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Viswanathan Anand: For being India's beloved Grandmaster

'I feel extremely proud that we as a country have come of age'

August 11, 2008

Vishy on why the young need to go beyond the script.

In Mexico City when I stood on the podium (after winning the World Chess Championship last year) and they played the national anthem, I did feel a lump in my throat. At that moment you see invisible faces, applause and silent prayers from back home.

It is a moment that you can never recreate but never forget. I feel extremely proud that we as a country have come of age.

We don't give excuses anymore and are quite proud to say we are like this only. We seem to attract headlines for the latte foaming at the cities's cafes rather than cows that was our star attraction of the 1980s in the foreign media.

We have seen Indian companies rub shoulders with their bigger colonial cousins and usurp them. We are also slowly becoming mildly serious about sport. This is all very good.

India, 61: The icons that make India

We are also going through some trying times in India. We have seen innocent people being killed for a hidden private agenda. We still have worrying statistics about children's health in India. HIV is still a silent killer.

When we talk about the famed India story we need to go beyond the steel and glass and maybe see the smoke on the other side of the bridge. But we are an ingenious lot. I have seen villagers take to computers and use the Net. We are a young lot and we have to go beyond the script to make it.

As the Olympics begin, I am keenly waiting to see my fellow colleagues stand on that podium with the Indian tri-colour. I myself am preparing for my World Championship match (against Vladimir Kramnik) in October and have been hearing about how Russia is keen to get back the crown.

Well, I take a deep breath, will play my best and believe in myself. Because in a way that is the Indian in me -- spiritual or fatalistic -- but play according to your rules that make you proud.

World champion Viswanathan Anand once again underlined his dominance as he won the Rapid World Chess Championship in Mainz last week. He has now won the tournament 11 times in its 13 years of existence, including the last nine times in a row! Anand took over the top ranking in chess in April 2007 and later in the same year captured the World Chess Championships. He sent this e-mailed response to Harish Kotian.

Video courtesy: Viswanathan Anand

Also see: Anand on his record triumph at Mainz | Also read: Learning from Chess: The black and white of success and failure
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