Scrabble away the Indian way


Testing and teasing one's vocabulary strength and supremacy in play of words, as also their association with synonyms, antonyms and anagrams is an enduring exercise. Likewise, scrabbles are a religion and ritualistic passage of rite for the avowed wordsmiths and aficionados of the word game matching wit with wit.

What better pleasurable pastime that provides food for thought as also lets you while your precious time wisely and wonderfully.   Further, with newspapers, magazines, books et al going the cyber way and tablet PCs, e-paper, the new digital order, it got the likes of Hareesh Viriyala too seriously thinking:  Does word games mean only English? What about the country's larger populace who have no such luxury of the Queen’s English?

Well, cashing in on this craze among large sections of English-speaking diaspora and believing that a similar taste and thirst exists among regional language people is New Delhi- based Out-Bok Edutainment Pvt Ltd, Hareesh Viriyala's brainchild.

Speaking to Deccan Herald about the company’s word game products in Indian language script, both online and offline, Founder & Director Hareesh Viriyala said the project was born out of a desire to make available the “magic of words” and the benefits of creative and entertaining word play to people in their own languages. And with mobile virtually shrinking the class divide and seamlessly breaking all barriers among people, Joro could not have come at a more appropriate time.

According to Viriyala, while there exists a plethora of word game products in English, there is no “total” word game in Indian languages that takes into account the maatraas and “half consonants” that are indispensable in Indian languages.

The company, through its www.Joro.in, decided to change that perception by indigenously developed word games in Indian languages! Born out of the entrepreneurial spirit, as also wanting to provide the sheer fun of playing be it on social occasions and among friends and relatives, in one’s own / mother language like never before is reason, he said, behind the creation of Jodo products.

The offerings

Explaining the concept, he said, the different characters that constitute the script are represented on building blocks (tiles) of appropriate shapes. Words are formed by putting these tiles together. It's pretty straightforward and logical.  Currently, he said, their website - www.Joro.in offers two online options of playing the word game in four Indian languages - Hindi, Tamil Telugu and Marathi.  The first is ulaT-palaT ke joRo. They carry the name of TuniTu joDinchu (Telugu), taavi taavi joDicer (Tamil) and ulaToon-palaToon joDA (Marathi)

This is a basic anagramming game wherein one finds as many words as possible using a given set of tiles, within a given time limit. There is an incentive to form longer words and use more dependent characters. It can be played as both single player and multiplayer game.

The second is ghoom-phir ke joRo. In Telugu: (chuTTu tirigi joDinchu) Tamil: (cuRRi vA joDicer) and Marathi: (phiroon-phiroon joDA) Here, one connects tiles of the same or adjacent grid cells in sequence to form words and score as many points as possible within the given time limit. Tiles can be used with main tiles in an adjacent grid cell. Playable as both single player and multiplayer game.

The company, he said, is planning two more (joRo) - a crossword building game played with assorted-shaped tiles (each representing a language character) on a game board that has strategic and tactical elements built into it.

To be available as an online game and as a physical board game. (jaldee meM joRo) - uses the same tiles as (joRo), but there is no game board. Each player has a linear contraption where they will place their best possible word within a given time limit.

The benefits

The products, he said, will help in learning more about one’s own language (and therefore culture and roots) on the benefits side. Indian languages offer plenty of flexibility for creative word play and you can do things in Indian language scripts that you can’t do in Roman scripts, he says, adding they help in not only educational aspects but also in socialising and educational tool as well.

The (joRo) family of word game products, he says, have been adjudged the Best Software Product in the Start-up category by the Hyderabad Software Exporters Association Product Showcase & Awards 2009.

The jodo products will soon make their way into mobiles as also in board forms and in newspapers as well, he added. Well, if words and wordplay are your idea of spending fruitful evening with friends and family, then the game is afoot with Jodo - the magic of words.

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