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Conquering the Chessboard
“We are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution we get to choose.”
While walking down the street the other day, I came across an innocent young man being victimized. I encountered a fundamental dilemma of whether I should help the person or just pass by. I chose to tread the conventional path of ignorance. It was, however, too late before I realised that indifference is just as dangerous as open action.
I am the King, compelled to move.
I lost to the game, I lost to society. My passiveness led me to defeat.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of our lives, we often tend to ‘play safe’ by ignoring the problems we encounter on a daily basis. What we do not realise is that although the dormant majority are not as culpable as the actual offenders, their silence only accentuates the issues we face as a society. As rightly quoted by Elie Wiesel, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” We are all rulers of our own lives, all capable of contributing to the society in one way or another. I have realised today that by playing safe on the battlefield, I am reduced to being only a chess piece blocking the way, just another chance wasted. There is not much time until “checkmate” echoes in my ears and soon, in the ears of the peaceful and immaterial majority all over the world- if only I had done well to the innocent person.
Upset over my wrong judgement, I started to flip through the pages of my history textbook. ‘Nazism and the Rise of Hitler’, the chapter read. Over sixty million people were killed in the Second World War. As I read further, I came across an, even more, heart-shattering truth. It was Nazis, just a group of people who conquered millions of people and killed them. Just a few against all of Europe. This seemingly impossible turn of events took place, and it was all because of the silence of the majority. The peaceful majority again were immaterial and irrelevant leading to something as unfortunate as the Holocaust.
With the same thought running at the back of my mind, I went for a game of cricket with my friends. It was time for the toss.
“Heads or tails”, asked the umpire.
It is all about choice, I thought. But what if I don’t want to go with either? I asked myself and with the question still running in my head, “tails”, I said.
The silver, shiny coin was in mid-air. How often, I asked my friends, have you seen a coin land on its side? Never. A choice that improbable is not even considered a choice. Neutrality is not an option. It is either heads or tails- I get to choose.
Voices echo in my mind. “Check.” It was never a checkmate, I still have a choice. I am the King, I can step in either of the directions. I can be what I want, either the problem or the solution, if only, I choose to be.
Hold your head up, King
Don't let the crown fall
Contribute to society, it is your call
As you lay thy hand on the chessboard
One step, King; everywhere is open for you
You still have a path to choose
You, who bear the red cross, bear the crown
Of this kingdom of ours, don’t let us down
Life is a chessboard
You stand on the junction
As two roads diverge in a yellow wood
Choose your path, because you still should
All of us have come to a fork in the road at some point in our lives. This fork in the path is symbolic of making choices. Metaphorically, it symbolizes opportunity, the seriousness of the choice, and one's inability to ever make the same choice again. Once one makes a move toward one path or the other, his destiny is solidified by each subsequent step. Our choices seal our fate and affect the society as well as ourselves. A fork in the road, however, requires for us to choose one path. Playing safe or being neutral is not an option in this case. A jewel of thought rightly fits in “When one is passive and doesn’t do to advocate for change, then one is only perpetuating the problems.” By helping the innocent person, I would contribute to palliating the numerous problems we encounter globally. By being a bystander, I would unknowingly promote the wrong happenings in the world. Sitting dumb mouthed is an obstacle to changing the status quo. I must, hence, go out on the battlefield, the chessboard and make the best of my abilities. Before I encounter another fundamental divergence, I must make a choice, tread upon a path where I don’t get to hear “checkmate.”
After all, my choice will make all the difference in the world- if it hasn’t already.