CHENNAI: The game of seven tiles, which is also called Chattiyeru or Chilleru, originated in Kannur and the northern districts of Kerala is one that will send shivers of excitement through everyone involved in it. Standing along with your teammates in a battle posture, taunting your rivals and concentrating your entire energy towards the singular aim of winning, is an exhilarating experience.
“To play the game you need seven flat marbles pieces and a ball; traditionally, the ball used to be made of coconut leaves, but nowadays even tennis balls are used. These days, a rubber ball has more takers since it is more durable,” says Manoj Chandy, a businessman in Kottayam.
“We deliberately opted for a rubber ball, not just because it was cheaper than a tennis ball, but because it induced the maximum pain when thrown at our opponents,” recalls Renny Thomas, a homemaker from Kochi.
How it’s played
The game requires two teams of five or more players, with each team comprising an equal number of members. The marble pieces are arranged one on top of the other to form a stack.
The players then line up and try to break the tile formation with the ball. After a player succeeds in breaking it, he/she and his teammates have to arrange the marbles back into the original tower, while avoiding being thwarted by the opposition team, who try to stop them by throwing the ball at them. If anyone is hit by the ball, he/she is declared out of the game. The game then continues with the rest of the team. The process goes on until they succeed in building up the tower again and cry out ‘Seven Tiles’.
“The thrill when you complete the stack and shout ‘Seven Tiles’ is simply exhilarating,” says Smitha Mathew, a research associate in Kochi. “It is usually played by boys, but girls in my class were very interested and used to play the game,” she said.