In an era when video games and PlayStations had not made their way into every household, vacations meant spending time playing board games with cousins, friends and grandparents. With the entire family huddled around a board, racking their brains over the next move and cheering for a particular player, one witnessed a sense of bonding and love. Not just the indoor games, but just like each part of India, south India also had its fair share of traditional outdoor games played by young and old alike. But these traditional games have taken a beating owing to the onslaught of modern technology and fancy playing equipments. But this fact hasn’t stopped Vinita Siddhartha of Kreeda to strive towards keeping traditional games alive. Recently they launched a card game Memories of Madras that has a deck of 70 cards, each dedicated to a building in Madras on the occasion of Madras Week.
“Pallanguzhi and parama padam have been popular games that most Tamil households can relate to. They were always a part of everyday life. Games have been an intrinsic part of life since centuries and I intend to research and work towards new approaches to rekindle interest in them,” says Vinita. In the past, there was a game based on the concept of ‘sowing and harvesting’, played using tamarind seeds, roadside pebbles or cowry shells. Today, if you order this set online from Kreeda, you might be unwrapping a neatly-packaged cardboard box, complete with a wooden board, carefully-selected pure white pebbles, and an elaborate list of rules. Most of the Kreeda games have boards made of canvas and a few are made of wood as well. You can also find other games like Chaupad (a traditional Indian dice game), Aadu Puli Aatam (a two-player game of skill, strategy, and thinking like chess), Bambaram (colourful Indian tops) and more. Owing to the uniqueness of these games, the colourful boards and the local context, kids and adults love the games.
“India has a rich culture of traditional games. The games reflect the cultural, economic and social variations of this large country. We intend to research and find out new games from time to time and understand the social and cultural significance behind it. Many of them also have a relevance in modern context as they help learn mathematical skills, life skills, coordination, team building and more,” she adds.
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