Maya's Move: The Backstory ..

(Ed - Spoiler Alert) Colloqial English in India is inter-mixed with several local languages. This leads to the simultaneously interesting and funny creation of (Indian) English phrases that are translated literally from a local language. In Bombay (now Mumbai), where I spent a good part of my childhood, the local language is Marathi. In Marathi, the phrase to purchase tickets is, "Ticket Kadla Ka?" which translated literally means, "Did you remove tickets?" The verb remove is used in Marathi because if you purchased tickets in a local bus, the bus conductor would literally have to tear them off, and remove them from the ticket box.

Fast forward many years, and my cousin, Aishwarya, had a knack of using the verb remove in many a scenario. For example, "did you remove (take out) the suitcase (from the car), "did you remove cash (from the wallet)?", "did you remove (misplace) the bottle?" etc. On one particular trip to Alaska, as I was teasing her on her overuse of the verb, we played a little game of conversing with no other verb other than different forms of the verb "remove" . While this lead to some ridiculously funny moments, and soon got a little tedious, we were able to continue a normal conversation without requiring any other verb.

It was a few weeks later, that the epiphany came aka. technically all action verbs, can be described by a single verb— move (in different forms), because every action describes movement. The story is an attempt to describe that epiphany (not so) subtly, while being an ode to the beautiful game of chess. The short story also immortalizes the key turning point in the Anand Carlsen Chess World Championship played in Sochi in 2014, which I had the pleasure of attending live ...

Last modified: Sat May 23st 20:51:03 PDT 2015