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The Forgotten Amusements

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By: Arbeena Shah

Gliding her soft index finger continuously in a zigzag manner, over a 5.5-inch android screen, twelve-year-old Amyra is happy to qualify the 75th level of Candy Crush game. She has been toiling hard to get through this knotty and arduous level since almost an hour.

‘Sugar Crush’, ‘Divine’, ‘Tasty’ -these words were continually whirling on the screen.

“Yessss! I finally did it!” Amyra whooped on her triumph.

“Wooaah! It was indeed tricky to get these red and blue candies together in just one last move!” she murmured with a grin on her dimpled-face.

Since her winter vacations kicked off, Amyra has become an aficionado to charming and colourful Candy Crush game. She makes sure to wrap up her winter assignments quickly to grab an ample amount of time to play on her mum’s smartphone. Although, her mommy keeps on complaining about her crummy handwriting. Amyra doesn’t care.

Sometimes, she grabs the phone while just waking up from her sleep. One particular snowy morning, she didn’t even realise that her breakfast was still pending and ended up by starting her day with a brunch instead.

Amyra is not much familiar with the savour of an open sky. Though her dad bought a pair of Yonex badminton racket one month ago on her behest only. But, she barely played with it. The mid-sized drawing books, set of crayons, colour pencils, oil pastels, watercolours and a pack of painting brush, lying on the wooden shelf of their living room, are eagerly awaiting Amyra’s touch. Perhaps, the villainous smartphone has taken over their place and she has found her best friend and solace in Candy Crush.

Amyra catches up with her two real friends, Khushboo and Naaz, online during the game only. However, these pretty girls are busy in the race of making ‘High Scores’ and conquering more levels all day long.

For now, the cosy living room is filled with the aroma of joy and giggles of Amyra’s accomplishment. She is feeling on the top of the world since she has also surpassed the score of her comrades.

Amyra’s mom, Tabina, is staring at her happy-go-lucky daughter from the kitchen door with a pitiful expression on her face. With a silver tablespoon in her left hand, she is observing her and falling into deep thought. She is feeling nostalgic and her gleeful childhood is flashing in front of her eyes.

She recollects her past and recalls her younger self playing ‘Name, Place, Animal, Thing’ with her siblings during the chilly winters. She always used to be the first one to pen down the four words starting with a chosen letter and shout ‘STOP’. She was a champ in this throbbing game and it was impossible to defeat her.

The winter holidays were always lined up with some popular games such as ‘Chinese whispers’, ‘Truth or Dare’, ‘Tic Tac Toe’ and ‘Chor, Police, King, Wazir’ whenever her elder cousins stayed at her place. The last few pages of her notebooks were usually torn to create small chits while as the other pages were full of game scores. And many a times, the games used to end either with a quarrel over the total score or the winner of the game.

Once, Tabina was playing ‘Truth or Dare’ with her cousins in the evening and she luckily got an opportunity to fix a dare for her elder brother. She ordered him to shout ‘I am crazy’ three times from the window. And before they would chortle, their father barged into the room and scolded her brother. Often others would quit the game because of her tough dares. This memory brought a wide smile on Tabina’s rosy face.

She reminiscences that her winter vacations meant not only completing the school work and projects but, a bunch of real and interesting games. Her holidays used to pass in the excitement of the other popular games such as ‘Monopoly’ or ‘Money Circle’, ‘Cards‘, and ‘Dumb Charades‘. She always loved to keep the account of each player in Monopoly and solve the trading dispute over the properties. Her cousins would often randomly comment that Tabina was capable enough to solve the Kashmir dispute as well.

However, she didn’t like to play Monopoly because she used to be the first player to either end up in jail or become bankrupt. But Afnan, her elder cousin, was the Monopoly legend who was known for craftily twisting the game at the last moment.

‘Kona-Kona’ (Corner-Corner) was another exciting game she used to play with her cousins before going to bed. Four out of five players would occupy the four corners of the room and try to exchange the corners hastily before the fifth-one could grab their place.

Another speciality of her childhood were the television video games among which Mario, Teckon and, Olympics topped the list. The wooden drawers of almirah used to be jam-packed with tons of video game cassettes and gaming consoles. Her siblings used to fight for their turn and were passionate enough to set new records every wintry afternoon.

Besides, one would find carrom board, chess board, ludo, snakes and ladder stacked up in the corner of Tabina’s small room. All these games were played one by one every evening.

Tabina’s eyes were wet while recalling these bunch of sweet childhood memories. By now, she was lost in her childhood days. However, her flashing memories were distracted by a constant call from Amyra.

“Ammi! Ammi! Please pass on the charger to me!

Tabina suddenly returned from her memories and again looked at her daughter. She wondered if Amyra would ever cherish and rejuvenate those bygone games!

Arbeena is a Graduate in Mass Communication & Journalism, University of Kashmir. She is interested in film reviews and creative writing. She can be reached at [email protected]

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