Rutgers alumnus Priya Shah gives a twist to party game ‘Taboo’ to come up with ‘Desi Chaat’

Developed it with the help of her parents.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Rutgers alumnus Priya Shah is the mastermind behind a new board game that takes popular party classic “Taboo” and puts a desi twist on it.

Desi ChaatShah has created “Desi Chaat,” an Indian-oriented version of the game that allows immigrants whose first language is not English to play “Taboo.” Having one person draw a card, with each card containing six words – a primary word, and five other words that are somehow related to that primary word, plays the game. The player who drew the card must help the other players guess what their primary word is, but cannot use the five other words listed on the card to do so.

The words can be anything as simple as “dog,” to more complicated ones. Shah says that her game includes words from all the disparate regions of India, and includes vocabulary from different types of food, styles of dance, and cultural customs inherent to the different geographic areas of India.

Shah graduated from Rutgers in 2011 with a degree in economics and communication. She was very actively involved with the desi community at the school, as a member of the Association of Indians at Rutgers and also as a sister in the Kappa Phi Gamma Indian sorority.

She came up with the idea for the game and began developing it with her parents, coming up with a list of words and then running them by her mother and father, who would then tell her which ones were good to include and which ones to discard. Eventually, she ended up with over 1,000 different words, which appear in a set of 250 cards that come with the game.

Also included with the game are a rule sheet, pencil, timer, and a buzzer (which is used when the person with the card says a word they’re not supposed to say). Shah made an initial order of 1,500 games by designing the pieces and parts herself, and getting them manufactured and sent to her.

After starting out by selling the games from her house, she now has a full-fledged business on her hands, selling “Desi Chaat” to Indians coming to the US who don’t have a firm grasp on the latter country’s language. Shah even got support from her local community, the Rutgers Indian association, and her own sorority in spreading the word about the game and selling copies.

The product released in January, and those interested in getting a copy can visit the game’s official Tumblr page here.

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