Are your board games too heavy to carry around? Fancy folding them into a fist-sized ball and stuffing it in your bag wherever you go? Neha Murthy’s initiative helps you do just that. Pachisi, her one-year-old brand, specialises in making board games on fabrics. “I have done around 15 board games on khadi using embroidery and applique work, sometimes, printing as well,” she says. The games are packaged along with the brass dices, wooden coins or shells, which the particular games require.
The games include traditional ones like Goats and Tigers or Aadu Puliyattam and Chowka Bhara, which is played widely in Karnataka, besides versions of Tic-Tac-Toe and Ludo. “Pachisi in itself is a board game. It is one of India’s oldest games, and is also known by the names Pagade, Chaupar, Chaupad, Dayakattai or Kori Khel. Pachisi is also believed to be the game of dice that gave rise to problems between the Kauravas and Pandavas that later ended in a war,” she says. “Also, did you know that Ludo is a western interpretation of Pachisi? That is how cool this game is!” she adds.
While many buy her fabric game boards for the love of games, there are people who just want to use them as a decor. The pieces, though use the concept of games, are tweaked to include interesting themes like Indian roads, kings and queens and sometimes, cartoons as well. “Though I haven’t specifically made any pieces for decorative purposes, there are people who ask for suggestions on how to use them besides for playing purposes. There are a few who just frame them and hang them on their walls, and there are others who put it on the dining table, probably using it as a mat,” she says. However, the main objective of Pachisi, according to Neha, is to revive the charm of the old games, and expose them to children. “When I was specialising in Design in college, I always wanted to do something for children. Hence, I took up the board games, which I have been playing ever since I was a kid,” she says. “Nowadays, not many kids know about Pachisi, or even Ludo for that matter. What I have observed is that when they come across it, they do show some interest, but since they are not exposed to these at all, we find them mostly stuck to their video games,” she says.
Probably, her little effort will help reinvent the games, she believes. Meanwhile, she is also planning to come up with a game all by herself. Pachisi on fabric is now available. To buy, write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did You Know?
Pachisi was played in many different ways across India. Some played it with cowrie shells while others played it with wooden or brass dice. There are many variations in the board itself. The rules also differ. It is believed that Pachisi was a poor man’s game as it was played with cowrie shells as dice and the Royals played Chaupar — the game with wooden dice.