Categories
Thought and Reason Uncategorized

King-size Chess, anyone?

At a time when iPads and Nintendos rule the roost, it can be quite difficult for a parent to get children to sit down and play a ‘real‘ board game. I have always had a soft corner for board games like Othello, Monopoly, Connect 4, etc. because I feel they enrich us. Games like Chess, for example, help us develop not just concentration but also strategic thinking. And what better age to introduce this, than childhood?

Believe it or not, I did not have the fortune of learning to play Chess during my childhood. A neighbour once offered to teach me, but I guess I found it intimidating! Add to it, a problem of ‘butter fingers’ and this game was out of my league!

I definitely wanted to introduce my 6-year-old to this timeless classic!! However, as you can imagine, expecting a child of this age to sit still and understand the complex rules of Chess can be quite challenging!

Therefore, what better way to do it, than present him with a KING SIZE version of the game?

I was very excited when I came across ‘Big Game Hunters’ (specialists in garden/outdoor toys and giant play equipment). Their ‘standard chess set’ is actually rather huge! My son’s eyes lit up when the box was delivered. He couldn’t wait to arrange the pieces (as per the very handy instruction leaflet) straight away.

As a parent, I am glad that this set has rekindled interest in playing real (touch and feel) board games, as opposed to a rather sedentary Temple Run and Subway Surfer!

The child in me was reminded me of the wizard chess that Harry Potter and Ron Weasley played 🙂 Just that in this case, the magic was not a ‘philosopher’s stone’ but the exciting life-size experience of the game itself 🙂

However, do be aware that (as displayed in the website and Facebook page), the sets are quite big, and take up space, even when they are boxed.

As regards the product review goes, I would rate this 4.0/5.0, the rationale being as follows:

Pros:

  • Sturdy and robust pieces, especially for little hands. Butter fingers welcome 🙂
  • An innovative take on a classic game, definitely kindles interest, especially for kids.
  • Excellent delivery (super fast timeline and efficient tracking)

Cons:

  • The mat is a little thin and slippery, and crumples easily. Realised it only when a toddler crawled over it, and by the time we could yank him off, the mat had already crumpled. Perhaps a matte finish would have worked better?

I would definitely recommend this product (if you have the space, that is), both for its intrinsic value, and also as an alternative to watching TV indoors or smashing insects on an iPad!!

(PS: I received a chess set from Big Game Hunters for the purpose of this trial. No other consideration was received for this review. The review is entirely personal and not influenced by Big Game Hunters in any way whatsoever).

Categories
Humour Incidents Short story

Secret of the TV Wall – My first 3WW

I’ve been following the very interesting 3WW at Intrepid Dreamer’s blog for the last couple of weeks. Every week, I manage to miss it… and today, finally, I landed at the page on a Wednesday 🙂 So here’s my entry:

3 words: Engulf, Imminent, Tamper

———–

Daughters. Sons. Grandchildren. They huddled around the hospital bed. She was 90. Frail, weak. ‘Some water, Ma?’ the youngest daughter asked. Ma shook her head. Very slightly. ‘Wi…’ she muttered. Nobody heard. They were far too engulfed in sorrow. Much as they had hated the old hag, the fact was, they had spent a lifetime with her. Living off her ancestral wealth! ‘Wi…’ Ma said again, this time, a little louder.

The eldest daughter heard. ‘Did you want something, Ma?’ A look of exasperation crossed Ma’s wrinkled face. She motioned to the  wall across the huge hall, on which hung a massive TV. The ‘TV wall’ was famous within family circles. It was supposed to have a secret brick, which, when removed, would reveal the ‘Keys’. Keys to what? That nobody knew. Except Ma.

They crowded closer by her bedside, to get a better view. Or to hear better, as the case might have been!

Go on Ma, tell us..’ the eldest grandchild coaxed.

Wiiiiiii…’ Ma urged, motioning wildly towards the ‘TV Wall’ with both hands.

Murmurs arose within the closed room.

‘Wall? Is she pointing at the wall?’

‘Shush…quiet.. I think she means her Will. That’s what she’s been hiding behind the TV all these years!’

‘Tee hee, Granny wants to wee ;-)’ giggled the youngest of the brigade.

‘Wow.. a Will.. Wow!!’ the older ones whispered in sheer admiration. A real mystery, that too, in their otherwise mundane, insignificant little lives!

The macho men in the room took big strides towards the TV wall, and tried to pry the TV off from its stand.

Ma raised her eyebrows in alarm.

‘Don’t worry Ma, we will give you the Will in a minute..’

Ma shook her head, and lifted both hands towards the heavens above.

The daughters nodded wisely. ‘We know, you’ve waited all these years to share this moment with us…’

Ma clutched her head, and with all her energy, managed to pull out some perfectly silvery hair.

‘What’s wrong, Ma? Are you not happy? We won’t tamper with your Will, don’t you worry! Your wish will be our command! We swear!!’

Ma shook her head, rather vigorously.

‘My end … is imminent!!’ Ma cried.

‘Be brave, Ma, it is us who will be left alone..  Come, let’s atleast read your last wishes in the will now‘, the daughters sobbed. A small, empty bottle of glycerine lay in the dustbin under the bed.

The men were still working hard at removing the TV. ‘Fetch the screwdriver, you fool! We don’t have all day!!’ shouted the elder son to the younger.

There was chaos all around. Men hunting for a Will. Women waiting for the hunt to end! Children whispering animatedly, at what would be in the Will!

Until finally, ‘Crash!’ Ma grabbed the glass of water by her bedside, and threw it on the floor, with all her might.

‘Can you dumb fools stop breaking my new flatscreen TV?’ she managed to scream.

The daughters looked at each other, in disbelief. Sons and grandsons heard it loud and clear. They turned around, confused!

‘But.. but what about your Will?’ the daughters questioned, tears having disappeared rather magically.

‘My Wi…’  Ma whispered again.

‘Your will, dearest Ma?’ the youngest daughter cooed.

‘Shut up, you useless fools. No damn will. And no bloody money. I’ve donated everything before you vultures came to my deathbed. Now give me my damn Wii from the rack beside the TV. I want to play one last game!’

——–

… To read my other pieces of Fiction, please click here…Thanks!!