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Flipping Jokers: The People You'll Meet at Every Diwali Card Party

Sagar posted on 03 November

We have four seasons here in Delhi, and in a meteorological tribute to our attitudes, they’re all fucking extreme- Melty from March to July, Leaky in August and September, and Deathly from December to February. And right now, we’re in the middle of Smoggy.

Smoggy is a season for winning.

Good wins over evil. Firecrackers defeat breathable air. Teleshopping’s Advance Sky-Mop 3000 triumphs against that dirty corner of the balcony, and serving bowls overcome nachos and our uncles’ chips to hold counters and hoard cash. All this because in the Smoggy season- according to legend- Laxmi {the Goddess, not the bai} goes around distributing riches like she’s the Modi government handing out bans. Or Oprah.

Now, it’s entirely likely that Laxmi is just a chill girl who shows up in these parts during Smoggy and has a good time. But this is Delhi, so by now we’ve slandered her good name and have come to believe that she’s just handing it out for free. Even though no one is entitled to her good graces, everybody’s still trying to get with Laxmi.

Basically, that’s why we have card parties.

Add to this the fact that those who’re kickin’ it back with Laxmi get access to clothes and accessories with other people’s names on them, and holidays in Croatia (#errbodyfoundawesome #melty) which Delhi happens to be really into. It’s a win-win in which there are many, many losers.

From nine-year-old snot factories disguised as children in guest-bedrooms to fifty-somethings throwing down keys to cars and businesses; and from college kids on rooftops to people under shamianas on tables with different limits, there is a place for every kind of enthusiast.

From over-eager first-timer to the dude whose coiffed hair indicates his barber is plotting to kill him. From the girl with the stuffed Bottega clutch to the uncle who keeps trying to raise the stakes. There’s a place for the aunty who’s bad at math but knows what’s in the pot at any given point in time, and a place for he who keeps switching tables, looking for luck as if it’s his lost lighter.

From she who always forgets the boot to he who keeps trying to invoke good fortune by sitting next to his wife, mother or poodle. From the guy who got three aces once and believes he’s singularly blessed, to the girl who knows all the card-related songs and dialogues from Bollywood films; from the group that complains because “aaj feelni aari,” to those who won’t participate in the jokes because they came to play, which shouldn’t be confused with having fun.

They all want to tag Laxmi on social media.

Now, at some point in my life I might’ve thought that a bunch of well-dressed people who’re smiling excessively at you while secretly hoping that you lose all your money is a pretty good representation of Delhi, but there are two problems with that:

1. That’s the plot of Dil Dhadakne Do

2. Back then I didn’t know how much fun card parties could be

If you don’t like gambling, go for the booze, finger food and opportunities to slander. If you don’t like any of that, go for pretty lights and happy people, or go so that you can annoy everyone by constantly changing the music. Or dress up and do drugs, which otherwise you’d have to wait for somebody’s wedding to experience. And if you don’t like the city, dressing up, booze, music, food, or judgement, please drop a line to, since we’d really like to know how you got here.

You can first ridicule and then participate in a city’s ostentations. {This is a sentence borrowed from my recently completed but as yet unpublished book, for which I’m currently seeking representation. Just dropping this in here, no reason}. Sometimes we curse a baraat, because “kya uske baap ki road hai?” and sometimes we’re rightly going crazy to a brass band belting out London Thumakda, dancing on a roadside like we look good doing it. Sometimes we honk at stupid pedestrians, sometimes motherfuckers need to learn how to drive. It all depends on which side of the lights you’re on, and it all stops bothering you when you realise that you’re on both.

Chal ab royalty nikaal.