Today’s prompt is to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up (sort of like Calvinball).
One look at the prompt and I wanted to give up. It’s been a long time since I played a real game – which involved teams, running, catching, sweat, fights, winning and losing and the adrenaline rush.
Then came back the memory of a game played, forgotten and I don’t think crossed the borders of our country. Writing this poem was a trip down memory lane. In a matter of minutes, I had traveled thirty years back in time…to evenings after school, friends, games in the community.
Lagori is a game that ties all Indians belonging to the seventies, eighties and nineties, the memory of which will make them smile. Sadly my kids have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about…
Players- any number
divided into two groups with no special gear
Just seven flat stones piled in a tower,
a good aim, a ball,
legs that run and hands that build,
The first team must attack,
The player aims at the stack
Three chances.The tower must fall and the stones must scatter-
The players then run helter – skelter.
Move Or be hit by the ball the other team throws
If it touches you, you lose. That’s simply how it goes.
And then it’s their turn
to hit and run…
But not enough just to run; in order to win
The stones you dropped must be put back in,
the tower built back,
Again into a stack
With care, you must put the last stone on,
And scream “Lagori”
Win a point and be done
Now its the other team turn,
And thus it goes…
Played on the street,
And in schools, on the court,
A precious memory
Part of many an Indian kid’s childhood story.
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