Monday, 4 January 2016

Life is a game; Play it with God - a chess champion's journey_Part 2

A special connect with a champion
When I met Rakshitta Ravi for the first time, she hardly spoke anything with me. Yet, she exuded the affection and warmth that one would have for one’s own uncle! I was in awe of her because she had come to Puttaparthi as the World Champion in U-8 Blitz Chess. It is not everyday that you get to meet such young champs! She had come to meet me with her trophy and gold medal that she had won at the Championship at Dubai in late 2013. Was I flattered!

The little champ with a gold podium finish in the U8 Blitz Chess. 
At home, as we settled comfortably, her mother, Sai Meera, told me that Rakshi loved Swami’s stories more than anything else. She would listen to His stories without fail even between her matches. The statement that set my heart pounding with thrill was,
“... And Rakshi always asks for stories written by Aravind uncle...”
It is a wonderful feeling to discover that someone whom you are in awe of is also in awe of you. I brought out my wooden chess set and sought Rakshitta’s autograph on it.
“I would be grateful if you both also sign it...”, I requested the champion parents too.

My special Chessboard at home. 
When anyone asks me to autograph a book, my heart celebrates. While part of it is definitely gratitude to Swami, I cannot deny that my ego too raises its hood, however hard I try to suppress it. It was in this regard that I learned a lesson in humility from Rakshi. She turned to her mother and asked,
“Uncle has Swami with him always. Why does he need my autograph?”

That statement of genuine innocence hit me like a ton of bricks. Isn’t it so true that though we get God, we seem to value His creation more. At times, we even forget God’s value in our actually useless pursuits!

Three Chess masters leave their signatures behind
the board and one of them leaves
 a strong lesson for me... :)
“Don’t say like that Rakshi. Just sign for uncle...”
Her mother ensured that I got a signature but Rakshi ensured that I got a sign from Swami on how He alone is worth valuing. In that instant, I felt that I should remain connected with Rakshi also and learn many more such gems from her. Well, I am happy to say that I learned at least one more profound lesson in FAITH. But for that, we will have to proceed with Rakshi’s story from where we left off.

{This is the second part of an exciting story. For complete joy and satisfaction, it is recommended that you proceed only after you have read the first part at the link below:

A Sai-Student all the way

Rakshitta had qualified for the Asian and World Youth tournaments of 2012. She won the bronze medal in the Asian Youth tournament at Sri Lanka but went medal-less at the World Youth tournament at Slovenia.
“Ravi is so cool about everything that when Rakshi goes for a tournament with him, she somehow feels that she is on a vacation. No surprise that she went without a medal at Slovenia”, Sai Meera adds with a smile.

Rakshi focused on the Nationals again under her mother’s training and guidance. Once again, she came second in the country and won the opportunity to represent India in the 2013 Asian and World Youth championships. It was during that World Youth Championship at Dubai that Rakshi won the gold medal for rapid chess (Blitz), though she went medal-less in the Classic chess tournament. She offered that medal to Swami at the Mahasamadhi because she firmly believed it to be the gift of His grace alone. This also ‘coincidentally’ happened during a historic Bal Vikas meet because of which she also figured in the Radiosai article on the event.