Me and Sumi were sitting on the stairs one day and he was asking me, ‘Dada, I wish I could have a Wii. Maybe somehow we could get it.” So we went downstairs and we asked Baba if we could have a Wii. Baba said, “Maybe if you complete a goal.” Then Sumi said, “Like what?” And Baba replied, “I don’t know yet, but I’ll think about it.” A few days later, Baba said, “If the three of you combined earned 500 art points, 1000 brain points and 1000 athletic points, Aai and I will buy you a Wii.” Part of me was thinking I could do this. Part of me was thinking those are quite big numbers. But, wow, for all these years Baba has said, “No no no!”, and now he has given a way for us to get it. From then on, me, Tai and Sumi were really excited. This all started in August, 2014.
To earn an athletic point, you must walk or jog 1 kilometer. For example, when our whole family hiked 10 kilometers, me, Tai and Sumi got 10 points each, so 30 points was reduced from the 1000. It all averaged out very well – we each did about 335 kilometers. Because we didn’t have a car, lots of our errands would be done on foot. These points were quite easy because if we had just gone on a walk to run errands, then immediately we’d get the points. It’s kind of like two in one! We also hiked a lot to prepare for our first trek that we were going on with a few school friends. It took us eleven months to finish walking 1000 kilometers.
There are many ways to earn an intellectual point. Here are some of the ways:
- doing my homework well, depending on how hard it was (1-2 points)
- completing chess workbook problems (1-4 points)
- playing chess games on http://www.chesskid.com (1 point)
- playing chess games in real life with notation and analysis after the game (1-3 points)
- completing Sudoku or logic puzzles correctly and quickly (1-2 points)
- writing in the family blog (5-10 points)
- reading school books (2-8 points)
- playing word games such as Scrabble, Boggle and Bananagrams (1-4 points)
Collectively, we needed to earn 1000 intellectual points in order to complete this element of the challenge. These were quite hard but I still kept going.
To earn an artistic point, I drew pictures or played tabla. I drew things like scenes, symmetrical castles, and flags of countries. For each drawing, depending on how good it was, I would earn 1-7 points. Playing tabla for 15 minutes gets me 1 point and if I did an hour of practice in a row, I would get a bonus point earning 5 points. The amount of art points we were aiming for was 500. This element of the challenge was the hardest because I had only a few ways of earning points and they weren’t as enjoyable.
We tracked our points using Microsoft Excel. There were three pages, one for each element of the challenge. Baba taught us how to use Excel so we could track our own points. There were eight columns in each page named: Date, Description, Janani, Sajjan, Sumanth, Total, Cumulative and Points to Go.
About a year into our challenge, Tai and Sumi started wanting different things instead of a Wii. Tai was interested in getting a new sitar because she hadn’t gotten one yet and she was learning to play it. Sumi wanted a Lego set, a really huge one, because he wanted even more Legos. So Tai and Sumi weren’t contributing to the challenge for the Wii anymore. I was left to do this challenge all by myself. I started to get discouraged when Tai and Sumi gave up. I was quite motivated before, but for those two or three months after they gave up, I wasn’t earning as many points. Then I got back into it after a few months. Since I was already at about 300 intellectual points, Baba reduced the goal to 400. And I was at about 80 artistic points and Baba reduced the goal to 200 points.
Amazon doesn’t work in Nepal and we cannot buy a Wii in Kathmandu, so we had to do something else. When I had almost finished the goal, Baba was going to China for a work trip. He said, “How about I get the Wii there? We can get it a little bit in advance but you won’t be able to play it yet.” When he went to China, he couldn’t find it there. There were only Xboxes and PlayStations. China is like one of the highest selling countries. We probably got this laptop, my backpack, my shirt and almost everythingl from China. So, I was really shocked.
On March 29th 2016, I had just played tabla for 15 minutes and when I was tracking on the score sheet, I summed up my whole column and then I saw the number 200! I was very proud. We ordered the Wii on http://www.amazon.de because Baba was going to Germany for another work trip. From when we had ordered the Wii, I was counting down the days until April 25, 2016, the day Baba came home with the Wii! The challenge was really hard but now I’m really glad I went through all that delayed gratification.