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March 14, 2003

At 16, this girl makes the right moves

From: Ahmedabad Newsline, India - 14 Mar 2003

Tapash Talukdar

Ahmedabad, March 14: She had participated in the State-level Chess Championship, last year, and had won at Nadiad! Next, she set her eyes on the National Championship for the deaf and mute in Madurai and was adjudged as one of the best participants of the competition, which is held every year. Now she wants to represent the country in international chess competitions. For Keny Vora, a 16-year-old deaf and mute girl, a resident of Vasna road, sky is the limit. Keny showed special interest in chess since the age of nine, when her father ad asked her to defeat him in the game, and she did!

Starting to play chess at the age of four, there has been no looking back for Keny. Her father has been her teacher. He claims, ''I used to show her how to play, but now she has advanced so far that I have to learn some of her moves myself. Though she cannot speak or hear, she understands the game well. Computer is her good friend and a rival too. She has defeated the computer many times in chess. She has also learnt a lot from it.''

He said apart from chess, she has mastered other arts, including drawing, painting, rangoli-making, mehndi-making and cooking. He said his daughter has won the 'International Bala Chitra Rathna' Award for her drawing of the sinking Titanic, in a competition. Besides, she has also bagged awards in several other competitions.

Keny is also a voracious reader. Her father said the girl updates herself on the affairs of the world by regular reading of newspapers and magazines.

Keny's parents (Sanjay and Daksha) are her two pillars of inspiration. They are adept in sign language with which their daughter communicates with them. Besides, they can also very well read the expression in her eyes.

After Keny was diagnosed as a deaf and mute girl at her birth, Sanjay accepted the challenge of giving his daughter a normal life. As she grew up, he claims he has toiled hard to make her independant. Her mother says, ''I practiced the sign language in order to communicate with her. I have also taught her our language. Now she is able to speak with us a little, at least.'' Their efforts were well-rewarded when their daughter gave a welcome speech for Chief Minister Narendra Modi at a recent meeting.

Keny wants to meet her favourite actress Madhuri Dixit one day. She aspires to become a doctor and she has a soft corner for Kalpana Chawla.

The girl has good friends in Margi and Jaini, with whom she goes to the market often. Their neighbours are well-accustomed to Keny's sign language. Her teacher approves of Keny's leadership and discipline in school. According to her school principal, ''Keny has been blessed by Goddess Saraswati''.

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