by PRAVAT J GURUNG
Every country has a national game. America's got rugby, India's got hockey, though it's cricket that really gets them excited, and Nepal? Well, we've always had dandibiyo as our national game even though it's not official. Back in the days before cable television, (except for the huge umbrella dish antennas which had to be moved around to catch free signals) when radio Nepal rocked the household radio, we had nothing to do but play outside. Yes, there was a time before video games and facebook.
Dandibiyo has survived generations and with time, the rules have changed, but that's no surprise. Surkhet has a different way of going about it while those in Kathmandu insist they've got it right. Whatever the case, we love the game and it has, kind of, become our national game.
Read on for a how-to of dandibiyo. It's amazing what you can do with two sticks!
What do you need?
1. A simple stick that is strong (dandi) and solid.
2. A second solid stick a quarter of the size of the first (biyo), with two pointed ends.
3. Two groups, with as many players as are interested!
4. Lastly, of course, a field to play in.
How do you play it?
1. The idea is to use the dandi to hit either end of the biyo (on the ground), and when it flies up, tap it with the dandi as many times as you can while it is still in the air. Whoever can do this the most gets to go first.
2. The biyo is placed crosswise across a small trench in the ground. The dandi is then used to flick it up. The other team, facing the trench, tries to catch it. If they do so the person who flicked the biyo is out. If they can't, points for the starting team are counted by distance from the trench, measured by lengths of the dandi.
3. Each person from the home team then gets up to three chances to hit the biyo, tap it as many times as possible, then bash it far away. The further it goes, the more points the group earns and this is important – if the dandi has tapped the biyo more than once, points are multiplied, and distance is measured with the much shorter biyo. The player cannot touch the biyo at any point.
4. The teams decide in advance what the target score should be, and whoever reaches it first, wins.
*Disclaimer: The game has been explained briefly – there are variations in rules and also in how points are counted, so decide on this before you start!