Wednesday, June 15, 2016

If you don't love it, then please leave it.

Actually, I never thought that I will ever write a blog post with a title like this, I am saying this because I am nobody to tell anyone to leave any place except my private property. No doubt that this line is a very catchy phrase and this is one of the reasons why I am using this as the title of this blog post. The intention behind using this title is not to hurt anyone's feelings or to warn anyone or to threaten anyone, but just to express my feelings about some incidents happened or happening around me both here is US and India. Specially in US, I see some people (including many who are citizens of this country) constantly criticizing USA, they also criticize the culture of this land and I always wonder why they have so much problem with this country and its people? I am specifically talking about US as this is the only country apart from India, where I spent significant part of my life. I am sure such things happen in many other places, but I can only talk about US or India. Another reason to select US for this topic is that it is a very immigrant friendly country and many people come here willingly in search of better opportunities, so the situation here is totally different than situation in India. I noticed that many people blindly criticize the culture of this land without even bothering to understand it, they just go by perception created by some biased reporting of media or some hearsay gossips or worst some imaginary misconceptions and base their ill informed opinion about many things associated with this country. I can understand that people living outside the USA might have some wrong perceptions about it as they don't get the chance to interact with people here or get to experience what is it like to live life in the USA, but I am always amazed when people who get benefited by their presence in this country spew hatred about it. Here my intention is not to say that the USA is an ideal country, free from any drawbacks or problems. Like any other country of this world, it has its own strengths as well as weaknesses, it has its own social and political issues. This is not the perfect place and I don't think any such perfect place even exists anywhere in this world, but definitely this country is one of the best in the world.

I am a supporter of complete freedom of expression (except the threat of violence), so in that sense, everyone has total right to say what they want about any person or country as long as they are not threatening to incite any violence. I also understand that criticism is necessary and should be encouraged, but there is a huge difference between criticism and hatred. I don't object to any criticism, rather I feel that it helps to improve things if taken in a positive way, but when people spew venom blindly criticizing something without any rational or logic I feel pity on them. Initially I used to get angry or used to think if they are so unhappy with this place and so dislike it, then why can't they leave it, after all US is not forcing them to stay here. In today's world immigration is not as difficult as it was a few decades ago, one can easily get a visa or even permanent residency of many countries and emigrate there.  But many of these people stay here or even migrate here from many countries from all around the world for better living, they enjoy far better and superior quality of life here and still hate this place, maybe this is the best explanation I can offer why I chose this title for this blog post. Today we all have many choices as far as a city we want to live or country we want to live are concerned, many of us are even capable of going anywhere in the world and make a decent living. Wherever we go to make living in this world, there will be some advantages as well as some problems, we should be able to make use of those advantages for our good and honestly try to fix whatever problems exist so that that place also gets benefited by our presence.

If anyone is so unhappy about any place that they can't tolerate its culture or people living there, then it is best for them as well as that place to get separated from each other. They should try to choose a different place which matches with their way of thinking and whose culture they like, it is as simple as that. Criticize all you want, offer as many alternative solutions or ideas as you want, participate any political debates and discussions, challenge whatever is wrong and try to make it right, raise your voice against any injustice, any liberal and free society will encourage any such behavior and feedback, but please don't abuse any country while getting benefited by its kindness and resources. If you don't love it, then leave it alone, please don't abuse it or hurt it. This is true for any relationship, including our relationship with a country or city of our residence. Please don't be so ungrateful that someone has to say something like the title of this blog to you, believe me this is not going to be a pleasant experience for you as well as the person who says this, that's all I have to say.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Saturday, June 4, 2016

East Rock Cricket- A wonderful chapter of my life.

Cricket is my favorite sport, it may not be surprising to know as I am an Indian and I guess the whole world knows India's obsession with this sport. As a child, I played this game a lot, in our chawl we used to have daily games where kids used to make two teams and play limited over match. We also used to have matches between teams from different neighborhoods, price money used to to 50 paisa or one rupee or the winner used to get the ball which we used to buy by collecting the money and play the match with it. There used to be an arch rival of every team and we also had some. There were some teams which were really strong and we used to dream to beat them and there were some who used to dream to beat us. We both used to manage to fulfill our dreams once in a while, it used to be a celebration time and we used to talk about our heroic efforts for weeks. Many of these matches used to be very high octane drama with lots of arguments over no ball or wide ball, but run outs used to be the real event killer, many times match was forced to abandon as some controversial run out decision used to create so much chaos and with no team willing to yield an inch, match used to end without any result. But even after all this there used to be another match on next Sunday with the same team. This phase of my life was really memorable, but after I finished my school it all stopped, we all friends from our chawl went in different directions. I went to college and none of my chawl friends joined me there, so it all ended.

During my college and PhD, we used to play yearly tennis ball tournaments, and I used to be a part of my class or department team. I always enjoyed playing a team sport, whether it is Kabaddi or Cricket or Khokho, I love all team sports. One beautiful aspect of cricket is that almost anyone can play this game: short or tall, thin or chubby, fast or slow, doesn't matter, anyone can be a part of a team and have fun. Honestly, I am not that talented cricketer, I never got any official training to play this sport, my parents couldn't afford it. I used to be a wicket keeper for our chawl team, my running between the wicket is good and I consider myself very dedicated and hard working fielder. I get very upset whenever I drop a catch or get run out but whether I like it or not, it happens occasionally. I play hard for my team to win and like to be on winning side, but that doesn't happen all the time and it is a part and parcel of any sportperson's life.

After coming to US I never got a chance to play cricket until I met with some cricket enthusiastic Yale undergraduates, my friend Vishnu was very instrumental in all this. I really enjoyed their company and loved their enthusiasm towards the game of cricket. Then East Rock cricket happened, every weekend Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 10 AM was booked for cricket. It all started with 5-6 enthusiastic Yale postdocs and then it grew from there. We played in ideal and not so ideal ground conditions, our grounds used to have so many tall trees, we call them Jonty Rhodes (a very dynamic and phenomenal South African fielder). Many superb shots which might have gone to six on any other ground used to land right in front of bowler because of those trees, but still I loved every bit of it. And yes, there used to to taunts, arguments, fights, drama, many times I used to be a part of this commotion. Honestly, it used to remind me of my chawl days, the only difference was a language, it used to happen in Marathi that time and here at East rock it was a mixture of Hindi and English. Most of these arguments used to be pointless with no right or wrong side, they all used to happen in heat of the moment, there used to be lots of anger and frustration, but there never used to be any malice or hate in it.

I don't know when, how and why, but slowly something changed either in me or in the environment of East Rock cricket. Arguments started getting personal, winning the game became more important than giving everyone a chance to play this amazing game. Of course, winning is important aspect of any game, so there is nothing wrong in putting on a fierce fight to win any game, but that should not involve insulting any individual, especially for their intent, skills and physique. I am a big supporter of free speech, so I cannot complain about what someone should say and shouldn't. It is every individual's right to express himself or herself, I have that right and everyone else also have the same right. Playing to win at any cost might be a good approach for competitions like the world cup, but for me winning is just one part of recreational games, it is a bonus. I like to play some really good competitive sport.

I don't play cricket for fitness, for this I can do many more things which are more efficient and kind on my body compared to cricket. I really enjoyed this journey. I suggest any cricket enthusiast living in and around New Haven to join this amazing group and enjoy the great game of cricket. I am sure that they all will love the drama which also comes with it. I don't think I can completely stop playing cricket or stop visiting East Rock cricket team, I am too much attached to them and this amazing game. It was like a serious commitment for me for last few years, my weekend plans used to revolve around it, now it won't be the case. Carry on the baton guys, people come and people go, but the show must go on and you guys know that we all put an amazing show, so keep it up.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]