Looking back at it, I’m surprised that most parents and teachers of my school going days allowed this game to permeate within the sub-culture of our generation. The essence of this game was to announce your status and avoid receiving a knuckle punch from the person or persons with whom you’re playing (waging, really) this game. There were no other spoils of the victory except the satisfaction of the punch. Losers were left moaning and groaning.
Hoppinggo-Baithingo in crude school-kid lingo means ‘standing up-sitting down’. It’s elementary really, announce Hoppingo before you stand up and Baithingo before you sit. If your fellow players haven’t heard your announcement then the punch is imminent.
This game was a favourite among the bullies with particularly sadistic intentions. They could initiate this game with the meeks unilaterally. Recess time then became Christmas time for them, drooling in anticapation at all the presents to be had. The one’s with real knach, the kind that comes with patient practice and labour, could hit the correct spot on the base of the spine just hard enough to push the air out of the victims lungs, leaving him gasping for air doubled down on his knees. The pain from this was forgotten from the fear of asphyxiation. Genius really!
Then there were the casual games between friends as well. Just enough for the friends to vent each other’s frustrations in a valiant and honourable manner. Nothing makes one forget bickerings of the past like physical pain. I think most kids found it more acceptable to live with the passing pain as well as the fear of impending punches then to have to live with the misgivings that come in nurturing friendship at that age. Physical pain is passing but mental anguish has a tendancy to curdle.
So you see, it was far more critical to announce your status. Twitter is for sissies!
2nd August, 2010, Mumbai.