Playing with “Suthai” (English meaning Sea Bean seeds (Entada Rheedi seeds)

This game requires atleast 2 players (1 player can also play alone but it becomes more interesting for a child with 2 or more players). 2 suthai are required to strike each other during the game, one is the target and the other is the striker.

This game has several steps to play. As shown in the video, the first step is for the Player 1 to roll the suthai from a certain distance (atleast 2 metres away) to strike another suthai placed in a static position. If it does not strike from that distance, then the player has to strike it with his/her thumb and index fingers. Each player is given 3 chances. Step 2 is to roll the suthai between each leg from behind and strike the other suthai. Step 3 is to hold it tightly between the ankles, then hop and strike it. Step 4 is to hold it between the arches of the feet, then hop and strike it. Step 5 is to hold it between the two big toes, then hop and strike it. Step 6 is to hold between the knees, then hop and strike it. Step 7 is to come forward, sit and place it above your ear and roll it down to strike near the static suthai. Step 8 is to come forward, sit and place on the forehead and roll it down to strike the suthai at the bottom. The one who finishes all the levels wins the game. The player who doesn’t needs to keep playing until s/he finishes it.


Cultural Narrative: 

Playing with suthai is very common and a popular game in many South Asian and Southeast Asian countries. Since its plant is found and grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas, it is very easy to find the seeds to use for play by the children. Children in the villages still know how to play the game while those in the urban neighbourhoods are losing the skill of playing this traditional game.

Our informant Jayashree Barman Kemprai further provided the information that it is also used as a medicinal aid for healing the cow huffs and hung around the neck of the cow to trace it with its sound; it is also used for knee pain. Suthai is also a culturally significant seed as it is used during the death ritual in Dimasa society.

Location Description: 

Village : Kanakpur, Assam, India

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