Monday, April 21, 2008

Out of fashion childhood Stuff

Walking to school and back:
School was 20 minutes of a stroll from home and my folks like everyone else's were not worried about cars running us over. They would only be reasonably worried if we did not turn up home after the street lights came on in the evening ! I used to walk to school for a few years till Dad got a bicycle for me. I usually carried an umbrella along, since it would get very Sunny in the afternoon. The way back was lined with housing blocks, each with a small green lawn in the front and rows of hedges with colorful butterfly bush flowers. I would pluck all the flowers I could and disseminate them into tiny 'flowerlets' to fill my umbrella. Close home, I would open the umbrella over my silly head and stand looking up with glee at a burst of tiny flowers raining on me.

6.7.08 : Ruhi and I found those flowers yesterday in one bylane near Nallagarh Fort in Solan where went for a small holiday !


Making a neighborhood Group to save the world.
As 8 - 9 year old girls, we used to read Enid Blytons like they were going out of fashion. Inspired by Enid Blyton's 'Secret Seven' ( a children's secret society who held regular meetings to solve mysteries that have baffled local police) we started our own secret seven society. In the book series the Seven had a secret password, a badge, and secret headquarters in a garden shed - in our own version we were seven girls though I only remember four names - Gauri, Pallavi, Sujata, Me, ??, ??, ??. We had weekly afternoon meetings at each other's houses by rotation and some mothers (unlike my own ) would actively participate by sending us biscuits and lemonade !

Running amok in school during the recess, like wild animals set free.
The whole school had the recess together - everyone ran out on to the grounds with their tiffins and made their own lunch groups and sat on benches, on the grass, under the tree and wherever else to have their lunch alfresco ! It was one huge informal party in the school grounds. The boys would steal guavas from the trees behind the convent. I remember someone once sneaked to the verandah of the Sister's hostel where washed underclothes were put out to dry. He put guavas under a bra cup and lay it out for display, before running away to safety ! The next day all children were banished from anywhere near the hostel.

Sleeping on the terrace :
For a few years we lived in a flat with a small terrace and in the Summers it was usual to put out the folding charpoys and sleep in the open. I remember learning about the constellations lying wide eyed under the starry blue night. And waking up to a misty pink sky and the cacophony of birds.

Making Janamashtami 'Jhanki' (Lord Krishna's birth story mock up) down to every detail and inviting the neighborhood kids to look at the baby krishna in his basket !

Making chalk Rangoli outside the house on every Diwali 

Playing the games of our times, which lasted till the nineties but are now extinct, at least in Delhi : 

Oonch Neech : The den would announce "oonch" ( high) and all the kids would go scurrying around looking for any surface higher than on which the Den was standing. If the Den said "neech) ( lower).....

Langdi Taang : The 'Den" hopped along on one leg trying to catch the next less abled den

Shivaji cutting the cake : The den chases the kids and while he pursues someone, you dart across the chaser & his prey shouting a war cray ' Shivaji cut the cake' and then the Den chases the one who cut across ! Why Shivaji ? Dunno ! I want to know.

Posham Pa bhai Posham Pa: Two kids would join hands after stretching arms over their heads to make a gate through which the other kids would pass singing 'posham pa..' not sure what's the climax but I think you grab the last kids in your trap as soon as you finish the song 1 

I wrote a letter to my father and on the way I dropped it : Bunch of Kids sit in a circle and the Den goes around dropping the letter ( hanky) behind any one of them. The one who gets the hanky behind them chases the den and if he fails, he circles around with the hanky as everyone sings ' I wrote a letter..."

Vish Amrit : The den runs after the others and curses " Vish" ( poison) and you have to sit down while the others try and pat your head back saying " Amrit: ( nectar) to revive you. But if you get too close to the den, you may be 'vish'ed too !

Chain - chain : The Den ;catches' you and you hold hands till you've got everyone else on the chain chasing those who are left.

Mendhak Choo: The den impersonates a frog by sitting down and hopping along to catch others by extending his leg ! 

Chidiya Ud

Chupan Chupai : hide and seek till much after dark running around apartment blocks and playgrounds

Saan Seedi, Patte-pe-patta, Ludo, Carom Board, Teen-do- Paanch, Rummy...



Lots more to add ! Will do so as it comes to me....

3 comments:

RamN said...

Will they try scaling a Guava or a mango tree ....
To play a 7 stones or a similar game in the streets (and not jus cricket)

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bombaygirl said...

I loved reading about the childhood games. I try to remember my childhood too...and I've forgotten most of my friends names. When I look back on birthday photos, I wish my mom had written the kdis' names on the back. But then, I thought I would remember them forever, right?!