Thursday, June 21, 2018

Seeta Devi Ata - 1

There are hundreds of versions of Ramayana and in one of the oral tradition of Ramayana, Seeta is seen playing a solitary game on Mancala (Aligulimane or Pallanguli) board. Probably she dug out 14 pits on the ground in the garden where she was kept captive by the villainous Ravana.

Now we know that an empty mind is the factory of devil. Seeta did not want to sit idle, for it will bring negative thoughts in her mind and eventually they will make her life more miserable than the life in Ashokavana, the garden.

Hence she gouged the earth making one row of seven pits side-by-side and another similar row right across the first row. Collecting round dry seeds of red-coral tree she started playing a solitary game in that board. She played on and on and the game eventually is called by her name as 'Seeta Devi Ata'.

This game was taught to me by late Shyamala Garudachar who lived on the first floor of my house. She was an Iyengar lady and her grand children called her 'paati' and we too called her the same. Paati taught me Aligulimane and Pagaday.

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