Also known as ‘Thattukali’, the traditional game of Kilithattu Kali is slowly losing its popularity. The game, which starts in the morning and extends into the late hours of the day, comes with a sense of nostalgia.
Kilithattu is drawn on the ground in a large rectangular shape and further divided into two equal parts lengthwise. It is then divided into five boxes across. The game is played as a team of two with each team containing five people. One of the players is referred to as the ‘Kili’ who will act as a referee. The ‘Kili’ will stand at the front of the field and the rest of the team members are required to stand at the back of the box.
The game starts with a clap from the Kili. The opposing team members have to enter each box on the field and exit successfully without getting hit by the Kili or other players standing in the lines. The Kili can move along any line of the field and knock out the opponent. Those who come out without getting hit by anyone are named ‘uppu’ (salt) and those standing in the inner boxes are called pacha (green). If salt and green come in the same field, it is declared a foul. Sometimes, the referee is common to both teams by consensus. The referee is then called ‘Irupaksham Kili’.
The most skilled player is selected as the ‘Kili’ and has lots of advantages in the game. Only this person can move along any line of the field, while others can only move along the lines of the designated box. As the number of players increases, the size of the game field can be increased. This game is also known as ‘Uppukali’ in some parts of the Malabar region.