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Time Pass …. Together

By Rajesh C. Oza Email By Rajesh C. Oza
August 2014
Time Pass …. Together

with PostModern Gandhiji (PMG)

An advice column offering the Mahatma’s perspective on modern dilemmas


Dear PMG,

We have a big family spread across Georgia, Florida, Illinois, and California. Once a year we all get together at some location that an elder member of the family selects. A small committee structures this vacation, which includes our family version of TED Talks where each person shares what s/he has been doing the past year.

We also play mildly competitive softball, cricket, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and very competitive board games, including a home-made version of Jeopardy where the adults play against the kids in an annual “grudge” match.

In the midst of this packed time, there is always downtime. Some folks go for walks, some tell stories, some read, some gossip, and some nap. My Dadiji, who is our family matriarch, forbids two items during this vacation: cell phones and playing cards. She feels that cell phones are a distraction and pull people away from those who are right in front of them. And Dadiji believes cards are instruments of gambling, which she absolutely abhors, since many years ago, Dadaji lost a small fortune in the stock market.

Our problem is that my cousins and I have been sneaking off to play a card game we love called Bluff. We do it to kill time over the weekend, and to have time with just each other. But because we love and respect our grandmother, we all feel a bit guilty about it. Since Dadiji is a big believer in the Mahatma’s philosophy, any advice on how to deal with this would be much appreciated.

Dear Friend,

“Time is wealth, and the Gita says the Great Annihilator annihilates those who waste time.” (M. K. Gandhi)

Let’s open and close this response with smiles.

Smile 1:  Sounds like you feel that your Dadiji is the family’s Great Annihilator.

On a serious note, one imagines that Gandhiji’s immediate response would have been to oppose playing cards. But perhaps if you shared more about why you and your cousins feel compelled to sneak away with a deck of cards, he might have amended his opinion. It seems that your question is really about time. If your objective is to “kill time,” then, to be sure, this would be seen as a “waste of time.” But you also note that card playing is a way “to have time with each other.” This second goal has much to commend it.

Whether you’re eating together, walking together, telling stories together, reading together, gossiping together, or even napping together, the key theme of your family-time is togetherness. To assuage your guilt and cease the sneakiness, simply ask Dadiji if there is any harm in a friendly card game that further connects your generation together.

Smile 2:  Some other column will need to address whether your game of Bluff is in keeping with Gandhiji’s commitment to truth-telling.

[Dr. Rajesh C. Oza serves as a consultant to organizations and individuals requiring change leadership. We invite questions for consideration in the PMG column at raj.oza@sbcglobal.net.]


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