Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pitthu Times in Faridabad

There’s a certain kind of pretentiousness that comes with growing up in an all boys’ convent school. Not only do you learn about the difference between the pronunciations of “the” before a consonant and a vowel pretty early on, but when your relatives get together for a little celebration and ask you to “beta, prayer sunaao”, you immediately start off with “Our father, thou art in heaven” while the cousins from the DAV’s go full gung ho reciting “Humko mann ki shakti dena”. The only kind of competition you can offer to that is with the Gayatri Mantra, the meaning of which again is not something you’re aware of and the cousins immediately take over to explain the arth, even if explaining the arth to the arth would be quite a challenge for them.

I grew up dealing with such issues, trying to reconcile myself with the fact that what my school friends called “Lock and Key” was more popularly known as “Vish Amrit”. It was embarrassing to admit that chants like “posham-pa bhayi posham-pa” were way more fun than shouting about your pockets that followed the song, “I sent a letter to my father”. However, I was glad that life offered some solace in the form of annual visits to my maasi’s place in the summer vacations.

Even though my maasi lived in Faridabad, which is now almost a conjoined twin of Delhi, but it wouldn’t be out of place to state that back in the 90’s, it was more like the elder brother who decided to take care of the kheti back home, so that the younger Delhi could study and go to the UK. Faridabad is where my cousins got out of their house every evening and rang all the doorbells in their street to collect the kids for a game of maaram-pitti and pitthu, so that they could after-party with “Dum-sharaaz”, who still roams about our country dealing with a name mispronunciation like it’s a Qutb-ud-din-Aibak in LA.

I grew up never mentioning the game of pitthu to anyone in school, being skeptical about the kind of reception it would get at a place where Pokemon cards and Gameboys were a thing consequent to family holidays to Dubai and not because of a Hindi-dubbed cartoon channel. It may make me sound extremely unaware at this age, but I still feel that a lot of my school friends have never experienced the joy of sorting pieces of marble from a construction site into a little pyramid bang in the centre of a road and then syngergizing as a bunch of ten into a cricket formation. It’s sad how despite being such huge cricket fanatics, so many of my peers would probably not know that pitthu is a game with an equivalent of a wicket keeper and a set of fielders, all trying to hit the member of the opposite team with a ball while he re-stacks the pieces of marble that he had struck with the same ball a minute earlier. They probably wouldn’t be aware of the irony that the “bowler” and the “fielders” are in opposing teams. And how the game has some influences from baseball, where three strikes or misses in breaking the stack on part of the bowler lead to his dismissal.

My trips to maasi’s house were full of evening games, pakore, camping activities on the terrace over a chaarpaai and moments with my cousins that remain close to my heart till date. It was also my cousin sisters who taught me how to cycle, breaking the belief that boys are more macho than girls quite early for me in my growing years. Pedalling on my cousin’s bicycle while she held it from the back and then constantly blabbering to her, not realizing that she had let go over a minute ago, helped me get over the fear that I would never be able to ride a motorbike as an adult. Well, I still haven’t ever ridden a motorbike all by myself, but knowing that if I ever need to, my cousins from Faridabad would come to my rescue real quick, is a sense of relief that I can sleep with every night.

Image Source: childhoodrocks.in


  1. Thank you is all I can say for cherishing our childhood memories. I wish we build up more such memories. Lucky to have you. Lots n lots of love.
    Dil jeet litta veers!!!

  2. Pitthu. :')
    I haven't played that game in ages!
    This post revoked some amazing, and some (physically) painful memories. :P
    Also, it's interesting to read about such a favourite childhood game from the perspective of an ex convent school student. I'd never thought about how confusing a childhood those Modern school types have.

    Also, 'dum sharaaz'. xD

    1. I'm so glad that you've played it at least, years after what I would call mere bachpan ka time. T-Bub is coolness, bro :)

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None = You don't deserve any >:O
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