The people of Kerala are very active. If they are not watching over-dramatic serials, they’re either working a shift or looking after their mini-garden. Now, some of you may shrug it off as a stereotype, but trust me, 80 percent of all Malayali households, follow this routine. That’s where the ‘hard-working’ typecast comes in to being. Occasionally, we like to ‘chill’ by playing with our friends (or family). Children and students, especially, make it a point to play before the sun sets because that’s how we work. Speaking of playing, did you know that there are certain games and sports that only Malayalis know of?
If you’ve ever taken a stroll past your neighbourhood in Kerala, especially in the evening, chances are, you’ve seen children play games or any kind of sport that you played at one point in your life. We’re going to list them down, in case you’ve forgotten a major part of your childhood.
When I was in school, a few friends of mine would carry tiny marbles in their pockets. During lunch break, we would spend 15 minutes playing the game of goli. And boy, it was a task to win. You’d need special aiming skills to ace this game.
How To Play: A marble is placed in the centre of a chalk-drawn circle. Each player will have their own set of marbles, which they use to hit the marble in the centre. The person who hits the marble in the centre the most, wins. Sometimes, the winner gets to take all the marbles home.
2. Catch – Catch
In school, this was the game only boys played. I’d always wonder how the boys played this game in the blistering heat. I also remember how the boys would come back to class all stinky and sweaty, proud of their accomplishments.
How To Play: Two groups of players are made to stand apart. A ball made using paper and rubber band is thrown from one corner to another until it touches the ground. And when it does, the team who threw the ball gets a point.
3. Mud Football
More than cricket, Kerala is mad-shit crazy about football. You should see how the state decorates itself during the FIFA world cup. There’s more football fan clubs than mollywood fan clubs in Kerala. But, sometimes we like taking football to a whole new level.
How To Play: Instead of playing on grounds or grass fields, players play the game on slushy fields where the rule of the game is to survive the mud. Playing football on really wet ground is challenging and if you’re a anti-germs, you’ll not like one bit of the game. It’s fun to play if you’re okay getting home looking like a brown monster.
4. Kuttiyum Kolum
Variations of kuttiyum kolum are played across the Indian subcontinent. It is said to have originated 2500 years ago, and quite possibly so as it is the simplest of games and requires just a long stick (kolu) and a short stick (kutti).
How to play: The scorer places the kutti in a hole and hits it as far as he can with the kolu, like you’d hit in golf. If the kutti is caught by the opponent, the scorer is out. If the kutti lands on the ground, the opponent closest to it has a chance to throw at it (akin to a run-out in Cricket). The scorer is out if the opponent hits the kutti, if not, he progresses to the next round. In the next round, the scorer holds the kutti and kolu in the same hand and drops the kutti. He has to hit the kutti before it hits the ground and points are measured by the distance from the hole to the kutti. If the distance between the kutti and the hole is less than the length of the kolu, the scorer is out.
I remember playing this game with my cousins. It was such an intriguing game to play. The trick to winning the game lies in the control of your hands and of course, concentration. You should definitely try this one.
How To Play: Basically, you need to have a bundle of hand-sized broomsticks and three long broomsticks. Players of two are each given the long broomstick and the rest of the sticks are shuffled and placed on the floor quite like a nest. Each player has to use their stick to carefully take out each stick from the jumbled bunch. The catch is to ensure that there’s no movement.The winner is the one who manages to take out all the sticks cautiously or the one who manages to take the third long stick in the bundle (because that holds more points).