Let me introduce you to the first of my guests to feature in a series of interviews called, “Interesting People.” Meet Anand Iyer an engineer by education and an astrologer by vocation, with a passion for chess thrown in.
“Chess Anand” as he is popularly known in our community, stands out from the crowd with his long locks. The only son of a Government official, Anand grew up in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. His mother is a well-known violinist and Sanskrit scholar. Surprisingly for one born into a Palghat Iyer family, a community known for their traditional ways and conservatism, Anand has long been an atheist.
His love for what he calls “technical astrology” started as a hobby and is now a full-time vocation. He doesn’t speak of his impressive clientele but they number over 8,000 and are from different parts of the world. Over chat, mail and phone, he answers their questions and tells them what the future holds in store for them based on their horoscope he charts for them. Many leading industrialists, film and music directors, actors and professionals number among his clients. I guess everyone wants to know what the future holds for them.
Anand says the astrology he practices is purely based on mathematics and speaks of the strengths and velocity of the planets and so on. He sees what lies ahead of you based on very basic data such as your name, date, time and place of birth. His predictions have been so unfailingly accurate that he offers a 100 % refund if his predictions don’t come true!
Another facet of his personality is the coaching/tuitions he provides on an individual basis to students ranging from 2nd to 12th grades. His advice to parents, “ Please don’t belittle your children in front of others, even their own siblings. This can have a bad effect on them.” He also advocates that parents desist from comparing one sibling with another for the same reason.
Here are excerpts from our wide-ranging conversation:
Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. I am sure my readers will love to know more about you, through your responses, as you feature in my series of interviews called, “Interesting People.”
1. You have had a tremendous impact on our community be it through your passion for chess (which has made you popularly known as “Chess” Anand), the amazing quotes and puzzles you put up daily on our community board ( for over two and a half years) and your coaching students, quite apart from your love for astrology. How did you acquire these interests and tell us why you do what you do…
I got the interest in astrology because of a series of unfortunate incidents in my life. Being an atheist, I was in search of some patterns/equations which life was probably following & then stumbled upon “VARAHAMIHIRAS BRIHAT JATAKA & BRIHAT SAMHITA” which is purely technical astrology & mathematics. There is no mention of God or Religion in these texts & it is all based on planetary positions. I firmly believe that “ A CHILD IS BORN WHEN THE PLANETS ARE IN MATHEMATICAL HARMONY WITH ITS PREVIOUS KARMA”.
From that day I started mastering the subject & started spreading it as a science rather than mumbo-jumbo.
Since the kind of Astrology I do involves a lot of Maths I became more & more adept in Maths. I thought I will spread the scientific temperament wherever & whenever possible so that the next generation will benefit from this & not waste time on fruitless pursuits.
#2. Tell us about your days as a student. What do you remember from those days that had a big impact on your life?
THIS ONE IS STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART:
As I have said before, a series of bad events shook my life. I saw that at every second of your life is dictated by only ones own KARMA. People around you, parents, teachers, friends or for that matter anyone is of no use to us. This made me very independent so much so that I decided that either I would become a chess player or an astrologer both of which are independent professions & depended on my own skills. I was a brilliant student throughout & the shabby treatment I got will be etched in my heart forever.
#3. You spend so much time with young people? Describe the youth of today and what would be your advice to them?
The youth of today have more money, distractions & with that lots of indiscipline with them. I am yet to see a disciplined student(boy & girl) in my years of tutoring so far. I feel that parents are to be blamed for not guiding their kids properly ( too much money has made them also indisciplined). My advice to the youth is to be disciplined, to study well & to learn the hard realities of this world because their parents are not going to be around forever & soon these youth will be on the road to nowhere.
#4. I understand you will soon be attempting a never done before record in chess. What’s this about? When and where will this be held? What do you hope to achieve through this?
It is a 24 HOUR CHESS MARATHON.
I will be playing for 24 hours continuously with multiple participants on a one to one basis. I am playing at the WOODROSE CLUB in Bangalore. Chess is a thinking game, it’s played with the mind & not with hands. It requires a lot of patience, perseverance, planning & most importantly calmness & not to panic in any situation.
Sadly today all these are missing in our youth & I thought that the best way to teach is by setting an example & not by giving a lecture. I also want to promote chess in India & thought that this is a good way of bringing awareness. Getting into the book of records is only incidental. I am playing for the awareness & not for the records.
I thought I should do this because I am very well-known as a strict teacher & a disciplined person & have a lot of students, hopefully they will tread my path of discipline.
#5. You are so many things to so many people, chess opponent to a few, chess guru to many, consulting astrologer to some, and tutorial coach for many kids. What kind of guy are you? Who is the real Anand and what gives him the greatest pleasure in life?
The real Anand is the Astrologer. It gives me great pleasure to give correct predictions. I am a guy without sentiments, either while tutoring or giving predictions (point-blank/blunt). I call a spade a spade & always like to help people face realities of life.
Thank you for your time. This has been quite fascinating.
Anand says with a smile, “ I know no mantras” but so typical of that irreverent part of his personality he uses the mail id: “firstname.lastname@example.org.”