Who, me?

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Mr. 1: Mr. 2 stole the cookie from the cookie jar

Mr. 2: Who, me?

Mr. 1: Yes, you.

Mr. 2: Couldn’t be.

Mr. 1: Then, who?

Mr. 2: Mr. 3 stole the cookie from the cookie jar.

Mr. 3: Who, me?


I can still clearly see Kabba, Karts, Ams and myself seated around the makeshift dining table we have made out of our 2 study tables in class. Each of us has equal portions of all dishes after “sharing”. We are probably a little old for the game but we are least bothered. We go on.

And then suddenly, I can’t visualize this clearly. My perception of the virtual image is blurred by tears. Are they happy tears after such lovely years of friendship at school that brought with it awesome games? Or are they sad tears brought by the awareness that that helpless longing to cling onto school and childhood was never fulfilled? The more I try to find an answer, the more confused I become. I try to make peace with the fact that there are such happy memories to cling onto. But you know how certain cravings linger?

Oh ma Goshi,

Yay yay yay

Oh ma-ma,

She told me a sixty years ago,

An old lady came knocking at the door,

With an ooh, aah,

I want some bar (?)

The bar is sweet

I want some meat

The meat is rough

I want to go by bus (but why?)

The bus is full

I want to go by bull (!!!!)

The bull is fat,

I want my money back (eh?)

The money is green,

I want my cherry bean

The cherry bean is red,

So my mother won’t let (seriously?)

Better go to bed,

And have a good good good night sleep!

Just look at that lyrics – how can you not fall in love with it? Right now, while typing it out, I stopped to raise my hand to tap and play it with my monitor. The lyrics maybe wrong. But I am not going to google it. These are my precious songs from wonderyears. And I will let them be. With all their idiosyncrasies and fond remembrances they bring.

There were oh-so-many of them! We also used to tweak some and make our own rhymes. One more popular one would be —

The queen of the oceans lost her ring,

Some say this and some say that,

But I say it was stolen by Karts mumble-jumble (we would add our funny phrase here)

Karts: Who, me?

Me: Yes, you.

…. and it would go on and on!

I lived by one strong belief. If it didn’t rhyme, there was no reason to like it. I was a staunch follower of anything and everything that rhymed. We used to sometimes talk in rhymes at home. Perfect rhyme; perfect sense. Sometimes, even if it did not rhyme, atleast some amount of alliteration was a must. Poems that rhymed were read and re-read and last pages of the notebooks were filled with self composed verses that rhymed. Why did I enjoy rhyme so much? For no rhyme or reason.

Oranges and lemons,

Sold for a penny,

All the school girls,

are so many,

The grass is green

The roses, red

Remember me when I am –

Dead, dead, dead.

Last night, I woke up to find my cheeks wet. Oh-ma-Goshi was playing in my dream when the wetness of my cheeks woke me up. And I found myself smiling.

 P.S. I would love to hear about your precious games 🙂


  1. suthewriter · March 14, 2013

    Oooh, you’ve brought back some really wonderful memories, Kismi! We did the cookie jar one and the old lady knocking at the door too. And when we were really young, we sang Ring-around-a-rosy like “Ringa ringa roses, pocket full of poses!” Goodness knows how one could fill a pocket with poses. 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · March 14, 2013

      Such wonderful memories, no? 🙂 That is pocketful of posies, if am not wrong 🙂 Asha busha! Ah!

      • Filter Kaapi · March 14, 2013

        Ya posies it is.. Very recently, I came to know according to some interpretations of “Ring-a-Ring” is a reference to the outbreak of plague.. posies is the herb for it, husha-busha – the sneezing, and all fall down – the final death 😦
        Anyways the gaiety with which the kids sings this one is such a delight! 🙂

      • kismitoffeebar · March 14, 2013

        Ah, that’s a lot of knowledge there! Thanks for sharing Filter Kaapi 🙂 This piece sounds like I have read it somewhere. Or maybe a deja vu. 🙂

  2. Destination Infinity · March 14, 2013

    I have written one serious poem all my life, which was titled ‘match-fixing’. And then, I decided not to write anything else… for the obvious reason that my rhymes were not rhyming!! The Oh ma Goshi is too good 🙂

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · March 14, 2013

      hehehehe DI ! You should share it sometime. Or, have you?
      tee hee. Yeah!

  3. Visha · March 14, 2013

    In which world was I 🙄 🙄 🙄
    Havent even heard of these games earlier 😐

    Hopscotch, kho-kho, hide and seek, name-place-animal-thing, carrom is all I remember from my early life archives 😛

    I am so with you on the poetry bit, if the words do not rhyme, chuck it away 😀 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · March 14, 2013

      Arey, rally?

      Ya ya, I remember those games too 🙂 But these were… special too! Okay, I will teach these to you when we meet 🙂

      Haha, hello fellow rhyme fan! 🙂

  4. Filter Kaapi · March 14, 2013

    Even, I seem to be from a different world… Haven’t done any of this….
    Hopscotch, hide and seek, name-place-animal-thing, carrom, pallanguzhi are the ones I remember…

    Others that I vaguely remember started like “Zip zap zoom” and one more that had “active girls, lazy boys” in between 😉

    Kismi, I never ever got the lines to rhyme in all my failed attempts 😦

    • kismitoffeebar · March 14, 2013

      Eh? Seriously, you and Visha must have been in a different world! Ofcourse, the games you mentioned are treasures too but these were more like verbal and hand clapping kinds, sung in a rhythm 🙂

      Zip zap zoom – I know that one! 🙂 Active girls, lazy boys? Don’t know 😦

      ha ha, that’s okay Filter kaapi. Your awesome name makes up for lack of rhyme 🙂

  5. metherebel · March 14, 2013

    I too had a fascination for rhymes! I loved those poems which rhymes others which didn’t didn’t qualify to be poems 🙂
    I too sang Ring-around-a-rosy like “Ringa ringa roses, pocket full of poses!” 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · March 14, 2013

      Yay! another rhyme fan 🙂
      We all sang rhymes just for the love of the tune alright! Who bothers about the lyrics anyway! 🙂 That’s what grown-ups do 😛

  6. eschris · March 14, 2013

    I remember the last one, vaguely. Another regional one in tamil. Pretty famous for its time –


    Enna paal?

    Thanni paal.

    Enna thanni?

    malai thanni.

    Enna malai?

    Ha.. ha.. ha ( rajini style)


    • kismitoffeebar · March 15, 2013

      hehehehe I have heard of it from 2 cousins in Chennai! 🙂

      There is one in Kannada also, only longer. Thanks for sharing! They bring such joy! 🙂

  7. The Girl Next Door · March 15, 2013

    Such a nostalgic post, Kismi!
    I have seen classmates playing this game, but I never played it myself. We used to play a similar game called ‘Jee Jaa Jee’. 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · March 16, 2013

      Ohhhh ! That one sounds new to me. Is it like Zip zap zoom ?

  8. Jas · March 15, 2013

    Even I didn’t play these games… it was more kho-kho and hide and seek etc… But the feeling of nostalgia is coming through so wholeheartedly. 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · March 16, 2013

      Thanks Jas 🙂 Khokho I have played very very rarely. But hide and seek ofcourse 😛

  9. Smita · March 15, 2013

    You reminded me of the good old days….unfortunately I cannot remember any such games but you for God Knows what reason, I hardly remember my childhood days!!!

    • kismitoffeebar · March 16, 2013

      Really Smita? That’s interesting. I remember every little thing as if it happened last minute! 🙂

  10. Sia · April 5, 2013

    Where in the world was I? Haven’t heard of these games at all 😦
    Wasn’t it hide and seek, carrom,Ludo, Name Place Animal Thing that we played?

    • kismitoffeebar · April 6, 2013

      hehehehe…. those were also very much there Sia. These were some games i played with friends at school as well 🙂

  11. eschris · April 5, 2013

    One more that came to mind today from a song lyric : In pin , safety pin, In pin – out ; Out goes the naughty pin, In pin out. 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · April 6, 2013

      Ah yes yes! That one is something I do even now when I cannot make a choice 😛 How could I miss this one out? Thanks so much Chris 🙂

  12. Neha · April 16, 2013

    The cherry bean is red
    I want to go to bed
    The bed is wet
    My mother won’t let

    You missed a line there 😛

    • kismitoffeebar · April 16, 2013

      But ofcourse! How could I? And trust you to spot it! 🙂

      A warm welcome here Neha. You don’t need one, though 🙂

  13. Arch · July 19, 2013

    Wow! That brought back some beautiful memories! Thank you! 🙂

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