Kancha, The Popular Indian Game Of Marbles

What is your fondest memory as a child? Do you miss summer holidays when the entire family would get together and relax? Or is it the cool evenings playing with your friends you want to relive? Lagori, Kabaddi, Kho Kho, Antakshari, Kancha are not just random words but games that you must have spent your childhood playing.

As time passes us by rapidly, we grow up before we even realize it. Homework is replaced by domestic chores, studies are replaced by office work or projects and there is no time to breathe. We are so busy existing that we forget to live! We focus on work, family and personal issues instead of just taking things slowly. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could be as carefree as children? Remember those days, when our biggest concern was homework! Who would have thought we missed homework? Or the amazing feeling of just handing in your final exam paper and having a long vacation to look forward to. Some people celebrated by eating ice lollies or taking a long nap. While some just couldn’t hold their excitement and ran straight to the playground. Sadly we can’t turn back time or become children again but we can relive those memories! What made our childhood so special and nostalgic is our friends, our innocence and those epic games! Fraught with excitement, speed and fun, these games lit a spark in us. They brought our inner child out and let us be ourselves. We can’t become 20 years younger but we can definitely remember and play those games again! There are several childhood games from the 80s and 90s but Kancha remains a popular one even today.

Contrary to opinion, games are not a waste of time. Every game has a methodology and aspect to it. Some games teach you dexterity, some teach you imagination while some teach you speed. Games also inculcate sportsman spirit, being a team player, math and strategy in children. They require you to be alert, quick and nimble. A lot of Indian games need little to no equipment and can be played anywhere. This was crucial as it helped to include children and kids from underprivileged or rural backgrounds. From Lagori, we learnt marksmanship and speed. From Kabaddi we learnt agility, strength and alertness. And from Kho Kho we learnt intensity, dexterity and pace. All these games formed a part of our childhood fabric. How can we forget Kancha! Extremely popular among young boys and villages, Kancha means ‘Marbles.’ It is named after the equipment needed to play it. If you are an Indian adult, it is highly improbable that you don’t know what Kancha is.

Playing Marbles by Lucas Jans/CC BY-SA 2.0

Kancha needs Marbles of various colors and sizes. Marbles are basically balls made of glass in differing sizes starting from one and a half inches. A highly competitive game, it requires 2 or more players. Both players have to bring a certain number of Kancha or Marbles. They select a target, it can be the biggest marble or a stone or something they choose. The player who does it comfortably wins the game. He/she also gets to keep the Kanchas or Marbles belonging to the other player! This exchange is what keeps the spirit of the game alive. Players often hold rounds to regain their lost marbles. In buildings or societies, young boys used to count the number of Kanchas and try to one-up the other. Boys or young children will hide their marbles somewhere safe so nobody would steal it. There are different versions of the game where it gets complicated and players have to target difficult objects. It’s done to keep the game and the competition healthy.

Feature Photo of Marbles by Maria Eklind Attribution-ShareAlike License

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