Imagine a scrabble board with images instead of letters. Shuffle the tiles around and a story materialises. It can be a well-known story, say, that of Little Red Riding Hood. But stretch your imagination, visualise possibilities and lo, even this violent story can have a happy ending, with Red and the Wolf becoming BFFs and living happily ever after.
A board game created by Jaishree Garg, a young design specialist from Bengaluru, requires players to visualise stories through the icons painted on the tiles and assemble their own tales. It’s called Pitara.
What inspired Garg was her interaction with people at different rungs of the disability spectrum — people with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD and other learning-related disabilities. She says, “Our education system pays ample attention to ‘reading and writing’ but very little or almost no attention to visual and verbal literacy — this ticked me off.”
She decided to make storytelling and storymaking visual, and so Pitara was created, the graphic aspect of which also connects it with our ancient board games.
It has stories for adults and children alike — the player can catch glimpses of the Avengers, Harry Potter, E.T., Sabrina, Sonpari, Tomorrowland, Inception , and more.
“I used to love playing board games when I was a child — it made me feel close to my friends and family. Now we play with bots on our phones — there’s no human touch. But with storytelling, it’s important to have an audience — who will hear the narrator’s voice, laugh and frown with her. It gives me such joy to see people sit around Pitara and make stories,” says Garg.