Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery

Games of Chance – Ganjifa

The thrill, the adrenaline and the fun offered by a game is unlike that offered by other sources of entertainment.

In both the places I live in, Singapore and Goa, gaming is not just fun, but also a high-revenue industry.

The financial success of the iconic Marina Bay Sands & Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore and the many floating casinos of Goa is proof of the pull of this “passtime”.

The games hosted there are mainly games of chance (from what I hear).

A decade ago I scoffed at chance and games won through chance and I respected skill & games of skill. But of late I am reverent of chance as well – seeing how that single factor has shaped the path of my life.

So now I  play both. Games of Skill – like Chess (and lose a lot). And games of chance like UNO (and lose a lot :)). This screen shot of an old Facebook post shows how games have been in our lives forever.


And it is not just ordinary people like me that enjoy games.

The whole Mahabharat – the epic work of strategic thinking in adversarial situations – set a few thousand years ago –  is perched on a single event: a game of Chopat (that is somewhat like Ludo).

So games have enticed us all for ages.

Today, they entice me in a different way….

This set of Ganjifa cards  has struck my heart, mind and soul with an intense reaction – of adulation and awe. not for the thrill of the game. But for the beauty of the art.

There is an intense desire to go back to the time when they made and used. To watch how they were made. To watch them being played. To watch the sentiment and the conversations they evoked. To experience the aura of the houses of Mysore in which they lived. To be a part of the lives of the men and women of that era….


The desires these have awoken shall never be fulfilled.

Today no one even knows the rules of the game. All we have are these beautiful beautiful beautiful hand-painted Ganjifa cards with inscriptions. The words “gold illuminated” is not really the way to describe them – for that would mean gold highlights. In this case the gold is not the highlight … it is the main base.


In a book I’ve mentioned several times earlier – Somerset Maugham mentions a man dying from being struck by the beauty of the autumn full moon on a beach in Denpasar. I am pretty close to understanding how that happened!



May 2019

Antique Rug Interior Decor




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This entry was posted on May 24, 2019 by in Art Kaleidoscope and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .


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