Translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma
With the introduction of gadgets and technology, traditional games across India are slowly disappearing. There are many traditional games in Tripura that I used to play. However, the next generation barely knows of these games. One of my favorite games as a child was a hoop roller. This is one of the oldest games in the Tiprasa indigenous communities.
This is a very interesting game and a favorite among the children of my community. It is made of bamboo, just like many objects used by tribal communities in Tripura. Bamboo is available in abundance in Tripura, and is a strong and durable, which makes it a great material to make children’s toys.
The hoop roller toy consists of two main parts — the hoop and the roller. To make a hoop roller, bamboo is first collected from the forest, after which the bottom part is cut off. The bamboo, which is at least seven feet long, is then split in the middle and one part is polished thoroughly.
After polishing the bamboo, the top layer of the bamboo is cut off and the bamboo is tied up in a circle.
After creating the hoop, the roller is made, without which the toy is incomplete. The roller is needed to roll the hoop. To make this roller, a bamboo stick of 18-20 inches is used. This bamboo roller also needs to be polished and cut off equally, so that it doesn’t cause any injuries to the kids while they play with the toy. A small rod is embedded into the bamboo stick and is curved for sticking or controlling the hoop. The height of the roller should be about two feet long.
This was once a beloved game in my community. Sometimes, we also organised hoop rolling challenges and competitions to see who goes faster. However, this game is rarely played nowadays. Hardly a couple of people know about this game.
The information about this game was provided by Mr Rajkumar Debbarma, a resident of Agartala, West Tripura. The photos in the article are by Mr Debbarma.
Note: This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.