In this world of video games and social media, where board games fall under old and traditional games, we meet an old man who takes pride in making of carrom boards and other games for children, out of wood.
RC Puri, who is in his early 70s, in his dingy and dusty shop with a cigarette dangling from his lips, works relentlessly to make carrom boards. His old two-wheeler is parked outside his shop resembling him with its skinny structure; the ongoing traffic keeps him busy when he takes a break while the other old men in the locality also joined him to have a conversation in the evenings.Making carrom boards from when he was in his 20s, this man owned a carrom board factory in Madras. He had 30 workers working under him who made around 200 carroms sets per week. His brother had a sports shop called ‘Metro Sports’ in Madras to which he supplied carrom boards.
But, lately, he came to Hyderabad. Being a master of making anything out of wood, Puri also takes orders from schools and nearby households. “I made alphabet and puzzles which had more than 100 pieces, wooden rocking horses and other games for elementary schools. I recently also carved music symbols on wood for a music class nearby,” he adds.
“There was a man called Mallesh who used to make boards for my brother. He wasn’t ready to teach me to make carroms but I got to know he had a habit of drinking and so offered him the drink that he prefers. And one fine day, he agreed to teach me the art of making carrom boards. I make a dozen carrom boards in a single day now,” recollects Puri on how he learnt the art.
The septuagenarian has walked a long way and made the childhood of many by giving them carrom boards at a discounted price. “Many times, kids who come to buy carrom boards have money to pay the full price but, yet, lie that they are falling short of money so they can eat ice cream. Despite being aware of their mischief, I would give them the carrom board,” he recollects and smiles over the memory.