24 October 2005
See the pyramids along the Nile, watch the sunset on a tropic isle, just remember darling all the while... you belong to me
Went for my first cards party of the season the other night. Good fun. Small and I put in about a hundred rupees each and consequently lost it all. Then since my money had run out, I watched as the stakes grew higher--from 10-20, to 50-100. God, people in this city have a lot of money. There were people casually saying, "Panch sau ki chaal"and tossing in crisp new 500 notes while my poor broke soul kept going, "Nooooooo, give it to meeeeeeee!"
Are cards parties a solely North Indian concept, I wonder? I started playing, I think, in first year college, at a friends place, where bless her, she had a one rupee-two rupee table. I cleaned up that night--won some 700 bucks. The rules are pretty easy, for a straight round, you get dealt three cards--the highest is a trail, that's three of the same number. If you have an Ace trail, that's like the best ever, and everyone has to give you "goodwill" for getting such fantastic cards. Then there's the pure sequence-- a set of cards like 7, 8, 9 of the same suit, like all clubs. Then there's the impure sequence, with different suits. Right below that is colour--basically when you have all hearts or something. And then the piddly ones you shouldn't be betting on like pair (two of the same card) or highest card (like if you have an Ace or something).
Then there are the variations, which the dealer chooses. My personal favourite is "mattha" where everyone gets dealt one card which they put on their forehead without looking at it. You can see everyone else's cards though, so it's great fun when you see someone with a two of hearts on their forehead betting against someone with a King. Normally at parties, people play one round of straight before diving right in to the variations.
At larger parties, with the REALLY rich people, there are car keys tossed casually on the table. Or piles of 500 notes. Small was just telling me how she went to this party and someone won FOUR LAKHS. Fuck. There's also this fantastic urban legend, which I have helped stay alive, about how Ajay Bijli won PVR Priya through a game of cards. Can you imagine how that round would have gone? ("I see your three lakhs and raise you one movie theatre.")
Usually though, I'm sucky at bluffing. My dad's really, really good at it, I've seen him intimidate everyone else into quitting a game with a hand like four, queen, seven. But I guess that only happens when you don't care how much money you're losing. People who know me, also know that if I'm betting it means I have a really good hand and everyone backs out. Most unfair.
Cards parties always bring back so many memories. Last Diwali it was at Golfer-Ex's place, where I lost all my money and only won when he loaned me some 1,000 bucks. Of course, then I promptly gave him all my winnings. It was only fair. Then there were the times Leela and two of her friends and I used to play in her house. Those were innocent parties, where not much money was lost, but, oh, we did have a good time. Cards are not a serious business for me, but I have always loved the thrill of a gamble. When I was like six or seven, we went to some Air Force mela in Hyderabad where you had to bet on a number and then this chappie would roll a dice. Reader, I won. Much money. :)
Of course, I promptly bet it again and then lost it all, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Always know when to stop and don't be greedy. In other words, quit when you're ahead.
Have a fantastic cards season, and wish me luck for our cards party on Wednesday!