Village life in this district would appear to be extraordinarily monotonous to an outsider. The people know little of the world beyond the little circle of local bazars where their avocations take them and they are extremely reluctant to leave home. Before taking a journey when absolutely necessary, omens are watched, astrologer consulted and an auspicious day is selected. The cultivator would rise very early in the morning and turn cattle to feed. From dawn to mid-day he ploughs or does some other field work. He rests for about three hours in the heat of the
day and from 3 o'clock takes up some light task, returning home at sunset. After supper, he goes straight to bed, but in seasons
when work is light he may go to the Chabutra of Maruti's
temple to gossip and get bazar news. Here bhajans are sung,
old stories retold and anonymous complaints concocted against the Patwari, the head constable and some other unpopular officers. Sometimes, some fairly literate man may read the purana or a newspaper. This scene is changing fast with the introduction of the radio sets given to villages by the Government and this amusement-cum-instruction is much appreciated. The work of the social welfare and block development departments for the moral and material development of the people is taking strong roots.
The visit of a troupe of acrobats or of dancing boys occasionally is much liked. Enterprising teachers in the primary schools that are multiplying start dramatic clubs and their plays in which boys and girls participate, provide much innocent and healthy amusement to old and young. This spirit is penetrating even among the Gonds and Madias and the work during the three five year plans for agricultural development, irrigation, animal husbandry, forests, housing, co-operation, small industries, education, sanitation and medical help is fast changing the face of Candrapur which was once extremely backward.
Children's games in Candrapur as elsewhere have times and season. Topal-dandu (tip-cat) and dhandhar, a sort of single stick play with farcical interludes are favourites all the year round, except during the rainy season. From the beginning of the rains till Pola, stilt-walking holds the field, but the stilts are discarded on the evening of the Badge ceremony. Phugadi is a romping dancing game, played at Dasara, Lonpata, a complicated 'touch' game played in squares, begins at the end of the rains and in Phalgun, Ghan-Makad a sort of sea-saw has its turn. A log is placed on an upright pivot, two boys seat themselves on the ends and set it whirling with a push of their feet. When sufficient velocity is attained, they lift their feet and keep whirling. This log is usually burnt in the Holi fire. Marbles or gotya is a favourite game in the hot weather. In many old temples stones are found showing deep cuts caused by village boys rubbing their marbles to make them round. In Candrapur cricket, hockey and football became popular decades ago and have now spread to every town and big village where their is a secondary school. Carrom and chess at home is noticed in some places.
Cattle-racing in light carts, goading animals to speed by all possible means is a popular amusement among the cultivating classes in the district. Cattle-races are held on the day of Til-Sankranta at which two pairs of bullocks, yoked to a light chakda or cart, race against each other for a distance of half a mile or so, while the owners bet on the result. Such contests are held also at the various fairs and a number of frantic cartmen
long for the day when they could take part in the cart-racing.
With the same spirit of contest, they enjoy fights between rams,
cocks and buffaloes specially trained for the purpose.
But the entertainment to the taste of the urban inhabitant of Candrapur has to be of a more cultural type. Theatrical and circus companies and the cinema houses cater for his amusement. Acrobats, dancers and snake-charmers provide occasional amusement. Organised efforts are made by dramatic clubs, libraries and new-papers from centres like Nagpur provide the intellectual amusement necessary to the literate and the educated.
Recreational activities and games popular among children of the district have parallels perhaps with such activities all the world over. Dolls made of clay and cloth and occasionally their marriages are celebrated with feasts and lire-works. Tag and chase games such as andhli kosimbir, lapandav are popular among boys of all ages. Games such as gup-cup-toba, surpa-rambi, vagh bakri are played in a team spirit. Games of gotya and bhovra (top) are played with a keen sense of contest by boys. Bhatukli (house-keeping), gajge or sagargote and phugdya are essentially games played by girls. Games played in the primary and secondary schools in the district are much the same as in any other district in the State. Of these the well known major Indian games are: atyapatya, kabaddi, kho-kho, langadi, lagorya, and viti-dandu.
Swimming and walking on stilts are the pastimes of the month of Sravana. Kite flying is a favourite amusement with the old and young in the open season about the time of Sankranta and the game of patang ladhane which consists in trying to cut the strings of each other's kites is played. When the string of a kite is cut and it tails to the ground, it becomes the property of the first person who can pick it. For this purpose, a special thread rubbed with paste and ground glass-dust is made in order to make it sharp and hard.