You will be reading this article during the Diwali festivities. All of us are well aware of Diwali and its significance. You can also read other articles explaining its religious and cultural importance. So, let me directly dive into one of the main aspects of Diwali – playing cards!
People in India like to play cards on the night of Diwali and try their luck to have Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings. In some parts of India, people play cards on Janmashtami too. I have heard that some people traditionally gamble on the night of Maha Shivratri. Of course, there are brave people for whom every day is festival, and so they gamble daily! But it is an important part of Diwali celebration in Mumbai and Delhi also. I have enjoyed it wherever I am.
While playing cards, people also like to try different games. I like the simplest games like Teen Patti (3 cards) or Rami (13 cards) so the main focus remains on transaction of money.
When we play cards in a group of family and friends, there are different type of people. There will be one typical auntie who starts by saying, ‘I don’t know much of the play. Someone, please guide me, otherwise, I will lose all my money’. Then she will go on harping a tune of how costly the vegetables have become lately; how difficult it is to run household expenses nowadays, etc. But the uncle, her husband, would be least bothered either about the inflation or about her losing money in the game. He would happily focus on playing cards.
Youngsters would be more excited about the game and use all their skills and swiftness in dealing cards. As usual, they believe the old people are too slow and don’t know anything about the modern world. They begin with an aggressive game, bet a larger amount, hoping that the auntie and uncle type oldies will be intimidated. Mid-aged people, who are at the edge of both generations, have no intention to either offend the elders or upset youngsters. They munch namkeen and play their natural game.
As time goes, we realise that auntie and uncles, who hold their cards very tight and close to the chest, turn out to be very skillful gamblers. They open the cards with so much pressure on the corner of each card as if the two cards are stuck with fevicol. They are very cautious of anyone else seeing their cards. By midnight, after paying mamy blind games, youngsters are about to finish their quota of money, while the oldies have accumulated all the wealth. ‘I don’t know how to play’ type oldies turn out to be the winners and the ever-energetic youngsters prove themselves fool. The only wise generation that doesn’t get embarrassed either by winning or losing is the mid-aged one.
As the night proceeds, the oldies become more and more interested in games. While youngsters have changed their biggest notes, the oldies have pocketed them by giving change. They keep only a small amount of money in view of others and keep saying, ‘I haven’t won for many games. My money is about to finish’. And in response, the daughter in law would gruntle, ‘Mummy Ji, you have already pocketed three big notes’. But Mummy Ji will innocently ignore this comment and bet on the next game.
And the game goes on. Money remains in the family. No one is actual loser but the whole family turns out to be winner by spending a whole festival night together.