‘Kannamoochi’ – A Game of Skill and Thrill

Kannamoochi helped people to discover new places in their neighborhood. It was known as 'Hide & Seek' in English. The game involved both skill and thrill. The game could be played by many people and all age groups would participate in the game. Houses of the yonder era was the most suitable for this game. The diversity of the dwelling designs made the suspense even more interesting. Kannamoochi was played during the holidays and it furthered friendship.

A team of people would get together and decide to play the game. One of them would play the lead role and decide to ‘Catch’ his or her friends who would hide themselves. The lead player would stand against a wall and close his eyes until such time everybody moved away from the spot. This player would have to count up to 50 or 100 before moving away from the wall and opening the eyes. The teammates would meanwhile hide themselves in backyards, cupboards, storerooms, cowsheds, and big containers. There would be absolute silence.

Meanwhile, the household would be functioning normally. The members of the household would behave as though nothing was happening in front of them. If the lead player tries to enquire them, they would answer in the negative. They would also not help the ones who would want to know about the places of hiding. These catalysts would make the game even more interesting.

Now, the lead player would begin to look out for his friends who may be in hiding. During the olden days, the town houses were packed next to each other on either side of the streets. The general rule permitted any player to hide in a secluded spot in a house which belonged to one of the players. Sometimes they would quickly change their slots based on the movement of the lead player. The one who got caught first in the hands of the lead player was the main loser. He/she would have to discover the hidden players in the next round.

On the contrary, if one of the players in hiding runs up quietly towards the rear side of the lead player and touches from the back side, then the lead player would have to begin the game all over again. The kids would play this game two or three times in any given day. This helped them to learn how to maintain suspense, secrecy, and silence. It was a game which helped the kids to use excitement as a tool in their quest for victory and this should ultimately get more matured.

The games like Kannamoochi brought in camaraderie amongst the kids and taught them that competition must be healthy. Winning was not everything, being content and happy was the purpose and was more important. Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters would supply sweets and savories endlessly to the teammates. Raw Kili Mooku Manga (mango) was cut and interspersed with chilly powder used to be an all-time favorite. Kids would also be given Thenga, Manga, Pattani, & Sundal in thin paper cones and they would consume it in no time. Murukku-s, Ottu Pakkoda-s, Seedai-s, and Adhirasam-s would be shared amongst all.

The simple but safe food had in the company of friends while playing Kannamoochi went a long way in making life memorable. One of the kids would have grown up to be a diplomat and another might have become a doctor, while another would have been a clerk in an organization. However, the friendship and fellowship would act as a bond between one another for these happy memories will last a lifetime.