One of the ways that our traditions and heritage can survive the test of time is when they start evolving and mould themselves to suit the current situations; when the old and the new come together to take things forward.
That’s what happened recently with two traditional games of Goa—Tiktem and Tabul Phale, which have now been launched by toy manufacturer, Funskool India. This initiative is part of their effort to revive the indigenous games of India through their ‘Traditional Toy Series’.
“It is important for our children to get connected with tradition and culture, and what better means than through traditional toys and games?” says Heta Pandit of the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG), who also launched these games, recently.
TRADITIONAL GAMES, MODERN USE
Both these games, Tiktem and Tabul Phale, are actually board games and come under the category of indoor games. Thus, they are considered ideal for families to come together and play, especially in these pandemic times, when people end up spending a lot of time indoors.
“I think such games are a good way of introducing our youth to the wealth of traditional knowledge. Board games bring families together and wean our youngsters away from electronic addiction,” elaborates Pandit.
These board games could be a useful tool for children as they help in building strategy, focus and calculation skills. They are played using pebbles and seashells (guno and shipi in Konkani).
Tiktem, is a two-player game which is beneficial to the tactical thought process of children. It encourages strategical thinking and improves the intelligence quotient/IQ at a young age.
Tabule Phale is one of the pretty games of Goa. It is akin to Ludo on a small wooden container with decorative rounded corners. It is beautifully painted with Chitari Art — the traditional art from Cuncolim village — which is made on wooden artifacts. It is believed that this game was part of the bride’s wedding dowry.
According to Ancestralgoa.com: Tiktem is a two player game. Each player has 9 black and yellow pawns respectively. (Alternately, shells and stones are used). The game board is made up of a large square divided into smaller squares. Each player alternately places their pawn at a chosen join/corner of the square. The aim of the players is to construct a line (tiktem) using 3 of his pawns. The players may block or counter their opponent’s moves by placing their pawns strategically. The game ends when 3 tikems are assembled by any one player.
Along with these two games, there are at least 20 more traditional games in Goa, which most of us are not even aware of. Some of these games are Logorio/ Lobyo/ Nokoryo; Gud Fale / Gajre; Waagaani; Koinde Baal (gilli danda); Bodyaani (Goan hopscotch); Badyaani (sticks); Vhiraani (broom sticks); Gundyaani/ Faatraani/ Jhirkyo; Mithaa Khel / Mith Fale; Khaambyaani (pillars); Biyaani (cashew nuts); Kovchyaani (bangle pieces); Sune aani Haad (Dog and bone); Vetaani; Ringaani; Combya Zhuz (cock fight) and cricket with piraadyache bat. Most of these games are not purely Goan and are played in other parts of the country under a different name or with a few variations. The local flavour is added through the use of shells, laterite stones, coconut shells, coconut leaf sticks, etc.
Currently, steps are being taken to promote these local games. Goa-based Soul Travelling, which promotes different Goan experiences, including heritage and food trails, organizes such games for visitors and interested groups of people. Ancestral Goa has revived these games and has done excellent work in documenting them.
Pandit added that GHAG are planning ‘craft kits’ to promote the Goan art of Kaavi.