Born in 1980s : The real PLAY time

In my first post of this series I shared a few memories that are close to my heart, majorly about the growth of television culture; an era where Doordarshan reigned the television kingdom.

But that is just one part of it. There are a lot more things which only people born in 1980s could relate to. My first memory as a child is of the huge courtyard in front of our house where we could play running behind squirrels, of throwing tiny stones in attempt to get some almonds from the tree, of  us drawing shapes in the dust on the ground with a stick. Oh! I can just keep rolling down that memory lane.

As I mentioned in my first post we lived in a locality where all neighbors interacted openly and it was as if we were one big family. Kids of all ages would be playing out in the playground in evenings. We used to play all kinds of games mostly outside, there were no barriers, not of age, not class, not of gender either. It was just a big group of ‘us’. We used to gather together and all play together. Every kid had a play time, and parents made sure the kids are out playing not at home in front of TV or computers like now. In fact in our case, play time was till dusk after school, so we used to rush after school, change clothes (at times 😛 ), grab a bite to eat and rush to play. We only had one rule, it has to be FUN. We would settle for a game the majority wants to play. An then started the whole process of finding the first ‘catcher’ or the ‘seeker’.  We would generally gather around in a circle and then pick a catcher. And picking the catcher it self was so much fun! We would use certain rhymes and the person touched at the end of the rhyme would be ‘it’. Some rhymes I remember are

‘ Inky pinky ponkey, father had a donkey, donkey died father cried, inky pinky ponkey’. -‘Akkad bakkad bambe bo, assi nabbe poore sau, sau me laga dhaga chor nikal ke bhaga’.- ‘Eenie meenie miney moe, catch a tiger by his toe, if he hollers let him go, eenie meenie miney moe’

I just cant recall what were the others. We did use rock paper scissors, straw picking and hand flipping etc. It was so much fun. There was always an initial tension among all and then as the game progressed the initial tension or strain just vanished into fun and frolic.

Oh how can I forget the hand clapping games. I do not leave any opportunity to play them even now. One of our favorites were Miss Mary, A B C D E F G, etc.

Now looking back I realize the values we have learned from those times. The games were played by using the things readily and mostly freely available in the fields, hence were cost effect and economical. Kids from any and every background would come and play as one team, hence taught equality and secularism. These games were very  simple and ubiquitous, they created a strong bond among siblings and peers, which is not seen nowadays. We were aware of the strength  and weaknesses of all our friends, and were in a positive competition knowing who excelled in which game. These traits are now becoming scarce if at all present. Every memory associated with a particular game has a person too, one who excelled in the game, one who was a good contender, one who always cheated and got into petty fights and so on.

Some games that we have enjoyed the most are:

Hopscotch (Kith-Kith or Kittha)

Hopscotch (Kith-Kith or Kittha),

Generally starts with drawing boxes on the and the players then toss small objects like stone of broken piece of pottery into one of the box and the hopping back and forth all other boxes, retrieve the object placed in the first box and then jump out.  As the games progresses there are many complex rules that come in, like placing the stone ones palm or on forehead while hopping, skipping boxes etc.




Seven stones (Satolia or Pittu or Pittul)

Seven stones (Satolia or Pittu or Pittul)

A game played between two teams. Teams takes turns to throw a rubber or tennis ball at seven stones stacked in the middle of the field. The fielding team members have to prevent the hitting team members from form the stack of stones again by throwing the ball at their team members. There are variations of the game in almost every region.  One of my favorite games growing up.




Five stones / Knucklebone (Gitta or Gippa)

Five stones / Knucklebone (Gitta or Gippa)

Generally played between two players, the games consists of five to eight steps and the player to complete the steps in minimal tries wins. We used to play this with small stones of similar sizes. And not to brag, but I aced it!! 🙂





Hide-n-seek (Chhupa Chhupi)

Hide-n-seek (Chhupa Chhupi)

This was an all time hit. Every time we had a big heterogeneous group of kids playing, we would mostly settle for Chhupa Chhupi. We used to hide in such unusual places, that at times we would even lose track of time. We have even carried teh game forward at times to the next day, when the seeker couldn’t get find anyone. Me and my sisters have very fond memories of this game.





There were a few more games which were very common, and after many attempts I still managed to not learn these properly. Clumsy me! Anyways, some of the games that fascinated me were

Tip-Cat ( Gilli Danda)

Gilli-dundaI could never understand how they used the bigger stick ‘danda’ to tip the smaller stick ‘gilli’. But I enjoyed watching it equally..





Kite Flying (patang bazi)

kitesinindiaI have always been attracted to the kites flying high in the sky. And during summer vacations you can always see atleast a few kites. Our colony even had kite flying competitions ‘patang bazi’. This is again a sport where age, caste, gender, class doesn’t matter at all. I wish I could learn to fly a kite properly sometime.





I can keep going on, enumerating things I miss from my childhood. But the thing is miss the most actually is the sense of belonging, the kinship, the strong bond we had among peers. I just hope the present generation gets a chance to experience what we had sometime. These things may seem like stone-age-games to some, but you don’t know what they mean unless you have played them.