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The online bridge returns a precious ritual for the elderly | India News


Every afternoon, Manju Agerwala wears her pearls, puts on her favorite lipstick, and sits at her felt-lined bridge table. The other three chairs are empty, but their circle of cards is present, online, all similarly in front of the computers in their respective homes. Three hours and many tricks later, the 80-year-old is ready to go.
The miracle of online bridge has transformed the lives of thousands of players across India, bringing relief to older people who have been endlessly imprisoned in their homes; allow competitions to continue as before; and even employing some who lost their jobs but reinvented themselves as in
align teachers with students from around the world.
Before the pandemic turned life into a blurry calendar of socially sterile days, especially for the elderly, bridge used to be that regular, happy ritual that is looked forward to, not just the game, but the tea and friendship accompaniments that accompany him. Although the players cannot be seen online, many continue to dress as if they were going to the club. As Agerwala’s daughter Anisha says, “Just having that ritual gives them a sense of normalcy and security. Help our mother to cope better. ”
A generation of people who could barely write a text message suddenly became fluent with their digital devices. They sought the help of grandchildren, friends or neighbors and invited each other to the free and easy-to-use platform, Bridge Base. The result was far beyond the game. Many overcame their technophobia and gradually acquired other digital skills, such as Sonal Sheth (75) who says he now surfs the Internet for recipes and watches YouTube shows, or Gulshan Jasdanwala (83) who has discovered online banking to pay your personal. “Bridge is like a big family to us,” says Jasdanwala. “We play every day and that keeps me very happy because I can spend three hours of my time using my brain in a profitable way. How much can you read? And I don’t really like television. ”
S Sundareshan, president of the Delhi-based Bridge Federation of India, says chess and bridge are two games that people have been able to follow despite the lockdown. The federation has successfully conducted all major tournaments, including the summer and winter nationals, with more than 1,000 participants from across the country, enabled by cameras and other security devices. In fact, some players who were too old or sick to travel to competitions have now been able to play. Many are silent kibitzers, the term for those who watch someone else’s game. “The camaraderie and coffee / drinks that accompany the game may have been lost, but it is certainly better than the situation with other games that have been completely stopped,” says Sundareshan, adding that even after the pandemic, he believes there will be a combination of online game with real game. Poker, rummy, chess, and even ludo are actively played online through the pandemic, but bridge players see themselves as the holy elite who play with mechanical regularity and are willing to dish out large sums. to learn.

Times of India