De Pakhal (turn him around) a game of formulaic questions and answers, played mainly by cowherds. One boy holds another around the waist and asks him a question. The boy then lifts up his head and answers the question.
One such rhyme popular in the Jessore region is as follows: teke re/ ki re/ kane giili?/ Shvashur badi/ ki dekhe eli?/ sholir pona/ dharli ne ken?/ chhabal kole, tor chhabaler nam ki?/ apang dulal, tor nam ki?/ budo gopal, de pakhal (Hi, there!/ What’s up?/ Where have you been?/ To my in-laws./ What have you seen? Young fish./ Why haven’t you caught them?/ ‘Cause I’ve my boy in my hands./ What’s his name?/ Apam Dulal./ What’s your name?/ Budo Gopal./ De Pakhal). As soon as the boy utters the last line, the rest of the boys grab him by the hand and start whirling him around.
Ekka-dokka (hopscotch) also known as satkhela and chiriya in some regions, is chiefly played by girls across the country. The game is played on a rectangular court drawn on the ground. The rectangle is further divided into four or six rectangular or square cells. At some places, the fourth or sixth cell is split into two and is called the ‘rest’. The cells are known in order as ekka (first), dokka (second), tekka (third), chaukka (fourth), pakka (fifth) and lasthi (sixth). Each player has a marker, either a piece of flat stone or potsherd, known as chada, ghunti, diga, khopla etc.
One player at a time tosses her marker into a cell and starts hopping from one cell to the other. The object of the game is to throw the marker into the consecutive cells, pick up the marker and hop through all the cells. If the piece rests on a line or falls outside the boundary of a cell, the player loses her turn. She is followed by the next player. The player who advances her piece successfully through all the cells wins the game.
The rules of the game vary in different regions. In some regions, the player places the stone to her forehead and, with her face upward, hops from one cell to the other. If her foot touches a line, she loses the round. In some other regions, when the player is passing the last cell, she throws back the stone without turning her head or looking back. Elating Belating (Hello, there!) a game mainly played by girls. Two teams position themselves along a line drawn on the ground, facing each other.
At the start of the game, one of the teams advances two steps forward and recites the first verse of the rhyme, elatim, belatim and steps back. The other team then takes two steps forward and says ki khabar aila (What’s the news?). The game progresses until one team utters the last verse: niye yao balikake (Take away the girl). The other team then tries to take away one of the opposing team’s player. The game is decided by whether the team can retain its player or is forced to give her up to the other team.
Gaigodani (tending the cows) a game played by cowherds while tending cows. The sticks of the cowherds are the playing objects in the game, which is best played in wet, sticky mud. The game involves four or five boys in a round. One player flings down his stick so that it sticks in the mud. The next player tries to knock down the first player’s stick or to fling his stick so that it is parallel to the first stick. If he succeeds in doing any of this, he wins both sticks. But if he fails, the first boy takes up his stick and plays again to win the second player’s stick. The winner then tries to win a third stick from the third player. When he wins all the sticks, he starts throwing the sticks away one by one and sends the owners to look for theirs. In the meantime, he hides his stick. When the players find the stick of the winner, they touch it with their sticks. The one who touches the stick last becomes the gai (cow) and, as a loser, begins the game. This game is known as phalakhaut in mymensingh.
Ghuntikhela (game of dice) Chiefly played by girls, this game is played with five small pieces of stone. The largest piece is called dag (the big one). As in the cowries game, the dice are first rolled. If the dice touch each other, the player loses. If the roll is perfect, the player picks up the big one, throws it up and catches it in the air before it falls to the ground. If the player fails, she loses her round.
Golap-Tagar a team game, with an equal number of players on both sides, and played by both boys and girls. The chiefs of the teams are called ‘kings’. The teams stand fifteen to twenty feet apart, separated by a boundary. At the start of the game, the king names his players after flowers or fruit.
Then the king blindfolds one of the players of the opposite team and calls one of the players of his team by their flower or fruit name, for example, ‘Come, my Rose’, or, ‘Come, my Jasmine’. Then Jasmine or Rose goes over and flips the player on his forehead. The blindfold is then opened and the player has to guess who touched him on his forehead. If he succeeds, he jumps ahead, and if he fails, the opponent’s player does so. The game continues till one team captures the land of the other. The opposing team members then lift the winning king across the boundary. In another variation of the game, the members of the losing team carry the winning players piggy-back across the boundary. The game is also known by other names such as baurani, chadankhela (Murshidabad), tukatuki (Mymensingh) etc.
Gollachhut (touch and run) an outdoor game where a stick is planted in a small hole, thereafter called golla (circle) or the centre of the game. A tree or a stone twenty-five to thirty feet from the centre is fixed as the goal. The main objective of the game is for each player to take turns to run and touch the goal. In Bangla, chhut means ‘to run’, and hence the name gollachhut. The game is played between two teams of equal members, either five or seven.
The team leader in the game is called goda (chief). The chief circles round the stick in the centre holding it with one hand and holding a player with the other. The other players hold hands and also circle the stick with the chief. At some point, the last player in the chain frees himself and runs towards the goal and touches it. Players from the opposing team lie in wait at different points to touch the running player. If they succeed in touching him, he is considered out. The last to run is the chief himself. The teams play the game by turns. This game is mainly played in dhaka, faridpur, Madaripur, barisal and Khulna districts.
Gulikhela (game of marbles) Probably played in all countries, the game uses small glass balls or marbles as the playing objects. Marbles were first imported during the British regime. Previous to British rule, earthen balls were used in the game. In rural areas, boys play with earthen balls even these days.
Two or more boys play the game standing along a line nine to ten feet from a hole in the ground. The player whose turn it is takes everyone’s marbles and throws them towards the hole. He gets the marbles he is able to roll into the hole.He then tries to hit the other marbles one by one with his own marble.If he succeeds, he owns that marble as well. If he fails, or if he touches the other marbles, he has to give away one marble in punishment. He also loses his turn to the next player.
Ha-du-du (game of tag) This game, which now enjoys the status of the national game, is popular across the country. It is played by both children and adults, in two teams of about 10 players. A court is outlined on the ground measuring 20 feet x 30 feet. The teams station themselves on each side of the court.
When the game starts, one player, taking a deep breath and making a continuous sound, darts forward into the rival players’ side and tries to touch as many players as he can without losing his breath. If he succeeds in getting back to his side, the players he has touched ‘die’. The team that has touched most players wins.