“It is very important to realise where you are spending your time. The way you use this time will define your parameters for success.” – Bhushita Ahuja, Founder of Samvedna, International Chess Player
“I really wanted to give back to this game, because it has made me who I am today. I wanted to do something for this sport and I also wanted to do something for society. So me and my brother, we started this NGO, Samvedna Foundation,” says Bhushita Ahuja, in an interview with Startup Story Media where she talks about chess, studies and Samvedna, her NGO where she teaches chess to underprivileged kids.
Bhushita Ahuja is currently in 11th standard and just at the age of 16, she is already an international chess player, entrepreneur and author. This multiskilled child prodigy has also many records to her name and after publishing Open Your Wardrobe For Answers, she’s already working on her second book which would be about Vedic literature.
Passion for chess
Bhushita and her brother Bhavik had been playing chess since the age of 7 and believe that chess has made them who they are today. Bhushita told us that it was her mother who had introduced them both to chess from a young age after reading about the benefits of chess in a parenting book.
Talking passionately about chess, Bhushita also told Startup Story Media that she has also won a blue belt in Karate but when it came down to it, she realised that was more inclined towards chess than Karate.
“In chess, there is a piece called pawn, and it always moves forward, it never moves back. This piece really taught me that in life also, we should always move forward and never look back. And also this pawn, when it reaches the end of the board, it changes its form and becomes queen. So we all start our lives as a pawn. If we stay consistent on our paths, then we will get an opportunity to become a queen.”
When we asked about her inspiration in chess, she mentioned that apart from Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen and Praggnanandhaa, youngest chess grandmaster from India, and second youngest in the world, to be her constant source of inspiration.
The thought of starting an NGO for underprivileged kids and teaching them chess was something that came to Bhushita and her brother when she was still in her tenth grade, going through her board exams.
It wasn’t an easy decision for them, given the fact they were at this crossroad where they had to choose between studies and sports. After giving much thought to it, Bhushita decided to go with the academics and focus on her studies, but without losing connection with chess. That’s how Samvedna came to be. She told Startup Story Media, “Starting Samvedna was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make in our lives, but we decided not to lose touch with chess. This is how we will stay connected with the game, we have so much passion inside.”
Samvedna was started in 2019 after an organised chess tournament to raise funds for this initiative. Over 250 participants took part in this tournament and Sports Minister of India, Kiran Rijiju was the chief guest on this occasion. Bhushita told us, “We first started with physical classes, but then COVID struck and we couldn’t continue with physical classes and we shifted everything online. At the present, we are teaching 350+ underprivileged kids from across the 7 states of India.”
Balancing life with studies and extracurriculars
Life can sure be overwhelming when you are doing so many things at once, but even at such a young age, Bhushita has managed to prioritise everything with perfection. “It does feel like there are too many things to manage sometimes, but I feel very satisfied at the end of the day if I’m able to manage so many things together,” she told Startup Story Media.
She tells us about her method to organise herself, “I love to organise myself by making task-list, where I just make a list of tasks which are urgent, which are important and which are both urgent and important. So the ones that are both urgent and important have to be done first. So if I have exams approaching, I would focus on studies and put everything else in a backseat. By prioritising you are able to manage a lot of things.”
While life can be overwhelming, Bhushita finds comfort in her mother whenever she wants, whom she calls her personal diary. “Having a diary is very important for a person to express himself or herself. Whenever you are feeling low, you can always go write into that diary. So my mom is like that diary to me. Whenever I’m feeling low, I can always share with her without feeling the fear or inhibitions,” she tells Startup Story Media.
Message to everyone
After having achieved so many things, Bhushita tells us that at the moment, she is trying to gain as much knowledge as she can and her focus is on learning. She would also like her YouTube channel, Blossom With Bhushita, to grow more.
When we asked her what her message to the world would be, she said believing in oneself is the most important thing. “If you are self-motivated, no one can stop you from achieving what you want. Many times when you are conflicted inside yourself, and people tell you that this is not going to happen, then you are easily demotivated. But if you have that conviction from within, then no one can stop you,” she says.
“Everything in the world has an opportunity cost if I talk in business terms. So if you are going to invest your time in something today, then you are missing out on something else that you could have possibly done. So it is very important to realise where you are spending your time. The way you use this time will define your parameters for success,” she tells Startup Story Media.