Fifty years ago, Marottichal was rife with alcoholism and illicit gambling, but everything changed after one man taught the town to play an ancient game of strategy.
The green paint on the walls of Marottichal’s village teashop had started to flake, like coin scrapings on a scratch card, exposing a light blue tone of a bygone era. Perhaps this was once a rowdy bar or beer shop. But not anymore.
Mr Unnikrishnan, the teashop’s owner, sat opposite me at one of the wooden tables, his dark eyes fixated on the chequered board that lay between us with an intimidating intensity.
A callous hand rose and elegantly gripped the white bishop, sliding it gently into the black knight and toppling it over.
“He’s got you now,” said the spectating Baby John, slurping his chai to suppress a grin.
I surveyed the bleak scene unfolding before me. My few remaining pieces were backed into a corner, eager …