Kona Kona Kaun Kona?

The main character in the book I am reading at the moment is often preoccupied with trying to do the one thing, at any given moment, that he believes no one else would be doing at the same time. Such preoccupations can be somewhat addictive. For instance, I am probably the only one sitting on my computer on a Tuesday afternoon writing about doing things that no one else is likely to be doing at this time. We could loop around this ad infinitum.

However, it was stunning to me to key in a random search in Google that said, “Kona Kona Kaun Kona” and find a blog post where the writer was reminiscing about this popular childhood game (where I grew up); what are the chances? I am sure none of my peers have any knowledge or memory of this game!

I was doing this search because I have fond memories of it. “Kona Kona Kaun Kona” roughly translates as, “Pick your corner”. As far as I can remember, it took 5 kids to play the game; one in each corner and one in the middle. The one in the middle was the one who was asked to pick a corner…I don’t remember the rest of it… or what the goal of the game was… just remember having a lot of fun playing it with friends and cousins. I think the reason why I remember it well is because at a very early age I used it as an analogy to make a point to my parents.

During a round of general familial bantering and kidding around I think I was being told that if my older brother had survived then I might not have been around, or something of the sort, and my answer was that there was no way I wouldn’t have been around in this family because before I was born God played the “Kona Kona…” game with me and that I had pointed toward my parents and picked this particular corner. I still remember making that statement even though I couldn’t have been much older than 5 or 6, I think.

The thought floated into my brain as a stray fragment today in the context of permanence and loss and a discussion about ones roots, the connections and associations aren’t all very clear to me but there’s a chance that a theme or an unbroken chain of thought may emerge if I wrote it all down.

I called up a friend yesterday, after a very long time, and in doing so realized how much I had missed him. We had a long conversation where we touched upon the connections we had built over the last few years; we built a community and a cherished circle of friends. A bunch of us came together to share in some laughter, some fun and we bonded in several ways.

I see that changing now, there are distances creeping in, people are drifting apart and turning away, highlighting for me the impermanence of things. I picture a deserted street with tumbleweed drifting in the wind and I think of the old song that talked about the caravan having passed, leaving nothing but dust and rubble behind. And I want to resist this with all my heart. I like keeping my friends around me; if there’s anything that leaves me sad and despairing beyond consolation it’s the thought of losing friends and never seeing them or speaking to them again. The concept of naturally drifting apart just isn’t natural enough for me and I refuse to entertain the idea that “it happens”.

I believe that every life that touched mine in some way, every connection I ever made, with anyone, was a result of playing the “pick your corner” game with God. And having picked these corners I want to stay, I want permanence and I want roots.

The idea of drifting in general and drifting apart, in particular, is losing its charm for me. Isn’t drifting apart like death in many ways? Once people drift away one is left with nothing but memories, as is the case when a loved one dies, they’re still alive in ones memories. So why die before death? Why drift apart? Why not make every effort to stay in touch and remind each other, every once in awhile, that we are very much around and in the same plane, if a relationship ever meant something? Childish questions, I know. But my brain thinks them all the same.

I amuse myself by the direction in which my thoughts wander of their own volition…thinking about death and memories…then finding myself wondering about the myth (or reality?) of an elephant graveyard, their fascination with the remains of the ones who passed away; how they carry around the tusks and bones of the dead, ostensibly mourning the dead. But unless they banish someone from the herd I imagine elephant communities stay together all their lives; a wandering and lonely elephant sans herd is usually a dangerous one!

So, in drifting…is there a way to drift back to where one was happiest…to the corners one picked, or are we doomed to the same fate as an ever expanding universe?


  1. I remember the game, but I don't think we called it that. But "Kona Kona Kaun Kona" is a lovely name. And I agree with you. It relates so much to our lives. The corners we chose to be in, and the people we chose to be with. And then, when, why, does it all start drifting away. I used to hold on to the most random connections, the most unlikely friends with no thought of whether it was my turn to get in touch, etc. But somehow, that changed. Lots of complicated reasons. But the memories don't leave you. And I always mourn the simplest losses, even be it the fruit-wallah who has suddenly disappeared from the corner of my street. This was a lovely post from you.

  2. Entirely endorse what the previous commentator said. There is no gainsaying the stark truth of what you have said, and I particularly liked the expanding universe analogy: and who knows, like Michio Kaku says, we are perhaps creating an infinity of parallel universes each time!And I like the sombre yet gently reflective, wistful tone of the whole piece. Certainly I for one was touched – as indeed I'm sure everyone who reads it would be.

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