Life lessons

Of Barbies, bikes and balls

I had a fortunate childhood. One that was filled with a lot of time playing and studying. When I look back at my  childhood, one thing I feel very thankful about is that my play was not necessarily gender stereotyped. Rather, I played whatever I wanted with whomever I wanted to.

One of my favourite make-believe games was to play School. I loved being the teacher and from a young age, would boss teach my uncle, parents and grandparents while holding a wooden ruler in my hand. I can assure you, nobody got injured by this bossy three-year-old. Apart from that, I enjoyed using my dad’s stethoscope as a prop while I was Doctor to my stuffed animals. Turns out, I was a pretty good doctor since my rabbits, teddies, puppies and crow all recovered pretty quickly. The other game I enjoyed was playing House. I’d take turns in being the boss mother and telling others what to do while I cooked with my kitchen set. I bet my mother wished I would take those cooking skills into the real world but I didn’t learn to cook until I eventually left home. So much for being the mothering kind! 😛

Around the time I was 6, I got my very first Barbie doll. She was also my only Barbie doll. I remember I loved her — I loved doing her hair and wished that I had more clothes for her. One of my best friend at the time had about 12 Barbies and to say I was jealous would have been an understatement. I loved playing with her Rockstar Barbie in particular; it made my regular Barbie look very boring. But no matter how much I begged, my parents wouldn’t buy me another one.

Fortunately, indoor games were only part of my childhood. I preferred the outdoors. I loved riding my bicycle. I rode my bike around the hospital campus we lived in in Oman and later on, around the streets of Bombay. Every ride was an adventure. With friends, it was exploratory. By myself, it was an imaginative adventure. I’d pretend I was on a mission, or trying to solve a mystery or just off on a picnic and it was the best time ever!

Of course, I cannot forget the ball games. I started by playing Football {or Soccer} with my friends around 6. I was the shortest and youngest in the group and I still remember stealing the ball from one of the older boys by just running under his legs. Yep, I was that tiny. I spent my 5 years in Salalah playing football with friends and loved every moment. When it got dark, we’d revert to games like Hide and Seek or just ride our bikes or sometimes, even just play House outside by making mud-pies and sand-cakes.

On moving back to India at 9, I made new friends and while we initially rode bikes or played Hide and Seek, within a couple of years we started playing Cricket. I loved cricket and till today, I wish I’d had the opportunity to play for a team. But back then, I was told by my school PE teacher that girls didn’t play cricket. It didn’t stop me from playing with friends and even breaking windows a couple of times {I apologised and offered to pay}. It still makes me smile at just how seriously we took the game. We’ve had massive fights over cricket with people being accused of cheating and the like. In the end, it was just a game. A game I played till I was 20.

Those were some beautiful memories. My days were carefree enough to warrant the games being serious. I miss that sometimes. I wish I could go back and relive some of those games.

Times when we laughed out loud, when we got dirty, when we asked our mums to stay out just 5 minutes longer.

Those were the days.

I’m glad I had them.

What games did you play as a child?

Do share!

***Linking with Jess for IBOT and Corinne for September Challenge***

Image Source: Pixabay

Until next time,



You Might Also Like

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    8 September 2015 at 8:22 am

    I had about twenty barbies, I loved them! And Star Wars toys inherited from my brother. We played back yard cricket but I was never sporty unfortunately 🙂
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…Toddlers in WonderlandMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      8 September 2015 at 9:50 pm

      As much as Barbie cops a bad rap, I reckon she was fun to play with. And way better than Bratz dolls. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up except in India, schools didn’t have team sports or any specific sports for girls back then.

  • Deborah
    8 September 2015 at 10:32 am

    I LOVED Barbies and had a stack, plus Charlie’s Angels dolls and the Bionic Man and Bionic Woman. I did jazz ballet but also played sport. My parents probably did do the gender thing without realising (we’re talking 1970s) but my dad’s mother had been a good athlete so he didn’t believe women couldn’t be good at sport. From a very young age we were in the back yard playing stuff.
    Deborah recently posted…The secret to weight lossMy Profile

  • Beat About the Book
    8 September 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I played most of those indoor games too – Teacher and doctor and home – and so do my kids. Aren’t they just ageless? I do hate the stereotyping though, that the twins picked up. Even as early as 5 or 6 years of age they became susceptible to peer pressure and started choosing their games accordingly.
    Beat About the Book recently posted…The Time TravelerMy Profile

  • A Fineapple
    8 September 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I used to play teacher a lot. I loved distribuiting my comics to all the chairs in my house (chairs = students & different rooms were different classes) and collect them all back. Loved reading this post. It brought back a lot of childhood memories. Now I also want to write a post like this. 🙂 Lovely post Sanch.
    A Fineapple recently posted…Life update.My Profile

  • Nabanita
    8 September 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Oh I was a very lazy child…Outdoor games were not for me…Though I too played cricket a lot…But I loved staying indoors and reading or simply watching tv..I know I was not the perfect child !!! 😀
    Nabanita recently posted…Tell Them Off…#MondayMusingsMy Profile

  • CookieCrumbsInc.
    8 September 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Tell me about it, my folks refused to get me Rockstar Barbie too! I remember throwing a megafit in the lobby of a hotel -> the first and the last fit I ever threw 😛

    I used to LOVE my kitchen set 🙂 steal rice from the kitchen and soak it in water and force it down people’s throats. I also loved making ‘houses’ under the dining table, in mum’s verandah… And then invite everyone for a tea party 😀
    CookieCrumbsInc. recently posted…The FictioneerMy Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    8 September 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I loved playing ‘teacher’ and ‘house’ too, Sanch. When we came home to our grandparents’ house, we played hide and seek, dog and the bone, bakkam-bakkhi (hitting the other team’s legs with a ball to make them out!) and dark room. In school, I loved playing khabbadi and kho-kho.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Have A HeartMy Profile

  • J.Gi Federizo
    8 September 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I never had a Barbie (though, I had a few inexpensive, plastic dolls), and I didn’t have much toys, but I enjoyed playing when I was a kid. Like you, I had toys (I liked cars, even a jeepney) and played a few games (like, I suppose, our version of Cowboys, sort of) that were supposed to be for boys. We also played outdoor games whenever we were allowed to join my cousins.

    For more personal reasons, not sure I miss playing with my cousins. But I did like my solitary play times better where my imagination roamed free.
    J.Gi Federizo recently posted…“OH, NO, STOP RIGHT THERE!” #atozchallengeMy Profile

  • Leanne@crestingthehill
    8 September 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I loved barbies and hop scotch and frisbie and netball (not cricket) – childhood was such a magical and carefree time and we forget how simple it all was!
    Leanne@crestingthehill recently posted…three lessons from Ricki and the FlashMy Profile

  • Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages
    8 September 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I was an outdoor kid too and was often found up a tree. I only had one Barbie doll which my older brothers threatened to flush down the toilet on several occasions. More trouble than she was worth.
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted…Dragged to the Ground in Siem ReapMy Profile

  • Renee Wilson
    8 September 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I love hearing about other people’s childhoods. Mine was a good mix of indoor and outdoor. I used to love climbing trees, picking mulberries and playing touch football. I also played with Barbies a lot and care bear figurines 🙂 #teamIBOT
    Renee Wilson recently posted…Dream chaserMy Profile

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    8 September 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I was a Barbie nut case and my favourite thing was the barbie camper I had. But my favourite game at school was kiss chassie…..
    Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection recently posted…What if there is no ‘happy ever after’?My Profile

  • Roshan R
    8 September 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Surprisingly, I was rarely into outdoor sports… I was more the nerd with his geek toys (Gobots and He Man) or else the Atari

  • Rajlakshmi
    8 September 2015 at 10:18 pm

    My fav indoor game was Igloo Igloo, we used to make igloo out of blankets and pillows 😛 I too played cricket and broke tubelights , cycling was another activity I enjoyed doing. Loved reminiscing the good old days through your post.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Monday MusingsMy Profile

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    8 September 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I adored dolls – loved paper dolls, drawing and making dolls clothes, and making them dolls houses and furniture out of anything and everything. I was sure I would end up being a fashion designer!
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…Close Encounter with a KoalaMy Profile

  • jfgibsonwriter
    8 September 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Wonderful memories!
    I grew up as an only child, so I had to use my imagination. I remember making up all sorts of games from dog training where I set up obstacle courses for the dogs to complete, radio dj where I used to read the newspaper out loud like a newsreader and then introduce a song like a dj and I did a lot of imaginary games in my head whilst jumping on the trampoline. I used to love it when my best friend came over and we would play secretaries or libraries. Such fun!
    jfgibsonwriter recently posted…What did you read as a kid?My Profile

  • Bikram
    9 September 2015 at 1:08 am

    we had so many games , I lived in a village so we had a very rural games ..
    nothing fancy ..

    we were happy running after a spare tyre .. or climbing trees etc …
    Bikram recently posted…Week 7 :- A Friend 1My Profile

  • Shalini
    9 September 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Such a heartwarming post! Lots of memories. I never had a barbie and I still complain to my parents that they never got me one. I was more into teddy bears though. Though I hated outdoor games, I was pulled in by my cousins to play cricket, just because they needed an additional player on the field. How much I hated running around for the ball. I used to climb trees with them though and my Mom still keeps a picture of us saying not even the real monkeys can beat us! I loved playing ‘teacher’ wearing a shawl as a saree and a ruler in hand. My students were imaginary and I used beat the sofasets. I was a strict teacher 😛 Thanks for this lovely post.
    Shalini recently posted…My Favorite Season #septemberchallenge #blogtemberchallengeMy Profile

  • LuAnn Braley
    9 September 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I had a Dawn doll or two (a smaller, cheaper form of Barbie), but not a lot of clothing or extras. Never was that much into sports, but I did enjoy volleyball at school and softball (with a girls’ group outside of school).
    LuAnn Braley recently posted…Back-to-School Clothes – #NaBloPoMo #septemberchallengeMy Profile

  • Eli
    9 September 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Lovely post, so fun to read. I was more into otdoor games- hide and seek, bicycle, football, skiing in the winter…
    Eli recently posted…Kitchari – recipeMy Profile

  • Parul
    9 September 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Fabulous post and made me think of my childhood. Badminton, seven tiles, some running around to pick colors – are the ones I can remember. I was more of the lazy kinds though. did not play a lot. just met the basic expectation. 😛
    Parul recently posted…When it rained that night..My Profile

  • Jen Rose
    10 September 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I was a crazy Lego fan. I remember when my boys first became old enough for proper Lego being so excited cos we only had a little box of it when we were kids. I also love getting to enjoy boys toys now that I have boys (who doesn’t love super heroes and hot wheels tracks?!)
    Jen Rose recently posted…Sibling LoveMy Profile

  • Shantala
    11 September 2015 at 1:21 am

    Oh I was as much a bookworm back then, as I am now, so outdoor games were not played very often. But I remember we used to play hide and seek quite a lot. We had a pair of twins who used to play with us, and it was a struggle to tell one from another, a fact that they took complete advantage of. You are right. Those were the days. 🙂
    Shantala recently posted…The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks | Book and Movie ReviewMy Profile