Games that Children play

Update for week ended 20 September 2013

Prashant, Mana, Aditya and Dharini got together for their regular evening playtime. The weather was warm and getting slightly muggy, but they were keen to spend some time outside. Their mothers were also pleased to see that the children got their daily share of activity and group interaction through these sessions. It is another story that some of the mothers actually enjoyed and cherished these moments for the solitude and quiet in the house – as the noisy children ran about in the building compound playing their usual games. And then, Aditya had a change of plan. He asked the others to join him in his house to play some indoor games. But he had to seek permission from his strict mother. His mother reluctantly allowed the children home on the condition that they would not make any noise and would not play in the children’s room, but in the guest room. The children were up at the 11th floor apartment in a jiffy (figuratively, though, because they could only get up there as fast as the elevator took them). They quickly grabbed the games that they wanted to play from Adtya’s room and as per instructions, closeted themselves in the guest room. They had a Rubik’s cube, a board game of snakes and ladders, a skipping rope (now that was a surprise!) and their books (which could transform themselves into tablets or electronic pads during play – quite innovative and lateral thinking). And amid the din and noise, they settled down to a game of snakes and ladders. The dice was tossed and the game began as they raced across the numbered board. The initial small ladder climbs were celebrated with exciting yeahs! and wows! And quite a few gasps were let out with a hissy phew! when Dharini missed being “bitten” by a snake that could have got her sliding down 10 points. Prashant would squeal the most whenever the dice was rolled and Dharini would also get excited. The climbs were either decided by the roll of the dice in steps of five, three, or even a double six, and an occasional ladder climb. And then there would be ohs! And aahs! when the snake would lurk on squares to bite the player and swallow it down its tail. But today was a good day, when all four of them raced across the board to the right, then to the left and then to the right and up and left and about, till they were in the nineties in just a few rolls of dice. And then that long snake sneered from number 99. Prashant was at 92, Mana was at 95, Aditya was ahead of all at 98 while Dharini was just behind at 97. And then the inevitable occurred, as Prashant rolled a six and then a 1; while Mana rolled a four, while Aditya rolled a 1 and Dharini, a two. The ohs! and Ahs!! were so loud that even Jeevan – Aditya’s elder brother, who was trying to study while listening to his songs on a phone, had to shout a loud shush! Aditya’s father was busy in the other room putting together a quiz for his friends while his mother was trying out her new recipe for crispy dosais (a south Indian rice based crepe). They tried to quieten the children and warned them of the instructions. The game did not end then, but there was a fun pause, as the kids who had had a good run were all brought down about thirty points…… and children being children, they went back to the roll of the dice and the game and did not bother about the setback.


But on D Street – the D Boyz were shocked. They did not know how to react as the elder brother across on M street (where money is minted, goes the urban legend) raised his voice against some noisy price rises. But to rewind a bit, the D Boyz did have a good roll of dice through the week as they played on their version of snakes and ladders in the D Street – at times rolling just a few points as per the dice and on Thursday, climbing that second longest ladder to over 20600 points. The noise levels on D Street were louder than the just concluded Ganesh Chaturthi festival and even the NGO against noise pollution was keen to train its ire on the D Boyz rather than the goons of the Ganesh Mandals. And then the shock and oh! on Friday pushed them back to 20263, and when the day ended, the D Boyz were not sure how to react to the elder brother’s shush!!! They went silent and almost resolved to stop playing. Thankfully, there was a weekend ahead and with little rain, they could forget the elder brother’s admonishment and get back to playing the game like the four children,

Prashant, Mana, Aditya and Dharini. Mana and Dharini left early as their respective parents called for them, and Prashant and Aditya got back to the game to finish their turns. Then they decided to read their books as books, and not as make-believe tablets or electronic pads. Innocence and team-work in children is something that I admire and I am all for letting them be like this for as long as they can!

Have a great week ahead! Cheers ……..


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