I became acquainted with Mangesh nearly 40 kilograms ago (being a huge fan of late GM Gufeld’s writings, I follow his system of counting!) during our frequented visit for chess tournaments at Zandu Canteen – considered as the ‘Mecca’ of the then Bombay’s or Mumbai’s chess before it closed its doors to chess in the year 2008 to give way to the unprecedented boom of ‘Concrete Jungles’.
For a layman the word ‘Zandu’ would be a pointer to nothing more ‘Zandu Balm’ the famous Indian Ayurveda brand to cure headaches or made more famous (infamous?) by Bollywood in ‘Dabangg’ wherein ‘Munni’ gyrates to ‘Munni Badnam Hui, Darling Tere Liye, Le Zandu Balm Hui, Darling Tere Liye”.
However, for generations of chess players like me and my predecessor or the young talented crop of players that followed us, ‘Zandu’ was a word revered in every sense for what it contributed to chess!
You ask an ‘old-timer’ like me and I can vouch that whenever I hear this word, I become nostalgic about the good old days! It take me down the memory lane where it was sheer delight to play at Zandu and, at the same time be in the company of few veteran players, who played their game with simultaneous running commentary and repartee!
It was wonderful to hear the self-proclamation of octogenarian, Godbole Saheb at the top of his voice: “Godbole is the greatest player India has ever produced”! Or, a unique style of K.C. Kar to declare checkmate - suddenly getting up from his seat with triumphant declaration “K.C. Kar checks and mates”! We have always been taught (and now teach!) to examine all possible checks but the golden rule of Ganapthy was oft repeated at almost all the game by these fun-loving players with the punch-line: “Ganpathy says, never miss a check”!! It would be worthwhile to collect all these anecdotes and write a book on it but, that is for some other day and some other time.
Coming back to Mangesh, he too was a chess fanatic and dreamt of becoming something in chess. Like most of us, his passion for chess turned into a profession by training young kids in a period of chess boom fuelled by a great organizer, Vinay Shetty with the conduct of ‘Bournivta Inter-School Chess Tournament’ – an event, which changed the face of Mumbai for a decade from 1995 to 2004.
However, fate struck Mangesh in 2004 when he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. It was indeed a big blow for any person who is in the youth of his life, vibrant with energy and eager to fly.
He was operated successfully with a positive note by the doctors that chances of relapse, if any, is a possibility only after 15-years or so. Mangesh took the fight to this disease by actively engaging in training young kids and, it appeared that spectrum of relapse has been left behind. However, as in chess, calculations do go haywire in life!
Mangesh had a relapse in the year 2012 when he was required to be operated 2nd time followed by the 3rd surgery in November 2015 when the entire tumor was successfully removed. But to see that this dreaded disease does not recur, he is required to take 12 cycles (monthly) of Chemo at Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital.
Not to count the physical toll, the treatment has created a big financial burden for Mangesh as he is no longer able to train and is now solely dependent on the salary of his wife. The insurance medi-claim has already been used for the operation, which had amounted to Rs.8,00,000/-
Further, each cycle of chemo costs Rs.19,000/- coupled with the salary of Rs.10,000/- payable to the attendant who looks after Mangesh. This effectively means a requirement of minimum Rs.30,000/- per month or Rs.3,60,000/- minimum for a year.
As such, I call upon the chess fraternity to rise and ‘Save Mangesh’. You can contribute by sending direct transfers to the bank account of Mangesh:
Bank of India SB Account 005010100036872
Beneficiary: Mangesh Parab
Branch: Mulund (East),
We will be publishing the name of all the donors who have contributed (subject to consent).