I had to write this! This shit is perhaps the most incredible thing I have gotten to witness over a couple of weeks! Truly unbelievable! And at the risk of sounding too condescending, let me also say it was just plain dumb! Here is what happened:
I had been to my grandmother’s home today in the afternoon to attend some annual we-all-remember-our-great-grandmother-day where the entire pot bellied brethren-most of whom have already resigned to just lead a vicarious life through their kids- found themselves in one place with their kids, in order to, well, remember the great grandmother! I happened to see a few of those kids after a long time and found that they had quite grown up. One dude was just beginning to explore the nuances of college freedom-and it soon became evident he was not quite ready for it. Then there was this other dude who suddenly claimed he was now studying for his Tenth Board Exams! I mean the last time I saw this kid, he was being an integral part of a typical South Indian marriage scene by acting out the part of the kid pestering his dad to buy him one of those cool(??!!??) plastic toy guns from the Balloon-wala who was standing in front of the Marriage hall sporting a supercilious attitude! This dude has a very troubled past filled with self abuse. Not the wrist slitting or drug consuming kind. I am talking about the getting oneself injured kind. And to this guy, injuries take a whole different meaning altogether. He used to have atleast 2 fractures a month and once even fell from a height of 5 feet over an iron pipe- with his legs on either side of it! Thats right! He hit the ‘Sac’! So much so, he had to get it stitched back! Ah! Imagine that! Getting your ‘Sac’ stitched back! ( It is also said that he held his ‘Sac’ with his bare hands for over an hour at school before the teacher noticed blood flowing on the floor!) So it was a little hard to believe he was actually in Tenth now but I presumed he was indeed talking the truth.
Now you see the thing is, among all the kids on my mother’s side (the great-grandmother also from my mother’s side), I am the eldest and so by default get to play Big Brother and sometimes even Godfather to these kids. From time immemorial, I have officially been the ‘smart kid’ or the ‘intelligent kid’ in the family(now of course having transitioned to the ‘smart graduate’). So every other kid in the family have at one time or the other, been told, quite explicitly, by their parents, to emulate me through some very inspirational one-liners such as: “You know Akshay Anna’s(brother’s) best friend? Books! You should also read books. Then you will also become like him” and “If you work hard, like Akshay does, then even you will get 1st Rank, like AKshay does!” (Ok when the f*** was the last time I actually stood first in my class?)
So you see, I have been the role model and the source of inspiration for all the family kids. These two now grown up kids were no exceptions. From day one of their schooling, they were taught to emulate me, and maybe even connived to do one better than me! I am not sure about the results, but I never heard of them going one better than me. Not to worry.
Now before I get to the crux of this dumb shit, it has to be notified here that I was at one time a very good chess player and during my more enthusiastic days, I had taught these two kids how to play chess. Again, they were taught to emulate my skill in the game by their parents. I remember to have played some really short lived games during the time I was teaching them the basics of strategy. And it so happened that there was this huge break when I had completely forgotten that I was once a chess maniac and instead began to focus on issues of more importance like IIT-JEE and AIEEE. And the last time I played a game of chess was about 3 years back.
Now, coming back to the day, the lunch meal for this occassion, as per tradition, was deliberately made to be as inedible as it can be made. And so after going through the mandatory ordeal of the lunch, I finally was able to just sit and do nothing. Or so I thought. Suddenly these two now-grown-up kids proposed they play a game of chess with me. I was surprised by their enthusiasm and thought to myself: Ok I am meeting them after a long time. I might as well play a game with them. But then I knew there was no chess set at my Granny’s place and told those kids so. But lo and behold! These dudes had apparently suspected that and had got their own chess set! I was again a bit surprised but proceeded to arrange the pieces to play against the more hyper active kid-The kid with the stitched ‘Sac’. It was then that I heard his equally enthusiastic Dad comment loudly to no one in particular: “He has come here solely to play chess with Akshay anna and to beat Akshay anna!”
WTF??? I mean WTF??? Apparently this dude’s sole purpose of visit was to prove that he had become better than me at chess and as an extension, better than me in general! It suddenly looked like he had been nurturing this desire of his to beat me at Chess for quite many years. It was as if he had been preparing for years together just for this one match! In fact, I could sense some kind of a grudge he had against me. For what? I have no clue. But as he began to play, it was not difficult to see he was playing with a purpose and a well prepared plan of attack! With some vigorous body language, he seemed to tell me his life will somehow attain some meaning when he beats me in that game!
Fifteen minutes and 25-30 moves later, I find I have won. Apparently he had improved over the years, but not enough to challenge my out of touch brain cells! And then immediately I hear statements like: “You were lying when you said you have not played since 3 years.” and “Do you play at the State Level?” and “Do you go for Chess training?” and “You are a very good liar!”
Again, WTF?? I play a game of chess with this dude, partly for old times sake and partly not to disappoint him and now I find him trying to justify what he feels is possibly the worst defeat of his entire life!!! And as I began to acknowledge the other dude’s request to play a game with him, I saw this guy suddenly become very silent and non responsive. I didn’t pay much attention to it till the time his mother came out and said,”Why are you crying? Oh you are crying because you lost a match to Akshay anna? Dont worry, you learn from him about the different moves and strategies. He will help you!” And THAT crushed him real bad! He made a big effort to hold back his tears and disappointment. But for all his efforts, it was pretty clear he had imploded! Again, WTF? Wake up kid! Get a life! Its just a game of chess!
But in the end, I had to give him some advice on improving his chess and none more important and necessary than what Jason Statham said in REVOLVER : “You can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent!” (Ah! How appropriate!)
The other dude also had similar aspirations. But his was less of a grudge and more of a dream to beat me at Chess. I will leave you to guess the outcome of that game. And again, after the game, the parents of both the kids gave some parental advice about how they should follow my example and learn from me, directly asking me to offer them advice on how THEY should shape THEIR futures. Me being the officious kind, started on my usual dose of Anti-Software and Anti-ENgineering content and saw them losing interest and so changed my stance to just Anti-Software, after which their attention was revived!
And so at the end of the day, their parents again directly asked me in front of the kids to give them some more advice the next time they met! I smiled at them and enthusiastically replied “ANYTIME!!!” And so thus ended the day, me still undefeated and still the guy to beat!
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME KID!
PS: All the facts mentioned in this post are 100% true, including (and especially) the ‘Stitching of the Sac’.