Society

A new boardgame is keeping people of Madurai engaged during the COVID-19 lockdown

U Abdul Rahman is playing the boardgame Asude, that he created, with people who have been rehabilitated from the streets

Two years ago, when he devised Asude, his own boardgame, U Abdul Rahman didn’t think it would one day help people deal with depression. Now, during the Government-imposed lockdown, the 26-year-old is teaching the game to those who have been rescued from Madurai’s streets and housed at a wedding hall in Palanganatham. “There are 89 people here, some of whom are mentally-challenged and those who are homeless,” says Abdul.

The district administration reached out to Abdul to keep people there occupied. “A few of them are facing mental health issues since all of a sudden, they are being asked to stay indoors for weeks at a stretch,” he adds. Adbul taught them the game, and plays with them for two hours every day. “I ensure that we maintain social-distancing. We wear masks and do not play all at once.”

It’s been over a week since the rehabilitated people have been playing the boardgame and already, Abdul says that he is able to feel a difference in their overall mood. “They seem more cheerful now,” he adds. More importantly, they are being encouraged to spare a thought for our planet’s precious resources, thanks to the game’s format.

A new boardgame is keeping people of Madurai engaged during the COVID-19 lockdown

Abdul explains: “What if we were on the last day of this planet’s existence and animals and human beings had to look for water to save everyone’s lives? This is my game’s premise. Players will have to come up with solutions for our planet’s problems in the course of the game.”

Abdul is from Thideer Nagar in Madurai. “My mother E Razia Begum raised me with a lot of difficulty since my father was absent from our lives most of the time,” he says. Which is why once he graduated he decided to choose a career path that helped society. “I’m a storyteller and interact with children from villages around Madurai, teaching them small things that will go a long way in their lives,” he explains, adding that he does so through his company Brain Light — Mind Safety Games and Arts Centre.

He has also popularised Asude among Government school children in and around Madurai. “It has changed people’s lives,” he says. “Children have been inspired to plant trees after playing it, a boy told me he called his mother after years…” Abdul hopes that some of its positivity rubs off on those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 12:38:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/a-new-boardgame-is-keeping-people-of-madurai-engaged-during-the-covid-19-lockdown/article31280270.ece

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