clearly replaced FUN. Or its possible that I’ve aged by a 100 yrs already!

Now, you tell me what kind of games you indulged in as a kid.. Do your kids play the ‘old’ games even now?

Author: Vidya

Positive, and positively talkative!

11 thoughts on “The Three Veshti-keers”

  1. Oh yaa..we used to play satodiyu (Thats the gujju name for the seven stones you need to hit and then run), lagadi, ocean sea river lake, and stuff like that…mostly outdoors..or it would be football, cricket and badminton..or pakadam pakadi or kho kho or hide and used to be so much fun…with R I just play pull-mom’s-shirt-and-run or catch-that-girl-before-she-swallows-that-entire-piece-of-cake or get-that-bit-of-sleeping-line-done-if-you-want-khicidi-for-dinner or dont-eat-raw-bhindi-or-your-stomach-will-ache kind of games…

    The pic looks actually managed to make him wear veshti..awesome awesome…*Looks hopeful regarding the marriage proposal*

  2. Big V: ‘Andhakaalathula….. naan chinna kozhandhaya irukkaracha..’

    Small V thinkin.. aarambichutaaada…

    Small V: ‘aaamam.. woodwards kudichiyaaakam… adhan theriyume… dhenamum Vishnu Sahasra Naamam solrayo illayo..idha oruvaati sollidra… ‘

    seriously.. hey.. nice post.. i loved seven stones… used to come home with red bulbs all over the body.. rubber balls hurt.. you know

  3. The boys look so cute! Loved the picture.

    So many games as a kid. Tipi tipi tap what colour you want, hopscotch, satodiyu, hide and seek, catch catch and many many more.

    Will the kids play it, I doubt it and that makes me so sad 😦

  4. lovely pic..oh yes, you brought back memories..we did play the age old games of lagori (seven stones), sakli (human chain), paandi, hide-n-seek.
    Sad to see the kids of today not knowing those games..its more sophisticated now..some innocence lost I feel.
    I so disagree with the over-bhakti of people that they feel is best exhibited by drowning the idols in what not..I simply detest it.

  5. I still play kalanga, adu-puli attam and paramapadham with my mom,sis and aunts. You know I was a master in spinning bambaram and goli and treasured that bambaram for long. I will surely teach my kids these games but will they have interest in playing them?? God only knows…

  6. hey vidya, should’ve called me for the madras day celebs, missed it . anyways, you reminded me of what I did during my younger days. more or less same like yours, climbing trees, playing gilli and golli with boys, pandi, pallankuzhi with girls, bambaram, killithattu etc…… I make it a point to take shreya and annu to my grandma’s village every summer even now so that they experience the same fun we had those days. those two months are fun and I have my own time to go to temple morning and evening and catch up all slokas.
    kids play in the street{ no traffic and no pollution there} the whole day, without watching tv or computers.I’ve not introduced bambaram and golli to them yet, but they play pandi very nicely.
    this year planning to go for kolattam where all the girls and ladies dress up and dance with sticks in the street infront of the temple and sing all age old songs. long live our custom……………

    1. @ R’s mom: Naughty you:) I like the games you are playing with R even now;)) (am running away)!

      @ LR: Yeah, its the woodwords gripe water story alright! I wish some of your friends had taken a good aim at you when playing 7 stones!

      @Narayanan: Yes, Goli was yet another popular game.. If i find a goli now, i’d first try and hide it from Varun for fear of his swallowing it:)

      @Comfy: I know! If if our kids don’t play those games, the limited outdoor time makes me sad too..

      @Uma: Lagori yes! That was a fav game during hols when I was in B’lore!! Abt the over-bhakti- yeah, I hadn’t given it much thought before listening to CM speak..

      @Tharani: So you deserver- Tharani- the master spinner- err.. bambaram queen title:) I’ll not be surprised if these are placed as exhibits in museums 20 yrs hence:)

      @Priya- Hey sorry yaar! Was busy with a function at home that morning, plus there were no preps the previous days too.. We were doubtful too… Sorry again! Nice that the little girls get to play these games and wow- kolattam?!!

  7. That’s a cute picture 🙂
    As a kid, I used to play seven steps, badminton,volleyball,basketball and even cricket at times. But as I grew older, only Badminton was the game that I still sometimes play 😥 😥

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