I grew up like most of the billionaires’ kids did. The Gates’ kids didn’t use smartphones till they were in middle school. Zuckerberg’s daughter reads Dr Seuss books and plays outside. Jobs, strictly, restricted the use of gadgets and made sure dinner time was all about conversations. Same to same, I’d say, and watch those Grammar Nazis convulse. But, I won’t. Instead, I’ll take you on a tour of my childhood and the top five games I played.
At number 5 would be ‘Marrying the Dolls’. It was such an inclusive world back then: the bandmaster married the witch, the elephant married Snow White and my chubby, headless doll married the ping pong racquet.
At number 4 would be ‘Disco Deewane’. It involved dressing in lampshades and embroidered table cloths, grabbing a mike and breaking into a song. The mike would be a bottle of a multi-vitamin tonic, or my beheaded doll (who now, was divorced), or our pet’s snout.
At number 3 would be ‘Bollywood Special’. The living room would be Gabbar’s den. The Gabbars would sit sprawled on the sofas and the Helens would dance. The playback would be provided by the entire cast in unison. Rooh Afza would flow like country liquor, er, sometimes on the sofa, for which all Gabbars and Helens were spanked.
When Love Story hit the silver screen, all we wanted was a cottage in the forest. So, we climbed trees in our Mango orchard and sat there pretending to be Kumar Gaurav. Now, those of you know who Kumar Gaurav is, this game became boring pretty soon.
Hence, we had to devise number 2, which was ‘Cook-out’. We would cook meals in our garden on woodfires that took forever to kindle, while we sat around, morosely like Kumar Gaurav. Most of these events were fun, except the one which ended in a fight when my friend poured water in my rice. So, I fed her curry to the dog. Who then, peed over the fire.
Our all-time favourite was game number 1: ‘Teacher Teacher’. It entailed dressing up like teachers: we’d pull my grandmother’s sarees out of her laundry basket and drape them over our frocks. That took time and effort. So, while school started at 10 am., we teachers would be ready only by noon or so. The day began with a long staff meeting in which biscuits were served. The principal allotted subjects to be taught. Then came the most difficult part: looking for students. It was impossible to convince any of the girls to play the role of ‘student’! So, we teachers were despatched in groups to hound for students. The moment we landed one, mostly a neighbourhood boy, lured by Rasna or cream wafers, it was school-time!
We taught our hearts out, set test papers, corrected them, failed him and one enthusiastic teacher even punished him. That was it! He could not take it anymore. He started beating her. We rushed in to her rescue, holding our sarees above our knees. He ran out calling out for his friends. They came and started pelting pebbles at us. But, there were SO MANY teachers: they were no match for us! We beat them up and chased them out. School was dismissed.