The gully-games of India

Some say chess or ‘shatranj‘ came from improvisation of ‘chaturanga‘ played in Mahabharata period; Polo was invented by Indian shatraps; Playing cards were popular in various courts as ‘Kridapatram‘ or ‘Ganjifa‘; Kalaripayattu gave origin to Judo and Martial arts by Buddhists; Teer-Dhanush promoted to archery; Kabaddi in Asian games. And ofcourse, land of snake-charmers must have been the idea behind ‘snake and ladders’. But, those games gained enough popularity to spread their wings across the world from Olympics to Vegas casinos.

But, some games couldn’t make it.

1. Antyakshari: College kids singing with deafening voices, trying to culminate songs with ‘tha’ (ठ), ‘dha’ (ढ). And the veterans coming up with ‘Thandey Thandey Paani se‘. A popular among college trips, and in boredom of trains, Antyakshari remains the most glamorised indigenous game featured even in movies and TV shows.

2. Goli a.k.a. Kanchey: One game, which led to frequent thrashing in childhood was this marble ball game. An intoxicating addiction. The enticing colourful shiny balls, and the ease of hitting with bow-stringed finger. The game is a miniature version of golf where we try to put the round balls into the hole, breeding many Tiger Woods of Kanchey.

3. Lattu a.k.a. Bambaram or spinning top: Spinning top is the first childhood lesson in practical physics. The ‘torque’ and centrifugal force, the spinning velocity. A game of perfection, Lattu needed hours of practicing to develop that reflex.

4. Aada-paada: Razma-mooli/Dosa-Idli eating Indians have always been obsessed with farts and purgatory desire. No wonder iconic Amitabh Bachhan was chosen for Piku (the movie). A detective shot at who farted and a wonderful limerick!

Aada paada kaun paada

Mamaji ka ghoda paada

Aam paam dhuss

Chane kee daal phuss.

One of the nasty embarassing game to nab the ‘wasn’t me’ guy.

5. Pitto a.k.a. Lagoria/ Satolia: Game may sound benign but it was the only violent skin-ripping masculine game played ofcourse by the notorious boys. A soft ball (technically) would be thrown at a pile of flat stones. While the opposite team tries to stack it back, the attackers would hit hard with ball at them. A cowboy game of ‘who shoots first’ played in gullies of India.

6. Raja-mantri-chor-sipahi: A chit game where ‘mantri’ have to choose the thief between ‘sipahi‘ and ‘chor‘ on raja’s instruction. I am sure similar chit games must be existing elsewhere but police and thief in similar garb may be unique to India.

* Games like chhupam-chhupai (Hide and seek), patang (kite-flying), chausar (roulette or board game version), gudda-gudiya kee shaadi (barbie indian version), gulli-danda (cricket) are excluded as they didn’t seem purely indigenous to author.

Kanchey: the game

Lattu: Glamorised as ‘spinning top’

Play pitto

Raja mantri chor sipahi

The nagging world of bloggers

Few days back while I was gobbling on some delicious ‘kebabs’, I got a SMS from my wife ‘Quit Facebook’. Like old age telegrams, which usually brought bad news in rudest impathetic way, ‘FATHER DIED. MOTHER SICK’. Telegram virtually meant a death-knell or something equally sinister. A terse warning SMS from wife was no less than the telegram. With a ‘kebab’ in one hand, I somehow manoevred to ‘deactivate’ my account and ‘delete’ the facebook app. Reason seemed to be pretty obvious- my nagging verbose sunday blogs bombarded on casual respite-seeking petty humans. Devoid of facebook likes, I was virtually thrown into the world of like/comment/award-hungry blogger beasts on WordPress and blogger networks.

The world of bloggers

Verbal diarrheas

Blogposts seem to never end, like an incoherent rant after a marijuana puff. If you are bored at very first paragraph, you click on ‘like’ and move ahead. If you somehow sail through the entire post, you ‘reblog’ it to share your suffering with rest of world. Did wordpress really mean ‘revenge’ instead of the ‘reblog’ button? A smart blogger would just randomly click ‘like’ to all blogs with his notifications flooded with undeserved ‘thanks’ messages. Probably, one who is thanking is just reminding him that suffering is not going to end.

Shakespeare out of the grave

Recently I read a blog which said something like, “procrastination of obfuscated maladies may abrogate one of his quintessential hackneyed philosophy”.  

Oh! You dared to read my blog? I will trap you in such a verbal monkey-maze, you will doubt if you ever went to school.

On the top of it, if it’s a poem written by some amateur John Keats, neither you understand the language nor the theme. Either its a blurt of some grad-school hopeful GRE-muggers or somebody working on a blogging course prompt or a ten-words-a-day practicing guys or a sadist language buff. Sadist language buffs are most dangerous of them who would drag you to read your post, and give a sleepless night of ignorance. Drowned in ignominy, I ordered a good dictionary from Amazon.

Blog or image gallery?

If your blog doesn’t have some pic like a ‘whirling balloons’, ‘back of a dusky women’, ‘weird flower species’, ‘pondering nerdy fellow’, you are doomed. I don’t know why great poets and novelists never got this genius idea. Imagine a royal bengal tiger sitting in the middle of William Blake’s blog mocking Edgar Allen Poe’s raven. Alfred Tennyson ‘like’ing them, and blasting them with long harangues in comments.

Autistic rants

Many shy girls, married women, back-benchers, bullied school kids, repititive losers, people in mid-life crisis (oh! that’s me. read my old blog),  or old men reminiscing their past lives become expressive in virtual space. Broken love and sexual starvation finds a space for forbidden and hidden emotions. Teenagers platter their secret love life, with blog titled ‘the way he touched me’. If you have a blogger girlfriend, beware with your moves! Next day it might be a blogging sensation with hundred of ‘likes’.

Attention-seekers

Why would I care in the middle of night if phone suddenly buzzes with a notification? Why would somebody reply to a comment within seconds? A conceited grin at rising list of followers. A blog homepage studded with digital ‘blogger awards’ as if they represent Nobel and Bookers. Its but natural to expect enough appreciation when you spend hours writing, rearranging and designing your blog. Everytime somebody ‘likes’, you read your entire blog again in self-appreciation. A forced positivity. And ofcourse, a ‘like’ by an opposite sex may carry a bit more weightage.

Money-minting blogs

These are the people who really get a minuscule worth for their blogs. Tech-savvies or travelogues or photographers, with huge traffic. But, essentially, they can’t be categorised as blogs rather informative websites.

Three essentials of bloggers

  1. Write for others: Something which looks interesting and awesome to you, may not appeal a bit to others.
  2. Be original: No prompts; No premonitions; No peer pressure.
  3. Comment and like genuinely: Read a blog, encourage with true comments, and don’t like unless you really do so.

Continue reading “The nagging world of bloggers”

Born immigrants of India

Years back, when I was studying in Pune, I had a friend who never travelled beyond Bombay, forget out of state. A proud marathi fellow, who loved his state and his culture, and never dreamt of foraying anywhere beyond Maharashtra. Its altogether a different story, today I see him hopping from one continent to another. He wasn’t a born immigrant and neither are a lot of Maharashtrian, who are proud to be grounded to their origin and their culture. But, country do have set of born immigrants, who are born to wander, some erasing their footprints and some carrying their old soil wherever they go.

#5 The wealth creators: Gujratis and Marwaris

A herbivore species, with an accented speech and a basic degree in commerce or sometimes just a matriculation, knows to mint money out of scraps. Birlas or Ambanis, or owners of any small Baskin Robbins outlet in US, they are everywhere. Given a choice, all gold and diamond of world would love to be kept in their custody. They know their value, every bit of them. The sweetness haunts you when they try to sell, or when you are employed by them. Most difficult employer to quit in my life, was one of them, as I could never have enough arguments with him in spite of disagreements. No wonder, we have a prime-minister with wide acceptance in spite of plenty of dissents.

#4 The intellects: Bengalis and Tamils

Exactly opposite of Gujratis, Bengalis are fish-gobbling, sophisticated (oily-haired bhadramanush is past!), and highly educated individuals who barely care for money. May be ten years from now, only people you would find doing a PhD would be Bengalis. The protectors of Classical music, Rabindra Sangeet, and wearied old literature from Shakespeare to Sharatchandra, all would have a thick spectacle if they get their eyes checked properly. Similar description goes for Tamils, who too would reach the heights in science, have penchant for music, and yes, spectacles are equally universal. Yet, both of the groups would have their own coterie who would chit-chat in their language, bengalis with their rolling tongues and rounding lips, and tamils with their vibrating vocal cords and cluttering teeths. When I spent some unsuccessful years in PhD course in US, university was studded with Bengali research grads, and sight of some eminent Tamil faculties.

#3 The paramedics and gulf stormers: Malayalis

Not a corner this country would have a hospital without a Malayali nurse. How this crept in the culture is not well understood by me, but they are the best in healthcare industry, be it my field of radiology or any discipline. An incomprehensible one of the most complex south indian language, an even more complex cast and religion mix-up, and most butchery culinary habits from minced beef to chips-and-pickle made out of fish, yet they have wide presence in nation. Well, sea route could serve an access to gulf, but India has a huge coastline, yet migrations happen most from the ‘god’s own land’. If you throw a stone in Arab lands, chances are more of hitting a malayali than an Arab.

#2 The honest hippies: North-easterns

Inherting a covert culture hidden in ‘chicken-leg’ of Indian map, they are true outsiders with different physique, face contours and a non-native accent. They could never hide their identity, never could gel completely within the mainland. Delicious chinese cuisine cooks, a trusted security person, or a smiling masseur, they choose such professions where nobody could ever contend them. Vogue hairstyles and dresses, some junkies, some musicians, some boxers, some just plain dumb humans, they are the inherent nomadic hippies of India.

#1 The ambitious commoners: Biharis and Punjabis

This may sound weird to club two contrasting cultures, but in essence, their reasons to immigrate are similar, and have similar earthly roots. Years back, when we had some squabble in college days, one of our seniors pointed, “Both of you are equally rustic (“ganwaar” was the actual word). One says ‘ishkool’ and other ‘askool’, none of you can pronounce ‘school’ correctly.” While Punjabis began moving from the days of partition, or when became terror-capital state, or after ’84 riots, Biharis ran out of suffocation in undeveloped corrupt state. In punjab, many people still carry two dreams- one, to go to Canada, and another, to release their music CD. Biharis who could dream became IAS, one who couldn’t dream, opened a Paan-shop. When I moved from one city to another, I changed my accent or learn the local language, trying to gel myself with the culture. I got dissolved in local culture like a ‘dispirin’ tablet. Punjabis love to keep their accent, sing bhangra, and drive the cab with pride.

One erases the footprints left behind, and other carries the soil with them.

footprintstop
Courtesy: illerah.com

Cracking the paanwallah code

I never learnt to whistle and it wasn’t my piece of cake to attempt eve-teasing but I always wished to understand the psychology. Paanwallahs, barbers and some frequent train travellers used to be one of inherent philosophers and observers. They observed life in raw form everyday, every minute.

Paanwallah has his small cubicle on one of the busy streets in Bangalore, next to a wine shop, probably an ideal ‘adda’ of hooliganism and raw manhood. He told me a woman would step down the pavement some 50 meters ahead of shop, staying at a fair distance from shop. I made a bet it wouldn’t be true for a ‘fearless (nirbhaya)’ woman in this cosmopolitan city. Some 43 (yes we counted!) females passed, with pretty good accuracy of 50 meter down-stepping.

What worst could happen at a Paan-shop on a busy street? May be some ‘whistles’, some ‘lewd remarks’, or just a ‘look’. Standing at the shop, I felt myself standing a ‘culprit’ or at least an ‘accused’ to these street ‘victims’. I never whistled in my life, because I could never learn it properly, but when an attractive girl passes by, my head does turn or at least sway a bit. But, the look doesn’t have that dangerous appeal probably. Remarks could have been lewd in closed hostel rooms, but never on a bustling street or in front of woman.

A good look or a bad look, a good touch or a bad touch, a woman could recognise much easily, which actually never existed in men’s dictionary. Where to step down, what to wear, where not to go in night, good corner, bad corner,…….. umpteen senses irrelevant to me.

Only way I see to eradicate this social stigma is to improve the interaction. A sexual autism prevails in India, where many of men talk or interact only with men, and believe women could be either mother, daughter, sister or wife. As if, rest of women are some creature to look, make remarks or whistle. More eyes would meet, and smiles shared, the world would look more uniform.

ratio-men-women-world-population_5afd68eb596fbafb
Courtesy: Google images