(This is a feeble translation of "Gulli-danda", a story by Munshi Premchand)
My English-loving friends may tend to disagree, but I will say that the game of tip-cat is the king among games. Even now after all these years, when I see boys playing tip-cat, I long to join them. You don't need a lawn, there is no need for a court, and you don't require a net, nor a bat - all that you need to do is climb a tree, cut off a small branch, make a "cat", and when there are two persons, the game is ready to begin.
The biggest problem with Western games is that their gears are very expensive. Tip-cat, on the other hand, gives bright colours to fabrics without the need for a dye. But we have become such ardent admirers of Western things that our own indigenous objects do not hold any attraction for us anymore. Western games are for those who are rich. I agree there is the danger of hurting your eyes while playing tip-cat, but isn't it true that you could as well break your head or a leg while playing cricket? You may still see scars left by a "cat" that hit our forehead as a child, but then I have quite a few friends who have "exchanged" the bat for a crutch. Well, everyone has his own preferences; as for me, I enjoy a game of tip-cat more than any other game and the fondest memories of my childhood are associated with it - sneaking out of the house early in the morning, climbing a tree to cut off a branch and shaping a "cat (billet)", the excitement and single-mindedness, the players gathering together, hitting the billet or chasing it, the quarrels and fights on the field. The players are ignorant of any class distinctions; there are no differences between the rich and the poor - the game of tip-cat provides very little opportunity to display your wealth.
People at home are getting angry; father is venting his anger on the bread. Mother's hurried steps carry her only up to the door, but she is thinking of my bleak future which appears to her like a shattered boat caught in a storm. And, here I am gleefully chasing the billet without any other thought in my mind! I have completely forgotten that I have yet to bathe and have my meals. The billet is a small piece of wood, but it has all the sweetness and enjoyment of the world stashed in it.
Among my play-mates was a boy by the name of Gaya. He was older than me by two to three years. He was thin and had long and slender fingers like the monkeys. No billet, however it was made, could escape his hands - he grabbed them just like a lizard catches its prey. I did not know whether he was an orphan, where he lived or where he had his meals. But he was the champion of our tip-cat club. The victory of the team, which had him on its side, was assured. When we saw him approaching the playground, we would run up to him and coax him into joining our respective teams.