Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Five game scenes

1. Yash's drawing looked like some sort of deformed sock puppet. He moved his pencil slowly and deliberately, drawing the ambiguous object while his teammates bellowed harried guesses.

"Oven mitt!" Amit shouted.

"Bread!" Dave tried. "Loaf of bread!"

"Oven mitt! Oven mitt!"

"Meatloaf!"

"Time!" Anant screamed with glee. I looked at the small plastic Pictionary timer. All the white sand had collected in the bottom half.

Yash threw his pencil down and looked at his teammates as if they were fools.

"Shoe!" he yelled. "Shoe!"

Dave leaned over the drawing and squinted. He shined his headlamp more directly on the sketch. He spun the paper 180 degrees. He looked at Yash, puzzled.

"Shoe?"

Amit stood up and pointed an accusatory finger at Yash and the drawing. He wagged it back and forth and screamed louder than the Ganges whitewater that would thrill us all the next morning.

"How is that a shoe?" Amit screamed, so loud that my own throat seemed to hurt. His finger wagging intensified, and Amit grabbed his hair with his other hand.

"HOW IS THAT A SHOE?"

2. "Strawberry."

"Apple."

"Mango."

"Papaya."

"Blueberry."

"Guava."

"Kiwi."

"Tomato."

"No!" several of the Indians seemed to yell in unison. "No!"

"Yes," I said. "Tomato."

"Tomato is not a fruit," Yash said.

"Tomato is a fruit," I said.

"No!" one of the girls chided. Her voice took on the sort of condescension usually reserved for children. "Tomato is a vegetable."

Soon there was a chorus of Indian voices trying to drown Aliyah's and my calm, reasonable and, most importantly, undeniably correct assertion that a tomato is a fruit.

"No! No! No! Vegetable! No!" the darkness along the river seemed to echo.

"Indians, Indians," I said, finally getting them all to quiet down. "Apparently, the news has yet to reach your country. So please, let me be the first to tell you: Tomatoes are fruit."

Devyani laughed and conceded the point.

3. "Bird! Bird!"

Puja waved them on with her free hand, continuing to point at the sketch (which barely resembled a bird) with the pencil.

"Songbird!" Devyani screamed.

"Nightingale!" Anant shouted.

Puja gave a thumbs up sign. I cringed.

"Florence Nightingale!" Anant screamed.

I stared at Puja's mediocre drawing of a quasi-bird.

"Yeeeeeeeeeesssss!" Puja delighted. "Yes! Yes!"

"Oooooooh, yes!" Anant shouted.

I looked at the picture again before offering a carefully considered comment.

"What the fuck?" I said.

4. "OK," Amit said. "Animals."

"Dog," Dipika said.

"Bird," Aliyah said.

"No!" Yash shouted. "Bird is not an animal!"

"How is bird not an animal?" I said.

5. "Puja and I will go make some tea," Anant said. "Anyone else want some?"

After a chorus of "No"s, the pair trudged off along the river sand toward the surprisingly good kitchen.

We were quiet for a few seconds. I looked at the Pictionary board. The quiet continued.

"So..." I finally ventured. "Are we just supposed to wait?"

"I guess so," Amit said.

"What the hell?" said the Irish river guide.

"Can we just go and skip their turn," someone suggested.

"Yeah, they forfeit their turn," someone else said.

"What time is it anyway?" I asked.

Amit checked his watch. "Almost midnight."

"What?" I jumped up. "Screw this. Let's go to bed."

We gathered up the game, drew a pictorial note that, we thought, conveyed our victory and the tea-makers' forfeit, and left for our tents.

I am told that a few minutes later Anant showed up with tea for everyone to find an extinguished lantern and abandoned game.





3 comments:

Jared said...

When is the best time to come to India....? I have to go to India.... It seems like too much fun. Except for the Plague, and the critters...

Amir said...

The tomato is a culinary vegetable but a botanical fruit, meaning that its taxed the same way as other things that are used as vegetables, broccoli, carrots, etc. Leave it to the US to make a wacky distinction like that.

Leslie said...

Answer key:
Oven shoe
Fruit
Plane
Fowl
....(translation: dot, dot, dot, dot)