NaPoWriMo Day17 challenge is to write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. The poem could invoke chess or baseball, hopscotch or canasta, Monopoly or Jai alai.
I write about a game that used to be popular, once upon a time in the countries in the East (India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Middle East). A form of it was played by the Japanese too. It was introduced by Indians to Europe, Canada and the United States and at one point in time, there were competitions and tournaments held. Could be played indoors, outdoors, by people of all ages.
Like most things of the past, the game’s become endangered and may sadly become extinct one day, too.
Glossary : Carrom men also called counters or coins
Memories it brings,
Of summer holidays spent,
At grandma’s home, where, in the porch, the family would gather,
Around a twenty nine inch wooden board,
Crispy onion fritters, a pot of hot tea and lively chatter,
A game of skill, a game of focus, players four,
Money on the line and honor too,
Nine coins of white, nine coins of black,
And a striker flicked with a finger, to attack,
Some powder used to help slip and slide,
Carrom men to drop into one of the pockets, four,
A young child of three, I was,
When with the game, I had my first encounter,
All the adults in high spirits, shouted in glee,
As I perched on my mother’s lap, watching, oh! so merrily,
One after another, the carom men fell ; until,
There on the board lay one carrom man and the almighty, Red Queen!
All eyes on the striker, a hushed silence on the porch,
No man moved; The Queen had fallen!
To win, She must be followed by the lone carrom man,
Eyes wincing, head bent, the ‘to be winner’, had taken his position,
As all eyes watched, with breath abated,
The time had come for the grand finalé and STRIKE!
The striker had moved, but short!
Away from the target, it stood, sunk in a pool of tea,
Breaths held so far, now let out,
And all eyes turned on me,
Frightened, I cowered,
And mom circled her arms around, oh! so reassuringly.
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