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My Glad Game

Posted On : December 06 2017

Writer : Devasis Chattopadhyay

Bookaholicanonymous feels extremely privileged to have this exclusive piece written by Devasis Chattopadhyay...

Devasis has recently launched his book 'Without Prejudice: Epic Tale of a Mumbai Bar Dancer' He is a communicator, corporate reputation advisor and brand strategist. He did his graduation in commerce from Calcutta University. Thereafter, he did his post-graduate diploma in PR. Initially, he chose his career in advertising, later on he took up Public Relations as his calling. He began writing free-lance non-fiction features just after his graduation since early 1980s, during his spare time and continued writing them in various Indian newspapers and magazines for nearly two decades. Thereafter, because of varied domestic and overseas senior executive roles and assignments, his articles became few and far between. Devasis currently lives in Mumbai with his family.


My Glad Game


I played glad game all the time. I continued playing it all through my life. I was glad that I played it.

In early twentieth century, Eleanor Porter wrote a book about a girl - Pollyanna. In the story whenever Pollyanna started to feel low, she played the Glad Game and thought of the many happy things to make herself happy about her life and to be thankful for it. She taught the people in her community to play the game and to spread joy. The book was a big success and was followed up with a dozen more of Pollyanna books – you guessed it correct – these books are called Glad Books. In 1960, Disney made a movie based on these books, bringing Pollyanna and the Glad Game to a whole new generation.

Yet, I never knew about it. I never knew of Pollyanna or Eleanor Porter when I started playing my own glad game early on in my life and continued playing it. Even now.

My mother passed away, recently. Hence, understandably, I was in pain. Everyone would be. I was informed of her death around midnight. As I stay in a different city, the fastest I could reach near her was the early next morning.

I met her in the morning at the crematorium.  Tranquil.  Serene. Beautiful. At peace with herself.  There she was, in her eternal sleep, resting in front of the electric furnace.

The cynic in me raised its head. It said that I am fantasizing. It reiterated that I wanted to believe that she was at peace with herself. I desperately wanted to believe so. I wanted to so believe because it would provide me with a plausible reason to be at peace with myself. My eternal glad game.

Encircled by her friends and family, there she was, my mother, ready to be consumed by an enormous energy very soon. And, there I was, looking at her for the last few remaining moments. The priest was chanting the hymn. Last rites were being performed... The furnace door opened. I remained transfixed. Red, hot, molten bricks spread their arms. Willingly, she surrendered her body - her mortal remains, to them. One sharp movement. The heavy metal door to the electric furnace was shut. Circle of friends chanted aloud… Bolo Hari, Hari Bolo. The last salute.

I walked out of the crematorium. I am not so much in pain. I have my mother with me. My glad game.

From my early childhood I had another me in me. I always imagined that I am shadowed everywhere by that other me. I had that other me in me well hidden from the world I lived in. There was always a struggle between me and the other me.  Possibly, it was the root cause of my daydreams. Me being a "Mittyesque"* character. Or better still, Mitty being a clone, or a very unimaginative clone of me.

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