Written By : Saba S. Stephen

 Sometimes the immaterial gestures possess superior value

                                         A WOODEN CHESSBOARD

                                                                               Sometimes the immaterial gestures possess superior value


“I am getting bored. Do we have enough money to buy a nice chessboard?” my younger brother asked me with an unimaginable hope and shine in his eyes. The serene expression on his face gave me the confidence to believe that I possess all the power in this world to fulfill his sweet little wish. I felt an obligation to contribute a greater proportion of the amount required to buy a decent chessboard and therefore, requested him to bring my purse from the cupboard.

Both of us emptied our savings on a table, and to our surprise, our financial position wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. The modest savings of our respective pocket monies were good enough to buy a respectable chessboard for the sake of killing boredom.

Filling the pockets with our limited funds, I went along with my brother to a nearby market. Unfortunately, the two shops that sell chessboards at reasonable prices were closed. Seeing the sight of closed shops, disappointment swept over my brother’s face. I felt awful and suggested that we should not end our search here and should try to think out of the box. So we made up our minds and launched the hunt for a fine chessboard, again.

After an unyielding walk of two and a half hours, we finally found a shop that was offering our desired item. The chessboard was made of a high-quality marble and had beautiful glass checkers, but unluckily its cost was beyond the reach of our meager savings and thus, the chance to buy it slipped through our hands. The look on my brother’s face made me feel quite small and helpless. To mask my financial limitations, I bought him a Rubik’s cube to make him feel contented after a three hour fatigue.

That night I slept the most disturbing sleep of my life as the saddened face of my brother haunted me like a nightmare. It wasn’t like that our parents couldn’t buy us a good chessboard, it was just my insufficiency to fulfill my younger brother’s little wish. So I humbly prayed that may God give me a chance in future to makeup for that day’s suffering and the horrendous burden of inadequate funds.

The next day I went to university with an aim to save enough money to buy for my brother that classy marble chessboard, without bearing any monetary pressure. Keeping that objective in mind, I bought a pack of biscuits and let go of a hot and refreshing cup of coffee in a chilly weather.

When I came back home after a hectic class of financial management, my brother told me that he had a surprise for me. He requested me to close my eyes, which I did, and he gently placed a warm and unusual wooden chessboard into my cold hands.

At that time I realized that I wasn’t the only one to catch the bleakness and hopelessness, regarding our scarce resources, in the air. My face also revealed the truths of my hidden helplessness to my brother, which he managed to secure pretty safely in the back of his mind.

I hugged him tightly and gave him a kiss on the cheek for his lovable gesture and somehow came to know that inside my brother lives a very dear friend of mine too, who can read my mind and ease my strains.

Now, whenever we play chess on that wooden chessboard, we gain more happiness and pleasure than we would have gained on that expensive marble board. As each and every move reminds us of the priceless love, care and understanding which we both share in an unpretentious way.