There is this board game in the West called ‘Chutes and Ladders’.
As the name suggests it has a board with slides, called chutes, and ladders. The players have to reach the top – the hundredth place – from the bottom – the zeroth.
Sound’s similar, na? Of course, we have played this very game through our childhoods! Isn’t it called ‘Snakes and Ladders’?
Yup, ‘Chutes and Ladders’ is the commercialised, western version of the ancient Indian game ‘Snakes and Ladders’.
The British, like everything they carried away from India, took this board game sometime in the late 19th century.
In 1943, Milton Bradley Company started its commercial production in the US. All they did was turn the snakes in chutes (because, perhaps, US kids were not as ballsy as Indian kids so were shit scared of snakes) and make it a bit more presentable.
They kept the original concept of ‘good and bad deeds’. The ancient Indian game is based on the concept of morality, or karma. Ladders in the game were lesser in number than snakes to signify that there are more vices in the world than virtue.