Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Men, women and children of all age group delightfully took part playing 7 house chaukabara, and other two games.
The above is the final game of pagade. The participant in green saree was the winner while the gentleman in white and the lady in pink dress were the first and second runners-up respectively.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The game board has four arms joined at the sides of a central big square which is ‘Home’. Each arm is made up of three rows of eight squares. We shall call the home-arms of Red, Black, Yellow and Green pawns as Red-Arm, Black-Arm, Yellow-Arm and Green-Arm, respectively. Red pawns go around the board starting from and ending at Red-Arm. Similarly other pawns start their journeys on respective ‘home-arms’. Given below (as white arrow line) in Fig.2 is the path of Red pawns.
Pagade is a race game in which two or four players can play. Given here is the rule for four-player game.
The Fig.3 shows the game board from the Red’s point-of-view. Some squares are sequentially numbered from 1 to 75 while others have been blackened. The numbering originates from the home-arm of Red. Squares 1 to 7 are collectively called Red’s Belly. Belly is the private domain of one set of pawns wherein pawns of other sets cannot venture. Blackened squares in the Fig.3 depict Belly of other pawn-sets and hence Red pawns cannot move into those squares. The Red pawns start from its Belly, move from 1 to 75 sequentially and then to 8 and go down the belly to 1 and finally plunging into ‘Home’ as given below.
Similarly other pawns move around the board and come back to their respective home-arm and go down their Belly and into Home. The movement (anti-clockwise direction) is shown as an arrow in Fig.2.
Initially pawns are kept on the board as shown in Fig. 1, i.e., one pawn each are kept on squares 6 & 7 while a pawn-pair is at 12th square.
During the roll of dice, say the top of one dice has 3 dots and another has 6 dots. Pawn/s can be moved in two ways.
When both dice have same number of dots on the top side, it is called a doublet. A doublet (1,1 or 3,3 or 4,4 or 6,6) can be used either to move two individual pawns or a single pawn or a pawn-pair can be moved together. There is no bonus extra turn for rolling a doublet.
A pawn is cut when an opponent pawn lands in the same square. A cut pawn is removed from the board for the time being. No matter where a pawn was cut, it has to start the race all over again beginning at 1 in its Belly during its immediate next turn. For example, a player’s one pawn is cut and during his next turn, he has to place the cut pawn starting from his Belly as per either or both numbers got from dice.
If two pawns are cut, both have to be placed starting from the Belly, corresponding to the number got from each dice (one pawn for each dice). Until and unless all cut pawns are reintroduced on board, a player cannot move other pawns.
Pawn-Pair: If two pawns of same colour come together on a square, they form a “pawn-pair.” By default all players have a pawn-pair at the beginning of the game. Player can choose to break and separate a pawn-pair at any given time just by moving one or both pawns (to different squares). Any pawn or a pawn-pair can jump over another pawn-pair.
A roll of doublet of dice is required to move a pawn-pair together. Only a pawn-pair can cut another pawn-pair (with the roll of a doublet). A single pawn cannot cut a pawn-pair. Same coloured two pawns on separate squares cannot land together on the square occupied by another pawn-pair. Such cutting is also not allowed.
For example, a Green-pair is on 70 and there are two Red pawns, one on 66 and another on 67. Now if Red rolls 3 & 4 on dice, it might seem that they both are forming a pawn-pair at 70 and hence can cut the Green-pair present there, but they can’t, since a pawn-pair can be cut only by an already formed pawn-pair.
Except the squares in the Belly (1 to 7) no where else can there be more than two pawns on a single square.
For a pawn to enter its Belly on its way to Home, the player should have cut at least one opponent pawn. A pawn that has entered its Belly on the way to Home has to be distinguished from other pawns that are still starting the race. Hence such a Home-ward pawn is turned on its side in the Belly, thus moves deep into the Belly and finally enters Home. Exact number of dot/s on either dice (or both) is required to enter ‘Home’.
There are no safe squares in this game. A pawn is safe only in its Belly i.e., from squares 1 to 7.
There are no bonus turns in this game, not even when a player cuts his opponent’s pawn, not also during a roll of a doublet.
Winner: The first player to get all his 4 pawns into the Home is the winner. Others can keep playing to get 1st runner-up, 2nd runner-up and the loser. In a partnership game, the team that first gets all its 8 pawns into Home is the winner.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Dr. C.R. Dileep Kumar explained the guests about the game boards and how to play them.The couple were completely engrossed with looking at the beautiful kalamkari game boards, game boards on low stools and pawns. As they came to the main display of the exhibition, they froze in their tracks, struck with wonder.
A part of a traditional brahmin's house stood in front of them complete with all details. The jagali with a tiled roof supported by wooden pillars, clothes hanging on rafters, old photographs, traditional rangoli designs on the wall ('kaarli'), a doorway opening into a small room which had a old display case, a small altar and a corner stand gave an authentic look to this main installation.
Radha and Ravee were excited looking at the house; they stepped onto the jagali and sat down to play a game of dice on the Navalgund Dhurry which had a central pagade woven into it.
Monday, April 6, 2009
It is not just an exhibition but a time machine, indeed. A look at those gorgeous game boards is a sure-fire ticket to one’s childhood. As I was engrossed looking at the displayed games, I heard a familiar sound. It was the hollow sound of shells, a group of children were playing Chaukabara with cowries in the game parlour at the gallery; umm! I am dragged back in time and suddenly I was a school kid again. During summer and Dasara vacations, we kids were holding our entire road to ransom by playing hide-and-seek, marbles, shuttle-badminton, cycling, etc. When our cousins came calling, we played board games with them indoors.
The heap of tamarind seeds - for us kids it was a veritable treasure with which we played umpteen games, all of it is flooding back to me. The game of ‘Sari-Besa’ in which one has to take a fist-full of seeds from the heap and the opponent had to guess whether the fist contained ‘sari’ (even) or ‘besa’ (odd). The seeds are then counted and if the opponent had guessed correct, the seeds are his, if not, nothing. Unwittingly, we were learning the concept of ‘even’ and ‘odd’ much before being taught at school.
As kids we had learnt basic concepts of mathematics even before joining school all because of board games. We were so obsessed with games that, we created games out of pretty well anything which we could lay our hands on. For few special things we had to go looking for them; many a times, our gang surreptitiously lurked around bangle stores and hunt for broken pieces of glass bangles. One might ask why, and the answer is – to play.
Kids are very creative with things. They can devise games out of anything, everything, and play. The converse of this is also true. That is, kids who play a lot will become creative. It is a wrong notion that creativity is required only for artists, actors and writers, but the fact is, creativity is useful for everyone – politicians, engineers, tailors, pujaris, farmers, home-makers, teachers, etc., etc., etc. Creativity inculcates the ability to think out of box, which helps a person to devise solutions for problems in any situation.
So if you want your kids to learn while having fun and also if you want to keep those dreaded diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay (it has been proven that playing board games regularly helps avoiding such diseases in old-age), then drop in at Pratima Gallery. A whole new world of traditional board games opens up in front of you. Ramsons Kala Pratishtana has organised its third annual game exhibition ‘Kreedaa Kaushalya’ which will go on till 19 April 2009.
Here, play a game of Pagade (Pachisi), marvel at the beautiful pawns of Adu Huli Ata (Goats and Tigers), learn the rules of playing ‘Navakankari’ (Nine Men’s Morris), get surprised looking at the gold painted chessmen and silver board of ‘Chaduranga’, ogle at beautiful boards of Aligulimane (Pallanguli), go up and down the game of ‘Paramapada’ (Snakes and Ladders) and if you are still not satisfied, you can also buy gorgeous game boards and their equally attractive accessories.
What are you waiting for, fold the newspaper, get up and get going. Have a healthy dose of pure unadulterated Indian entertainment with your family. Don’t worry it is for entire family; kids, especially, will love it.
PS: Please carry an extra hand-kerchief or two, if your octogenarian parents are accompanying you. The exhibition is notorious for triggering nostalgic tears in senior citizens.
Ramsons Kala Pratishtana
cordially invites you to
third annual exhibition and sale of traditional games of India
10 - 19 April 2009
10.00 am to 7.00 pm
Venue: Pratima Gallery
Ramsons House, In front of Zoo, Mysuru 570010
T: +91-821-2449121. M: +91-9880111625
Monday, March 2, 2009
Countless trips to the same city, she beckons me time and again and each trip has been an experience worth cherishing. It was here, long ago, that I tasted a 'paan' for the first time; I diligently chewed every bit of it releasing sweet juicy concoction in my mouth which I swallowed - I have remained a connoisseur of paan ever since.
The old city is enclosed within massive fort walls and entry is through huge gates; a guardian deity at each of these gates is dutifully worshipped till date. My favourite among them is Hanuman who is always magnificently attired and the most amusing sight was when the lord was shown wearing a Jodhpuri bandh-gala - a long coat with closed collars.
One of the magnificent sights of the pink city of Jaipur is the 17th century palace complex within which is the temple dedicated to Govindji. The sandhya aarati bhajans sung by a devout band every evening has a soothing effect on the minds of the faithful.
I visited Jaipur with Raghu this January. On a leisurely walk towards the Albert's Museum, on the wintry morning, I spotted half a dozen men squatting on the ground in front of the Sindhi dharamshala on Mirza Ismail Road, engaged in a game of Chauka Bara. They had scribbled the game pattern on the dusty ground with a piece of chalk; twigs and different sized pebbles became pawns while split tamarind seeds acted as dice. Raghu seized the moment catching the group on camera.
Further away were two teenage boys engrossed in the same game beside their idle cycle rickshaws.
I learnt that the game was called 'Chang-a-bu' or 'Challas' depending upon the version . The latter began with a successful throw of '4' while the play in former began with '1', the pawns which reached the central square in the 5x5 square game board are referred to as 'laal' or red (in most Indian board games the pawns that are in the race are considered as raw fruits and once they reach the destination 'home', they are said to ripen and turn red). I wanted to enquire more but the language became a barrier, the rajasthani dialect which they spoke was beyond my comprehension.
As we walked towards the Ramnivas Garden to visit the Albert Hall, little did I imagine that many more surprises were in store for us.
There were large murals on the museum's inner walls which were reproductions of famous works of art from across several civilisations; the one from the persian Mahabharata had a subject of our interest.
Reminiscent of mughal miniatures, the heavily clothed and turbaned Pandavas and Kauravas sat on a raised platform within a high ceiling hall supported by pillars; the geometric patterns of Bukhara carpet somewhat downplayed the act of Draupadi being disrobed by Dusshasana. Shocked and ashamed by the sudden turn of events, the central characters look sullen, despondent; Pandavas have their eyes downcast, being aware they are helpless in the situation. A scene from the epic stood frozen in time, on that wall.
Further in the galleries were several game boards, boxes and pawns. The museum brochure states that the core collection on display was purchased in 1880s through invitation from craftspersons across India.
A circular table of chess with 18x18 houses having beautiful inlay perhaps from the doab region of Punjab reminded me of the phulkari embroidery.
A walnut wood box painted with 4 playing cards amidst floral patterns looked like a miniature char-bag; it was undoubtedly from Kashmir.
The octogonal onyx chess table and another 12x12 board mounted on a latticed brass chowki is similar to the work done in present day Pakistan.
The magnificent card box overlaid with lattice worked ivory plates held together by metal pins on a rosewood box from the erstwhile vizianagaram state of Andhra Pradesh.
A Pachisi (Pagade) game board with intricate and colourful emroidery is most probably from the Kutch area of Gujarat.
Two miniature paintings in the collection of this museum executed in the registrar style merit mention. The first is a series of the tale of Vaishampayana wherein two seated men in jamas and wearing turbans play a game of Pachisi (Pagade).
Another miniature from the Baarah-masa series titled Kartika Masa, among other things depicts a couple gambling on the dark diwali night.
The recently renovated Albert museum which has been attracting visitors for almost 125 years looks all set to welcome museum enthusiasts and captivate their minds in coming years. The excellently produced audio guide is undoubtedly a tribute to its architect and designer Sir Swinton Jacob.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The British, in the garb of East India Company, were able to wrest this strategic military bastion after four bloody wars spread over almost quarter of a century.
Today this town is fairly well known on the tourist circuit and the centre of attraction is the Sri Ranganatha temple, a majority of the activities revolve around this ancient temple also known as Gautama Kshetra. On 14th January 2009, myself and Raghu decided to visit this temple for three reasons on that auspicious day.
1. It marks the day of harvest festival Makara Sankranti, across India, when the newly harvested grain is cooked for the first time; a platter of goodies to tickle the palate.
2. The reclining deity, Ranganatha, which is 16 feet long is adorned with fresh butter which is applied as a thin coat over the image, about 80 kilograms of butter is consumed in this excercise. The dark complexioned deity in black chlorite schist is transformed into snowy fair handsome prince - it is a sight to behold.
3. Hundreds upon hundreds of earthen lamps are lit in the pathway to the temple to mark the opening of the Vaikunta Dwara - a gate located in the northern part of the temple kept locked all through the year is thrown open for devotees. This gate is the earthly representation of a similar divine gateway which leads to the abode of Vishnu.
With a sense of satisfaction and feeling positively energised, Raghu got busy with the camera shooting the stucco images above the granite pillars. I searched by a secluded corner to partake the sanctified food offering given to me by the chief priest Sri Vijayasarathy.
The brightly lit flag post area in the inner courtyard seemed a tranquil place, as I prepared to settle down near the pillar in front of the monolith statue of the celestial guardian 'Vijaya', I noticed a well worn Goats & Tigers game pattern.
As we finished the circumambulation and passed through the Vaikunta Dwara, a giant sized rock cut pot to plant the sacred basil, Tulasi, beckoned us, as we admired the beautiful relief carving on it, at the base was another well preserved 'Goats & Tigers' game pattern.
Munching on the sugar candy offered at the Ranganayaki shrine, we walked past the main gate into the commotion outside where thousands of earthen lamps were brimming with oil, with a lone cotton wicke each, to be lit at the sunset.
We ascended the temple's main tower, Rajagopura, to have a long view of the people assembled. As we peeped out of the tiny window on the fifth floor of the gopura, in front of us was a beautiful vista. The twinkling flickers from miniature lamps was an inspiring sight - looked like a litup runway for the landing of celestial chariots flying down from heavens above.