How Kavade takes traditional Indian board games outdoors

Look out for games installed on benches and tables, an initiative by Kavade in Bengaluru to encourage children and adults to play outdoors

Updated - October 01, 2021 07:31 pm IST

Published - October 01, 2021 01:39 pm IST

“The sight of a young child and an adult at play brings out a different vibe, a brilliant energy,” says Sreeranjini GS, founder of Kavade, a traditional board game store in Bengaluru. With the installation of permanent structures around the city, Sreeranjini has ensured anyone can enjoy a game or two, even if they have left their boards at home.

In December 2019, residents’ associations in Jakkur decided to spruce up the park around the lake, as part of their CSR initiative. Thinking out of the board-game-box, Sreeranjini with Annapurna Kamath of Sathya Foundation and Jalaposhan Trust conceptualised the “scaling up” of some traditional Indian games in that area in a bid to build awareness and a sense of community.

“Annapurna explored the possibility of installing game tables along the periphery of the jogger’s path. As this was also next to the children’s play area, we hoped it would foster the participation of different age groups who frequented the park.”

Even as they worked on shortlisting different games, The team, their investors and the BBMP were mindful of the fact that these tables would have to weather changes in the season as well as boisterous children. Of the 16 games they installed, a few were table tops, others were benches.

“We zeroed in on permanent stone tables and benches, with instructions etched in Kannada and English, not unlike the styling at the Belur and Halebid temples. Since many players would not be familiar with most of the games, we took care to inscribe the rules in a simple, pictorial manner, making them easier to understand.”

“While people can bring their pawns from home, the beauty of these games is they can be played with stones, seeds, twigs and other things found in a park.”

“We were certain we wanted games that would appeal to adults too; many of the games have their roots in our ancient culture,” she says, adding that some of the traditional Indian games included Sonaikattam, Chaturvimshathi koshtaka, Dayakattam, Chowkabara, Aadu huli, Morabaraba and Aligulimane , among others. Although the project was completed in February 2020, it was only inaugurated in September that year, owing to the pandemic.

While the initiative at Jakkur Lake was the first at a public space, Kavade has installed similar games at CIS School (2016), Miraya Greens resorts (2017) and Nandi Citadel, an apartment complex (2019), in the city. It takes the team two to three months to complete a project from inception to installation, she says.

Sreeranjini adds that the nature of these games are a throwback to simpler times when early games evolved from the shared laughter, conversations and daily chores of people sitting around, spending time together.

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