Monday, October 25, 2010

You know what they say about donkeys...

... that if you don’t play cards around Diwali, you’re born as one in your next life.

I hadn’t heard this till Saturday. Friends my parents’ were hosting a dinner party. I was invited, wasn’t going to go. Not till I was arm twisted – 'threatened' is more apt -- by my mother who used a lethal tone and a few choice words to say – basically, get your butt here. So I arrived, straight from work. Suddenly, two women who got up from the flash table after raking it in – one, adjusting her gorgeous mauve raw silk dupatta -- tell me, separately, after asking why I wasn’t playing.

“Oh you don’t know what you’re missing out on!” And you know what they say...

agle janam mein ghadde paida hoge


And I thought I had learnt so much about card-playing by simply watching a three-hour game of flash at a friend’s place last Sunday night when only Bhola -- the labrador and I weren’t playing.

Bhola was earlier called Ganpat. But the rabid Hindus in the building took off -- how can you name a dog after a holy elephant? So Bhola, who I called Ganpat to see if he responds – did, his ears perked – and I were the two potential donkeys.

Bhola’s status: in motion, indiscriminately wagging his tail, sniffing people’s glasses and then giving that up to nap on random toes.

My status: sitting on the arm of a sofa, quietly sipping my vodka, observing the seven gung-ho peeps – two married couples, one retired-young-from-the-army-type in a white kurta pajama, his top button stifling his oesophagus and the baniya boyfriend who got very into the whole thing except for when the ants in his chads wouldn’t let him breathe.

Examine the excerpt:

He: Who're you messaging?
Me: I’m not, fucker!
He: Looks away, mumbles 'liar.'

Then I have to show him the gmail compose page on my phone where I’m using my swipe keys to record bits of the conversation I’m privy to -- English, Hindi, Punjabi, pidgin Indian, fosters, bring it on!

And this was the draft (enters and itals added later):

Six of spades. Iski begum.
Single card show down.
Top card suite.
Break for seat.
Green is five.
Abe chhhhhapaann tikle!
Red and blue is ten.

Stop it, yaar! Reactions are spoiling the game.
Deal deal deal. Deal simple.
You don't know variations, sit down quietly!

Bholu, kya kar raha hai, baby?

Blind. Blind. Arre. Chaal.
Who's put this in? Five blind. Chaal or blind?
My wife will play for me. Ghar toh isi ke saath jaana hai.

Dekho, jitne laalchi hoge utne hi maroge.

Dus ki chal
I'm blind. You're pack? Aditi? Haha.
Great cards. I'm out. Your turn.
Side show kar le. Let him decide.

Tum Fosters laye ho? Tsk. I don't like Fosters...

Ace hai toh obviously…
If this were a diamond, the game was yours.

Tuborg pucca nahi hai?

Shuffle and deal.
Green gira hai. Blue also on the floor.
Cut. Cut. Deal seven.
I like the way he does it.
Style mat mar.

Baja bajne wala hai mera.
You have a pair?
Let's do a variation.
Three cards of any one colour;
you don't have a joker.
No, no not a mufles.
Revolving jokers really fuck your brain.
Great fun!

Mera dil keh raha hai mein jeetunga
Don't pack, don’t pack!
Arre?! sadi marzi.

Bluff blind.
I don't want to waste even one rupee on you!
Anyway she's got spades.

Aditi ne sabko duba diya.
Oh le, I'm quits.
Katar juari types, you people are!

Can I take a loan from somebody?
Nahi, nahi I'm going. Have a piece of the cake, at least.

Ok we're playing card, colour, bust.
Can we put the music down?
Tu teen saw le chuka hai mujhse, bees waapas kar!

My paranoid gambler didn't read all of it -- too preoccupied with the cards being dealt and money chips piling up. But just one sentence of gmail type was enough to get his breathing back to normal.

Phew, says the fucker, ran the narrative in my head.

It’s a wonder he didn’t lose, imagining as he probably was that I was sending smut to all the boys in my address book. If you were me, sitting in the company of a mule or two at a cards party, you’d see the irony of being called a donkey.


Perakath said...

I thought it was three people not playing: Bhola, The Labrador, and you.

Perakath said...

Your fault for capitalizing Lab? Your fault for including two superfluous commas? My fault for not understanding properly from the context? Oh, the questions.

Hilarious post, anyway.

Perakath said...

* Only one superfluous comma.

The.Mystic said...

Its funny how people turn into "The Great Gambler"s every diwali! I prefer being a pyro on that day.
Btw, Bhola reminds me of Padosan!

Happy Diwali!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

:) Now I'm missing the Diwali feeling and Delhi.. not the same anywhere else. And this sounds exactly like a scene at my place. My dad has a large box of knick knacks and old coins and quirky buttons he uses as chips.. supposed to be lucky for him *rolls eyes*

I wish I was there. I'd be kicking butt at all mufles games :(

Anonymous said...

As one of your anonymice, this is probably sheer nosey-parker-dom. But as someone who is still getting over a really bad relationship, I can't help but think out loud.. You guys do seem to be having quite a few issues.

Trite as it might seem, hope things change for the better, one way or the other. Happy Diwali.

Nimpipi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nimpipi said...

Pera: Ah, I see what you mean. well caught. I'll do something about it. Maybe fall back on em dashes.

Mystic: Pyro manne? Happy Diwali to you too. Since we aren't in a position to swap notes on Karva Chauth :)

Steve: No thanks. And I can't tell if you're spam, but if not, how do you follow 800 blogs?!

TSOAS: So come na, Dilli is so pretty. The juaris are here. Buy return ticket, stay a week. Party time. Bangalore big on Karva Chauth? You keeping? Your first? All these questions. This is what happens when my yoga class gets cancelled because all the women are fasting. :)

Anon: Anonymice is sweet. Hello hello. You're right only. Think out loud is fine. We're going to kill each other one of these days. That's some sort of a resolution, right? Heh. We're wading through our muck though, thanks. And Happy Diwali to you too! :)

The.Mystic said...

Pyro is Latin for fire, Pyromaniac-sm1 who likes to set up fires,I only used Pyro coz I'm not much of a maniac(:P).
KarvaChauth reminds me of DDLJ!