Traditional games given a nitro boost

“Thiri thiri pandham, thirumal pandham thirumbi paatha oru kottu”

A 10-year-old girl in a pink frock runs around a group of children, uttering these poetic words. Along with her friends, she is engaged in a game of Pallanguzhi . Those who think the whole world is totally enslaved by gadget-driven entertainment, may see this as a triumph of tradition over technology. Eniyan Ramamoorthy, a resident of Triplicane who has founded Pallangkuzhi, an organisation that promotes traditional games, would however tell you the battle is still in its early stages.

“Today, many kids are unaware of traditional games such as komberi, marameri, payumpuli, aadupuli aattam and pallanguzhi,” says Eniyan, who started the organisation two years ago.

So far, the organisation has identified over 500 games that were once played in the villages of Tamil Nadu.

Around 80 games have been revived, out of which 20 were documented recently by Eniyan. He plans to convert the material into a book or a documentary film. Seven workshops have been held so far in and around the city. Pallangkuzhi associates with government schools, and along with the management, conducts bi-monthly workshops. Some of the private schools in the suburbs teach these games for a fee. Pallangkuzhi offers free workshops.

“ Drawing children away from the world of media is not easy. However, when children see others their age playing a traditional game, they get interested in it. ,” adds Eniyan.

On his experience of conducting workshops in schools, Eniyan says, “It has been easier to conduct them in government schools than in private schools. Children in private schools hardly mingle with others. Such games will instil a sense of community and bonding in children.”

On his future plans, Eniyan says, “We are planning to establish Pallangkuzhi in a bigger way. In the coming years, we will be starting a school by the same name, with the aim of bringing kids from different schools to play the game.”