Wednesday, 30 June 2010


There was only heavenly feelings at the Welcome Collection picnic last Saturday. We unveiled our giant, embroidered snakes and ladders board, the design of which we took from the Hindu Vaishnava faith's Heaven and Hell game. The communities of Euston and Prick Your Finger, had embroidered squares with printed numbers and microscopic drawings of nutrients and bacteria. The game was a joy to play, and our giant die was a hit, as everyone seemed to be hit with it at some point during the day.
The Welcome Trust are going to take some proper detailed pictures of it, my quick snaps don't do it justice as there is / was so much to see, with kid's shouting 'la der, la der' and 'boo 'ing their way down the snakes. When one little girl standing on 4, threw a 4, 3 times, always moving up to 8 and sliding back down a snake to 4, we could understand her tears, as the boys were throwing scissor kicks of joy, clambering up ladders to nirvana. This game is fun to play and there is much depth to study. The game will be donated to Timeback, the Euston community centre with which we worked.
Although the last square is 72, this is not the goal. The goal is to reach square 68 which is the abode of Vishnu, the Hindu deity of maintenance of the universe. This is on the 8th level, which is above the 7 upper worlds defined in the Vedic cosmology. The 7 upper worlds are defined in the middle square of each row.
Other such groups are obvious in the definitions:
• • • •
the six internal foes: egotism, anger, greed, desire, jealousy, and pride called ùaóaripu.
three most auspicious rivers of India: The Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati.
elements of nature: sky, space, air, light, earth, ocean, fire.
the three qualities of nature: truth / light, action / passion, inert/darkness

The players take turns to throw the dice and keep moving ahead sequentially, and have to take the action as suggested on the square where their chip lands: climb a ladder or go down the body of the snake. If they go past 68, they need to get to 72, fall down to 51 and continue until they throw the exact number to reach 68. The player who reaches 68 first, wins the game.