As a family, philanthropy is not new for us. We grew up seeing my father and uncle take active part in supporting many causes and charities. So, it was no surprise that we decided to celebrate Mummy’s 70th birthday at Andh Vidyalaya (School for The Blind) at Amravati, my hometown in Maharashtra, India. But this time it was a different experience for me. Maybe age did bring in some maturity.
Lessons for life, in hindsight
We often talk about ‘giving’ to charity. Charitable work is referred to as ‘giving back’ to society. It implies a position of privilege. While you certainly donate money, time, essential supplies or any other form of support, the most important aspect of this experience is what one ‘receives’ or ‘gains’ through it. This side isn’t spoken or explained much.
According to Hindu philosophy, ‘Daan’ (charity work done with a selfless intention) accomplishes ‘Punya’ (this is a difficult word to translate – can be explained as good karma or an act that brings divine blessings). Although this is subconsciously ingrained in me, I never paused to think about it. My Punya and blessing arrived, the day of the cricket match, as awareness of how little I understood earlier. The spirit with which these blind students played the cricket match was a lesson I needed to absorb in my life. It demonstrated no matter how your body is, imperfections and all, it still is a miracle. I have a lot to be thankful for rather than think about its limitations.
To see clearly, close your eyes
-Ancient Zen proverb
Cricket for the differently-abled
As part of the birthday celebration, we sponsored a cricket match played by the two student teams of the blind school. Blind cricket is a version of the original game adapted for blind or partially sighted players. Hearing skills are the base of blind cricket. And these players had a greater sense of hearing and alertness in comparison to us.
How is Blind Cricket played?
Blind cricket is played with a modified ball. This ball, usually made of plastic, contains ball bearings inside it that makes its movement audible. This game is entirely dependent on coordination and noise. Players orient themselves to the field through touch and sound before the game begins. They continuously talk to each other during the game. The team has a mix of partially blind and completely blind players. The coach and umpire are normal sighted people.
To Support Blind students
Bharatiya Andh Janvikas Sanstha is an organization tirelessly working for blind students and requires support. You can reach them at:
Bharatiya Andh Janvikas Sanstha, Sunderlal chowk, Chaprasipura, Below Merchant bank, Amravati, Maharashtra, India. 444602
Chief Secretary: Shakir Nayak: +91 94204 21405
Govind ‘Bhau’ Kasat can be reached at: +91 721 2652848
This friendly cricket match was conducted at Dr. Narendra Bhiwapurkar Andh Vidyalaya, Amravati, Maharashtra, India.
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision