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How Kreeda is documenting indigenous games of the past

The Chennai-based organisation has created 20 journals that will cruise around the world, collecting memories of games people once played

Chronicling stories of play: Kreeda's travelling journal and Vinita Sidhartha (Special arrangement)

The spirit of traditional board games has always fascinated Vinita Sidhartha, founder of Kreeda Games, a Chennai-based organisation that focuses on reviving indigenous games of the past. Knowing how people played offers insights into how they once lived, interacted, built relationships, even loved, she points out, adding that for years, Kreeda would visit senior citizen homes, documenting people's memories of play. Covid-19, however, put a stopper to this. "Lockdown has been it made it more difficult to visit these homes," says Sidhartha. So, she began thinking about alternative methods to chronicle people's stories of the games they once played.

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Earlier this year, a friend started a travelling journal for a closed group of friends of around ten people. "You pass it on from person to person until it finally comes back to you," says Sidhartha, who liked the idea. "It was a cute initiative, and you got a nice keepsake at the end of it." The initiative also triggered another idea: creating a travelling journal, documenting experiences and memories of play.

Drawing inspiration from memories of the pen pals she had as a child, Sidhartha decided to cast her net far and wide. Kreeda has recently come up with 20 beautifully designed journals that will cruise around the world, collecting these experiences and memories of play. "When a person receives the journal, they use a two-page spread to detail their experiences," says a release issued by Kreeda, adding that families can assist senior citizens with this. The journal works a little like a Chinese whisper: someone will fill in their bit and pass it on to the next and the next, and so on until the journal is completed and sent back to Kreeda.

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Kreeda has already dispatched all its journals—to the US, UK, Netherlands, KL, Muscat, and various Indian cities—and will be tracking and providing updates on their progress via social media. Anyone can participate; all you need to do is get in touch with Kreeda. "It was a perfect decision," says Sidhartha, the excitement in her voice palpable. "A book that has travelled all over the world and so many people have put emotions into," she says, admitting that she is waiting for June next year, when the journals are slated to return, all filled up. "August is our 20th birthday," she says. "We hope to compile this treasure-trove of information by then."


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