Yesterday was Children’s Day and seeing the Kids Carnival on NDTV Metronation, I was suddenly transported to the times when we were kids and 14th november was our day.
With durga puja just over, we finally had a new dress to show off to friends. if we were lucky, there would be one more piece that we would wear in the annual picnic. However, such luxury was rare.
Okays coming back to children’s day again.
The school grounds was where the action was. After a small prayer service to remember the first Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru, we ran to the grounds to have a view of the various stall lined there. The view was really breathtaking. Stalls with food items, game stalls, art and culture stalls, and many more.
But the problem was that I had limited money. In those days, all I got was Rs 5. As told earlier we were a middle class family with four kids (a cousin of ours too used to live with us). Therefore, this was all that father could afford to give.
However, the scarcity didn’t succeed in lowering our excitement. We were just as happy. And events as these gave us an important lesson for life – learn to live happily within limited resources.
We had to optimally utilise the limited sum available with us. I have never been very fond of food (can be well understood seeing me). Therefore, although the crowd gathered at the food stalls, my focus was on the game stalls.
There were too many game stalls with a variety of games to play. I don’t much remember the name of the games but I will explain them. You can help me with the names in the comments though. For every game was required a token that was minimum of Rs. 1. A childish version of Housie too was there – however, playing it was out of my range- the token was for Rs. 5. Also i didn’t know the rules. So, it was better that I give it a miss.
Another game involved roping a duck smimming inside a small tub. However, this wasn’t as easy, particularly when you were standing a metre away from the target. Earlier they used to keep live ducks but then they were replaced with dummy ones. A senior called Anjil Khan had killed the duck in the process – once he roped the duck, he flew it in the air, resulting in its death. With experience, I had learnt to avoid this game since there was little probability of a win.
Only when I came to Delhi did i see Bowling alleys. That doesn’t mean I hadn’t bowled earlier. There was our own crude bowling game, with ten pins kept at a distance. Only that the ball was thrown rather than being slided. This was easier. And the prizes too were good. The winner got a packet of chips. So food needs were looked after.
In the meanwhile, I spotted one of my brothers and upon repeated forcing he would agree to spare a token of his on any food item – most often it was chat – and I would have a few helpings of it. Thus another important lesson learnt – share for happiness.
Time again for some more games. I still had 4 more rupees left. It was often a tough decision to decide the use of the money.
The next stop was at a stall where several gift items were placed on the table. There were pens, soap, a packet of chocolates, chips, and many more products. To win any of these, you had to place the ring on it. The only problem was that the ring of a bouncy quality. As soon as it hit the table that it bounced down. The co-ordinators at this stall were very smart. The attractive prizes were kept at the far end. So even if you managed to place the ring correctly, it was a pen or a soap that you could get most probably.
When brother shared with me his food coupon, it was on the promise that I will give him one of my tokens. Although I was trying to hide from him the entire day, he caught me at one of the stalls. It involved firing at baloons. My count was really bad so I avoided this game as well. But brother insisted on playing this. When I cribbed, he agreed to give me two out of five shots.
It was close to the evening when the day would come to an end. We would head for our respective buses with everyone recounting their acheivements and how they enjoyed the day. Children with the biggest gifts were most envied.
Once at home, we would eagerly put to display our catch of prizes. Although there were several pens in the pen stand, the pen that we won was put there most prominently. Long into the night we would recount our day, with my cousin telling stories (really very good at story telling) until finally papa had to shout at us at to sleep.