January 10, 2004 

Inspiration for the day

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Stephen, Alarathottam, Puthalam, Kolayad, near Kannavam, Kannur

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Strange are the ways of fate.  If an innocent 6th standard student from a decent family in Dhanuvachapuram, Thiruvananthapuram hadn’t been tortured in a police station on trumped up charges, perhaps the criminal Ettumanoor Stephen wouldn’t have been born.  And if a champion chess player from Germany hadn’t shared his cell in the jail, perhaps he wouldn’t have become a chess player either.

Stephen plotted revenge against the Sub Inspector who had roughed him up.  And that led to the vicious circle of arrest and further criminalisation.  In the end, while undergoing punishment at Central Jail, Thiruvananthapuram, he met the German, who was undergoing imprisonment for drug trafficking.  The German became his guru in chess.  In the undisturbed atmosphere of the jail, the coaching continued for 2 years at the rate of 8 hours a day.  By the end of 1 year, from chess illiterate, Stephen became on par with the German.

In 1997 he was released from jail.  An anxious visit to home showed him how the world had changed and with it most of his immediate relatives.  A misfit at home, he moved to Ambalavayal, Wayanad and then to Kannavam and took up the honorable job of selling utencils under an assumed name.  Though the business was a loss, he used to frequent chess clubs in the evenings to while away the time.  And based on the proddings of his friends he participated in a tournament at Kozhikode, which again changed his life.

During the last 6 years, he won the State A Championship twice, won the Hurlin trophy, won the best player award and defeated the State champion and Asian No:3, Ratnakaran.  Thus he was forced to reveal his true identity.

Today, Stephen is married with 2 daughters.  As he teaches his children the rudiments of chess, this headload worker pins hopes on the promise of these tiny buds.



Courtesy: M.P.Sukumaran, Sree, Malayala Manorama, November 30, 2003

Contributed by: Administrator


"A cat in gloves catches no mice."