We seldom had toys given to us. We were thoroughly content with toys improvised from items plentifully available—sticks, old tins, bricks, tiles; the list is endless. I was the leader of ‘the trio’—the other two being my brother Justin and my sister Suguna, who admired my discoveries and improvisations, at least for a few years.
The most common toy was the bamboo stick. This would be transformed into various things according to my fancies. When I announced that this was a car or a bus, we would hold it between our legs and run with it, imagining that we were driving. Sometimes it would turn into swords for mock fighting.
One of the most popular games of my innovations was the railway-station game, especially if we had many other children playing with us. We would then have a ticket counter for the purchasing of tickets before getting into the train. I used to put chairs one behind the other and these would be the many carriages of the train. Children would get in. We would have a ticket collector, a station master, and other railway staff.
Preaching sermons like my father did was another game. The highlight of it was the building of a pulpit and climbing on to it. For the congregation, there was no dearth. In fact, there was no dearth of participants for any of the games, because, most of the children needed someone to organize. I loved organizing and they enjoyed participating.