Pagade or Pachisi, the game is the same but what better way to play them than in the warmth glow of a ‘Mughal lamp’ or a ‘coach lamp’ from within the glasses enclosed in wrought iron frame, the flickering candle throwing blood red colour on the faces of the players.
Mughal lamps in black cast iron, fanning out like the trunk of a slender tree and whose branches end in multicoloured balloons of lamps in ruby red, gas-lamp yellow and Mediterranean blue and dark hazy purple are on display at Deepa Soundarya, in Bombe Mane above Aamrapali Sarees on the Nazarbad main road in the City.
Interspersed between rows and rows of traditional Deepavali Lamps in clay and terracotta, brass and white metal, shaped in forms of fantastical creatures or geometric blocks, and in every possible shape, size and colour, are these filigreed lanterns that are replicas of Gothic street lanterns, coach lanterns, railway lanterns and ship lanterns. Some have to be wired so that bulbs or serial lights can be fixed. Screw in a bulb and plug into the nearest light socket and you will have a fairytale series of tiny dancing lights that bounce off your walls in red, yellow, blue, green and blue.
Amidst this cornucopia of lamps and lanterns is the display and sale of traditional Indian board games like ‘Chaduranga’ the classic four-handed chess, goats and tigers, leopards and goats, pachisi, pagaday, aliguli mane, sepoy mutiny, anay Kattu, snakes and ladders, panchi, navkankari, nine men’s Morris, pretwa and a host of others. The playing board are in either in silk with batik designs or in specially hand-woven corded cloth from Sholapur. The pawns and dice have been customised in wood.
The Deepa Soundarya and Kreeda Kaushalya are being hosted by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP) and Ramson’s Handicrafts Sales Emporium of the city and the exhibition which began in the second week of September will conclude on October 31.