Monday, August 16, 2010

A childhood long forgotten

He was 15. I was 10 then. He introduced me to Scrabble, like how he had introduced me to Moneyply and Ludo and Bingo before that.

Those were days when computers still ran on DoS, STD / ISD calls cost a bomb and post offices were stretched beyond capacity. I was an egoistic verbose writer, he was a pathetic correspondent. Letters were not us, neither were postcards. We were not in need of them. He and I, we met once a year, sometimes once in two years, for a brief 10 day period. Our board game was our bond, far stronger than emails and Gchats and Blackberry connectivity.

He was the rules analyst, the Moneyply banker, the game administrator, always. I was just the player, always. I trusted him blindly; his judgment was the last word, his rule the rule of God. He was just.

He knew that I was no sport, that I would refuse to play further if I did not win. He never lost for my sake. He was unwaveringly just. He would coax, tease and force me back to the game, very justly, as was his wont. I would make a jig when I won. He would look on unperturbed, sometimes a tad amused too, as if he was 60 and had seen it all in life.

We were not major TV watchers, he and I. There was nothing much to watch on TV those days. We would hit the Moneyply board at 9 in the morning and be at it for as long as 12 hours at times. Sometimes, my parents would have to literally tear us away from the board to take us to the beach. We would play with the sand, collect sea shells, and eat ice cream. But, we would come back to our board like we had never been away. We would pass through Texas and Dallas and JFK Airport and Boston. We would buy and construct and mortgage and sell. He would keep track of all of it. He was a spectacle-wearing nerd, the kind who should have grown to become a banker in real life.

We would make up words in Scrabble, fair and square. One for him, one for me; one more for him, one more for me. He would note down the scores on paper, doing the additions and subtractions. We would play again and again and again, till we had no more rough paper to note scores on.

He and I, we never made small talk. He was 15, I was 10. We had no reason to make small talk. He would have a book in hand sometimes, a huge academic one. He would read his, I would read mine. And, then we would take a break to read a non-academic one each. He and I, we were not major outdoor players. Perhaps, he thought I would not be interested in outdoor games. I was not. Sometimes, we would play ‘Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Calcutta’. I do not remember now what it was. Just that it was played outdoors.

He and I stopped playing board games a decade back. He was 20, I was 15. We had grown up. Perhaps, we had better things to do. I don’t know.

I was playing online Scrabble with a friend last week. I missed him. He is 30, I am 25. The Scrabble sleeps peacefully at home, maybe it misses him and me.

He and I, we never celebrated it. Not when he was 15, not when he was 20, not when he was 25 either. Maybe, in his 30th year, it is time to tell him, “Happy Rakhi dear V :)” A tad too early, so you would say. However, it is a tad too late, I would say. 25 years late in wishing him a very happy Rakhi and a beautiful life ahead.

13 comments:

Sriganesh Murthi said...

Nice post :-) like Scrabble, there was also an advanced version called Upwords, which I liked more.. and I didn't know Monopoly was also called Moneyply...

I don't share board game experiences with my sis though, unless one can consider carrom too :-D

vinayvasan said...

Nice post.. The next gen might prolly substitute Scrabble with XBOX or PS and rakhi with a virtual one

Yogesh said...

Those were the wonderful days!

Amazing post :)

And, me and Sonia still play Scrabble (the Board one) btw :D

Ramya said...

this post brought in mind, the images of my the chubbiest and cutest school frnd of mine by name kavi :) thanks for bringing back those memories :)

Kavity said...

@Sriganesh:
Thanks :) Yeah, I had a game version which was called 'Moneyply' while all other kids in my neighbourhood had something called 'Monopoly'. Never could figure out why!

@Vinay:
Thanks!

@Yogesh:
Thanks :) That's so nice, to still have the enthu to play board Scrabble! Good stuff :)

@Ramya:
:) You make me blush!

Vijay said...

Really touching post, K. I really miss those days as well. Happy Raakhi, love you tons. V

Deepa said...

Very nice :)

Remember the numerous board games shared with brother/ family... I think my bro would get bugged to play now, though I am still game :) Srinath & I play scrabble regularly :), carrom sometimes.

Your post is a lovely tribute to your brother !!!

Kavity said...

@Vijay:
Glad you liked it. I was worried you might find it a tad too senti. Love you!

@Deepa:
Thanks :)
Ohhh marriage sounds like a nice option, you, Yogi, all of you seem to have got a renewed opportunity to play board games with your respective spouses!

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

straight away sent to my sis to make her feel all psenti

Shreya said...

Nice post! Well written!

Kavity said...

@Banjo:
Am feeling quite honored :) And, did she get senti?
My brother seems to have!

@Shreya:
Thanks :)

Mojo said...

Is such a nice post!! Sending to my younger bro.. hope he gets some inspiration from this :P

Kavity said...

Thanks so much Mojo :)