Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dutch Blitz: A year around

"Let us play Dutch Blitz", Bianca announced to the crowd. We had gathered at her parents place after attending the Christmas eve function at the church.

"What's Dutch Blitz? How to play?", almost everyone asked in unison.

Bianca sat in the middle with the cards on her hand and explained the rules of the game. "Sounds fun! Let's play", we all replied.

16 of us formed a circle, and the rest were watching how we play from a greater circle. "I did not understand the rules, but I think I will as the game progresses", I said to myself.

"Can 16 people play?", someone from the crowd asked.

"I have 2 sets of cards. 8 of us can play. So the remaining 8 will make teams", Bianca said. Since no one but Bianca knows how to play, many teams were formed with 3 or 4 members that my husband and myself get chance to play as an individual.

I shuffled my pack of cards, placed three cards in three columns, then counted the next ten cards placing it closed and only the top card was revealed. "For the cards that you have in your hand, you should flip three cards at a time and use your third card to play", Bianca continued explaining.

"Start", she said. As if there was an emergency, everybody was trying to place their card on the Dutch pile, some succeeded, but most were disappointed and amazed at the speed of others play.

"Dutch Blitz", Bianca declared that the game ended. Even though I did not finish early, I was happy that I had played more cards.

"Negative 10", the scorer pronounced my score. "Negative? Are you kidding me?", I asked the scorer.

"Know what? You played well, but you should try to play more cards from your blitz pile as each blitz card is counted twice against your score", my husband explained.

We started playing next round. As soon as the game started, someone from the crowd shouted "Blitz!". "If I don't have a card on my blitz pile, will I have negative score then?", I asked Bianca.

"No!!! It means you won that round! Next time when you finish all your cards from the blitz pile, don't forget to say Blitz! That way, others will know that you had won and would stop the game", she explained.

I evened out my negative score in that round and started pushing my overall score positive.

I could not believe that in my next round I am done with my blitz pile few minutes after the game began. "Blitz", I shouted in joy. I went on to win a few more rounds then.

"I like this game! Its too fast, but I am winning", I told my husband during a break between two rounds. "How much did you score?", I asked him.

"Negative 24", he replied.

"You taught me the secret of winning. How come you are not scoring in positive?", I asked him.

"Its true that I taught you the secret to win. But it seems you learnt it better than me!", he replied with smile.

"You are natural at winning this game", he complimented.

One year went by as if God had hit the fast forwarded button of life. I met some new people at the church this year during Christmas eve. "Are you coming to our home for Christmas eve party?", my friend asked.

"Yes!!!", I replied ecstatically, looking forward to play another rounds of Dutch Blitz game. In the meanwhile, I had browsed through websites and read game manual to learn about different ways to play the game. I am happy to say that till now, I am a natural champion at playing this game.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

This plant to me is very special. A friend of mine gifted me this plant when one day she came to know that I love gardening. When I brought this plant home on a winter day, I was 2 months pregnant! Both the plant and my baby grew together that sometimes I felt like the plant acted as a growth indicator of my baby inside!

During summer, I kept this plant outside of my apartment near to the entrance, just as my baby kept her first steps in this world. The color of the leaves was so attractive that once my neighbor asked me for its name, which I did not know. (If you know its name, please let me know through your comment to this post).

As if it served its purpose as a growth indicator, it soon fell into the taste buds of a few chipmunks during fall. This picture was taken a few days before it became a snack to the chipmunks.

This is my entry to this week's Weekly Challenge by dailypost.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 3

Day 3 of our honeymoon trip. That day was still vividly clear to me. Indeed! How can I forget such a trip to Kufri peak in Shimla?

Excited on what we are going to experience, we woke up early, got ready and rode to the entrance to Kufri peak. "One can reach the peak only through a horse ride", we heard a guide offering his service to us.

We booked a ride, rented two rain coats as the guide warned us about the impending weather at the peak and were waiting for the horse owner to bring the horses from their stable (which is nothing but the edge of the road).

"Black horse looks good. I always wanted to ride a black horse", my husband was telling me. While we were waiting, a small boy, who must be sitting in Class Six or Seven, was walking two donkeys towards us.

"See how thoughtful they are? To have a carefree ride, they are providing donkey service to carry our luggages to the peak!", I exclaimed.

"But we don't have any luggage to carry", my husband replied.

As the boy and his donkeys approached us, I told him that we have kept our luggages in our car. Confused, he said, "Ok, now please climb on my horses!"

I was worried if we could still make the trip as it already started drizzling all of a sudden, which is not uncommon at this part of the world. Nevertheless, we started our trip eagerly to have a view from the peak.

The path to the peak was completely muddy, which together with rain made it inaccessible by walk. With no footpath along, one has to trust their horse for a safe onward and return journey.

Trust, we did. Did we have a choice?

When you expect something not to happen, Murphy always conspires to make it happen! The donkey (oops! its a horse!) that was carrying me must have been really hungry for it never walked on the path, but instead took me to the edge where it slops downhill, whenever it spots anything that appears green to it.

Add to it the fact that my horse was in competition with my hubby's! When my horse (see? I'm not calling it a donkey any more!) moves to the edge, my hubby's horse takes advantage to go past mine. This is enough to infuriate my horse to go back on track.

At one point, my horse climbed a boulder as it spotted a lone grass. One slip, my horse would have taken me to an "upward" journey! Thanks to Jam's horse which was trying to take advantage of the situation, my horse gave up on its mission to pluck the lone grass and focussed on getting back on track. But it was already on the boulder and did not want to waste time retracing its step!

Knowing what's going to happen, I firmly gripped my horse rope and hugged it tightly. Thud, it jumped down pushing me forward. It was a miracle that I did not fall down on that muddy path!

"Hoooooooo", I heard the horse boy shouting to tease me how I yelled at his horse in fear. "Come to my state. I will tie you up in our auto rickshaw and repeat the same thing", I muttered under my breath.

"Do you want to go for another ride?", he asked us after our return.

"Not on your donkey", we replied in unison.