BENGALURU: Playstation and Xbox may be part of the entertainment mainstream today, but board games are rolling out the dice again.
Sreeranjini G S (38), a city-based geneticist who swears by culture and tradition, is doing her bit to spread awareness about these traditional treasures through her small venture Kavade, A Toy Hive— located in Sheshadripuram, Bengaluru.
Many parents and children are now turning to these retro pleasures to get a respite from too much screen time and bond with each other— no technology required.
Deriving its name from the Kannada word ‘Cowrie shells’, Kavade promotes board games like Chowka Bara, Pagade, Navakankari, Lagori, Tiger and Goat, Ali Guli Mane, Huli Kuri Aata, Vemanam and Panchi, Bhadrakattam and Parampada Sopanam.
Ask Sreeranjini how she came up with this idea, she said, “Kavade as a store came about when I realised that we were largely moving into a gadget world. Games that we were playing as children were going extinct. My parents never had to think about ways to keep us engaged. Board games have always helped us socialise and share positive energy. That’s what is missing in today’s kids and I want to bring that back.”
These games are a combination of fun and learning.They enable logical analysis and aid in the development of mathematical concepts and instil social skills, which help better bonding between individuals, she said.
“Games like Pagade, also known as Pachisi and Chaupar aid skills such as strategy-making and counting and familiarise you with Indian mythology, as Chaupar was the game that set up the epic war Mahabharatha,” explained Sreeranjini. While other games like Lagori (stacked wooden tiles) stimulate concentration, some like Aduhuli Aata, Navakankari (games found etched on temple floors) stimulate strategy and thinking, she added.
Do these games draw children? For Madhav Mittal (11), these board games are the only source of entertainment as his mother believes that electronic gadgets leave a negative impact on him. “I always wanted my child to know about the traditional games, and Kavade as a place is a great store house of knowledge.My child has not just learnt how to play various games but has also learnt some amazing techniques to defend himself,” said Leena Mittal, his mother.
Not restricting herself to just the store, Sreeranjini organises workshops for children and corporate employees at ‘Attic’, an extension of her venture. Attic, set on a beautiful terrace top, invites like-minded enthusiasts to play a game or two while recollecting the days gone by. The Attic also provides an alternate venue to host workshops, team-building, coffee evenings, book and play reading, and other socially charged activities.
Sreeranjini said, “Many think that these board games are just meant for children. This is not true. Traditional board games have the ability to bring together different generations and allow them to connect with each other.”
Elderly people come every week and recapture old times.
Anupama(42), a Montessori trainer, said, “These board games have instilled confidence and a sense of team work in my children.”
Another plus for Kavade is that it has a green connect. The boards and coins are made from eco-friendly materials like palm leaves, wood and fabric with the help of a few self-help groups and Channapatna toy makers. “We use tamarind seeds and coffee beans in many games instead of plastic pointers, this gives a new experience to children,” Sreeranjini said.
Ask her one message that she wants to give to the present generation, she said, “People should think about alternative spaces too. They should explore traditional games and I am sure they are bound to have fun.”