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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chp 321. Comon, let’s Carrom Board! :P

The past few weeks, I’ve been taking a break from work every day from 6 to 9pm. I spend that time in the gym burning calories and desperately trying to reduce my rum-belly. Yes, I did take a long sabbatical from the gym but now it’s back to the grind and treadmill.

After my gym session, I’d go for a few rounds of carrom board game in our office! Hehehe, that’s the new recreation our Creative Director introduced two weeks ago, and it became an instant hit. At first most of us were like, “Who the hell plays carrom these days?” But the moment your finger touches that striker and slides across the board pocketing your coin, memories of days long gone and ex-girlfriends now married and fat come rushing back. Nostalgic!

Around 9pm, I stop playing and switch back to work, trying to finish anything that is still pending, and if it’s one of those rare days when there’s no work, then I play Counter Strike with my colleagues (mostly the Tech department guys), making teams and blasting the hell out of each other. Hehehe…

Coming back to the topic. Carrom board.

Carroms was one of my favorite pastimes back in Mizoram. I don’t know about now, but back in the early 90s, every government office (Power & Electric dept., PWD dept. etc.) used to have one. People would spend the afternoon in office playing the game while smoking and eating our local paan and cracking dirty jokes now and then.

Even we had one at home and I used to spend a lot of time playing with family and friends. Pu Manzuala was one of my favorite playing companions, during his Chief Secretary days. He would pass our house on his morning walks and drop in to challenge me for a quick game. I would of course beat his ass every time, but he’ll definitely deny this Ah those days…

When I was sent to a boarding school outside Mizoram and had my first “mass interaction” with non-Mizos, I discovered one thing – We had a completely different style of playing!

While most people in Mizoram use “scissor style”, most other Indians use “middle finger and thumb” style.

carrom index-thumb style
[Middle finger and thumb style]

carrom scissor style
[Scissor style]

Even till now, the number of non-Mizos I’ve come across who use scissor style is just a handful. I still remember back in Tamilnadu, my Engineering classmates actually disallowed me from playing because they thought my style was illegal as they were seeing it for the first time!

Having played for a long time, I think when it comes to “cutting” (angled) shots, people with scissor style can cut much better, whereas when it comes to straight shots, people with “middle finger and thumb” style have better control. In fact, I hardly play direct straight shots even when it’s clearly possible – I always cut it with a little bit of angle.

Although a lot of this is quite basic, here is a good link about how you can improve your carrom technique.

And oh, I was just googling about carroms just now, and guess what your coins (black and white) are officially called? Carrom-men! In Mizo, we call it “sa” which in English literally means “meat”. White is my meat, black is your meat, etc. Not that we are going to eat it literally, but when you pocket your coin, we actually use the verb “ei” which means “to eat”. Eat it, eat that, you ate my meat etc. (Same mizo words apply for chess, checkers, chinese checkers etc.)

Having played carroms at different locations in India with different people, one very important announcement about carroms that you’ll have to remember before playing any game –

Carrom board, being an indoor game, is played with different rules all over the world. It all depends on where you come from. Even though I think there is some International Carrom Board Association or something like that with an official (standard) rules, people follow their own rules. Some of the rules like “half-red”, “covering a queen”, “striker must touch both lines” etc are the same everywhere, but there are a few rules that differ from place to place.

Hence, before playing any game with different people for the first time, it would be in your best interest to discuss all the rules before the first strike. Because people may disagree with your rules during the game, and sometimes that can get quite ugly

First of all, discuss about “fines” with your opponents. In case of a double fine (you managed to pocket your coin and then your striker also goes in a pocket), some people are fined two coins and given one more chance to play, while others play with a rule called “chance” in which, after committing a double fine, they get one more chance (without placing their fines on the table). If they managed to pocket one more coin, then only one fine is placed in the center, but if they miss, then two coins are placed on the table.

Similarly, when there is just the queen and one of your coins left (for confirmation), and by mistake you pocket in your last coin before the queen, then some people simply put that coin back in the center, while others are penalized with 5 coins. I’ve even played with people where the rule was – all your coins are placed back on the table if you commit that particular foul!

Also, it is important to discuss before playing if pocketing is allowed or not. Most people (if not all) from the North East play with pocketing rule, whereas at many places in India, pocketing is prohibited! So if you have your coin behind your strike line, you cannot hit it directly (thumbing), and must rebound the striker from the opposite side to hit that coin of yours.

Like that, there are quite a number of different rules when it comes to carroms. So just make sure you lay out all the rules on the table before you start your match. Some people say World War II was started over a disagreement between Hitler and his Jew friend over whether a queen is worth 5 points or 3 points… Kidding… but quite possible!

Happy striking.


Rka said...

Carrom board hi naupan deuh lai khan nuam ka ti thei khawp mai. Office-ah Driver ho rest room-ah an dah a ka han pen ve zeuh zeuh a, thiam lo pawlah ka tawng a, canteen ba a ti tam duh khawp mai :D

caribou said...

Carrom khelh hi thatchhe hna an ti ngawt a, thluak hman a ngaih bak ah, keimah anga khelh thiam ve hrim hrim a ngai.Scissor style hi ka hman thiam a ni e.

illusionaire said...

@ Rka: Hostel ah chuan a chaklo in tui no khat (no lian chi) in a ngai kan tia... game 5-6 vel chakloh chuan tui in chu a har tawh teh maiiii a nia! lolz.

@ caribou: Nia, chess nen a dangna ka hre lo. Rilru hi hman tel a ngai teh mai a nia... rilru + skill. :)

Anonymous said...

Thatchhe thleng te pawh an tih thin tak kha maw! :-) Jail tang chhuak leh hi an bon duh khawp mai,"ke-ram bawt" pen ah chuan .

An tia lawm, Keram-bawt pen hi bang leh lamah lo ngai thla tan chuan ahlauhawm duh awm ngawt mai. Sik rawh, pen rawh, pawt rawh, thlep rawh, cut rawh, chhu buaih rawh, 3rd rawh :-)

aduhi said...

I haven't played in more than a year now. My father is one HUGE fan, and you would always find a board in our house and some people playing even though it used to be irritating at times (powder all over the floor, raucous laughter, all kinds of riffraff trooping in and out) and we women complained endlessly. But looking back now, those were really good times. Now my father is retired and he and his senior friends spend their time playing carrom and bragging about their skills, and we just let them be and laugh indulgently.

Nice pics, esp the bottle near your hand :P

odzer said...

On a side note, the Tibetan word for meat is "Sha", quite similar to your word "Sa". I guess because Mizo is a Tibeo-Burmese language. Did I ever tell you that I could simply read the old Manipuri script because it is so similar to both Tibetan/Punjabi scripts. North-East is so rich in langauges, truly a treasure!

So about Carrom, I think the whole idea is bloody brilliant. Every office should have distractions. Also love the fact you drink Old Monk, its the only hard liquor manufactured in India that is worth ingesting.

Alejendro said...

Old Monk tih lan kher khi a van tullo tak em.... a zu heh thlak e mai!!!

nancy said...

college kal lai khan khel ve zeuh thin a, ka thiam lo thei khawp mai.

Pic. a bottle lo lang khian mit a la riau, kan Ram-ah hi chuan khitiang hmuh tur khi a awm ve lova... hmuhnawm thlir a thlir tham a ni tlat :D

Maisek said...

I used to be pretty good in carrom when I was younger! Its been years now since I touched it, let alone play! Kima, I liked the way you described the rules of the game and the strategies to be used while playing the game! keep writing, you're a creative writer!

Dave said...

Vai ho hian mak an ti thei khawp mai scissor style i tih ang a pen hian. Mizoram style an ti kher zel.

Shashi Kant Sharma said...

This must be a crazy co-incidence but we had our carom board setup last month at office .. and guess what my mizo background give's me the scissor style :)

When u say all govt offices in Miz have a carom board - reminds me how I learnt carom playing at my father's office after school :)

Thanks for the post.

dr angel said...

Nang in a i han sawi hi chuan a ngaihnawm thrin hle mai....ram hrang2, hnam hrang2 tawng a danglam ang deuh hian thil dang pawh hi alo danglam ve zel ni ngei tur a ni....

mesjay said...

Cool office to work in, man! The carrom lesson is no help to me since we have no such recreation facility at my work place. :(

Eveline said...

I want to say I was really good at Caroms, back in the day... but I wasn't. Because I'd constantly hurt myself using the “middle finger and thumb” style.

I lost a lot.

But that's also cos I was really klutzy.

Anonymous said...

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

- Kris

Putarte said...

ex-girelfriends now married and fat lol just can't get that outta my head hahaha :D

Dawldanga said...

Keichu scissor style hian ka pen thiam der lo nia maw le, middle finger and thumb style a ka pen erawh hi chuan awihawm lo khawpin ka thiam chuang lo. Chu ai ber chuan Old Monk khian ka mit a la jokes.

Anonymous said...

amazing things thanx

Mr.Erastus said...

Kut zawn loh sa mah nak a laiin kei chuan a nawmna ka poh pha lo reng reng. Mahse It's one of my favourite game

Catherine rempuii said...

Once while we were spending a lazy afternoon, i interfered with my male friends playing this game..and u know what? One guy told me,''carrom is a guy-thing, girls step aside''..! Till today, i cannot possibly imagine why it's meant for boys and not for girls, but i'm assured, u know the reason! :p :p kiddin'

Jerusha said...

I'm sure we have a carrom board up on the....somewhere in the office. I can't say I've ever seen anyone play though. maybe because I'm hopeless at it and I never wander that way. Not surprised you like it though. Hell, one look at you and first thought on my mind was "Carrom champ!" hehe

C. Lalfakzuala said...

Old Monk khi ka duh ve e. carrom chu ka pen khat toh emai :D

illusionaire said...

Thanks for reading my post and commenting, everyone. I have mentioned something about some of your comments on my latest post *GRIN*

Hope you come by again.

Love and wishes.
- Kima.

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Chandraprakash G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chandraprakash G said...

Wow !!
In the entire internet i only found one blog about a Scissor style user on Carrom !!

I use Scissor style 24/7 while playing :D :D :D
I though no one in the world uses scissor 24/7, at least i found one person like me :D