The Games People Play
Win if you can, lose if you must
All games need not reflect reality, but some do.
The game of Monopoly exhibits a certain spirit of rampant capitalism, where you force your opponents into bankruptcy so you can become rich. If you want to have a glimpse of the ancient military warfare, turn to chess; which is actually an acronym for Chariot(rook), Horse( knight), Elephant(bishop) and Soldiers(pawns). Who isn’t familiar with a deck of cards, which symbolizes the four major pillars of the economy of the Middle ages- the Hearts for Church, Spades for Military, Clubs for Agriculture and Diamonds for the Merchant Class.
Man by nature is a social animal, always craving for societal acceptance, praise and status. Probably that’s how the game of Politics was born. As Man was evolving through the ‘ages’ of Stone, Bronze and Iron, he was simultaneously looking up to much greater things. As he stepped into the Middle Ages, he went on to organize himself and others, into families, into groups and into societies.
I’m guessing it was in the Modern Age that his fierce ‘organizing’ skills took a turn and landed into the muddy waters of power politics. When societies were simple, a simple form of politics was played. But. As society became complex, the games also grew more complicated and convoluted.
Politics, like all games, has rules. But they are flexible. Since there are possibilities of landing in trouble, everyone is granted a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card. The gamers know that it isn’t brawn but brains that work here, so they arm themselves with less conscience and more greed. They know that it is the sweet and syrupy words; saccharine coated promises; honeyed gestures and mesmerising slogans that will not only keep the audience riveted but also help them emerge as winners.
Since it is as difficult to detect a player's dishonesty as it is to discover how much water is drunk by the swimming fish, almost every player gets away scot free. The players have a knack of cleverly managing the media and the resources by drafting endless manifestoes. They also put their stooges to work 24/7 to keep the audience distracted by inviting meaningless debates and endless arguments. They shamelessly plan brutal strategies by applying manipulative, sly and ruthless methods and by brazenly using black money for campaigns.
In recent years, the blatant use of digital marketing tactics began to be used against their opponents. Thousands of jobless youth are employed and the emotional card is used to play upon the sentiments of the retired ‘WhatsApp Uncles and Aunties’. So that with common tropes, all of them, headed by the media, automatically become prolific sharers of misinformation and propaganda.
Vicious campaign cards are also used to damage other players’ influence by leveling baseless corruption allegations, murder charges and false accusations. Any questions from the audience are met with resistance and if the queries continue, the audience is ‘disqualified’. In short, this is a game that requires ‘Negative people’ to make ‘Positive decisions’. And it boils down to just one factor. To remain in this ridiculous and irrational ‘game’ as long as you can.
The games that children play are different. And they are not necessarily a nonsensical pastime like the above, because they all have a point.
Take Blindfold for instance, where a nominated child ties a cloth across the eyes and tries to catch another, thus making him/her as the next target.
Or Hopscotch- where a kid tosses a small object into a numbered spaces of a pattern of rectangular squares chalked out on the ground, and then hops across to try and retrieve it.
Or Dumb Charades- a guessing game where one acts out a word or a phrase in a miming fashion to help their team understand.
These are all games we all played too, when we were still ‘mobile’. Why these games deserve a special mention is because each of these sports always had a point to prove. Although we never realized it then, it was a childhood lesson teaching us how it would feel, if God forbid, one day we landed up in that situation.
Even if it was for a few playful moments, back then we knew what it was to grope our way across in a dark world across a group of teasing rough kids, who tried to dodge out of your fumbling way.
We knew how it was to laboriously hop along with one leg, while others watched and hoped we’d somehow fail; so it would be their turn next.
We knew how it was to struggle to speak with our hands; without using our vocal chords.
And yet, even after having had a short but teasing trailer of what it was to be blind, lame or dumb, when life showed us the full movie, we were least prepared. Perhaps because, then we had a choice. If we wanted we could open our blindfold, put down that other leg or break the voice ban.
Anytime! But when you have to actually live with reality, it becomes a devastating issue. More so when you have to deal with people who are blessed with eyes, but do not have the vision; with people who have two valuable legs but not the proper stride; with people lucky to own a voice, but who hardly use it to speak up for others. Yes, nobody is flawless. But a physical flaw is definitely better than an emotional one.
All games are but a metaphor for life, where in the end you either win, lose or draw. Therefore, every player is like an author of your own destination, because here you get to write your own story. But while penning down these stories, it is imperative to remember that compassion is always greater than perfection. Victory is not important because very often even if you win, you tend to lose. And sometimes even when you lose, you end up winning.
Therefore the simple rule to remember is win if you can and lose if you must. But never cheat. Never quit. And never stop questioning.