After over two decades of playing “chowka-bhara” (an Indian board game) innocently, I have discovered so many life lessons through puns in the game. I am not sure if they were indeed intended.
The journey from square one to the centre could be imagined as one’s love life. In order to “kill” or “nail” someone, you need to end up at the same spot as someone else almost like getting a match on Tinder. Like in most relationships, one benefits more than the other depending on how far ahead you are in your “love life”. This is like losing one’s relationship virginity.
Once you’ve entered the inner squares, you have the option of diffusing a strategy known as “Gatti” which allows you to form a couple with your pawns and move them together just like you would in a relationship. On the one hand, you have the upside of greater security (your pawns can’t be killed by the opponent’s single pawn) and the pleasure of companionship.On the other, you only get to execute half the moves. You can’t move the couple unless you get an even number on the roll of shells.
This is just like how when in a couple, one doesn’t get to have all the fun that singles have access to. Given these even numbered move constraints, there is a chance one might never complete the game. There’s also a courtship period once you are in the same square before you start taking joint steps. You are free to decide once you’ve been brought together whether you want to continue as a couple or on your own, like an engagement.
You solidify the relationship once you have taken a joint step forward and there after, there is no going back, just like how you would in a marriage (unless you get a divorce). Sure being in a couple is a trade-off but if an opponent couples, you have the possibility of being destroyed if they step in your square, almost like the couples that destroy each other through unnecessary comparison (oh look at my colleague’s husband – he just bought her a Gucci bag for their anniversary blah blah blah).
Interestingly, once you go “Gatti”, your sole purpose in the game is to “make fruit” which could be related to the pressure of gene propagation. Not that the singles don’t need to “make fruit” but the pressure is a lot more for couples.
I get that this analogy might be a bit convoluted but hey, having double meaning to childhood games makes it more fun, right?