FLAMES: the first thought that came to my mind was every teenager’s rage- Taylor Swift’s song ” Blank Space” and my girls screaming their lungs out in unison to the blaring sound of the music…
So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game…. Blank Space by Taylor Swift
Don’t get me wrong.I love the song and I love it when my girls sing together, even if they go off-tune. I love it when they do anything together (even if they are wrong at times) without getting into a fight…”bonding” and “teamwork” and “building trust” being my ultimate goal in today’s world of shallow relationships.
Anyways, once I had crossed the mother in me, “Flames” woke the girl in me. I am not sure if it’s what Indian girls played or something that my generation did but back in the late eighties and nineties, we played “Flames” and it was a lot of fun. It was a pre-teen and teen thing that you did when you had a crush over somebody and had no guts to go beyond giggling about it with your friends. It was a sleep-over game, the secret that you hid from your parents as you and friends poured over the paper with a pencil to check out what “FLAMES” forecasted your relationship status to be.
Back in those days, pretty much everybody played it right from grade 6- the not-so shy girls playing it openly and the nerds (in their rooms when they were supposedly studying). Well, if you have played it at some point in time, you are probably smiling, as it brings back memories of giggles, first crushes, notebooks where the last pages had 2 names on it and the word “F.L.A.M.E.S” with each letter crossed out except one. That one letter decided your fate!
For those who have never played it and are just about to stop reading further because you have no clue what I am talking about, here goes-
Copyright@ This game belonged to the Gen. X girls- those who were born between 1966 and 1976 and who came of age between 1988 and 1994.
So you want to find out your relation with somebody, these are the steps:
- You write your name example- SMITHA…(my name)
- Then you put the name of the other person…example SANJAY(my husband’s name)
- Then you write F.L.A.M.E.S
- Now you cross out alphabets that are common in both names (one for one)…in the above example, first “S” goes, then “A” goes.
- Next you count all remaining alphabets..in the example, I am left with 8 alphabets (M, I, T, H and N, J, A, Y)
- Now you count each alphabet on the word “FLAMES” and cross out the 8th alphabet until you are left with 1 alphabet. In my example, first goes “L”- L stands for Love so that’s out of the way. When you are a teen, that’s pretty depressing, then you wait with abated breath, for the next alphabet.
- Next, in example…count 8 alphabets again. So after L, you have A,M, E, S,F, A, M and E is the 8th. Now you heave a sigh of relief and that brings back a smile because “E” stands for “Enemy”.
- Do it again and again until you have 1 final alphabet. In the example I gave, next goes “M” which stands for “Marry”, then goes “F” which stands for “Friends”, next goes “S” and boy I am glad because “S” stands for “Sisters” or “Siblings”. I am finally left with “A” and I have won because “A” stands for “Adore” or “Admire” or “Affair”.
In those days we were an optimistic lot and we never gave up hope; so if you didn’t get the relationship you wanted with the first name of the person, then you tried it again with the first and second name joined and if that didn’t work, you just said, “it’s such a stupid game really”.
Then you tried something else in private which was far outdated and probably played by the Baby Boomers generation (born between 1946-1954) , something that we learnt from the movies we watched or was handed over to us by older siblings or uncles or aunts, pulling out the leaves from a touch-me-not plant or the petals from a rose or a daisy , one at a time and saying “he loves me”, “he loves me not”. This always gave you the result you wanted.
Bringing the Nineties back
I just told my girls about “Flames”. Cynical as the current generation is, guess what they said- “it’s stupid but we like it!”. That means they are going to share it with their friends. Just maybe it will be the rage again like in our days :).
Share the games you played and let’s start a trend!
Does reading this blog remind you of any similar games that you played when you were younger- in your teens and pre-teens- safe, out of trouble games that you enjoyed and that seem to have gone extinct now? Games that bind people of your generation across countries and continents. If yes, do share it in your comments. Looking forward to hearing from you.