An opportunity for family bonding

While it would be impossible to recall the origin of indoor games, one aspect of them which perhaps is agreed upon unanimously is that the invention of board games has to do something with people (mostly families), trying to amuse themselves when confined within a house or a building.

Concluding that indoor board games only provide amusement to individuals or families will be unfair, at least according to Veerji Sharma of the Integra Counselling Centre. Sharma who himself is a marriage and family counsellor told Metrolife that board games are the most preferred choice of therapists while prescribing social activities to dysfunctional families.

“Just like how we say that ‘the families who eat together, stay together’, the same can
be said for indoor board games. It is through these games that a parent feels
like a child, thus enhancing their solidarity towards their kids. The onsla­ught of technology and social media has rendered the relationship skills of today’s children to an all-time low. This is going to be extremely detrimental for the future,” Sharma said.

He believes as more and more capital is pumped into the Indian markets, the social fabric of a traditional lifestyle will ultimately perish.

“The decrease in family activities like indoor games is a manifestation of further disintegration of nuclear  families. The joint families  are slowly vanishing. And  given the present circumstance, the future of nuclear families also looks bleak. People now are more focussed on their child’s career rather than their emotional character,” Sharma added.

Arun Khattar owner of Happy Zone toy store in Delhi’s Jhandelwan area was busy demonstrating the latest product to customers on a Thursday afternoon. A three-in-one board game which constitutes Ludo, a jigsaw puzzle and Snakes and Ladders. He said that the game is ideal for travel purposes and can be used to gift one’s relatives or friends.

“Back in my youth, our customers would come to my shop and buy board games to use them as a tool for family bonding. Now the story is different. More than 80 per cent of the total sales of board games depend on customers who want to give them as gifts,” he rued. According to him, the reason behind gifting board games is the “cost and durability” of such games.

It is also imperative to mention that indoor board games like scrabble, draughts, carom and chess thrived in situations like blackouts or bad weather which would prevent people from venturing out. Given this context, the role Delhi winters could play in social engineering is not only acknowledged by therapists and counsellors but also locals who reminisce about their childhood.

Rashmi, a homemaker,  who had come to the toy market to buy gifts for her child expr­essed a similar sentiment. “As a child I remember we used to play Ludo and Monopoly with the family and we used to eagerly wait for winter to arrive. Such things are very rare these days,” she told Metrolife. “I guess sacrificing small happiness for comfort and luxury is the new norm,” she added.

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