Sunday, April 20, 2008

Games we forgot

Sometimes we play these fantastic games in our childhood and completely forget about them. These are games that were as thrilling and fun as any other game I have ever played but unfortunately ignored by the society. The standard joke before every Olympics event is that we should include Kabaddi, Gilli, and Goli as part of the event so that India can win some medals. Well... those aren't the only games. Here are some games, we played in school which we seem to have forgotten and given up. All the 3 games involved use of a tennis/rubber ball and had Halo 3 level bodily injury potential.

Kings: This was my favorite game in school. You need at least 5 people to participate for the game to be interesting. The more the better. Once, I played this game with over 40 people participating and it was madness. The key concept of the game involves a 'chaser' person being chosen. The chaser is essentially a victim selected at the beginning of the game much similar to the 'spy' in 'I Spy' (popularly known as "Ice Boyz"). The chaser is chosen in an interesting fashion. A circle is drawn on the ground. All the participants keep a foot on the circumference of the circle. The ball is dropped on the center of the circle. The person's foot that the ball hits within 3 pitches is the chaser (the exercise is redone if it hits nobody). The chaser gets to choose a partner (who is like a drafted chaser) and together - they hunt down the runners (who are everybody else).

The object of the game is to hit the runners below the knee. The boundaries of the game are arbitrarily defined - the runners are allowed to run within 2 streets or within a cricket round etc. The chaser and his partner round up people and throw the ball on the legs of the runners. If it hits a runner below the knee, the runner is 'out' and is absorbed into the chaser's team. So over time the number of chasers increase and the runner count dwindles to one. If you are the last runner - that is a few seconds of mind blowing fun. You are dead for sure but the number of times you can dodge 10 people throwing the ball at you is a challenge. Its like a tailender trying to hit 100 runs. You jump in funny ways to avoid exposing the below-knee part of your leg.

Seven Stones: This is more popular than Kings but (at least for me) more boring. This game had a different name in each place I went. I forget the exact mechanics of the game but I'll try my best. This game also requires more than 5 participants for it to be fun. The people are divided into 2 teams. Seven stones are arranged one on top of each other to form a stack like thing. A small circle is drawn around the stone for no real reason. About 7 to 8 feet away from these stones a line is drawn. The participants queue up, stand behind that line and throw the ball at the stones. The initial objective is to hit the stones with the ball and make at least one stone fall from the stack. The teams take turns to throw the ball at the stones. As soon as a player manages to topple at least one stone from the stack, his team becomes the 'runners' and the other team comprise the chasers. The runners split and run for cover the moment the ball hits a stone. Now the objective for the runners is to rearrange the stones on top of each other and rebuild the stack of seven stones. The objective of the chasers is to hit the runners with the ball. If the runner is hit, he is out of the game. The remaining runners try and rearrange the stone. There is no below-the-knee rule. You just have to hit the runner.
If the runners manage to rearrange all the seven stones, there are usually hilarious moments when a stone is thrown so far off that nobody can find it and the runners begin to argue among themselves (this is when a cheat stone in your pocket helps), the game is won by runners. For some reason the player, who puts all the seven stones back in order, draws a circle around the stone. I never understood why. Since rearranging the stones is like the key thing, the player who can initially throw down just one of the seven stones while keeping the other 6 intact is a valuable player. This is because the running team will only have to put back just 1 stone on the stack to win the game. This is like serving an ace.

"Moodhugu" Puncture: This vile game is roughly translated as 'Back Puncture'. Of course it is pronounced 'punchar'. This is a fearfully violent game and the main objective is to maim anybody around you. It is really freaking bloody and not for the soft types. The objective here, if you can call that an objective, is to puncture the back side of a person. Any person. The ball (if it is a rubber ball or a wet tennis ball - you watch out) is thrown high in the air to start the game. The person who catches the ball gets to throw on the backside (not just the bums but anywhere on your back side) of anybody he chooses to. So, when the ball is thrown up - you either make sure you get to it or be as far away from it as possible. Of all the years I played this game, I never saw anybody being declared a winner. There were losers though. They were people who stood in the wrong places at the wrong times and were mauled by anybody with the ball. This game goes on for an hour until people are tired of fighting with each other. Friendships are dynamically formed and revenge games are executed at machiavillian proportions.
The most entertaining moments of this game happen when the person with the ball does a throwing action at a target person near him - the target crouches and covers his face with his hand. A few second later he realizes that the ball hasn't been thrown. The target looks up only for the person-with-ball to pretend throwing again. After a few times of the target funnily trying to crouch and run for cover, the target gets embarrassed and runs near the person with the ball in an attempt to snatch the ball. Thwack! The ball is thrown when the target is really at point blank. Maximum pleasure.

We should collect a fund for a premier league involving such games.


Vee Cee said...

dude, exactly how old are you?
i thought these were my kaalathu games.
Kings - outside the arbitrary boundaries, the runners can become hoppers.
and the chasers cannot just run with the ball. they have to bounce the ball or pass (basketball rules).
not sure if you were serious about premier leagues for these games, but it really would be a gold mine!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh Kings... I remember talking about this to a few guys recently and no one had a clue. Its good to see some one remember Kings... one of my favorites too.

We also played another variation of "Mudhu" puncture where the rules were similar to Kings but you hit on the back instead of under the knees.

sundar said...

/*The objective here, if you can call that an objective,*/

you had me in splits there..:) nostalgic stuff..Kings is a super game and less painful because of the below-the-knee rule. as to seven stones, I think the chasing team gets a fraction of time to hit the runner when he draws the circle..

Jillu Madrasi said...

I thought Kings and Mudhugu Punchar were same thing!

tgfi said...

seven stones was lagori where i played! such fun! good memories.

ssk said...

7 stones was sathodiya for us..because a gujurati guy taught us to play the game.
We actually played dodgeball here in school, i was expecting it to be like Kings..but it was much much more harmless ;-) they played with soft sponge balls.I told them about our heroic Kings where we use tennis balls and they were all pretty much aghast that we would hurt each other with those balls.

Ha they missed the fun ;-)

Deaths Head Roy said...

Haha, yeah by far the most popular was Kings. We used to play a variation of Seven Stones where the 'chasers' cannot pass and where the runners can hit the ball with only their closed fists when thrown at them.

tasty said...

We used to play Kings with a slightly different rule: The runner becomes the chaser when hit by the ball.

We also used to play "leg-cricket", basically we used our leg instead of a bat and the tennis-ball was supposed to be rolled (not totally rolled).

Kho-kho was another popular game.

Satyajit said...

never heard of kings but sounds interesting....Moodhugu" Puncture: also know as "appan rappy" in pune. the KEY to the game was, it HAD to be played during the rainy season with a tennis or rubber ball. one modified rule was...if u could hit someone in the head with the ball u got it(the ball) back as a bonus. all my years of playing this game dont remember a single time i did not get hit.
7 stones: also know as "laagori"...which u had to yell out once u finished arranging the stones.

Arvind said...

Another great flashback thanks to you. Good old days :)

Karthik Sriram said...

I think a few more games we used to play were:

1. French Cricket - just bat and a tennis ball would do and a chalk to mark a circle... Amazing fun, especially if you are NOT a great batsman.

2. Hand Tennis.

3. Gate Gate - I don't know if the only place this game was played was the Lotus Colony in Nandanam.. but it involved something like the usual police-robber - the only condition being u should not run thro proper roads, but jump fences and gates... was one worsht game and my knees used to be perenially sore with cuts and bruises.

4. pen game - best entertainer in class - one bench and 2 or 4 players.. carrom board like game where the objective is to tap the other person's pen from the bench... was bloody puerile fun!


sra said...

LOL to Ice Boyz. Most of my classmates used to call it Ice Boy. I've never heard of any of the three games you described tho' the Spouse has - probably more boyz games than girls' - but I do know the one where you have to find the toothpick/matchstick in the sand, a very 'rural' girls' game which involves five stones, and something called Dadi - I don't even remember what it was about.

maxdavinci said...

ah pen game! have spent numerous 'standup on da beanchu' hours due to that.

we had a variation called beating-ball where the group of chasers would hit their targets anywhere. We had a time limit and if there were any runners after the stipulated 5 mins, that team would have won.

we also flipped book labels and the guy whose labels turned face up, would get the other guys label. This was a game we invented after WWF cards were banned in class....

Anonymous said...

Mudugu puncture is called 'Eri pandu' in our place

Anonymous said...

Book cricket is another game that comes to mind....thanks to this game for making me sit thru all those countless hours of lectures...good fun & good times...

Dreamer said...

You found seven stones boring? I thought it was a more refined version of kings, especially since you had an objective to achieve while avoiding being hit. Seven stones also has a hitting below the knee rule.

Ever tried sitting kings? Targets sit on a wall while the catcher aims at their knees.

Anyone remembers Four corners?

Anonymous said...

Another one was "Chain"... where 1 player starts out as the catcher or chaser and everyone else a runner. Once he "catches" a runner (any one), then they form a "chain" by joining hands and running and trying to catch the other runners left. And on and on it goes till the last remaining runner is caught. Gets to be fun in the final stages when the chain is several people long (or wide, whichever way you want to look at it).

Blue Bike said...

Wow ! So many memories :)
I defenitely do remember most of games mentioned here:
-> Lagori
-> Pen game
-> French Cricket
-> Book Cricket
-> Sankhal (literaly marathi for chain)

but didnt any of you play marbles ? Everyplace has its own set of games, but my fav marble game was one which needed only 1 marble per person called raja-rani or something. sort of like golf with the person finishing the last had to jump 3 steps and then others rolled their marbles as close as they can and then took a single shot at him, if any of the player suceeds in hitting then its 3 more steps for the loser.

Pradeep said...

- Was Lock and Key not famous? Anyone remembers that.I found it very interesting.

- "Chain" : We also had this other game wherein if one guy catches another guy, they both run together and catch the 3rd guy and then all 3 hold hands together. Extremely funny. The chain used to grow really long at times making it difficult to escape the clutches. Not sure what we named it. "Chain" or something like that.

-"Kalla manna? anju nimisham waits": This was a favourite at all marriages and mottaimaadis. The above line eternalized the game.

-"Kanna Moochi"

-"Leg touch" - Deadly. One may end up having severe sprains in the legs after this. It was called touch. But actually "leg adi" would be the right word.

Anonymous said...

i used to be playing the aeroplane and nondi aatam games along with palaan guzhi .. infact when ever am home i still play pallaan guzhi with my grandma :) .. miss those days

Regular_Lurker said...

I can't believe no-one is talking about "4 Corners"!!! Fie on you all for forgetting this awesome game.

Sarang said...

All those games that I forgot! Man! were we innovative or what?

Leg cricket! French Cricket! Leg touch! Hand Tennis. Thanks for bringing those to the forefront!!!

What about our grand old tyre racing?? Or racing with Coconut shells??

We used to call muthughu puncture as'Maaram-Peeti'..

Four-Corners.. I can't seem to get a hold of it.. Anyone please explain??

Anonymous said...

I remember the name "four corners" but dont seem to remember the rules.

Rajaram S said...

It has been a long time since a blog post has rekindled so many memories!
Kings (we used to play it in school too - i last remember 10th!),
Chains - There was always a demand to become the first catcher, so that u can get to hold the hands of any girl you wish by making her "out" !
Hand Tennis - Our moms used to be water-moms , but the water was not to drink, but to cool down our reddened palms!
Chalk Cricket - We used to play this in school, where a ruler replaced a bat and a chalk replaced a ball. The chalk (usually 1/2 a chalk) was placed vertically on the table (serving as a pitch) and it had to be flicked towards the batsman (which constitutes a delivery)

WA said...

I was so good at four corners even though I say so myself. Does anyone remember 'kallaa mannaa'?

musicpaithiyam said...

our version of 7-stones - the runners not only had to rearrange the stone(s) but also, at the end of it have to really use every possible bit of lung power to scream out "APPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTT" to declare victory!

in case the 'stone-arranger' forgets to say 'apeet', the game is still on, unless all the runners are out, and the chasers team wins that game.

fun stuff! :)

Hawkeye said...


at least in my time - kings existed in some places in madras. i only recall playing it in mylai. But south of madras it is very popular.


:-) kings is just fantastic.


ya but everytime someone got hit when drawing cricle there waas a huge argument.


kings and mudugu punture bayangara difference


lagori. yes i recall tehe name now.


dodge ball. not even same league as kings. but dodgeball was fun too.

death heads roy,

actually that rule is ineteresting


yes in kings runner becomes 'a' chaser. but does he become the only chaser?


/* it HAD to be played during the rainy season with a tennis or rubber ball*/

totlaly agree. this was super thrilling.

the head rule was mean though




gate gate was funny. tresspasisng'la book panniduvanga.


for a long time i didnt know ice boyz was i spy. I always asked my frnds what the meaning of ice boyz was and nobody knew.


the time limit brought some logic into the game. onli time limit is when the sun goes down


eri pandhu is also popular name


the key to book cricket was how did you deal with '8'.


well seven stones distracted us from the main part, which is to really sock someone below the knee.


chain - i have never heard of this.
seems interetsing.

blue bike,

i remember playing a varitaion of the marble game. do you remember the name of that game.


lock and key was very unfair on the chaser.


pallan kuzhi never played it. although spouse raves about it.

reg lurker,

4 corners is a super game. though one can spend hours trying to get a corner and not get it. but it was seriously interesting.


4 corners is a game played by 5 people where four people stand on each of the four designated corenrs. there is one person who tries to get a corner. the 4 people who have a corner try and switch places with each other and kep rotating. the job of the other guy is to butt in and capture a corner when a change is happening.


naan sonnathu correct.


this is the first time i heard of chalk cricket.


u must be rowdy strong then :-) it takes some effort to push someone from getting to a corner and grab the corner.

music paithyam,

first seven stones then circle and now 'apeet'. bambaram folks will file for patent infringement

Sunil Gururaj said...

seven stones is called as "Lagori" in rural Karnataka. It is real fun...

Arunram said...

Yes, we do forget all these interesting games played. There were some other games like kalla manna (stone or mud), country, statue etc.

We used to call this "mudhugu puncher" as "mug".

Then there used to be various versions of the all famous "ice-boyz". I forgot most of the names, one name being "tiffin box". Also, there used to be different levels and rules defined in different regions for the same game.

In-fact, sometime back I thought of collecting those names and remembering those rules. Nice step forward by you! Thanks for remembering and reminding about these games.

Also, we used to play various games in a pack of 52 playing cards differing in maturity and difficulty levels. I shall try to put a post on the same, sometime later.

Anonymous said...

Nice coincidence. I was wondering today if there were any similar games American kids played. We played lagori, a version of kings and four corners (my favourite) all through school. We were a bunch of girls so I don't think these games were gender specific at all. Kho-kho and dog and the bone were also popular?

sexy said...














not now said...