“Lucky are those who can help, luckier are those who are tablers”
How it began?
It was serendipity to have gotten in touch with some amazing gentlemen who had a great zeal for disabled sports and were accomplished sportsmen themselves.
Thus, began our journey of laying the foundation of Uttar Pradesh Wheelchair Cricket Association. Making the committee and finding the mentors to lead and run the organization is still relatively easy. But the main challenge to sustain an organization is funds.
Round Table a blessing in disguise!
My life changed 180 degrees the day I was introduced to Round Table India. It suddenly opened my horizon and increased my reach to another 4000 responsible citizens who shared similar vision, mission and empathy. During my first Area 8 AGM in Surajkund, New Delhi I started interacting with fellow tablers and discussed this idea of wheelchair cricket. At that time our main crisis was funds for wheelchairs especially for the players who are not from a strong financial background.
It was amazing how intently this idea was absorbed and almost immediately people started pouring in their thoughts for fundraising. Many tables suggested that they contribute directly and almost every table has funds for non-FTE projects. This cause would definitely align with the thought process of every table.
Right after the AGM I put together a presentation and presented to our Area Chairman Tr. Tarandeep Singh and our Area Vice Chairman Tr. Rishabh Jain. Before I could end my presentation Taran bhai had already committed a wheelchair from the Area 8 Head board. That day I realized the power of tabling and the capacity in which tablers can bring about a change.
Area 8 in the driving seat…
After the huge support and encouragement this was floated in the Area and within 3 weeks we had a commitment of 10 new wheelchairs from 10 different tables. It was a really humbling and emotional moment for me and for all the players of the team. It was around that time that Indian Wheelchair cricket team was announced and UP was proud to have 4 of its players in the team, which included the Captain and Vice Captain.
Inauguration by President PLMF Tr. Christopher Arvinth
We decided that such a noble contribution by our Area 8 family must be celebrated in the august presence of our president. During his planned tour to Lucknow we invited the complete team of Uttar Pradesh for a meet and greet and interaction with Round Table Association. Seeing is believing, and when our tablers saw how their contribution was taking shape they were all convinced about this cause and went on to appreciate the efforts of the players and the mentors.
Tr. Chris also expressed his gratitude and was amazed to just think that cricket on wheelchair was possible. His words were of great encouragement for the players as well as for the tablers. At the end of his speech he presented a big surprise by announcing the President Star Medal for my efforts towards the cause of Wheelchair Cricket.
So far that has been the most memorable moment of my life. To be acknowledged in such a way by a role model is a dream come true.
The Indian team went on to win the international series against Bangladesh 2-0 and came out as heroes. They got a heart-warming reception by noted politicians like Pranab Mukherjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Manoj Tewari.
How Round Table continued to support…
The efforts in fundraising continued when some stalwarts gave me the idea to do a charity pin set dedicated toward this cause. The intention was to create awareness and involve everyone in this movement. I personally wanted that each Area in their own capacity could support their state Wheelchair Cricket team. We went on to do a successful fundraising and were able to raise funds to provide the team with rehab and playing equipment.