THE BLACK

Silence is never empty; it is an abode to all the emotions. I’m feeling emotional. My heart is crying and my soul is shouting aloud

The time was racing and Ishan was left with only ten seconds in his bucket. He whirled his fingers across the pieces on the black and white board. The speed of his fingers was accelerating with each tick-tock of the clock. His eyes were tilting now and again and lips were counting moves. There were only kings and pawns on the board. ‘Check and mate,’ he said, pushing his pawn further and smiled gently.
The hall burst with applauds and motivation. Ishan had won the final match in Delhi and become the national champion of Chess. Both the opponents exchanged hands and Ishan stood up, holding his stick. Everyone was feeling proud of him; people wanted to congratulate their new hero. Ishan smiled gently and greeted everyone.
It was happening the first time that a visually impaired had become a national grand master. So, it took no time for him to catch media attention and finalized his first interview immediately after the closing ceremony.
‘Mr. Ishan, first of all, I would like to congratulate you for this big achievement. You have set a living example for the young minds in India,’ the journalist said.
‘Thank you so much,’ Ishan said, gently.
‘Before I get into the technical questions, I would like to ask, how you are feeling right now. I want you to speak your heart out and share your big day with our viewers,’ the journalist asked.
‘Well, I can’t express my feelings in words because It is limitless and powerful at the moment but to give you all a sort of idea, I would say, I’m feeling the same as a saint feels after meeting his God,’ he said, twirling his stick.
Ishan’s face was still the same, calm, and composed. The journalist smiled in agreement and continued interviewing the current national champion.
‘Achievement comes from hard work, perseverance, and patience and I have seen people either shouting aloud or crying after attaining their goals. But, you acted quite opposite. Our viewers want to know the reason behind your calmness,’ he asked another question.
‘Silence is never empty; it is an abode to all the emotions. I’m feeling emotional. My heart is crying and my soul is shouting aloud,’ he answered with luster on his face.
‘Moving ahead, who inspired you to play chess?’ the press officer proceeded.
‘The colors inside it inspired me to play the game. It is the only game that has a positive white and a powerful black. The board teaches us the basis of life. The white color is the creator of all the colors. It is the base and black is a symbol of power and elegance. It can contrast with all other colors,’ he replied.
The correspondent kept quiet for a minute and looked at Ishan astonishingly. He was astonished to see the courage of the boy, the courage to learn chess, courage to live the life of his choice, and courage to give a positive outlook to his life. The boy had proved that disability is merely a matter of perception and that one should never belittle himself. The correspondent recollected the moment when the current national champion got his trophy and cash prize. Ishan was mixed with the shades of grin face, deep eyes, and persistent look. No one could say that he can’t see the colors of the world from his oceanic eyes.
‘Now, your silence is telling me everything about your emotions,’ Ishan pointed.
‘I just learned it from you,’ the journalist said and Ishan laughed in return.
‘You must have faced difficulties when you started playing initially. Share a bit of your experience,’ the correspondent asked, rubbing his eyes.
‘See, everyone faces hardships in his days of struggle. Everyone has his own story and I have my own. People say that a visually impaired can’t see the shades of nature but I say that I can see the most powerful color which can absorb all the colors. I’m a white pawn who can see black. In fact, I love to play with black. Although, white has a first-mover advantage but black is an outstanding follower. It is unflappable and can be offensive when called for.
Moreover, when I touch my pieces, I feel attached to my game. I sense them, I talk to them. I live my game in real sense and I can say that my game is my best friend,’ he responded.
With Ishan’s each answer, the correspondent was getting short with words. Again, silence occurred in the room. He had already proved himself on the stage when he was asked to give a speech. With the same tranquility on his face, he said, ‘People often ask me what does your game teaches you and I say ‘Humanity’ because it doesn’t discriminate. I play with everybody, with men, women, children, veterans. It gives me a sense of equality and I feel proud to be a part of this community.’
The correspondent was listening to his words with all ears. He couldn’t understand what he should say and preferred to stay silent once again. ‘You were right Ishan. When you feel emotional, you can’t utter a word. Silence is the biggest emotion,’ and he dared to speak after few minutes.
‘Anyways, I don’t need to ask you more questions. You yourself are the answer to everyone out there. Before closing this discussion, I want you to give a message to our viewers,’ he added.
‘I’m no one to teach you anything. You are your own teachers. When in doubt, listen to yourself and you will get all the answers. I don’t see myself disable because disability in a real sense is not being physically impaired; in fact, it is underestimating you in any sense. So, never doubt yourself and your capabilities as we say in chess ‘Never underestimate the power of the pawn, he has the capability to produce the queen’ he said with flickering eyes. The correspondent smiled and exchanged hands with Ishan.
‘Thank you for your time Ishan,’ the correspondent said and looked at the camera to end the interview. This was our current national champion Ishan, a young boy who can’t see the world with his eyes but he can visualize everything from his heart,’ he started.
Every person faces hardships in life but it depends on the person himself what option he chooses. If he chooses to wallow in grief or to get up and face what may come. Ishan has proved that he is not visually impaired; in fact, he has a better way to see life. He is a living legend. His life is no less than a game of chess and he is no less than the winner of his life,’ he said and ended.

My BEST New Year

“How strange it is, we have 31 million seconds in a year and all this passes like a dream, just like you close your eyes, make a wish, open it and it’s a new year” I wondered, laying on the sofa in the living room, sipping a cup of coffee.

The clock struck half past 11. “Only half an hour and it’s a new year,” I said to myself, turning another page of the book. “How strange it is, we have 31 million seconds in a year and all this passes like a dream, just like you close your eyes, make a wish, open it and it’s a new year” I wondered, laying on the sofa in the living room, sipping a cup of coffee.

I dwelled in a 3 BHK apartment, of which one room was occupied by my parents, one by my younger sister (which was actually mine before I left home) and one was the living room for guests. My parents were busy in their dreams and my sister with her friend. I, for the sake of giving her a sort of privacy decided to spend time in the living room (having no other option for myself).

I again looked at the clock impatiently, though; I had not planned anything special for myself on New Year eve except my book and coffee. It seemed like time was more impatient than me because it was 11:45 this time. I could hear the sounds of the bursting of crackers. The celebration had begun and of course, we had all successfully completed another long and tiring 365 days journey and were ready for a new one. In fact, it was not just a celebration but a medium to express the happiness of stepping into another new phase of life by manifesting positive vibes, fighting against all odds and challenges, learning from the past and moving on. It was a way to tell the universe that we have won one more battle and is ready for a more challenging one.

I kept my book on the table and picked up my phone. Having expected pre-new year updates on Facebook, I started scrolling my wall. I was, in fact, right. People had actually started cutting cakes, partying in the disc. I was also trying to make myself happy by hitting the like button on their blissful moments. “I wish I could go back to Shimla,” I thought in my mind, keeping my phone aside for a while. I had just completed my studies and shifted to Delhi for a job. But, I was deeply missing my friends who were still in Shimla. “Nah, home is the best option” I tried to fix my mood, making myself more comfortable on the sofa.
I started glancing at the family picture on the living room wall and asked myself why I was sad despite the fact that on my very first day of the New Year, I was with the best people in my life, my family. Going out and chilling with friends is not the only way to celebrate. A person’s happiness lies within him. For him, every moment, every day and every year are new and cheerful if his inner being is content. Thus, I gave my mixed thoughts a break and smiled.

In reality, my new year had already started from the morning when I caught a smile on my grandmother’s face after arriving home, with the delicious food that my mother had prepared specially for me, with my sister’s happiness when I gave her the new year gift and with the lustre in my father’s eyes when he saw his daughter for the first time after she had joined her new job. Nothing could be better than this.
All of a sudden, a hissing sound hit my ears. “Sandy” I wondered and then realized that I had left my pet sleeping in the cozy bed in my parent’s room. “She must be sleeping,” I said to myself. Who would like to get out of a warm bed in such a cold weather? Even a human being wouldn’t like to do so and she was just a 4  -year-old adorable pug. “She can’t be here,” I said to myself and ignored.

But, the hissing sound continued. I turned my head around to clear the confusion. I was right. Sandy was standing right in front of my eyes. Her eyes gleamed at me. “Sanduu” I called her with a motherly heart and she came to me excitedly. She kept her little paws on the sofa smoothly signaling her intent to come up. I pulled her up tenderly. She licked me all over my face as if she had found someone long lost and I too hugged her tightly in return. Afterward, she sat on my lap, put her head down and slept peacefully.

It was 12 PM and 2017 had finally arrived. Everyone around the globe was celebrating it in their way, posting wonderful pictures on Facebook. I took my phone, clicked a picture with sleeping sandy and posted it on Facebook. After I did that, I realized that my new year was indeed very special with the one who was my true, genuine and a lifetime friend, who left a warm, cozy bed in such a chilling weather just because one of her family members was missing. She got up and hunted down her missing companion. She wanted to sleep where I was sitting, no matter how cold the weather was. This is what we call selfless love. All I knew was that it was my best New Year eve because I was with the one who was true to me, who loves me the most and for whom my existence was the most exciting thing in this world. I kissed my sleeping beauty on her forehead overwhelmingly and welcomed the New Year with my three best friends- book, coffee, and Sandy.