In the city, we don’t see children climbing trees. In fact, we seldom see anyone climbing trees.
My mother, recalls with much fondness, the tree adventures during her childhood in Richmond Town, Bangalore in the 1950s. ‘Monkey on the tree’ was the most popular game that not only honed climbing skills and balance, but also built up stamina. “We used to be a big group of 10-12 children, and played across 2-3 compounds on the street, moving from one tree to the other.” And if they were not swinging from tree to tree, they used to be gobbling gooseberries and guavas. The game was not without risks. There would be the occasional fall or fracture, but those are a part of life. (To know how to play ‘Monkey on the tree’, see the end of this post.)
As a child, I used to listen to Mom’s tales with much envy. Firstly, I didn’t have friends who would want to climb trees, and secondly, there were not many trees to climb from compound to compound. My brother preferred bats and balls to the trees, so climbing was usually a solo sport for me. Continue reading