Parama Padam or the Art of Slow Death by Frustration

For those of you who do not know- Parama Padam is the local South Indian version of Snakes and Ladders with a very Indian mythological flavour. The game is most popularly played by people trying to stay awake on the night of Vaikunta Ekadasi (an auspicious day – it is supposed that a person who dies on that day gets a direct access path to Heaven) . So the rule goes that people play this game which also gives the winner first access to gameboard heaven.

We picked up a brand new gameboard (made of cloth actually) but the traditional paper ones are way more interesting with a lot more characters (especially in the highest row- as you get closer to heaven).

Now almost everyone has played snakes and ladders and it is a given that during the course of the game you get tripped and pushed down by a minimum of a couple of snakes at least. But Parama Padam (especially as the only other time I played it was when I was about 7) seemed especially vicious.

A new board from Kreeda (available at select gift shops)

Unlike traditional snakes and ladders all the snakes on the board have names of mythological ‘Asuras’ (monsters) thereby giving them strong personalities. Whereas some of them are almost apologetic about sending you a couple of rows downwards, there are others who are positively grinning in anticipation of eating you up.

Notice situation below

Two of the players were way up close to winning, the blue coin was even closer but got tripped by the Anaconda right down to Square 1
Red and Green get closer to the Anaconda, Blue in the meantime has made minimal progress in the bottom rungs
Green tries to pull a smart one but the Anaconda is even smarter
The red escaped the anaconda, but got tripped up a smaller snake and had to pass Anaconda again

It was not long before Red met the same fate as the Blue and Green and landed up at the bottom.

Now if this happened once or twice I could live with it, but it was almost like being caught in a time warp and the three of us kept going through the same situation over and over again. We sensibly decided to stop before things turned violent.

I think I can understand how someone could have devised a game as cruel as this to make people stay up all night trying to finish the game. But if things did get violent and somebody did die, then they would get into heaven anyway, or at least that’s what the Anaconda says…….

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Nirmala says:

    Yes the game requires us to be patience on a monument indeed.Still laughing over the game.You cant win except by cheating I guess!!!!

  2. Lav says:

    i guess we will not say which player owned which color…or who encouraged to cheat….or who slid down anaconda twice….:)

  3. Nagarajan says:

    Very Interesting. However, I wish to have a copy of conventional parama padam board having angels and demons with more graphics and names. Can you source it somewhere? And the paradise having the ten avatars? I could see it in Telugu, but I want it in Tamil scripts. Can you help me?

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Hi Maharaja I’m not sure where we can find the original boards. I tried in Chennai but was not successful

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