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Oh! What a Crush! – the story of my brief but intense love affair

AddictionPlaying Candy Crush on the iPad was like experiencing ‘Vegas on Steroids’. I started playing Candy Crush some time in August last year. It was quite annoying to see posts about Candy Crush spamming my newsfeed. Just out of curiosity one day (August 10), I downloaded the free app on my iPad and started playing. That night I was on it till 3am. Thankfully I didn’t have to go to work the next day. And from thereon I played the game every single day till December 31. On an average I would have played the game for over an hour-and- half every single day. Thankfully I was not writing a book at that time.

Till the time I played it, it brought colour to my life—the bright red, green, yellow, orange candies were my only crush. Sugar Crush was the most-liked chant and ‘Divine’ was the most motivating word that I would die to hear.

Yes, it was an addiction. The days I would not play Candy Crush at night, I would struggle to sleep. The days I would play Candy Crush, I would struggle to sleep. If I didn’t get past a level, it would irritate. If I did, the next level would seductively invite. The explosion of the candy, the unpredictable nature of the game, and the sudden turn of luck, where one move of the candy would set off a series of explosions would be enough to keep me going for the next few levels. And when I started passing my friends on my way up, it gave me a ense of joy, of being a winner.

In my quest to get ahead, I did everything that was possible. I did not have the patience to wait for my friends to give me lives—I bought them. I spent a lot of money on boosters at every level, which would help me clear rows, knock off candies, blow up candies of a particular type, colour, etc. It might be dangerous to talk about the amount I spent on these for it might land me in a sticky situation at home.

Candy Crush made me a bit of a hero in my daughter’s school too. Her classmates who were struggling to cross level 30 and 40 were super impressed to know that I had crossed level 300. And when I zoomed past 400, I got into a different race: A race with the game developers. I wanted to reach the last level available at that time before newer levels were introduced. I wanted to be at a stage where I could claim that I had completed all available levels. It was becoming an addiction, which started worrying me.

That’s when I promised myself that I would stop playing once I got to the last available level or December 31 (whichever is earlier). And as luck would have it, I reached level 485 on the night of December 31, and I haven’t played the game ever since. I often wonder if on that day Candy Crush had more than 485 levels, this wouldn’t have become the only New Year resolution I have ever kept in my life.

(This article appeared in the latest issue of Forbes Life India)

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