The Games We Played When The Lights Went Out


Before the rage of cell phones, I pads, PSP’s had caught over us as children, we had an active life style in Kashmir. Not that I am against the advancements in technology, but at times I wonder whether it brought more of an evil than good to us. Moderation in everything is an excellent way to stay balanced but when I look at our younger generations, smitten by these gadgets, hooked to them for hours together, straining their eyes and brains as well, I feel a little sorry for them.They hardly get to breathe any fresh air, being confined to their phones or tablets in one corner of the room, oblivious to people around them, hardly playing any outdoor games now. This generation is so caught up in these games, their online versions like candy crush, clash of clans, temple run, subway surfer etc that they know nothing of a world outside of them. Hands down they will have no idea of what games children their age played when there were no such distractions.

I remember as a child we would spend the entire day playing outside in the yard, all sorts of games with cousins and friends. Especially in winter, when lights went out and snow did not allow for the outdoor ventures, we would all gather around and play the traditional indoor games of Kashmir.

Here is a list of some games, some traditional games of Kashmir that we played as children. The sheer memory of them brings joy and warmth to the heart. Good old days :)

Sazz Loung (Modern Hopscotch) 

An outdoor game that was played with much enthusiasm involved drawing large rectangular boxes on the floor generally with a white chalk or the good old charcoal out from the kangri. It had 7 rectangular boxes by the name Awal, doumsoumjaanat, samandar and jehnum. The last winning box was named dullej or batta


Teenkke was popular especially during winters, when the lights went out and children would gather around the candle light to have fun of some sort. It was played using 5 small stones. Balancing them on the dorsal hand and flipping them without having any stone fall off in a series of rounds was really a fun activity.

Hukus Bukus

This one was most popular indoor game among little kids. The song in itself is a popular rhyme.

"hukus bukus telli wann che kus 

onum batta lodum deag,

shaal kich kich waangano,

Brahmi charas puane chhokum,

Brahmish batanye tekhis tyakha."

Dogge Chumet

This one was my least favorite. One of the players would sit head down in front of the rest with closed eyes. Randomly the other players would come and either punch him lightly on the back (dogge) or pinch (chumet) him. The player then had to guess who did what. Until he guessed correctly, he was subject to the same playful torture!

Aario Mario Taario Tich

Aario mario taario tich was the most popular hand toss to any game. All players would place their hands together and then flip them showing off either their dorsal or palm side of the hand. The odd one out would win the toss.


Baante were small glass marbles that the boys generally played with. They would dig a hole into the earth and then from some distance aim to throw the baante into it. The one with maximum aims would be the winner. A different version of the same game was popular baante zaar.

Koone Koone

A five player indoor game in which after the toss, four players occupied the corners of a room, exchanging places every now and then, while the fifth one had to take over a corner a player might miss.

Latkinj Lotte

Lakinj Lotte was the Kashmiri version of gilli danda.

Kattryen, Garam or Santooli

This was among the popular outside games. Here, 7 pieces of broken earthen pots (kattriye) or stones would be stacked one over another. The toss winning team would throw a ball at the stack and scatter the pile in three attempts. Then they would attempt to stack it back again while the opposing team would chase them with a ball. If the ball hit any player, he was out of the game. If the stack was whole again, the game would come to a finish.

Aayes Paayes or Thapplyo

Aayes Paayes or thapplyo was again a popular game wherein one player would discover the other hiding players. More like the English version of Hide and Seek. And when he would catch any player he would shout, thapplyo! ending the game.

Hatti Hatti

Hatti Hatti was an outdoor game popular among girls, in which one of the players would chase other team players while they switched between different trees. The trees were a safe house and as long as a player was touching a tree, she was safe. While she switched between trees, the chaser would touch her and she would be out. The catch line was: Hatti Hatti konsi hati maange?  

Tuli Langun

This was played outdoors as well as indoors. In this game, players used to pull each other on their backs with their arms twitched in opposite direction. While playing this game, they would chant Tulaay langur tulaan chas, makhdoom seabun kachan chaass. 

Gaante Byear

Gaante byear was the Kashmiri version of Kite Flying and was popular in summers among boys generally.

Pacha Daleel

This like many others, was among my favorites, storytelling! In winters when the nights were cold and dark with frequent power cuts, we children would gather around the candle or lighting gas, and our mothers or grandparents would tell us stories of the yore. These stories were fantasies of jinns, dev and beautiful pari’s, horror stories of dyaen, rantas, bram bram chok and waye woff katyee cha myen goff and many others!

It was beyond a doubt one of the most beautiful phases of our life, I am sure you will agree :) Life was simple and beautiful back then and I am happy to have had that kind of childhood. As  I finish writing this, I  am reminded of some poetic verses from a popular ghazal on childhood.

Muhalle ki sabse purani nishaani

 Woh bhudhiya jise bache kehte the naani

 Woh naani ki bato me pariyo ka dera

 Woh chehre ki jhuriyo me sadiyo ka ghera

 Bhulaye nahi bhul sakta hai koi

 Bhulaye nahi bhul sakta hai koi

 Woh chhoti si raat wo lambi kahani

What games did you play as children? Share with us your favorite ones :)

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