Book Review: Just Play by Vinita Sidhartha

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Book Title: Just Play! Life lessons from Traditional Indian Games
Author: Vinita Sidhartha
Publisher: Rupa Publications
No. of pages: 200

Book Review

Indoor games, outdoor games & little sports are every person’s part of life. Many memories and incidents, good and bad, are attached to these games. There were times when the whole family used to play together, and those summer holidays when cousins used to meet at grandmother’s place and have a great time playing games. These games are the first moral lessons we as a kid have learnt.

Just Play by Vinita Sidhartha
Just Play by Vinita Sidhartha

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The first ever game probably every Indian kid must have played is either Snakes & Ladders or Ludo! This game is all about ups and downs, how to take a step with utmost care and how not to let down the confidence one we lose! Likewise, several games have some of the other lessons that are being taught. Author Vinita’s vision of bringing out this book based on Indian games is just fantastic.

While playing many roles in our life, somewhere, we have forgotten our simple tactical mind of ours that can be made alive by playing simple games. In this book, there are 11 chapters, and each is divided into sections. The true sense of wit, virtue and wisdom in these games give a new perspective on one’s mind and thought process.

In this book, Just Play, Vinita tried to explain these games’ uniqueness. They look simple, but the philosophy behind them is enormous! The first chapter, explaining the game – Panch Kone, is the prior version of Brainvita! When I read this statement, I had my fuses gone haywire. Then I started reading the book with utmost interest. As the chapters progressed, the richness in every game started sinking into my mind.


‘Traditional games, being more elemental, draw from simple symbols, everyday materials and the philosophies of our culture for inspiration. Some of these are echoed by people across the world.’


This is so true. The Chess, Vaikuntapali, Ludo, Hopscotch patterns, etc., are all based on elementary designs we see daily. Reading the book and the author’s narration will make the readers realize the relevance of these games in real life. With the writing style and narration in simple language and with a reasonable explanation, this book, Just Play, is just the right one to pick when you feel low or want something that will entice your mind.

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