My last few days in Sydney were met with rain, rain and more rain, so when I heard the Captain announce that it was currently 20 degrees, 2am in the morning in Mumbai, I was a happy camper.
I left for India 5 days prior to the rest of the team and travelling to India by yourself was something that I was definitely not use to. Normally the cool calm collected character when travelling, certainly not the case this time.
As I got off the plane, the smell and heat welcomed me home, but my anxiety levels increased as I wasn’t sure if the driver was going to be waiting for me. I had been to Mumbai a number of times for family holidays, the last time being in 2004 for cricket, so I knew how difficult the airport can be especially when you are sleep deprived. To my surprise the airport and road systems have improved considerably and it was a breeze.
Another 2.5 hours in the car to travel to Pune and I was home. It was the first time that I had been back to Pune since I was born and as soon as daylight shone on the city, you couldn’t take the smile off my face. The warmth of the sun and the people make me feel so comfortable.
The reason for the early departure is to launch my book “Shaker” in Mumbai. It has been a long yet cathartic 2.5 years putting this book together and it is finally done. Not only does it excite me, but scares the pants off me as well.
Sachin Bajaj from the Global Cricket Academy is publishing the book and has allowed me to prepare for the up coming series by using the facilities here in Pune, prior to the launch Apart from training with the ICC European Development Squad ( guys from Italy, Gibraltar, Ireland etc) I have had an opportunity to visit the place where I was adopted from.
Shaun was able to locate the place and we began our adventure at Sassoon Hospital, where we needed to find a certain building number to meet a lady who looks after the orphanage. With signs not in English, the first place we entered was what I think was the emergency area and I thought St Vincents was bad.
Once we found the right building we were escorted to the child centre, the exact centre that I would have stayed in. Shaun being the gentleman that he is kept enquiring if I was ok and I was astonished that I was fine. I guess I have always wanted to visit and I was lucky enough to get the chance now.
It was strange being there, yet very typical of my stay already, the staff were very warm in welcoming home and even conducted a little ceremony for Shaun and I. I was able to go into the 3 rooms that housed some of the children.
Room 1 was for the 6mths – 6 year, but majority of children are adopted out by the age of 2.
Room 2 was for the 3mths – 6mths, where I was playing with a little girl, who I found out was being adopted by an American couple.
Room 3 was for newborns – 3mths. As we were taken up a spiral staircase I knew that my parents had made that same journey 32 years ago.
Within this small room would have been a dozen small and I mean small babies all resting peacefully. It was amazing see these nurses and volunteers really care for the children who have either been abandoned or handed in due to circumstances that prevented them caring for the child.
I was able to meet a coupe from Sweden that were in the process of adopting 2 children from the centre. The special thing about this adoption was that the female was herself an adoptee from the same centre and was now coming back to adopt. I have always joked that I would love to do that, but here in front of me someone was doing exactly that.
I presented them with a playing shirt and hopefully this is the start of a wonderful relationship. Organisations survive through donations and whilst we were there found out that it only takes $20 to feed 50 children for a whole day. Seeing as the centre looks after 65 children at the moment it isn’t that much money is it!
What a day, something that i will never forgot and am so thankful for Shaun help in finding the place. If you would like to see some photos of my time there please visit my Facebook fan page.
Next stop Mumbai for the book launch and to catch up with the rest of the team as we being our tour.