My Current Mantra: A Family That Plays Rummy Together Stays Together

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My Current Mantra: A Family That Plays Rummy Together Stays Together

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

When life’s going on without hiccups, we are consumed by work, spending more time in office than the people of Chandigarh do at a Roadies audition. We wait eagerly for weekends and mid-week national holidays and long to spend time with our loved ones at home like they do in Sooraj Barjatya films. Either we are too consumed by work, or our parents are too busy sharing forwards on WhatsApp, or siblings are caught up watching the rerun of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. The stars have to align miraculously for everyone to even have dinner together. Time is luxury, like getting a haircut these days.

Think of the last time you were home with parents 24X7? It is as rare as Stuart Binny single-handedly winning a game for India. What do you do with this time? There are only that many excuses you can give for why you don’t want to get married and there is that much you can gossip about the office on WhatsApp. There’s one other option…

There’s one choice to keep you occupied and happy – Rummy.

“Baithe baithe kya karein, karna hai kuch  kaam…”

The jingle is only invoked on two occasions, either on a bus ride during a picnic or out of boredom at home. The latter we are all experiencing right now. When we spend too much time with someone, even trivial issues can lead to a Mahabharata – Who will use the bathroom next? Whose turn is it to do the dishes? When things aren’t heated up, they can get awkward, like parents sticking their phone in front of your face and telling you to speak to fua-ke-masa-ki-ladki-ka-bhai on a video call. To ensure that you come out of these times like a solid Hum Saath Saath Hain fam, I have a better plan.

The first thing that comes to mind is good old family TV time. But you realise it is not a great idea when your younger sister wants to watch Never Have I Ever on Netflix and your parents return to Ramayan. And there is that much you can talk about politics and Bollywood. But there’s one choice to keep you occupied and happy. Get everyone hooked on to their phones and pass time playing our favourite desi card games. There’s once choice to keep you occupied and happy – Rummy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a deck full of cards at home and gift shops aren’t marked as essential services, you can get on the Rummy Passion app or website. There are very few things sweeter in life than looting your parents in a card game or the thrill of winning money at a competitive online table. Once you master the game, you can play with lakhs of players online. Card games always trump the lame extended family WhatsApp housie or making Dalgona coffee for Instagram likes.

There are very few things sweeter in life than looting your parents in a card game or the thrill of winning money at a competitive online table.

If not, you have other options, aka more ghar ka kaam. Mothers will never run out of chores to assign. If the sink is fixed, let’s rearrange the cupboard. If the wardrobe is fine, let’s clean the entire house, we’ll save time during Diwali. If the house is squeaky clean, dismantle it so we can throw all the useless stuff that we don’t need. Since all hands are on deck, we must at all times find ways to be resourceful. If everything inside the house is settled, it is time to call up relatives and gossip about other family members. The possibilities are endless when you introduce parents to video calling.

And just like that, days, weeks and even months will pass away. Earlier, we wondered if we would ever get this time. Now that we have it, we wonder when it could be over. The things that kept us great company were an internet connection, online games like Rummy Passion and the positive attitude to make the most out of the situation. And find the answer to the all-important question these days… “baithe baithe kya karein?”

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