Some would refer to it as finger board, but as for my brothers and I, it was simply carrom board. Recently, as my Dad and I were in search for our stored winter items in the garage I stumbled upon a few pieces of this game and instantly reminisced about the many great times my brothers and I had whilst playing the game.

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It was during the first week of school holidays that mornings or even entire days were reserved for carrom board competitions. The teams were already preselected from the many short league games hosted over the weekends during the school period. – Everyone stuck to their old teams as no one was keen on experiencing the humiliation that came along with losing. But, unfortunately for the not-so-great-players, persuasive pleading was the only way to get selected on a team, nonetheless…it never worked and instead they opted to warm the spectator seats.

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My friend, Vanessa’s Dad is a master handy man, so in order to save our allowance he crafted a carrom board game for us. This game granted us rights to be at their home all the time, as she often ignored our never ending play times and wanted us to leave during lunch time, which most of us could never comprehend.

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This game was originally played throughout India and Southeast Asia, swiftly it made its way to other countries in the world, like Namibia where it became popular too.

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We used to place this plywood carrom board on an empty petrol container or any flat surface that fit the occasion and balanced it with little stones.

Photo: Nela Shikemeni

It has four set pocket holes with lines on the four different corners that restrict players to aim in the allocated section. At least two to eight players can enjoy the game, but more players are allowed to play to make the game entertaining.

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For us, the pieces with finger indents were green and were used to manoeuvre the different coloured carrom men pieces on the board, with the help of the special ingredient ‘Top Score Maize Meal’ that was sprinkled across the board to allow these pieces to manoeuvre effortlessly.

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This green piece is held onto tightly with a player’s index finger and force has to be applied to attempt to pocket the carrom men pieces as it enables players to have a tighter grip. The carrom men pieces are placed in the centre of the board and struck one by one with the aim of pocketing them amongst the four pocket holes.

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Players or teams with no carrom men pieces on the board, who have pocketed the blue or white carrom piece ‘Queen’, wins the games. And just like pool / snooker, it helps one to think strategically in order to win.

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To make the competitions interesting, there was an all-girls and all-boys team and of course the favourite prizes, Chocolate Ys or Niknaks chips were up for grabs. – Not to forget there was a crowd to support the teams and those who merely came to mock because they did not make it onto any of the teams. – It was never a surprise!

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Certainly, simple things such as a board game allowed us to spend time together and delight in the not so friendly banter as it was a way to unify us all and share Vanessa’s lunch meals. So, if you have a small board game to fit into your luggage, take it along and enjoy it with a few new friends as you sit atop the boulders and welcome a beautiful sunset at our Canyon Lodge.

Photo: Nela Shikemeni

Have you ever played carrom board? What are your memories of carrom board? Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.