Sreeranjini’s phone buzzed at 9.30 at night. Typically she does not answer calls from unknown numbers after her store closes. But when the number called again, she decided to make an exception.
On the other side was a lady who had bought an ancient board game from Sreeranjini just hours ago. “Thank you so much for opening such an amazing store!” said the customer. She went on to say that her 90-year-old mother, who was living with Alzheimers, was so happy to play Pagade after so many years, it was impossible to separate her from it!
For some, the board games help recapture a part of their childhood that they thought was lost forever. For others, it is the perfect way to get together with family and close friends to enjoy some time away from the screens. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why Sreeranjini GS started Kavade in Bengaluru.
The games that will keep phones away:
Everyone is immersed in screens—mobile phones, laptops, or tablets. And Sriranjini predicted this state of affairs 11 eleven years ago, thus she started Kavade, to help keep the traditions of old alive. The sheer pleasure of interacting with people face to face, playing board games and talking.
The fact that her sons (who were then toddlers) would not get the opportunity to play these games that she grew up playing, influenced her further.
Her rustic shop in the heart of Bengaluru is reviving games that find mention in mythologies, historic documents and were passed from one generation to the next.
“Kavade is not about re-inventing the ancient games but about bringing them back into our homes. All I wanted for my kids were toys that were neither plastic or battery operated. Such toys tend to have a very short life and I wanted games that they could enjoy for prolonged periods of time without the worry of whether they will break or not. My childhood could be the perfect example of this,” explains the founder.
She started with mapping out the boards on tables or paper with whatever regular stationery she had at her disposal. But soon, she wanted to expand to make more permanent arrangements and thus began her quest to design games that had lost their relevance in the current times.
Teaming with up artisans she started her unique venture.
Mythological, Historical, Traditional – all board games in a quaint shop:
Quick – what’s the national game of India? Easy? Now, what is our national board game? It’s quite unfortunate that many of us will need a google search for the answer. But thanks to Kavade, you can not only know that it is Pachisi (or Pagade) but also understand how to play it!
Thanks to the Bengaluru store, you can also play a game that was widely played around the time that Emperor Ashoka ruled the subcontinent. Navakankari or the Nine Men’s Morris is just as much fun to play now as it was in the 2nd century BCE.
From one of the oldest board game extant (Chauka Bara) to one that Akbar (Pagade) enjoyed playing – it is time to put aside the Playstations and XBoxes and see if you can be the best in all of history!
But not just Indian, Kavade also has selections of ancient games from across the continents. The South African Cow and Leopard for instance, is a game focusing on moving, placing and flying cows! Intriguing, isn’t it? The clients of the Bengaluru store certainly feel so.
Explaining how her family always carry the traditional games everywhere, the 42-year-old says, “Just last week we’d gone to Lalbagh where, along with badminton and frisbee, we played these indoor games.”
Her research mainly includes speaking to people from older generations and those who have inherited the boards and rules to play these games. If your grandparents ever reminisce over “their time” and how it’s lost to today’s generation, give them a pleasant surprise with Kavade! Follow this link for the choicest of brilliant games!
All pictures courtesy of Sreeranjini GS.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)