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A never ending adventure!

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Stockholm, 3rd March at an apartment. Captured by me.

Let’s go back in time.  At the age of 5, my great grandfather told me “Razor ramon, (that’s what he called me) If you want to experience life as a never ending adventure, either read books or travel the world. If you get to do both, count yourself extra blessed”.

Thanks to him, I developed the habit of exchanging letters as well as reading stories at the age of 5.  Reading my letters, my mother took me to a bookstore and bought me Oxford’s dictionary and taught me how to find the words and their meanings. I still remember how annoyed I was when she gave me an example for the word ‘abandon’.

A few years later, chess became my priority and this gave me an opportunity to travel. At the age of 14, I decided to pursue it more seriously and that meant I could play a lot of tournaments and travel around the world. I’m not a professional world traveller, but chess gives me a chance to explore new places between the gaps.

Just recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Budapest, Stockholm, Moscow and Reykjavik for the chess events. I wish to recall a few experiences of this trip and acquaint you a bit with my exploration.

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Budapest, Hungary
11th February
Captured by me

 

A few days prior to the event, I had finished reading ‘The Art of Stillness’ by Pico Iyer. He believes that one could progress a lot just by going nowhere and by practicing being there, with one’s own self, doing nothing and being still.
His TED Talk https://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_the_art_of_stillness will give you an overview of the concept.

On a busy street market near the Parliament in Budapest, I saw this person practicing the art of doing nothing. A lot of people used to pose next to him, get a photo clicked and dropped an euro or two in his box and bid bye to him.  I observed him for a few moments and did my bit in making him happy 🙂

A few days later, I went to a museum and found him there as well. This time, he was preparing himself for the day and I got a chance to talk to him and understand what goes inside his mind while he is there.

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He asked me not to take his picture as he was preparing to go into that zone. But, he did share a few things. He told me that some of the visitors bring in a positive vibe with them and that keeps him up even when he is about to quit or change the position. He is very happy when a kid approaches him because he uses this chance to change his position and pretend to scare the kid in a pleasant way.  “Stillness comes with hours of focus on a particular aspect. It could be an object, an emotion, a thought or nothing at all” he said.
“The last bit is the toughest of all, because we go from nothingness to nothingness. Isn’t it?” he parted with those words and asked me to enjoy the museum.

I had a gap of four days before the next tournament in Moscow. I used this time to explore interesting places in and around Budapest. My friend Laszlo took me for walk on the hills.  I was amazed that there was an entire group along with me, with a guide. We were walking in the memory of a guide who had passed away recently.

During the walk, I noticed that some people had got food for birds. They stopped and left some food for the birds.

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While we were talking about cultures, he learnt a few Indian words and paid me back by teaching me some of the hungarian words. Whenever he met a stranger, he used to say “Yo na pot kivanok” (I wish you a good day) and the stranger would greet back “Yo na pot”

In one of our conversations, I asked him what was the secret behind his punctuality and he shared a story that taught him a lot. This story was told to him in the military circuit, while he was serving as a chemistry professor in the military.

Two teams decide to fight it out. Team A comes up with a plan to split themselves into two and attack the army by entering the territory by walking up the hill. While one set of soldiers proceed towards the territory by the hills, the other set of soldiers keep firing to deflect their enemy and keep the enemy busy. At exactly, 7.30, Team A is expected to reach the enemy’s territory and the other batch of this army is expected to stop the firing. Laszlo said that if their army members do not stop firing at 7.30, they will kill their OWN soldiers. “Time is life, it can cost you life! My friend. If I say that I will be there by 11 o clock, you can expect Laszlo to be there. I keep my word, my promises and time”.

 

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My friend Laszlo with his wife

 

Next, I met an accordionist who entertained the visitors at the Fisherman’s Bastion with music. He made an interesting confession, one that surprised me pleasantly.

“I look into the eyes of people, try to sense what they need and play accordingly.  Most of the times, even the breath taking view from the Fisherman’s Bastion doesn’t stop them from listening to me.”

When asked if there was an unusual or unique experience in his life at the Fisherman’s Bastion, he said “I keep changing places but, I like it at Fisherman’s Bation. I have had people asking me if they could hug me. The cap that you see (shows his cap) is given by a stranger. I make sure that they go back with a smile”.

 

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And during one of the stopovers, I stopped at stockholm and stayed in an apartment. The host was lively and interesting as a person. When asked about her life, she showed me her drawing and said “My life is just a seesaw between these two pictures”

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Sometimes, it is this and sometimes …
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and that she is trying to balance herself between the two creatures in her mind! The apartment was great.  I loved browsing through the books on the shelf.

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My last event was in Harpa, Reykjavik. I loved Iceland for its distinct features! It is known for its variety and attracts a lot of tourists these days, especially after the shooting of Game of Thrones.  One of the words that I loved in Icelandic language is InnSaei. It means to see from within / the sea within. Intuition is the word that comes very close to InnSaei. After learning this word randomly, through a poster in the Laugavegur street, I googled it and came across an interesting documentary:

It is available on Netflix.

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One of the artworks that impressed me in Iceland

I love this world for all that it is and for all that it is not. With curious eyes, daring heart and a strong will, I have learnt that life has a way of its own and we can live and be. Travelling is a great way of learning life. Isn’t it? I met a lot of strangers, heard their stories and each of them has become a part of my existence in their own ways. They contribute to my experiences and shape the way I am, the way I see and perceive. Every new place that I have visited and explored has educated me. I’m grateful to God for having given this opportunity to do both : Read books and travel the world!

If I can do it, so can you 🙂 Say YES to life, Say YES to adventures.
https://yestotheworld.com/in/en?utm_source=Indiblogger_contest&utm_medium=contest&utm_campaign=LH_SayYesToTheWorld_Mar18

Lufthansa can help you in your travelling endeavors and adventures 🙂

 

 

 

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Letter from the Waterman!

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Dear Water Consumers,
You may not have seen me, but I exist. I exist in every drop that quenches your thirst.  I exist in every effort you make to save the drop. I live in the moment you turn the tap off. I am the Waterman.

But, I may not live long if you don’t pay heed to the scarcity. As far as the scientist’s overview is concerned, only 40% of me will be able to facilitate you by 2035.

I was pleasantly surprised that some of you have realized the danger and have started employing prophylaxis against this threat. One of them is – Livpure’s initiative of #CuttingPani.

*Start asking for #CuttingPani. Some of you are paying heavily for bottled water in europe, that kind of day may not be far.

*Most of the lodges in India have problems with the hot water. It may be wise to start taking bath with the cold water. When there is no hot water in some lodges, they ask you to switch on the tap and let the water flow. This way, you waste a few buckets of water and you finally get the hot water. Imagine, if 50 people do this every day in a nominal lodge in India, how much of water is being wasted just like that.
If you make it a habit to bath with cold water, you will save a lot of water and time as well. #ColdWaterBath
*I am in abundance in Iceland, and people use me as a resource there. Bottled water is frowned upon and they encourage visitors to drink the tap water. When in Iceland, drink the tap water. #TapWaterIsGood


*A lot of people drink water while they are standing. It would be better if you take a moment to sit and then drink. #Sit&DrinkWater

The video must have given you an idea about it.

*Be mindful and make a conscious effort to close the taps properly – especially in the washrooms.  Airports and restaurants are opting sensor basins. But, that may not be viable to everyone. So, repair in case of a leak, don’t procrastinate. #SwitchOffTap

Do consider signing the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/cuttingpaani
Save me, to save yourself. That’s all folks

– Your Waterman

 

99 other ways

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The way our story ended
paved way for imagining 99 other ways
our story could have ended

We could have aged together until 80
and then one day our angels would have guided us on to our next journey
hinting at the seven lives that we wrote.

We could have ended it with a cup of chai
in a desi tea kadai,
with the traffic jam playing out a perfect background score

Or at a ‘women only’ metro platform, with a hug lasting for many decades

We could have written a book together and parted following the launch
and then could have met again for the sequel and then gone different ways for differences in the plot

Or read a book together and taken sides and be stubborn with a specific perspective
and be okay with our respective choices
and then bid goodbye
with a laugh over all the sweating over small stuff and the distances that brought us together

We could have dressed well for one last picture in a hall that’s decorated with orchids,
just to make sure that some dreams are real and that we must dream despite everything

Or at a panda lecture, after moments of clapping over a memorable speech, spelling end in different ways
Leaving space for a potential sequel, like the mindful directors in the Hollywood, bollywood and the other woods.

We could have also stayed and waited for his end to embrace us
Or we could have just slammed doors on each other so that it would hurt less,
But, we choose sweet messages
for God knows why!

After all this time, we know that life doesn’t run on coulds, but floats on is.
Like the clouds that pass,
Ever changing into different forms
From being one in the now, to being two in the next.

Reminding me of the cloud story we left behind unfinished
Reminding me of the panda tale that’s still sitting idle, waiting for its writers to serve some food
We could have served the hungry panda, and then ended the story
The panda story,
The cloud story
And our story
But, we ended because we had to!
For this world needs us
to do what we need to
before everything else.

– N

Previously published @ https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2314051/99-other-ways/

 

Flights remind me of a lot of things

IMG_20171028_001328.jpgFlights remind me of a lot of things
the safety instructions that life doesn’t show
the illusionary seat belt
the curious window seat
and the extra orange juice that spoiled my shirt
they remind me of all that I have crossed and knotted
the first flight to Vietnam
the heart’s flight to love
the last flight without the meeting
and the last boarding pass that bookmarked that day
they remind me
of the golden bird that flew away
of the faces that I don’t see
of the chocolate I no longer buy

Flights remind me of
the distance that brings people close,
the time it saves for God knows what!
Flights are dangerous, mate
Stay home, live with your pieces!

– N

Deepti Menon’s Book: Shadow In The Mirror

It is a pleasure to share extracts & links of Deepti Menon’s book Shadow in the Mirror. I am a great fan of her writings @ http://deepties.blogspot.in/ and her posts for Readomania.

Here are a few links to some of my favorite articles:
http://deepties.blogspot.in/2017/07/hey-you-need-to-behave-like-grandma-now.html
http://www.readomania.com/author-speak-view/deepti.menon.98,135
http://www.readomania.com/author-speak-view/deepti.menon.98,131
http://www.readomania.com/author-speak-view/deepti.menon.98,127
http://www.readomania.com/author-speak-view/deepti.menon.98,124
http://www.readomania.com/author-speak-view/deepti.menon.98,123

 

Here is a well-thought cover of the book:

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Excerpt:

The mansion took her breath away, an impressive building that was a network of pillars, staircases and a verandah that belted its way around the house’s ample girth. There were huge black pots with plants in each one of them, with bright green leaves, as well as some ornamental palms. An antique lamp of brass, which shone like gold, stood in one corner beside a large ‘aatukattil’, a hanging wooden bed, which must have been an expensive family heirloom.

“Not for nothing is he called Money Bags Madhav!” she smiled to herself as she strode up to the wooden door, with brass inlays, polished to a nicety. Patting down a stray lock, she grinned at the sight of her face, unflatteringly reflected against the polished wood, and rang the bell, which echoed in the recesses of the building.

The door slid open silently, a butler reminiscent of Wooster’s Jeeves stood there in all his majesty, and ushered her into a cavernous hall. A butler… did these folks imagine they were still in the British Raj? She hardly had time to collect her thoughts when Money Bags, oops, Mr. MB Madhav strode into the room. He was a tall handsome man with graying temples and a ramrod back. His lined face seemed to suggest that life had dealt unfairly with him. “Unfair, with all that money?” Vinny could not repress the thought as his sharp eyes swept over her slight figure. A momentary expression of surprise touched them.

“What can I do for you, young lady?’ he barked, startling her for a moment.

“Your daughter… I would like to talk to you about her!” she blurted out. A pregnant pause followed and she found herself holding her breath, wishing she could have been a little more circumspect about introducing the topic.

“Are you a friend of Nita’s?” he asked.

Vinny shook her head, “I’ve never even met her. But I am interested in how she died.”

Instinctively she realized that that was the wrong thing to say. The big man’s face darkened as he said brusquely, “I have nothing to say. If I had known that you had come to rake up wounds that are still fresh, I would never have come down to meet you. Excuse me!” He turned away, his shoulders drooping a fraction, as he made his way towards the door. It was evident that the man was in agony, but Vinny could not but appreciate how well he was holding up. She had to get through to him, before he set Jeeves in motion to throw her out.

Taking a deep breath, Vinny stepped forward with all the courage she could muster. “Please, you must listen to me. Nita…” she took a deep breath as he showed no signs of stopping, and said boldly, “Nita did not commit suicide. It was murder!”

Mr. Madhav flinched as if he had received a slap in the face. He froze as the import of the words hit him. He pivoted around and faced her, fury transforming his face as he spat out the words.

“Now listen, you meddling girl,” he said sharply, “I do not want you spreading such malicious tales for your own glory! I am a powerful man and I have friends in high places! I will sue you if you slander my daughter! Now get out!”

His face had turned to granite, but Vinny stood her ground even though she was quaking inwardly. “I am sorry for having blurted it out but you gave me no chance to explain!” She held out the piece of paper to him, her eyes pleading with him. Obviously he could read the sincerity in them for he glanced down at it. He suddenly seemed to age before her very eyes, as he collapsed onto the sofa behind him, disbelief in his eyes as he re-read the brief note.

Bio:

Deepti Menon is the author of two books, ‘Arms and the Woman’ and ‘Deeparadhana’. She has worked as a journalist with several publications, and is now a freelance editor. Short stories with deft twists and tongue-in-cheek articles that tickle the funny bone are her forte. Deepti lives with her family in Chennai.

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Availability: The book has been published by Readomania and is available on Amazon.in and in major bookshops, like Starmark and Odyssey.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.in/Shadow-Mirror-Thrilling-Quest-Redemption-ebook/dp/B01M4JL112?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect 

Genre: Shadow in the Mirror is a psychological thriller.

Editor: Dipankar Mukherjee – dipankar.mukherjee@readomania.com

Do consider reading it! She has a unique writing style, one that not only carries the story forward but also enhances your own vocabulary 🙂

One of the Best Birthday Gifts to a writer is ….

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Matrikas! The name holds a special relationship with me. A few years back, I played a chess event that was conducted in a college in Virudhanagar. On the ground floor, I saw a few books colorful books on a table. Being a lover of journals, my eyes couldn’t resist. I went ahead and bought four books! They were smartbooks, 2 in purple and 2 in green. In addition to this, I also bought a journal that had a chess pawn on the cover picture. The flexi bind is the plus point of these books.

http://www.matrikas.co.in/smart-block-unruled.php

After two years, I got to know about their Creative Journal!

 

In this modern world, where most of us are bound by monotonous routines.  this creative journal is an attempt to install soulful habits among people. I know how important it is to write every day. No, I am not talking about being a novelist. Writing is an exercise to keep your mental health in check. Mental health workshops always mention the importance of writing. It is a window to vent, a platform for clarifications and a safe place to put trash.

This creative journal offers space to scribble your heart away. You can fill the pages with moments of happiness, you can seek company of the blank pages in the moments of sadness. Basically, you can be yourself and the pages won’t judge you for anything you write or do. They are yours, and will always be.

Apart from the normal pages, the journal has sheets for doodling and colouring. Doodling is a modern tool to elevate your soul and Matrikas understand the essence of this art very well.  Most of us have our bucket list of places to visit. There is a section called ‘Places to be visited’ in the journal.

We all need reminders in life. This journal has a lot of stickers that serve as reminders. Some stickers serve as wonderful prompts to delve into your within.

There are pages dedicated to your reading lists. You can keep track of whatever you read. It also has contact lists page, no more relying on the smart phones! Matrikas have sensed the need of the hour. We all need to go back to our survival tools, we need them. Mobile phones, computers and technologies have started owning us. It is time to change the trend and begin again.

We all are capable of being soulful, this journal reminds us of our true nature and helps us in connecting us with ourselves.

Keep an eye on their products, you might want to try their journals and smartbooks!

https://www.facebook.com/MatrikasPaperProducts/

http://www.matrikas.co.in/

The journal is available on Amazon in four delightful colors:

http://www.amazon.in/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=matrikas+woman%27s+journal

Here is a video about the journal:

https://youtu.be/5Skb9wGW5hE

One of the best birthday gifts to a writer would be ANY product from Matrikas!

Scribble your soul!

 

Being Indian: #MoreIndianThanYouThink

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Being an Indian is a gift in itself. The nature of this land is very well suited for the growth of one’s soul. I play chess, but some of my moves bear the Indian flavor. It might be difficult for a non-chess player to understand it, so I will stick to sharing experiences related to overall life and how the culture has impacted me positively. If you ask me what makes me Indian? I would say that it is my culture!  If you want to explore India and its ways, Gita could be a good hook.  I am very grateful to my parents for introducing Gita to me at an early age.

#1. You are your hero. So, Love yourself!
If this belief is installed in every individual at an early age, the individual can reach great heights. I have written a few lines from Gita in my journal and they help me to stay on the course even where there is no help.  There was a situation in my life where I lost 4 games in a row. A friend even sent a message, asking me to withdraw from the event. But, I didn’t know how to give up. It didn’t seem like an idea at all. It is easy to hate yourself when you make mistakes, isn’t it? I made mistakes and then I backed my self. I said to myself ‘I can’t change what happened. But, I can focus on improving the situation. For that to happen, I need myself.’

I continued the event and finished the event strongly without conceding a loss in the remaining four games.

A man should uplift himself by his own self, so let him not weaken this self. For this self is the friend of oneself, and this self is the enemy of oneself.  – Gita, 6.5

 

#2. Do the best, leave the rest to God.


He who does actions forsaking attachment, resigning them to Brahman, is not soiled by evil, like unto a lotus-leaf by water.  – Gita, 5.10

Expecting good results after the work can push you into more worry and anxiety. You might fail to enjoy the present of the present moment. I have experienced that doing the best without focusing too much on the result helps in keeping pressure at bay. Focusing on the process is more rewarding and fulfilling.  I owe this learning to Gita!

#3. HOPE: Hold on, pain ends. 

Even if thou be the most sinful among all the sinful, yet by the raft of knowledge alone though shalt go across all sin. – Gita, 4.36

No matter how bad your life is, you still have to hope. Remember the scene from Shawshank Redemption:

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. – Andy Dufresne.

Here is an extract from the teachings of Swami Vivekananda:

Let a man go down as low as possible; there must come a time when out of sheer desperation he will take an upward curve and will learn to have faith in himself. But it is better for us that we should know it from the very first. Why should we have all these bitter experiences in order to gain faith in ourselves? We can see that all the difference between man and man is owing to the existence or non-existence of faith in himself. Faith in ourselves will do everything! 

The soulful concept of staying on the course and not giving up is also conveyed in the Batman Trilogy! Remember, how the dark knight rises?

I have shared how concepts like these have helped me in creating magical moments here.

The lessons are universal and conveyed through different mediums. Isn’t it? 

#4. There is only ONE destination.

In whatever way men worship me, in he same way do I fulfill  their desires; (it is) My path, O Son of Partha (that) men tread in all ways. – Gita, 4.11

India is a country that has taught the world ‘Universal tolerance and acceptance’. It is this nature that is a source of acts of kindness. The ways of praying may differ, but all the roads lead to Almighty!

#5. Look at the BIG Picture!
Don’t let the temporary challenges blind you from the BIG picture. Count your blessings, be grateful and focus on what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

Just by being grateful, one can attract more goodness. During my evening walks, I think of all the things I am grateful for – it is an instant mood changer! Try it 🙂

These ideologies have shaped the way I think and live. They have made me, ‘me’ and I owe it to the culture of my country!

Few weeks back, I came across a video on a social media group that shared Gita’s lessons in 90 seconds:

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In the language of tech, India is a software that is being picked for installation in every culture and society for the immense qualities it beholds within.  I am going to share a few instances that have made an impact on me.

Hearing the first five words of the Indian Giant at the World Congress of Religions, the members showered him with three minutes of thundering applause! Yes, I am talking about Swami Vivekananda ji.

Brothers and Sisters of America! 

The welcoming salutation carried respect, dignity, humbleness and divinity that moved the members in Chicago. Now, this is #MoreIndianThanUThink.

I’m sharing a link of a movie based on Swami Vivekananda. It is worth watching!

A few days back, I saw a picture of Modiji with the Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull having a chat at The Akshardham Temple! The picture was the news of the day on all the newspapers because it symbolized our culture. We are open and welcoming.

Akshay Kumar recently came up with the initiative Bharat Ke Veer which lets people contribute to the families of the soldiers. I cannot NOT write about the Indian Soldiers while writing about India. They sacrifice their sleep so that we could sleep peacefully.

Two months back, I was in Lienz for a chess event. Lienz is a medieval town in Austria, beautiful, simple and high in culture. They have ice sports and various tourist attraction spots. On the way to the tournament venue, I found this amazing picture that brought a smile on my face:

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A group of people have established a meeting point where they meet and meditate at the centre of Paramahansa Yogananda. We are everywhere, Isn’t it? 🙂

Be it food, Yoga, Ayurveda or the mantras – they all have something unique that strikes a chord and impacts your soul. There are Indian Chai corners in The United States. There are Paan centres abroad. Even Barack Obama has had the pleasure of enjoying a paan. Talking about food reminds me of Veeraswamy’s 90 year old restaurant in London, UK. He was honored with a Michelin Star in 2017!

Yes, we are everywhere. Recently, Lufthansa came up with a special commercial where the coach talks about how important it is to imbibe the Indian-ness to beat the Indians. He asks his players to think like Indians, train like Indians, eat like Indians, dance like Indians and even FLY like Indians. Don’t believe me? Watch it:

If you ask me what touched the most? It is the food at 00:50 where the air hostess places the plate with Indian dishes. Being an Indian, we long for Indian food desperately while we are flying abroad. For some of us (vegetarians), it is probably a last Indian meal before reaching another country and we may not see Indian food for a while. Also, while we are returning back to India, we desperately want an Indian dish to be a part of the menu in the flight as our taste buds are thirsty for Indian food.

I am hoping to experience Lufthansa soon as they have Basic I and Basic II fares in both economy and premium. They have Hindi newspapers, desi channels and radio as part of In-flight entertainment. Hindi newspapers? Yes! In addition to this, they also have AVML (Indian Veg) and HNML (Non-Veg) meal options. Oh, How can I forget to mention the Chai? 🙂 Fantastic, isn’t it? 🙂 #MoreIndianThanYouThink

Explore your possibilities here: bit.ly/2oQTj8q

This feels like a home away from home. I am hoping to fly through Lufthansa to Germany for a chess event in the future.

How about you? 🙂

Strengthen Your Chess Foundation by Nisha Mohota : Chess DVD Review #1

I’m back with a review, but it is not a book. Yes, you read it right. After a long time, I got back to reviewing and it happens to be a chess DVD! Let’s get started..

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DVD Category : Fritz Trainer Basics
DVD : Strengthen Your Chess Foundation
Author / Presenter: Nisha Mohota
Running Time: 6hours 5 minutes
Aimed at : Tournament Player
Indian Price: 999/- (Download version)
Normal Price: 29.90 Euros

Blurb:  On this DVD I show and explain elements of chess strategy and tactics every player should know. I offer guidelines to steer you through the opening, show basic endgames, help you to understand fundamental pawn structures, and explain principles and patterns of attack and defense. But to play successfully, theory is not enough. It also helps to know a bit about chess psychology because even the strongest players make mistakes. It is important to know how to deal with errors – errors of your opponent and errors you make. Throughout the DVD I try to highlight two of the most important elements of chess: the process of decision-making and how pawn structures shape the position and help you to find the right plans. Finally, I talk about ‘beauty’ in chess – after all, this is what attracts me to the game.”

• Video running time: 6 h 05 min (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Including CB 12 Reader

System requirements: Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), DirectX9 graphic card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 12/Fritz 13 or included Reader and internet connection for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel Core i7, 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, DirectX10 graphic card (or compatible) with 512 MB RAM or better, 100% DirectX10 compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet connection for program activation.
Introduction:

Review: 
When a friend records a DVD, curiosity knows no limit! In the introduction, Nisha shares her intriguing story of her cards-to-chess shift and makes it clear that she is going to cover some practical aspects and leave you with a few tools by the end of the DVD.

Intro
Nisha Mohota makes it clear that she is going to focus on practical aspects in the DVD and not trouble you with openings!

From a learner’s perspective, I am amazed by the flow of the DVD. It felt like being a part of a story that kept teasing you with what’s next?  I am sure that I’ll be able to plan topics for my students in a much better way, thanks to the contents.  It starts with to err is human and ends with a beautiful game that shows that we are all capable of mistakes and brilliant moves! Such a cinematic touch 🙂

Pros:

I liked the survival tools discussed in the DVD. The difference between an amateur and a master is that amateur is bogged with the immense possibilities and the master focuses on the essence. On your journey to getting better at chess, you will learn techniques that can help you in EVERY game.

CCT:
According to Nisha, C C T stands for Checks, Capture and Transfer.
She recommends keeping this acronym handy as it might help you in a lot of positions. Considering checks, captures and piece transfers may make your job of finding a good move easier.

Candidate Moves:
The concept is simple, but hardly taught in the beginning in chess circles. With this DVD, you can re-frame your basics and get better by knowing concepts like candidate moves. Look at a few options before choosing your move. You never know what you might miss. As lasker put it so well ‘When you see a good move, look for a better one’.

Pawn structures:
In the heat of the game, it is easy to forget about the pawn structures. But, refreshing the basics of pawn structures can aid you in need.  In this DVD, Nisha talks about the nuances associated with knight and a pawn :

Knight construction

The pawn on g6 restricts the knight on g3. This awareness can lead you to making better decisions on the board.

If I had refreshed a few structural nuances before this event in Moscow, I may not have made the following error:

Black to play
Black to play: Savitsky – Niranjan, Moscow Open 2017

I played 32…g4? and made things difficult for my knight after 33.h4 Qb6 35. 34.g3 Ng6. After the game, my opponent told me that this pawn construction favors white. Of course, I knew. But, I missed the nuance. So, there it is! Refreshing basics can save points.

construction2
One bad piece can make the whole side bad!

She says Pawn structures are very important. They tell you a lot – where to attack, to attack or not to attack and also makes you aware of the weak and strong squares.

Chess also has the Shakespeare element, folks!

Highlight:

The highlight of this DVD is that it covers topics that have not been covered before in a DVD format at this level. For instance,  the tendency of transpositions,  the psychological aspects,  game attitudes (keep fighting) and some survival tools for the tournament player.

As far as the test positions are concerned, I loved this study by Horwitz!

test
White to play

 

Answer:  1. Bc2+ Ka5 2. b4+ Ka6 3. Kc6 Ka7 4. b5 Ka8 5. Be4 Ka7 6. Bf3 Ka8 7. b6 cxb6 8.
Kxb6#

And this example in decision making:

 

test2
White to play: Decide between 1.Ke3 or 1.Ke5

She ends the segment on interactive positions with words that hold true to every chess player It is important to pay attention to your opponent’s possibilities.

I’ll not spoil the position for you; I recommend watching the DVD to compare your answer 🙂

Cons:
Chess is vast and it is impossible to cover everything in six hours. Still, I feel that Rook vs rook endings could have had more examples and would have made this complete toolkit a little better, as one cannot rely only on the positions discussed in the DVD. I understand that the DVD dealt with vast range of topics, but it left me longing for more rookish endgames! It would have made the task of learning rook endings for my students easier.

Who should watch the DVD?
*Players who want to improve their understanding of the basics
* Chess enthusiasts who want to enjoy chess for a few hours
* Coaches : The DVD carries a lot of instructive material which could be used by coaches to train students
* Players that have problems with understanding structures

Chess-In-Schools program is being implemented in some parts of India. If the DVD becomes available in a YouTube Format, some schools could play it in their chess period on a projector as well.

What could have been included?
Every aspiring player wants to know how to work on the game! Isn’t it? It would have been very good if the author also shared the specifics of working on the game at the initial level. Learning to fish could benefit a lot in the long run 🙂 Let’s hope she comes up with another DVD.

Final word:

Nisha Mohota’s Strengthen your chess foundation is a jolly ride to basics that enriches your chess thinking habits, improves your theoretical knowledge and leaves you with practical tools to apply in your games.

I believe that the DVD has a lot of potential and might help a lot  of players who have played few tournaments. ChessBase could consider uploading videos on their YouTube channel at Indian costs, just like the movies work. A lot of chess crowd rushes to Facebook on daily basis and sharing YouTube links of some segments might help in increasing the visibility of the DVD. This might also work for those who don’t use laptops. A lot of Indians are used to Android phones and this might comfort them!

Note: If some positions or videos do not appear properly, watch them using Chessbase Reader.

About the Author: 

236

Nisha Mohota started playing chess as the age of seven. She became India’s youngest WIM in 1995 and India’s fourth WGM in 2003. Since February 2011 she is a full IM – her highest ever Elo rating was 2416.

Nisha has represented India in 25 countries. Her accomplishments include qualifying for the 2001 and 2008 Women World Chess Championships as well as playing for India in 2004, 2008 and 2010 (Women) Olympiads. She won the Indian National Women Premier title in 2005.

Nisha’s first love, chess, helps her continue her other passion: writing, photography and travelling. She also loves to learn foreign languages and has a diploma in Spanish, which she wants to master in future! She is employed with Oil India Limited (OIL), a petroleum company, as a sportsperson

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An article about the DVD in The Telegraph newspaper

I thank ChessBase for giving me an opportunity to review the DVD.

 

 

Guest Post : Bread Omelette

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She sighed breathe of relief after the TC completed his round of checking. Unlike most of the times, she had forgotten her ID proof. She noticed it just before the ticket collector reached her berth. A phone call from an unknown number actually saved her. The TC glimpsed at the E-Ticket in her hand and continued checking the ticket of the next passenger.

‘Hello? Who is this? Hello…?’

The line was not clear and she said ‘I’m not able to hear you. Will call you back’

This time, it was Gulzaar’s ‘Raavi Paar’ on her lap. At the end of the title story, she remembered that she had to call the unknown number that ended with 109. Before calling, she checked the number using Truecaller and the app was of no help. It had no information about the name of the person. She called and it was a voice of a male from the other end

‘Hello’

‘Hello, I got a call from your number. May I know who is speaking?’

‘Hello, Sorry, I dialed a wrong number. I don’t know how…’

‘Okay’ and she disconnected.

After a few weeks, she received a message from the same number.

Hello Madam, How are you?’

She easily recognized it, thanks to the last three digits that meant something to her. She instantly replied ‘Wrong number is a wrong number. Do not disturb’.

‘Sorry again. I just wanted to hear your voice to make sure that it was a wrong number. I found your voice very sweet. I had no intention of disturbing you’

The little compliment actually triggered a smile on her face
I don’t talk to strangers’

‘You are already talking to me. Now, there are just two possibilities: Either you don’t consider me as a stranger or you are contradicting your own words ;)’

‘What is your name? What do you do?’

‘I’m Surya and I’m a lawyer. BTW, What does your name Asavari mean?’

‘HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME?’

‘Truecaller’

‘But, the same truecaller did not give out anything about you’

‘Yes, this is my new number’

‘I’m named after a raaga that is sung in the morning hours. True to my name, I’m a morning person’

The two switched to an instant messenger after a few months…
The exchanged their likes and dislikes and the story encountered a twist when it came to food

It was time to board the train to Delhi again; She was reading Gulzar’s Half a rupee stories  – a collection of twenty five fascinating stories! Just then

 ‘Where are you?’

‘In the train to Delhi’

‘Had food?’

‘Not really. I don’t eat during journey’

‘Oh no. You must try. Do try Bread-Omlette at Food Plaza. It is very famous and one that I love to eat any day’

‘No, I don’t want to’
and that spelled an end to their conversation

A few weeks pass by without any exchange of messages. Asavari felt that something in life was a miss and felt incomplete without any buzz of Surya. In her next train journey, she made it to Food Plaza and ordered Bread-Omlette for take-away.

‘How are you and where are you?’

‘In train, travelling again’

‘Oh, did you try the Bread-Omlette?’

‘No’

‘Why not?’
She doesn’t answer. After a few minutes, Surya texts again

‘Where are you travelling?’

‘Mumbai’

‘I live in Bengaluru. When are you going to come here?’

‘I don’t know. I haven’t visited B’lore since the last two years’

‘Okay. We will meet this time and I will take you to Frazer town that is known for Chicken Biryani and Chicken Kabab’

‘No, thanks’

‘Why not?’

‘No. Not anymore’

‘why?’

‘I stopped eating non-veg after my marriage. Your last three numbers 109 always remind me of my marriage. 10h of September. I have a daughter who is 5 years old and I work in a cosmetic agency as an executive and have to travel a lot to convince my clients’

this line actually shook Mr Surya. After months of conversations, this revealing shocked Surya. He had developed a liking towards her and to know that she is married already was hard to digest. Although, he managed to reply

‘You never actually told me about your marriage
. We have had so many conversations and not a word about it?’

‘I felt it was not necessary’

And then there were no messages from Surya for so many days. Asavari started carrying Bread-Omelette parcel during her journeys. It always brought back those conversations to her.

‘Memories are the result of the relationships we shared. They don’t need a form or a label’ he texts
‘Hold on. I have a label. Bread-Omelette. Neither veg or non veg; the meaningless mean’ she replied

Asavari was ready, yet again with the parcel in her hand to board the train to delhi.

_____________________________________________________________
This story is written by Nivedita Chandrashekhar. The story is published in Kannada’s reputed weekly magazine- Karamveera.

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November 13th – Karamveera

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https://www.facebook.com/nivedita.kulkarni.9

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