Crocodile! Crocodile!

Crocodile! Crocodile! May we cross the Golden river?
Crocodile: Yes you may, if you have cyan on you.

I remember this being one of the hottest games of our youth. We roped off a portion of the street and positioned the crocodile in there, while the goal for the remaining was to cross the river. If you did have the colour the crocodile was looking for, you usually donned an unnecessarily supercilious expression and made a big scene about strolling across the river, while the poor crocodile looked more crocodile-like than crocodiles do – wanting to tear and rip you apart, but the rules of the game bound one. The ones who did not have the colour on them ran across while the croc lunged and grabbed. If caught, you were the next crocodile and so on.

When we first started playing this game, we were very much the rainbow kids – not very innovative in our colours. Then slowly, we expanded to yellowish purple and bluish orange. Anything to get all of them to run across. That was when, I quipped, “I have diglish danglie on my underwear” (Or whatever ridiculous colour it was), and stroll across. The modicums of decency allowed one to stroll across wearing a white panty without verification, but just a small pang of guilt. Best to leave the attitude behind on such occasions. But this method was soon vetoed, because one could not possibly have 255 colours, and all their permutations and combinations on a small panty, and some people claimed they did.

I loved playing this game because this is when I started taking an interest in vocabulary. I learnt about ‘Scarlet’ and ‘Turquoise’ and ‘Garnet’ and ‘Fushcia’ just so I could ask for these colours when it was my turn to be a crocodile. I am not even sure I knew the exact colour myself, but so didn’t the others, and I was finally queen of the river.

Imagine my chagrin then when years later, I said ‘Teal’ or ‘Mauve’ matter of factly only to have the husband stare at me like he was oggling through a glass barrier at a very mentally disturbed gorilla. “You mean purple?” he’d ask. I let it pass thinking the poor lad in his youth hadn’t played this enriching game of crocs and must not be penalised.

Then, I read this article about different kinds of color blindness. So, where some see palettes of colours, others don’t. It also gave me a tit-bit that I have suspected all along. Women are less prone to being color blind than men.
I quote:
“Color blindness is an inherited condition(usually anyway) most common in men ( 8-12 percent of Caucasian men, and less than one half of one percent in women).Β  ”

Not all forms of colour blindness is acute enough to not recognize primary colours – it is subtler than that. While we see the bottle greens and the olive greens, some of them just see green or possibly gray. I’d like to play Crocodile Crocodile with one of these people just to see how interesting it is.

13 thoughts on “Crocodile! Crocodile!”

  1. Remember this game very well. I particularly recollect one nasty specimen who insited there was a colour called “Tollimen” – a peculiar shade of yellow and that her father had that word in his “imported” dictionary.

    I got even by asking for “Burnt Sienna” – the other art students vouched for me but didn’t explain what color it was to Ms. Imported Dictionary. And yes, she was clothed in brown!!

  2. How many humorous sessions we had of me saying the word “Mauve” πŸ™‚
    First with Meera and then with this blogger/wife and recently with the younger one.

    Me: Mavu
    Women*: Not Mavu..Mauve
    Me: Mauve (in my head at least)
    Women*: *Sigh* and move on.. 😦

    ” The modicums of decency allowed one to stroll across wearing a white panty without verification, but just a small pang of guilt.”


  3. Shoba – I was thinking of Suresh when I read the article. But he pre-empted everybody and commented himself.

    Sri…you really have to nail mauve soon before Keena starts playing this game.

  4. This argument plays out with the missus and myself every day! I can recognise a blue, dark blue or light blue (you get the drift), but get into purpose, turquoise, ‘Ramar’ colour blue, sky blue territory and I am left high and dry!

    1. You should have spent more time with us playing crocodile crocodile than stringing or massaging your cricket bat and loitering about all day!

  5. Oh wow… remember playing this one and also a slightly different version (only in the question asked) where the catcher is asked “Color color what color do you choose?” and based on the response, whoever does not have the color is pursued to be caught… Ah! Nostalgia…

  6. Funny write up! Thoroughly enjoyed. Yeah, I do agree that men are not as good at colours as women.
    My wife has already taught me these, long way to go:

    Baby pink
    Bottle green
    Olive Green
    Milky white
    Peacock blue


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