January 9, 2001

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Vishwanathan Anand - The King

Congrats, son-in-law!

Rani Ananth, on her son-in-law, Vishwanathan Anand

It was in 1996 that our daughter Aruna got married to Anand. When the proposal came, we did not look at Anand as a chess champion who is known all over the world; we just wanted to know whether he was a good human being. No parent would search for a world champion or a celebrity for their daughter; everybody would look for a good person as a son-in-law.

Aruna's was a very traditional wedding. Once the horoscopes were matched, we wanted Anand and Aruna to meet. And it was to meet her that Anand came to our house first. Anand won our hearts at the very first meeting itself. What attracted us about Anand was his nature. He was so good-natured, well-mannered and unassuming that all of us liked him immensely and instantly. We never looked at him Anand's in-lawsas a famous personality, and he also never made us feel that he was a person known all over the world or a celebrity. Both Anand and Aruna liked each other and the wedding was fixed.

It was a very traditional south Indian wedding, but a grant one. All of us enjoyed ourselves as all our relatives from abroad made it for the wedding. Anand's friends from abroad also were there. Yes, it was a huge crowd. Even then, we didn't feel that our daughter was getting married to a celebrity. It was all because of Anand and his pleasant nature; he is such a nice guy, you know.

When he is at home, he doesn't behave like a son-in-law. He mingles with us so wonderfully well that we get the feeling that he is our son!

If you notice, my husband's name is Ananth. Sometimes, there is some confusion in the household as both of them answer together. It is fun!

Anand and Aruna bring so many gifts for us that we do not know what to give them back. Anand is very fond of checks. So, we normally give him check shirts as gifts.

All the newspapers are writing about the kind of support Aruna gives to Anand. That makes me feel very proud of our daughter. She has done her post graduation in Public Relations, and I think she is making good use of her education by taking care of his assignments!

Whenever Anand plays a game, our Internet connection is on, and we are in front of the computer. I never used to follow chess before my daughter's wedding. Now, all of us are hooked to chess. Of course, I knew the basic moves earlier, and I think I am improving now.

Both of them used to call us after every tournament and, this time also, they called to inform us that Anand had become the World champion. Of course, we saw the result on the Internet. I just screamed when I saw him becoming the champion!

I have only one daughter and a son, and our son, who is in California, was also here in Madras with his wife when the match was going on. His presence here made the news of Anand's victory all the more sweet and exciting.

I can only describe our feeling thus: we are extremely happy and proud because our son-in-law is the world chess champion.

Mr Ananth on the champion.

From the day Anand started playing against Shirov for the World chess championship, my wife and I were in front of the computer, on the Internet, watching all the games. Finally, we saw Anand winning, but it took, not one or two but 12 hours for reality to sink in. We just couldn't believe that Anand, our son-in-law, has become the World chess champion. The excitement was indescribable. Simply put, it is a great feeling!

Anand's in-laws What did we do after that? We didn't celebrate immediately. And how could we, when Anand and Aruna were not here? You can't cut the birthday cake when the birthday boy is absent, can you? We went and met Anand's parents the very next day, relived the whole emotions and had a cup of coffee with them.

When we first met Anand, what impressed us about him was his unassuming nature. So, I can confidently say that becoming the world champion also will not get into his head. I am so confident because he is an extremely nice guy.

Being a tennis player, I wanted a sports person as my son-in-law, and am I not happy that I got one! Unfortunately, I do not play chess but I do follow the game.

When Anand comes home, we discuss so many things like the economy, politics, movies, etc. but we do not discuss chess much! Whenever he comes home, he prefers to be at home. So, we are generally at home, talking and relaxing.

I know now the whole world is aware of the kind of support Aruna gives him. Yes, she also makes us proud.

(As told to Shobha Warrier)

Photographs: Sanjay Ghosh

Vishwanathan Anand - The Complete Series

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