Actually, I learnt the proper pronunciation and meaning of the word ‘bagatelle’ much later in life, when I was studying literature.
When we were children, we used to call it ‘bagaduli’. Which was the ‘Bengalification’ of an old (going back to 1777) and regal (Louis XVI, if I am not wrong) indoor game.
Our ‘bagaduli’ was a small semi-oblong shaped flimsy board of wood with numerous pins stuck on it in intricate circular patterns. There were a few round metal globules which we had to push with sticks along these pinned alleyways in an attempt to get them trapped in the pinned circles, each of which had different points (10, 20, 25, 30, etc). Obviously, the player with the most points won.
I cannot remember ever getting the hang of this game, and cannot recall ever playing it competitively.
Oh, there were many indoor/board games which brought out our fiercest competitive instincts, with improvised tournaments and league-matches played during every vacation – summer, Puja or winter. We cousins would stay up half the night playing card games (hellbent on winning or cheating), and then challenge each other again in the morning across the carom board. Even ludo was competitive, before we graduated to Chinese chequers and then to chess (not for all of us, though).
But the ‘bagaduli’ usually languished in a corner of some be-curtained wooden shelf with the other outgrown stuff. Only to be taken out when I was alone and had nothing better to do. Only to be dusted, toyed with half-heartedly (I still remember the faint ‘ping’ sound of the metal balls hitting each other), and put back into shadowy obscurity.
Only to be remembered, in a half-forgotten way, when I came across the word ‘bagatelle’ in college, when I was struck by the irony of its meaning: ‘a trifle’. Of so many such trifles our past is made, and so many such trifles slip away forever through the memory-sieve. I felt so glad that I could retrieve and reconstruct this particular ‘bagatelle’…
ANY MEMORIES OF GAMES THAT YOU NEVER PLAYED?