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Tea Leaves

Indians go back to future via board games

Modern games lose their monopoly amid a resurgence of traditional pastimes

The Indian game of kattam vilaiyattu is similar to the Western game of tic-tac-toe. (Courtesy of Kreeda Games)

What do you give to children who have almost everything? This was my quandary every time my cousins came to India for holidays from the U.S., bringing children who had grown up with the latest and shiniest toys and games. Then I discovered an intriguing website which opened up a world of nearly forgotten games from my childhood, and gave me exciting new gift options.

Seeing games like chaupad (similar to Ludo), parama padam (snakes and ladders) and aadu puli aatam (goats and tigers) took me back to scorching summer days during my childhood in Chennai, when it was too hot to step outside and my friends and I spent hours playing these games indoors.

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