The game of Maharajas

Our office has entertainment to clear the mind: fussball, pool and a ping pong table and of course a table of Carrom: a traditional Indian board game also known as Strike and Pocket Table Game, carrum, couronne, carum, karam, karom, karum, and finger billiards. And as part of our Indian experience, we thought we should learn some traditional games as well. 

The beginnings of Carrom are a legend at best; some say it originated in India but other theories trace the beginnings to the British, Burma, Egypt or Ethiopia. So no one really knows. Whatever its beginnings though, it is said to be played in India as early as 18th century onwards as the main source of entertainment for the Maharajas. The game consists of carrom men (19), strikers, queen (red coin) and powder (for application on the board for smooth strikes).

Rules change depending on who is playing but in all versions, the method of playing is to use one’s finger to elegantly (or not) use the striker coin to contact other coins (the carrom men), so that these carrom men fall into any one of the four holes or pockets on the carrom board.

The game is so popular nowadays that there is even world championships every four years. I dont think we will ever compete in one of those!

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