December 30, 2005

Girish: Giving up his childhood for dad’s greed?

Elsewhere on this site I wrote about eight-year old chess champ, Girish; had read about him in ‘The Hindu’ and, after a phone talk with his father, I shot out messages to 40 e-pals on our MyMysore network for exploring sponsorship possibilities. On meeting Girish’s father, Mr Kaushik, and from his subsequent conduct I am constrained to believe that helping such a guy might not be such a good idea, and it might even hurt the chess kid’s future.
My perception is shared by Ms K R Prathiba, a social activist, who lobbied Girish’s case for sponsorship at the Town Hall; took the boy and his father to the mayor on the very day she met Mr Kaushik. She was to set up a meeting for him with the DC the subsequent day. But then Mr Kaushik, presumably, found something else to do. He didn’t even bother to inform Prathiba, let alone thank her for the trouble she had taken.
Lack of such niceties apart, I found Mr Kaushik to be not very straight-forward in his talk. He told me that the recent New Delhi trip for the Asian chess championship ties had set him back by Rs.15,000 (of which Rs.7000 he claimed was entry fee). What Mr Kaushik neglected to mention was the Rs.50,000 cash award announced by the Central ministry for sports. The first we heard of it ( Prathiba and I ) was when the mayor quizzed Mr Kaushik, “Isn’t there a cash award that goes with the chess gold ?”
And then there is this aspect. In response to my network messages an e-pal put me wise on the danger in pushing child prodigies into public shows. This had happened again and again, he said, and added, “parents who want to exploit the rare talent of their kids are sometimes too greedy for fame and profit to think of giving the kids a chance to experience childhood”.
(See item: Girish brings chess gold to Mysore)