Last weekend, my whole family invaded one of the private resorts in Laguna for the extended birthday celebration of Nengkoy. This was the day I ventured in conquering one of my fears, that is, gliding through a wet slide and dropping to a deep water pool at the end. Here are two versions of my story. It would be up to you which one of these stories actually transpired.
While stepping up the ladder leading to the top of the slide, I was full of nothing but confidence. I told myself that I need to make a good impression making sure that all my nephews and nieces would ask how I did my fantastic slide acrobat. Reverse three and a half somersaults with two and a half twists. This is the degree of difficulty that I executed when I glided through the 15 feet water slide. While flexing and twisting my body, conscious of what I was doing, I entered smoothly and effortlessly into the water without a single splash of water. When I emerged from the water I was throwing punches in the air knowing I executed a perfect slide. I smiled upon seeing all spectators showing off 10 as a score on their flashcards. The applause reverberates and reached the outer space even the creatures from Mars were alerted and applauded upon knowing that I just executed a flawless slide. The spectators asked me how I felt. I told them that it was just one of those ordinary routines.
My knees were shaking when I was ascending the stairs leading to the top of the 15 feet slide. Upon reaching the top I felt nauseated and realized that this may be the end of a magnificently delicious life. I did not know how to sit still and how to settle my legs on top of the slide. It was too slick and slippery. While trying to carefully rest my butt on top of the slide, I suddenly lose my grip and slid without a warning. While sliding through the curved channel I lost my balance, control and concentration. Even my teeth that does not have a single muscle fiber was tightly flexing. Out of fear, I shut my eyes and suddenly lost all hopes of living. The next thing I knew, I plunged into the body of water. I surfaced out of the water while coughing my throat out. Upon gaining consciousness, I noticed that my relatives who witnessed my ridiculous fall were convulsed with laughter and the water in the pool suddenly got half-filled. It is because I drank most of it and some splattered out of its rim during my awful entry into the water. They asked me if I’m okay. I told them I’m fine and laughed so hard after realizing what had just happened.
Basta nadulas este nagpadulas ako. Tapos!
A lot of research and medical journals claim that playing the ancient Chinese game of mahjong has lots of benefits. Some study shows that this cognitive game that requires sharp memory, notable strategic planning ability, brilliant attention and robust skill in mathematical computation prevents the development of dementia and could even amplify various cognitive measures. It makes you quick-witted, sharp-witted and not dim-witted.
Definitely, mahjong is considered one great social channel for its players (though they consider other players as their opponents) to bond ties among each other as well as the ‘mirons’ (onlookers) who just watch it. It’s a game in which the players’ interrelationships would closely bind which leads to feelings of positive social belongingness and well being.
I consider myself and my siblings to belong to the above average intelligence scale but I cannot remember the time I and my siblings were assisted by Nengkoy to study for a school exam or finish a school-required-homework. However, my memory never fails me to recall the days when Nengkoy would tag us along in her mahjong sessions at the houses of her amigas and compadres in Sta. Ana, Makati during our childhood days.
I clearly remember those days when I would not play with the sons and daughters of her ‘mahjong-mates’. But I would prefer just sitting beside her at one corner of the mahjong table and watch how she do various tactics and strategies among those engraved marble mahjong tiles on the table. And when every time she or an opponent declares ‘todas’ (a win) I would gladly assist her in shuffling and rearranging those tiles to re-start a new game.
At present day, Nengkoy’s amigas may seldom or no longer play it anymore but Nengkoy still does. She now plays it with us, her children and grandchildren. Hilarious yet brain-challenging mahjong games played by the family up to these present days in the house of Nengkoy in Pasay kept the family sane and insane!
I belong to the Romasanta-Langit family and every one of us knows how to play mahjong. It is one of the common flairs that we have. A specimen who claims to belong to the Romasanta-Langit family is a sham if he or she doesn’t know how to play this ancient game.
I and my siblings’ intellectual aptitudes and social acumen may be attributed to our innate genetics but this has been enhanced and honed by Nengkoy’s influences. And one of these great influences is our knowledge and ability to play mahjong. Thanks to Nengkoy, the “diva majongera” who is celebrating her 74th birthday today, for the unconventional way of sharpening our wit.
Happy Birthday Nanay! Todas! Ol ap, syete pares. Bipor da pip. No plawer, no dyoker…