There are many games that appeal to people of all age groups, but our favorite by far is Dumb-Charades. This stellar game asks for nothing other than enacting the title out. The grandparents are given movie names in Tamil to enact, the children are given children’s books and movies, and a good time is had by all.
Usually, one of us gives the movie name to mime, and that person refrains from guessing the title.
We started off with Disney Pixar titles for the elementary school aged son. I have noticed how boys in that age group generally play the game. Never mind if the movie was called ‘Slumbering Sloths’. If in the movie, there was a 5 second scene showing the sloths thundering against each other and charging, that is what they would mime. Most trying on the audience the whole thing is.
We all suffered in the same keen way when the son started miming. To make matters worse, he said he would select a movie on his own (I will think of a movie in my mind by myself). This meant that there was not a single other person in the room who knew what the movie title was.
I would have liked to capture the whole thing on video, but we were so mystified and desperate to find the real name, that it hardly occurred to any of us to tape the thing. He ran around the living room that had a clunky tea table in the center and tumbled out of sight.
We looked at each other quizzically. Spiderman?
He shook his head, smiled and ran fast around the table again before tumbling out of sight.
No! He looked crestfallen that his superb miming was getting him nowhere. He pointed at his chest and ran fast and tumbled again. If not for the carpet, the child might’ve hurt himself. Usually, his sister comes to our rescue for the pair of them flit between each other’s imaginary worlds quite easily, but this time she too looked perplexed.
“Try something different this time.”, she told him. He perked up at this suggestion and ran around the table once again and tumbled thrice before sitting up beaming.
The psyche of the group by this time was worth noting. The actor was fatigued and wondering whether the audience, much as he loved them, had any dramatic sense at all. Might a few broad hints help to prod the dim group along?
The spot under the table looked spotless now, and we were no closer to guessing the movie name. The audience was insistent on not letting Superheroes rest. Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, Batman, Transformers, Flash (from Incredibles) had all come and gone.
“No Superheroes!”, he said finally speaking up, and thus leaving us completely clueless. With superheroes, there was a chance we could find the right fellow eventually, but this was like being told there are no oases in the desert. None.
We looked imploringly at the daughter, and she finally asked him to confide the title in her, so she could help him out. Clearly, we weren’t quite up to par in the brain department. He agreed, pulled her out of the room in exaggerated gestures, and told her the title. She came back laughing to split, and said she was going to have some more fun watching us figure this one out, now that she knew how easy it was.
You think you’d get a break given all that we do for these children. I gave her a disappointed look, and she said, ‘Believe me, you will like my sense of humor once you find out the name of the movie.”
After 2 more attempts, she relented seeing the looks of dumb anguish on our faces, and told him, “Bobbicles, do what we talked about inside.”
The little fellow looked stung. “But, I told you! They don’t do that in the movies.”
“I know, I know. But they may guess the actual word at least even if they do not do that in the movies.”
“Fine! “, said the artiste making it plain that he usually did not dilute his high standards for the sake of the audience, but was doing so this time. .
He put on a face that showed so much disappointment that we felt quite cowed. Finally, he used his hands to mime a steering wheel of a car.
“Cars!” we yelled.
“No!” he said.
The daughter was clutching her sides and cackling with laughter and said, “Stop! Stop! It is Cars….but what Cars?”
YES! said the little fellow wiping his brow.
We asked him why he simply did not show the steering wheel to start with, to which he said, “But in the Cars movies, they don’t use the steering wheels to drive! They just drive. I was showing you how Lightning McQueen races around the track, and then has an akiscent (accident) and tumbles! Amma – you should know that. Remember you said, Oh! Poor Lightning! when we were watching the movie?”
He showed us his Mappy face, which is a sort of grimace containing both mad and happy expressions rolled into one. I took my reprimand with grace, high-fived the fellow and instituted a new rule: One cannot think of their own titles to mime. At least one other person in the room should be able to help if need be.
“Madagascar”, I whispered to the daughter when it was her turn. Laughing at us for Cars 3 are we? That should fix her.
“Oh come on! I expected Appa to give me something like that. Not you!” she said pulling an emotional toss with ease.
She tried waddling like Penguins and everyone shouted ‘Emperor Penguins!” to which she glared and showed, “1 word!”
Finally, she split the word into 3 portions:
For the 3rd part, she pointed to her brother, ran around the table and tried tumbling out of sight.
Cars! The triumphant audience yelled.
Mimed a fart for gas (really sometimes I wish these children would be a tad bit more classy)
Her brother’s mappy (mad+happy) face
Car & Gas indeed!
“No more Oscar nominations tonight!” we said. I don’t think we could have handled anymore.