A typical post on FB.. Forgotten Games of India.. Not many, just a few, and wham.. Like always, a click on the image, you go into memory lane, and try to remember when was the last time you played any of these. For that matter, how many games did we even remember growing up playing.
Having had the fortune and misfortune to have spent my growing years out of India, no doubt, I too have been a participant and a player of most of these games, the misfortune being, that I was not exposed to more. But be it India or outside in the Middle East, which was predominantly Indian and the communities in bounds, the games were all our desi games.
How many times, coming back from school, would we stop on the road side, dig into our bags, and pull out our marbles (no pun intended) for a quick game. Or while walking back the lattu in our hand and twirling in the palm of our hand, each one trying to better the other. Running home, a quick meal, and then our cricket bats.. No padding up, no guards, it was just the tennis ball, one wicket that one guy in the building had and the other two wickets being broken sticks at time..
We sill have a laugh and a roll on these, and we tend to reminiscise every time we travel back home or we get into memory lane. The laughs and the jokes, of do you remember, how we beat the shit out of Shyam, and do you remember, how we went home crying and on and on.. No games for boys and girls.. We all played them irrespective of their type and who they were meant for. It was a life meant for outdoors..
I am not sure what changed, but some where the world moved faster than all of us, or rather we allowed it to.. Of course a major difference was that cost of living was much lower, but then money had a value. Money was not to be spent simply because we as children asked for it. You lost all your Gotis or your cricket card selection, you had to play to win it back.. No Mom buying you extra breakfast cereal boxes just for you to collect extra cards..
Games were meant for enjoyment and were looked forward to not as school sports days annual events, but were played in the society compounds or in the gardens on weekend family visits. Never did one find it limited to kids, both the young and the old played and joined in.. Who plays ludo now? Where has Snakes and Ladders gone? Do we ever play Checkers or Bingo? How many of us even have a Carom Board at home any more? Does any one ever remember Atari?
No doubt we all moved on, but some where we took our future generations also with us. More income meant more to dispose.. Changing times meant technological games, coming down to gaming centers, or XBox’s or Wi’s or now even better, on IPA D’s, IPhone, PS2’s, PS3’s and before you can understand the first, the sixth upgrade has come.. The kids today have half their eyes squinted on to a 6 inch monitor or if better a 17 inch, or if the dad is still rich, games on a 52 Inch Led Home Theater Screen, with new games every week.. The kids do not go out any more, parents probably prefer them at home, as going out means some one has to monitor (leave aside that our mom’s used to cook and still find time every five minutes to have a glance from the window or the neighbour’s mom would keep tabs, if our houses were off.
No doubt, time has moved on, and we still have memories flashing back with all of us some where, some how, trying to maintain our past, in this ever changing future. However it is a diminishing trend, with the competition and the will to survive being the predominant factor in life. Question remains that we learnt the will to survive by growing up with friends / foes and in our compounds and streets, where matters commenced, fights started and finished with friends coming and closing these off, with handshakes. End of the day, you still had one girl in the building who would smile at you, and the guys would still be friends.
No doubt, in the India of today and in many parts this still exists and would still be time until we wipe this out, however the time is not far, when the only knowledge our kids may have is how to gun down the enemy to go to level 17.. Would it be too late by then?