Once upon a time, tikki, goli, lagori, chinni-daandu

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: I was in Bangalore the other day. To attend a get together of old childhood mates, mostly from good old Saraswathipuram, but now mostly from the land of the Empire State Building. How I wish I could say the land of the World Trade Centre. But then, that’s another story.

Needless to underline, the gathering brought out a phantasmagoria of thoughts, emotions, reminiscences, memories, images and feelings of times spent in the sylvan setting of the Tengina Topu near the 4th main road. When all of us were young boys with more than a smearing of innocence on our souls. When life was one long beautiful unhurried dream.

When life played itself out in the confines of our personal world where the smallest things gave us the greatest joy; where even the inane and the ribald mixed in one palatable paste to humour, amuse and cheer us; we who were in our own sweet world anyway.

We spoke so terribly animatedly, not in the less fuelled by some good quality scotch, about the evenings we spent in Hari Hotlu on 1st main road ravenously devouring masale dose (aaaaru massssssale, aaaru masssssaaalaai), and drinking 3 by 6 coffee; eating churumuri (swalpa khara irli battre), playing lagori, focusedly aiming at the opponent and cannoning the tennis ball in his direction as if to flush out some indecipherable teenage angst; chinni dandu (Redaaaaay!?) played with Viv Richards’ like gusto with the chinni sometimes spiralling up and resembling a helicopter rotor with one of the guys underneath it, ostensibly in position to catch it but at the last moment misjudging its flight path!

Tikki as we played it on the roads, rummaging for cigarette packs near municipality dust bins like desperate mongrels in search of a morsel – the value of an empty pack of Passing Show—-even if it was dirtily crumpled, meant something like 5000 ( points was it!?)

Goli too was central to our existence. Doosa goli, the big sized one, the small ones, the regular sized ones, colourful, precious gems in our collection and to our juvenile minds, as valuable.

Some of us were so good in hitting the targeted goli that we ended up with quite a haul at end of day’s play. And as we walked back home in groups in sheer exultation, the bulging pockets of our soiled shorts looked like the cheeks of a desperately greedy monkey that had stuffed itself silly with all the goodies that it could lay its hands on in an unattended kitchen!

And as we guys spoke of the good times we had, the innocent middle class fun we partook of as young boys, I couldn’t help but notice through the window of my friend’s Bangalore apartment that the world is marching inexorably. Times are changing. Priorities are being churned.

Something as simple as clean innocence itself has become endangered; competing with the tiger on life’s Schedule 1 list! And young boys of today seem to have as much understanding of lagori and goli and chinni dandu as we as youngsters had about discotheques and step up brassieres!

What was novel yesterday is junk today. What was relevant yesterday is unrecognizable today. Fashions go out of, well, fashion, even before you’ve tried out your new outfit after rushing home from the glitzy mall on Magrath road.

Men and women, boys and girls; a medley of garishness, not only in their dress but also in the accentuation of the contours that the dresses are seen to celebrate; glitz, glamour, colour; the hubbub of metropolitan life; consumerism that’s evident, numbing and mostly dumbing. Consumerism that seems to be scaling new heights by the day, raising the bar of expectations, heightening desire and want. Of the purely, crassly, ephemerally materialistic.

Men (and women too) are in a hurry. In a rush for ever. Clambering, clamouring and jumping in and out of everything in their wake. Be it relationships or autorickshaws. They invariably know not where they are going. But they imagine they are on their way. Where life’s success is entirely dependent on your ability to climb on to the 7.15 Santa Cruz local, if you’re a Mumbaikar. Or hitting the ring road at the crack of dawn if you happen to live in Bangalore. Where money is the moola(h) mantra and earning it necessitates invoking many a tantra.

The next day, I eased into top gear in my jeep down the flyover beyond the Town Hall off lung choking J.C. Road and hit the road to Mysore.

Until next time, allow me to get back to my beloved Tengina Topu. To my Saraswathipuram. When I had more hair on my pate!


26 Responses to “Once upon a time, tikki, goli, lagori, chinni-daandu”

  1. lazy Libertarian Says:

    I am speechless.
    Thank you !
    That was a some trip down the memory lane.

  2. dr ramesh Says:

    great piece of writing. kindles memory. old world charm is totally missing now. the attack of IT sector is destroying the cultural , social fabric of bangalore, mysore etc.
    haleya bangalooru nenapige bartha ide.
    thanks for the article

  3. rk Says:


    (aaaaru massssssale, aaaru masssssaaalaai)

    this is one of the highlights of the article! just loved every bit of it. let more such articles flow from you.
    by the way, i also remembered Choor Chandd, Kings and Star Trek games that were so popular with the kids of those times!

  4. anoop Says:

    fantastic writing.
    Though i have never played chinni dandu or goli. I have played similar such, what is considered as archaic games in my days. hmmm.. metropolitan culture is leading us to leave complicated lifestyles, no doubt in that.

  5. Nikhil Moro Says:

    Ah, choor chand! The original macho game of Mysore’s playgrounds. RK, thanks for rekindling memories of childhood sadism, a used tennis ball, screams of pain and glee. And of the unforgettable Nirmala Convent PT Meshtru who’d whip the choor chand boys (as well as girls who got in the way) with a nylon string attached to his TVS-50 key.

  6. Arun Padaki Says:

    A good refresher of good old days. Tens of thousands of miles away from home, this piece makes me re-live the days where summer holidays meant goli, tikki, chinni-kol, cricket, picking mangoes from many of the Ursu compounds of Lakshmipuram. Thank God that childhood days were much before the Cable TV age.

  7. Mysore Huduga Says:

    nice article which brought back old memories. today’s children are sitting glued to TV and video games all the time and are missing all the fun.

    during dasara, christmas and summer holidays we used to play all day but still not tired. the fun continued into the evening playing aiy-spice (hide and seek) and then harate on (somari) katte. we used to go home only when our parents came with long sticks. so much energy.

    few other games are left out in the article. one is buguri (which is well-known) and another played with sticks (forgot the name!!). taking the stick farther and the person has to limp back to the original spot (similar to chinni-daandu but instead of chinni hit by daandu it’s stick moving the other stick but the moving stick has to kept always on stone).

    in our days, on any given evening atleast 10 to 15 kids will be playing on the streets and about 50 to 100 in nearby playgrounds or vacant plots. these days i don’t see many kids on the street.

  8. Veejay Says:

    Great piece. Takes one back to good old days when we as kids played hide and seek and packed ourselves into gunny bags and hopped around trying to give a tormenting time for the seeker to spot us! THe seeker would know we were around but he or she would not know who it was!!! It was a near catch 22 situation. He or she had to pull out the gunny bag off to name us and in the meantime we would shout ice and send the seeker to the start all over again! Today the global world with its knowledge club has spread so much that children speak like adults, resembling young boys or girls in oversized shirts!
    It’s such fun to be a child! I am reminded of a few lines that was published under Sacred Space (??). It talks about how adults and children look at the same object. “If I look at a puddle, I go round it, cringing at the thought of all the slush splashing on me. My children jump into without a second thought and have the greatest fun. I refrain from singing songs that I do not know the lyrics of, ashamed to be caught on the wrong foot. My children sing away loudly, adding their own words and lyrics in between..”

    Hmmm…. the joys of childhood….

  9. Prashanth Says:

    howdhu…eegina makkalu intha aatavella aadodhe illa…ratho ratho rayana maghale, kanna much kaade goode, hunise pachi aata, gooli aata, kunte bille, kaddi aata, raama beema sooma , buguri, aise paise, sherap current…list goes end less…Dasara , besighe raja andhre naavella mane olaghe irthane irlilla…

    eegina makkalighe eethara aata adakke hummassu illa, aata gothu illa mathe aadokhe jaaganu illa

  10. jeevarathna Says:

    Everything is real and no illusion except phantasmagoria !!!

    saraswathipuram and TeMgina TOpu brings back some of my own memories . I distinctly rememebr Ambi (aka Amarnatah ) , late Sangram singh and a arasu venkatesh parked at the cycle stand and ogling at all the girls and at times ragging Arati near ABCD college (there was a college next to ursu boarding school which we used to call as ABCD college) ? There used to be a dwarfish Nagaraju studying at NIE and taking him double ride on the cycle to NIE and having 2/5 coffee three tiimes a day at Actor Chetan Rama Rao’s Hotel ! Oh those good old days in good old Mysore!

  11. abhaya Says:

    was/is mysore so idyllic? you guys always talk about the games you played. didnt you ever realise how difficult it was for us girls to pass those roads? i still remember many kattes, roads that i used to avoid after six because of comments, whistles. but the day one of you realise that the girl is the sister of one of your own gang she is holier than the holiest. come on guys, become realistic. mysore was/is not the perfect place all of you are trying to make out. there are a lot of grey areas that you are missing out on. look at reality or get a girl on your team to write her impression on mysore. all the pieces are becoming romantic revisions coming from ‘mysore males’ who havent changed in the past 30 years irrespective of the place they stay in.

  12. A. R. Char Says:

    If you think you had fun in Saraswathi Puram (at my younger days, it is out of the way place), you should realise we have more fun in Agraharas. Except for studying for 3 months (mid January to mid April), we had lots of free time at our disposal. No TV, little bit of Radio, no home work, no responsibilities and still we came out all right.

    During our exam time, Ramanavami music was blaring through loud (really loud) speakers. Each street had its own Ramanavami festival and there used to be friendly competition.

    In our street (Cheluvamba Agrahar), we had ‘Oakly’ on the ninth day. For the modern educated, it is throwing water at one another. In our street, all the housewifes would keep drums of water (with a little of turmeric mixed) in front of their house. With Rama’s prcoessing, all the yougsters (boys only) used to dig into the water drums and throw water at one another. Now that tradition has become a historical piece. On the tenth day, it was ‘Rama Pattabhisheka’ with free food for all.

    Now, if you seriously look at the current situation, all the IT/BT revolution was the result of those graduated from those fun times. The new generation is the beneficiary rather than the creator of IT/BT companies started from the old NRIs.

    Now with the donation (from Kindergarten) seats, private tuition and no outside fun activities (except for passively watching TVs), I have not seen the new generation surpasing the old generation. I hope I will be proven wrong.

    Please document the old life style so that the new generation is at least aware of the recent past.

    A. R. Char

  13. harsha Says:

    Abhaya Madam,

    Mysore was and is a great place. It is a great piece of writing.

    About a hard core mysorean who still remembers his old days, you say mysore males not changing with times, Why should they change? Is it a sin to remember the good old days?

    If u are so upset about only mysore padde hudugru (??) writing here, pls send a detailed list of all the mysore girls you know. Lets invite them to write. Nobody has denied the rights of writing on churumuri to anyone let alone a Mysore heNNu magaLu who has had a torrid time.

    Nammuru SWARGA. This Abhimana will always save us, our culture, our heritage. Nammuru kaapado thayi chamundeshwarinoo ondu heNNu. Please nammur bagge eneno kett vishya spread maad bedi. Mane andhmele devara manenu irutte, bere jaagagLu irutte. Hangandkondu, maneney galiju annodu thappu.

  14. Prashanth Says:

    Abhaya Madam

    I understand yr feelings, but not all Mysore hudugaru’s are bad madam ( look at me ;-) )

    eveteasing is there everywhere..its a sin by itself and to the society, every individual has to understand that it is a wrong practice and that should originate from each house, as a instituion…I dont think even by today areas like Ashoka Puram, Mandi Mohalla, one more place near to Chamundipuram..doesnt remember the name etc., have got bettered.

    For the sake of it, lets not let Mysore down, Mysore has in it its heritage, culture and people

    We all respect you, the WOMEN…doesnot matter whether u r from Mysore or not

    ella appa ammandhru Eve tease Maado makkalighe hidkondu erederdu badidhre ella sari aagotheno!?


  15. Mysore Huduga Says:

    abhaya avare,

    this is a forum to share ours and learn other perspectives and not harp enmass on male (or female) community. if you doesn’t like or agree with the writings here, you should write a counter argument/experience to share your perspective.

    as you can see, nobody here has written about the fun of whistling or making comments on girls passing by. everybody here is trying to go down the memory lane and reminiscing the past.

    trust me, while we were playing on streets (fyi, these are not the mainroads, but cross roads where it had mainly bicycle traffic), girls were playing kunta bille, skipping, etc. in the evening, they used to join boys for AIS-PAIS (hide and seek).

    nobody here claiming mysore was perfect place nor there is no other place better than mysore. certainly, there is no other place like mysore.

    btw, i wouldn’t disagree with your personal experiences (except the male bashing)… let’s not forget “oooru andh mele holgereenu iruthe” antha.

  16. abhaya Says:

    thanks for responding so seriously. i dont have problems with mysore as a place or mysoreans – males living in mysore or outside. my problem is only with the kind of romantic strain we are adopting to look at the city. it is a good piece and chrumuri keeps my own memories alive of the city. but the inverted critcism about other cities that come across in these revisiting is what i am quesitoning. every city transforms to suit the times; the games change with the economic status of the parents and the availabilty of space. i would love my daughter to run around and play all the games i played on streets of myosre – golden play, ring, chinni dandu, lagori, cricket. but she cant – no space. i want to teach her kannada- i have to create my own resourses as i dont find as effective resources as i find for/in english. (she knows kannada not english.) believe me memories of mysore has kept me firm on some of these beliefs. i am not short on culture/abhimana for nanna ooru etc.
    guys, my memories of mysore are spicy- i have secure, happy memories and at the same time very claustrophobic memories. i still remember all the whistles i heard as i walked through student village in jeans. the way i had to become invisible while crossing maharajas college hostel to reach college. but at the same time the way guys protected if we are going to other college for competition, or skip lines while paying fee for exams. this is not male bashing. only a reality check. lets accept all of us want our city to be perfect but at the time accept it has limitations.

  17. abhaya Says:

    you may again say i am harping on whistles and comments- but my reference is also to the attitude that acompany these gestures. i also wish if girls could have whistled, commented on you boys. but the ‘culture, tradition’ of ‘mysore’ would not allow us to do that. i am aware of the strict rules which are part of liberal childhood. that way i havent seen changes in mysore. their instincts are traditional, intellect is modern. responses are usually instinctive.

  18. Suresh Says:

    ಪ್ರಿಯ ಚುರುಮುರಿ ಓದುಗರೆ, ನಿಮಗೊಂದು ತುಂಬಾ ಸಂತೋಷದ ವಿಷಯ!! ಏನೆಂದರೆ, ಇದುಕನ್ನಡ.ಕಾಂ ನಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಅನ್ನು ಒಮ್ಮೆ ನೋಡಿರಿ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಕಾಲಂ ಗಳಿಗೂ ನಿಮ್ಮೆಲ್ಲರ ಕಥೆ, ಕವನ, ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ, ಸಂಗೀತ, ವಿಚಾರ-ವಿನಿಮಯ, ಚರ್ಚೆ, ಇತಿಹಾಸ, ಹಾಸ್ಯ, ಮನದ ಮಾತು ಮುಂತಾದ ಲೇಖನಗಳನ್ನು ತುಂಬಿರಿ. ಬರಹದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದು ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸಬಹುದು.

    ಒಮ್ಮೆ ನೋಡಿ, ಎಂಜಾಯ್ ಮಾಡಿ!


  19. December Stud Says:

    “Something as simple as clean innocence itself has become endangered;”

    ….really ???

  20. Dinu Says:

    Thank you.

    My vision is blurred, as I try to see through tears collecting up in my eyes. I am still shaking my head at the loss of old times. What a beautiful life that was and how I yearn to go back. Feels like the heartache from my first crush, tragically sweet.


  21. V.R.Anil Kumar Says:

    CHURUMURI seems to be on a nostalgia trip. Here’s my two bit contribution. The songs we used to listen to in years gone by, some of them.

    Udayavagali namma cheluva Kannada Nadu
    Raayaru bandaru mavana manege
    O!, nanna chetana
    Ilidu Baa Taye,ilidu Baa
    Yaaru hitavaru ninage, Ee moovarolage
    Raamana avataara raghukula somana avataara
    Yaakaluve ele kanda
    Innu yaake baralillava hubballiyava
    Beledingala nodaa
    Panchami habba bandaytu dina naaka
    Tilimugila tottilali malagidda chandirana
    Aalakke hoovilla, saalakke koneyilla

  22. msg Says:

    Dear sunaad
    What a great peice of writing. It did bring back all the memories we had together. Please continue to write as it keeps the old memories alive and makes our future better thinking about good old days.
    Tengina topu katte was the best place and time I have ever had, and offcourse who could forget the other friend I had near the topu (jumping the gate and getting to the mecca)

  23. shesha Says:

    Abhaya looks like u “were” one unhappy chick in the most beautiful suburb!

  24. Santhosh Says:

    savi savi nenapu saavira nenapu…
    superb dude…

    i remebered my gud old days…thnks for article..

  25. srini Says:

    i remember us playing tennis on the SJP campus near the auditorium. Tennis with a tennis ball but with our bare hands. As many players on each side venting all their anger on the ball and on another opponent through it. Remember a friend telling me “emmecharma nan maga” on seeing me smashing the ball with my hand. Used to pain a bit in the beginning but once u are used to it, was great fun.
    Any of u from SJP??

  26. dr udaykumar n r Says:

    for a while i went to my child hood

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