[Story] Deck of Cards

Vir passed the deck to me and almost commanded, “Look at this deck of cards and tell me what do you see?”

I picked it up and looked at the cards spreading them 5-6 at a time till I had run through all 54 cards in the deck. They were arranged in multiple sets of 4 similar cards, starting from Aces to Kings, followed by 2 jokers.

I concluded, “They are arranged in a 4-of-a-kind fashion but in the ascending order”. I was pretty satisfied this answer.


Deck 1: 4-of-a-kind in a row in ascending order.
Deck 1: 4-of-a-kind in a row in ascending order.

Vir looked at me, smiled and handed me another deck of cards. “What about these?” he asked. I repeated the drill and replied with my findings, “They are arranged the same way”.

Vir smiled harder, more like I gotcha there buddy sorts. He remained silent though. Given my unique ability to not withstand open endings to a story I demanded, “What is it? Why are you smiling like a sly jackal?”

He replied, calmly, “Have one more look at the second deck and tell me the difference between the first and the second one. Look closely”.

I reopened the cards, once again spreading 5-6 at a time and putting them back in the bunch. About half way through I realised the tiny detail I had missed the first time. The cards were arranged in a specific order by the suits. For every number or the face-card, the arrangement was Spades, Club, hearts and Diamond. It was fascinating that I missed out on one such detail.

Much like Aristotle, plus the clothes, minus the running, I shouted, “Eureka, You arranged them in an order by suits. While the first deck of cards is not arranged by it, they are just arranged by the number”.

Deck 2: Arrangement by suits
Deck 2: Can you spot the difference between Deck 1 and Deck 2?

Vir appreciated my Eureka moment with a little nod and passed me another deck of cards.

I asked, “Where are you bringing these cards from?” He chose to answer with another command, “Alright, tell me the difference between 2nd and the 3rd deck. Look closely again”.

There was something in this game that made me follow his command like a soldier. I instantly started looking through the 3rd deck, carefully and when I was done, I went through it again just to confirm my findings. Eventually I gave my answer, “I don’t see any difference”.

Vir was expecting this, he almost immediately replied, “I told you to look closely. Try again”.

The 3rd time was the charm. Out of all the 54 cards, the second to last Joker was upside down. Just one card made a lot of difference. When I told Vir that I found the joker, he took all 3 decks from me and said “Great. You got it”.

He was silent again. I waited for him to say something. 30 seconds later, the silence was killing me. Once again swallowing my pride I asked, “Dude what is the moral of this?”

Deck 3: Can you spot the difference between Deck 2 and Deck 3?
Deck 3: Can you spot the difference between Deck 2 and Deck 3?

He laughed and said, “Why don’t you tell me?”

It was very unusual of him to pass the ball to my court like that. I wanted to be right this time in one go. I took my time, gathered my thoughts, and began my monologue, “I think what we learn from here is that we must always look carefully into something before we pass our judgement. Especially with people, people can be deceiving and can trick you into believing they are like someone, but with a closer look you will realise that they are different, perhaps completely, or only slightly, but they are different”.

I waited for an applause from Vir. He didn’t clap, he didn’t smile, he didn’t say anything. He just shrugged his shoulders and twisted his mouth.  I was furious. What was it that didn’t fit here. Why did he shrug and not agree to me? There was pandemonium in my head, the thoughts were running faster than Maglev trains. I was about to shout at him but he sensed my impatience and gave his response.

“Dude, it’s a good thought. But that isn’t the moral of the story”

I was shocked, bewildered, almost on the verge of tears. Those 15 min were wasted because if I cannot decipher the analogy of deck of cards how am I supposed to understand the mysteries of the universe?

With a broken heart I asked him, “What was the moral of the story?”

His reply left me no choice but to end our friendship. He replied, “Dude, there is not always a philosophical theory to everything. I was just killing time”.

The funeral for Vir will be announced shortly.

-Naimish Sanghvi

Cover pic source: Gizmodo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.