Life Doesn’t Get Better Than This

Brother and Sister playing cards
Image used for representation only

There is a lot – a four letter word with “ing” as a suffix lot – that has gone wrong this year, but if you look closely, and keep an open mind, there are pleasant, and pleasantly unanticipated, consequences.

Such as cards and Scrabble, in the case of the undersigned.

The poet reminded us of how hopeless our lives are if we do not take the time to stand and stare, and upon reflection, bhaisaab did have a point. Board games and card games were a staple diet for me during the summer many many years ago, but the urge to earn a paycheck – not to mention the urge to make it ever larger with each passing year – meant that charm would always lose out to commerce.

And so it proved, sadly, that games such as Badaam Saat, Penalty, Paach Teen Don, Not at Home, and Vakkhai all become things to reminisce about, rather than actually play. And Scrabble! There was a time when I was addicted to the game, and would actually make note of seven letter words I came across, and now, I’m sad to report, I don’t even have a board at home.

But being locked down at home this summer turned out to be a blessing in disguise in at least this one regard. I have had the joy – and this is an understatement – of teaching my daughter the games I spoke about above. Watching her struggle with the rules, and then grasp them, and then use them has been utterly delightful.

And making eye contact with your spouse, and conspiring to lose so that the little one may win ought to be a separate chapter in the parenting manual. Just whatay.

And Scrabble! I have fallen in love with it all over again. The little green bag, the feel of the tiles in your hand as you pick seven of ‘em, the joy of using a double word or triple letter (especially with J or Q or Z). The unholy glee one feels on blocking an opponent, and the weird joy one gets on knowing (or even better, learning) obscure two and three letter words. “Vaw” for example (look it up!)

Sure, time seems to have slowed down during the lockdowns (1 through 5, or whatever version it was). And sure, we’ve all been through our own ups and downs during this time. But cards, Scrabble and endless cups of cold brew coffee have been, upon reflection, a saving grace.

And so, dear reader, if you happen to find yourself at home, without the option to revel in the great outdoors, deploy the following algorithm: grab your favorite board game, or a pack of cards, and arm yourself with a caffeinated beverage of your choice.

Me, personally, I’d steer clear of Monopoly (the only thing that moves slower than the lockdown) and Ludo (a game that drives me up the wall every single time I play it). But hey, whatever works for you!

And if you, like me, get the chance to teach a young ‘un a board game or a card game: well, I mean to say, what. 

Life, I assure you, doesn’t get much better than that.



Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni