Saturday, September 23, 2006

Life is a game of Hearts

On a recent outing my colleagues introduced me to the card game called ‘Hearts’. Ironic to its name, the objective of the game is to ensure that you don’t end up with any hearts from the pack. ‘Think of it as golf…but for cards’ was the priceless advice I got about what I needed to do if I intended to win. The aim was to score as less as possible until one of the four members playing the game reached a score of 100. Now, being someone who is always up for a challenge and never quits that easily, I found it odd to play a game and not score to win! Coming from classic games like my personal favorite cricket, scoring was what defined the game, according to me. Be it any competitive sport all that people ever asked eventually was ‘Who scored the most?’ implying that they wanted to know who won. But here I was playing with a bunch of experienced ‘hearts-men’ who apparently knew the trick to win by not scoring at all. ‘How on Earth could there be a game where scoring was a bad thing?’ I wondered.

Nonetheless after a fair amount of ‘trial rounds’ where they wanted me to get a hang of it, we officially began. My immediate instinct to make sure I got the highest card was clearly the wrong one since the game was all about the opposite. Opposite of logic. Opposite of everything that said more was good. Opposite of any pattern you might have seen in your life. It was like I was in a ‘Seinfeld’ episode where nothing is everything. Dubious logic took over and soon I was scoring faster than one could say ‘Hi’. One of my colleagues even took a jibe at me saying ‘Whoa! We need a calculator for this guy’s score!’

I endured the many defeats that followed with a lot of patience. Expressions like ‘you don’t want the Queen of Spades. That is a bad card!’ and ‘Shooting the moon is a vital trick to win so make sure you keep the Queen of Spades!’ started making the rounds of the table. A few hours and having gotten shot in my moon a few times, I wound up losing most of the games. I was like a Ferrari at times as I paced from 0 to 100 in less than 5 rounds. Yes. I had vowed to learn the game properly and get even with these chuckling hearts’ veterans.

But as I started learning more about it later on, I realized how similar the game was to real life. In life too, getting rid of all the high cards (read bigger problems) as soon as possible was the key. In life too, making sure you didn’t get any hearts (read love tragedies) was a priority. In life too, the Queen of Spades (read high stake risks) is a definite no. In life too, scoring as least as possible (read tension and stress) is what everyone wants. And in life too, ‘shooting the moon’ (read winning by tricks) was always the goal. You might initially pass on the bad cards to someone else, but it might eventually come back to bite you in the behind.

Ah! Indeed this game was a good metaphor for life itself. It has now come to a point where if I end up spending more than my upper limit at the groceries I say to myself ‘Ah I ended up with all the hearts today. Darn!’ But I am not quite sure ‘shooting the moon’ at the supermarket would be a good idea though.

Don’t you agree?


3 reflections:

Ashared said...

Nice analogy!

shakri said...

Thanks for opining ashared. Much appreciated.

karthik said...

ver good one.... Nice interpreatation.