My thoughts, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Well being, Writing

I Miss You Monu!

Recently I have been missing my dear cat Monu a lot more than usual. It was his 1 year death anniversary a few days ago, probably that’s why. I know that most of you will think, ‘ come on, he was just a cat,’ not to me, to me he was my dearest, closest, truest friend.

He came to us at the end of Dec 2020, and he was so cute and small, he was just 3 days old! A cat had given birth in my cousin’s apartment, but sadly nobody in the litter including the mom had survived, except him. Because my cousin’s family had a dog, it was dangerous for them to keep the little kitten, so they gave him to us. In the starting he needed to be fed every few hours. I still remember for the first one month we used to wake up every night to feed him. 

For the first few weeks he just slept, and he was so cuddly, he used to love to snuggle. But we were new with cats, thus we were a bit hesitant, so we built a bed for him, lined it with a heating pad and a few blankets, and he slept there. Now I wish I had snuggled him as much as I could every opportunity I got.  

When he got a little bigger and a little stronger, he started playing. He used to look so cute running around the house, room to room. It was so simple, playing with him then we used to play a lot. We used to crumple up pieces of paper, or tie up a handkerchief in the shape of a ball, and throw it around the house. He used to love it, he would go chasing after it, jumping trying to catch it. We would call them “ चूहे “ which is the hindi term for mice, because he would try catching it, and attempt to kill it after. In the beginning he would bring it back after catching it, as if to tell us to throw it again!

When he got a bit older we started taking him out, just in the apartment. He liked it a lot, and he never ran away, we never used a leash. He used to just wander around us, sniff the plants, and sit under the shade. It was really hard bringing him back up though, we had to take a badminton racket so we could bang it on the floor to scare him, and he would come running back up. He knew the way home. In fact, one day when I was meditating, I heard scratching and whining outside the door, I opened the door to see Monu trying to open the door. Apparently he had somehow managed to reach the ground floor from our balcony, and he had come straight back up!

When my tournaments started, and I got busy, I started spending less time with him. I would play, and take him out rarely. Definitely, there was a bit of selfishness involved, 

I was not doing great in chess, I was lacking, losing, in a slump. So I just practiced a lot, and I was a bit demotivated so I started wasting a bit of time, but no time cannot be afforded to waste, so guess from where did I compensate? My time with Monu, the biggest mistake of my life. Bigger than all the chess blunders I have made and will ever make.

All this time though I was not spending with him, I knew he missed me, he had started becoming lethargic, eating more, he used to sit by the window and stare out for hours. 

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I guess my biggest mistake was thinking there will be a tomorrow; I will play with him tomorrow, I will spend time with him tomorrow, Monu will be here tomorrow he ain’t going anywhere. Well there is no tomorrow now is there? 

I don’t think there was a tomorrow ever, even if there was it didn’t matter. One day, 30 days, 45 years, it’s all too small to make a difference, it is the same. What matters is making use of every moment we have with them. 

After he died, I didn’t feel sad about the fact I only had one year with him, what I regretted the most was not making use of every opportunity I had with him to make memories, to play, to be with him. 

This is what Monu taught me, amongst the many other things he did. Thank you so much Monu for teaching me this valuable lesson, and being a part of my life. 

My favorite moments with him were, sometimes when I was practicing chess, he would just come scatter about all the pieces on the board, spoil the position, stand in the center, and just flop down! Like right there, and just look at me like “hey, I am sitting here now, that cool?” Me, I would love it.  

Chess, My thoughts, Personal

 Unschooling Diaries #13:- Something about chess and life

There is a phase that chess players go through in which instead of creating play of their own they just react to their opponent’s and if he is playing without one they just make waiting moves until he comes up with one. But the problem with this approach is you will either draw or lose, you can’t win. I can’t speak for everyone but there are a number of reasons this happens. One of them is fear – ‘I can’t mess up if I don’t do anything.’ Another one is laziness- ‘this requires too much brain. Let him do the hard work of coming up with something.’ 

And I certainly know what it feels like, because I am going through the same phase. Well it is better than before:- now I can make plans, take initiative, etc earlier to win I would solely rely on the opponent to mess up. But the problem, tournament class players almost never blunder big time. Plus, chess is a game of war, you need to trick your opponent, take him by surprise, you need to be one step ahead, which you can’t if he has the lead. He is in control, he is literally making you play the moves. There is another saying in chess:-  Every move you make should have a positive base and be geared to increasing the advantages you already possess. It is so true, and so amazing how these two things connect in chess as well in life. In chess if you lay back and give free rein to your opponent, you will get knocked down in no time, same way in life if you keep waiting for something to happen, one day you will be beaten up and disappointed. I mean that is what I have learned about life from chess and my dad would be a great example about this. Because he started learning guitar recently, at this age he left his job and started a business, he started meditating two years ago, he also started dieting and exercising completely turned his health around. Now did he have some kind of divine revelation or anything else like that- No. He just decided to take the lead. We can do the same for ourselves:- you know instead of waiting for something amazing to happen, we make those things happen like doing at least one new thing every week, taking control of our health, working with our fears, etc. And just like that we are in control…

My thoughts, Parenting, Personal, Well being

Unschooling Diaries #12 :- Clashing Dates, Evening Cycle Rides, and Apartment Cats…

This has been such a great week, with many ups and downs and twists and turns.

At the start of the week, I had submitted my form for an Ameutur Boxing Championship to be held in Banglore. It was an inter-club tournament and I was so excited, it was going to be a lot of fun. But, here is the plot twist, the boxing tournament was to be held on 1-2 October, but it got postponed to 8-9 October, and I have the State Women Open Chess Championship on those days😔.  I definitely cannot miss it because I already missed the U15 girls one. However, it was fun preparing for the boxing tournament. It has given me motivation to work harder for the next one👍.

Meanwhile I would like to state some things which made me really happy this week. 

  1. Coming home by my cycle in the evening after boxing class


It is a wonderful feeling to return home by cycle in the evening. The air will be blowing in my face, and the weather will be nice and cool. We all agree that two wheelers in the evening is just a different mood. Yes, that time there is a lot of traffic, pollution, and the roads are not good, but sometimes when I get to see a sunset followed by beautiful twilight, I forget all about the rest.

  1. The confidence and fitness boxing has given me

I am so happy and really grateful to my parents for making me join this boxing class. Because it has given me a level of fitness I never had before, and that makes me feel nice and confident.

  1. Feeding my apartment cats

I am glad, my parents don’t keep my schedule very packed and I have time to do a lot of other stuff. Like feeding the cats near my apartment. 

  1. The confidence I have to talk to people now

This week I just noticed how confident I have now become to talk to people. Before (pre-covid) I had literally had no idea how to, if some guest had come or we had gone out, I would just become speechless ( in a literal way). But now when I go to people’s houses I can talk nicely, I can entertain the guests whenever they come. In fact I am hosting a chess meetup at my place tomorrow, and I feel so proud that I have the confidence to host the entire thing on my own now.

This is the second one, we had hosted one more last week also. Don’t forget to tune in to find out what happens tomorrow. 

Please send me a few things that made you too  happy this week, I would love to hear them. 

Chess, My thoughts, Personal

Unschooling Diaries #11 : Today was a Great Day!

Today was a great day. From many days I was struggling to find people to practise chess with. But today we connected with over 30+ plus people who live near my house and are ready to meetup to play chess! So how did this miracle happen? How we go from 0 people from months to suddenly 3 dozen people. 

So we can say one thing led to another. Last week I had gone to a chess tournament, over there we met someone and told him about our problem. So. he added us to a WhatsApp Group where all the chess parents of Bengaluru are there. He said us to post regarding our problem over there and we will probably find someone. So over one week had gone we didn’t post anything, but today we finally decided to start the conversation. All we suggested was are chess players living around Koramangala interested to meetup and play few games. That is it and under one hour the whole group was on fire! Everybody was responding. By afternoon there were 6 different groups for 6 different areas and over 100+ people in total.

Apparently everybody was facing this issue of offline playing practise. We ourselves were struggling from such a long time. And it took just a 2 simple steps to resolve it. The saying is true ” The best solutions are often simple yet unexpected.” Look around you, is there anything you are struggling with right now? Maybe talking to your neighbor, friend, or somebody will help. This is one thing I have learnt in life, and is now firmly engraved in my mind with what happened today. Talking to people always helps.

Chess, My thoughts, Parenting, Personal

My First Sparring Round

Swami Vivekananda once said, “You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita.”

My coach told me, when I joined him, that when he sees someone’s chess games: he gets to know the exact personality of the person. I didn’t understand him then until I saw it for myself. When a person plays any sport: Boxing, Chess, or Football, his/her personality, fears and nature is laid out like a blueprint. 

And that is one of the most beautiful things about sports: you can’t hide. Your fears and inner demons will come out and you have to face them. Isn’t it a great tool for self-betterment and analysis? To me, it is surely the next best thing to meditation!