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Carrom Bonding

The Carrom Board is a rite of passage for Indian families. To write this article, I looked up the origin of the Carrom game. No surprise, there is strong evidence that it originated in the Indian subcontinent.

For many of us, Carrom is not only a game. It is a family and friends bonding platform. A game can go on for hours with lots of interspersed small talk, jabs and pokes of the mental type, tantrums, taunts, distractions, exhilarations, near misses and a captive audience waiting for it’s turn to play. 

I remember one annual game that started at 10 PM and went on until 3 AM. At 3 AM it was time to get showered and head onto the temple for the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival. The twists and turns of the game were so exciting that no one bothered to get a shut eye for the night. 

The beauty of the game is that one can bring in their own technique and personality. Some believe in precise geometry and physics and wouldn’t hesitate to crow about it when a coin was pocketed. Some play it quietly and can’t tolerate chit chats and distractions during their turn. The same kind do not reveal their techniques for fear of copycats. Some would lean back so far back on their backless chair to strike a coin that it was certain they crossed the international border to SriLanka.  A person’s true personality came through loud and clear.  

The carrom coins are of 2 colors – brown (white) and black. There is also a red one. The brown carries 2 points and the black carries one point. The queen (red) is valued at 5 points. You can note the color discrimination there too in the value system.

The powder is the substance that makes it all work. Boric Acid and Nycil are the two common ones. Without the powder, it is practically impossible for the striker to move smoothly on the  polished board made of plywood.

Last week, we received our new carrom board. We finally replaced our previous one that has gone missing for years. I feel like a kid again. To my horror, I taunted my wife to play and she gave it right back to me. However, we are spending more time looking at each other across the table than viewing the TV next to each other. 

Game on! What’s your Carrom story? 

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