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?