Friday, March 16, 2007

Patta (Ancient Game of Dice)

The ancient game of dice (called "patta" in Marathi and Sanskrit) is a game that I have fond memories of. It's a game of sheer luck and if luck favours you, then a little bit of strategy. The best part about the game is the language associated with it, and my mom and uncle have mastered the language over so many years.

The actual board, as seen in the pic is designed and embroidered by my great-grandmom, and all the pawns and cowries (these are the small shells used in place of dice) in the game are still the originals that my great grand parents bought in Pune. That's so fascinating...just the idea that we still cherish and love playing the game associated with hot, lazy afternoons in the first half of this century.

I really owe this post to my grandmom, who's still so energetic about explaining the strategy of the game, the sneaky steps, and the art of getting the perfect "daan" on the cowries.


Radha said...

Thats a beautiful piece! I've never understood how its played, though it looks awfully similar to Ludo :)

But I know its supposed to be the ultimate gambler's game (got even the noble men of mahabharata to bet their wife). Will 'wiki' it up!

clickable said...

It is a lot like Ludo; but my aaji will probably give you a big lecture for comparing patta to Ludo.

Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of information online about it; I think we might be one of the few families still playing this game in Maharashtra.

Radha said...

Yeah, couldnt find much online :(

lalunadiosa said...

This brings back fond memories!
My Ba and I used to play this game a lot and she always beat me. Even though she explained the tricks and nuances to me, I never quite caught on!

~ a said...

well ~ u definitely had lot of luck with it!! u shud've seen her, played like a pro, getting 6 or 10 always!! and aaji was so thrilled! :)