by Nithya Christie
For more than a decade, I could see the world perfectly just like anyone else. The faces of my loved ones, the beauty of nature and every little thing in life.
However, my world took a drastic change when I lost part of my eyesight to Retinitis Pigmentosa. It’s a degenerative eye disease where my eyesight worsens over the years. I was first diagnosed with the condition at the age of 12. Over the span of three years, it gave me time to prepare and come to terms with it. It was also much needed for my parents to prepare themselves for the worst.
When the partial blindness struck me, my parents were there for me day and night. They made everything a little more bearable and I couldn’t imagine life without them. Their constant effort to keep my life as normal as possible helped me to cope with the loss.
Despite my conditions, I never give up in doing what I love. Growing up, I enjoyed playing Chinese chess and I was pretty good at it as compared to my peers. Back in school, it was a daily routine to challenge my friends to a game in the canteen. I eventually moved on to English chess. Both the strategies were very similar but something that set them apart was that touch and feel of the English chess pieces. I love to pick them up and roll them in my palm, getting a feel of each piece, particularly the “Knight”.
The beauty of chess lies with the fact that there are no two similar games. Each time, I will need to strategise my moves and anticipate my opponent’s. A good opponent will see through you strategy and force you to change tactics. That is what makes chess so exciting and competitive!
Though it will be my first time representing Singapore in the upcoming ASEAN Para Games, I hope to show my competitors and fellow countrymen what I am made of. I have never let my disability get in the way of enjoying life and I am definitely not going to let it affect me in one of my most important games ever!