Thakurdial Tikaram Fundraiser
By John L. Aaron
It was one hall, 110 people, $15,243.85 worth of wishes, and as many prayers, all with one voice and one hope – that Thakurdial “Ajay” Tikaram awakens from a medically induced coma and walk out of the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes Barre, PA, very soon.

Ravi Etwaroo of Cricket Zone USA (right) presents Rajiv Beharilal, teammate of Thakurdial "Ajay" Tikaram with the collection from the fundraiser.

Idlewild Terrace on Rockaway Boulevard in Jamaica, NY was the scene last Friday night. A two and one half to three hours ride by car to the Medical Center in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, depending on whether you use the I-80 or I-84 West from Queens, NY. However, Idlewild may very well have been as close as the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica, NY, because the collective energy in the hall was so positive and reassuring, that I am sure the 26 year old Ajay must have heard the silent prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery, despite his current critical condition.

The young softball cricketer and father of two toddlers, was involved in a tragic car accident two Fridays ago, resulting in him being critically injured and hospitalized. Almost immediately, Ravi Etwaroo of cricketzoneusa.com initiated a fundraising effort to support Ajay’s wife Vidisha and their two sons Tyler and Aidan.

The fundraising idea quickly evolved into a Friends of Ajay committee comprising Ralph Tamesh, President of the Indo-Caribbean Federation and the evening’s Master-of-Ceremonies, Antonio Dallai from Sunrise Softball Cricket Club, Navine Narine and Rajiv Beharilall of Ajay’s Shattaz Softball Cricket Club in the New York Softball Cricket League, and Leonard Achibar, a popular cricket commentator, among others. The undertaking was a simple get together with some food and refreshments, in a hall graciously provided free of cost by Idlewild Terrace proprietor Darshan Chickery.

The net result of the coming together of concerned friends, teammates, family members and complete strangers, was $15,243.85 as of that evening. Guest speaker John Aaron, Secretary of the American Cricket Federation, in urging those present to contribute a bit more to the worthy cause, noted, “What binds us together here, is not our shared heritage, our common residency in the USA, or even the love of cricket; but the humility and love of mankind in times of crisis and need.” Aaron added however, that despite those core values of empathy for the human condition, there is an urgent need to help the young Tikaram family cope financially, while the breadwinner was incapacitated.

Other speakers at the event included Eric Ferrier, president of the New York Softball Cricket League, Lloyd Jodha, president of American College Cricket and Caribbean-American soca and chutney singing sensation Terry “Guyana Baboo” Gajraj.

Florida/Guyana Hope, Inc., a group of Guyanese based out of south Florida and dedicated to helping other Guyanese, along with Renegade Softball Cricket Club of New York were two of the more significant contributors to the fund.  It was very heartwarming to see not only the financial support given by those close to Ajay, but the immediate response of groups such as Florida/Guyana Hope, Inc. and a rival New York cricket club Renegade. It just goes to show how a community can rally behind a worthy cause from near and far. Kudos also, to the members of the Shattaz Softball Cricket Club and their families, for preparing the sumptuous dishes, and providing from coffee to sodas, at the event. It was a “total team effort.”

Ravi Etwaroo, proprietor of cricketzoneUSA.com said, “Despite the circumstances surrounding Ajay’s present condition, my heart is overjoyed at the outpouring of support from the cricketing and business communities.” Adding, “In my wildest dreams, I did not believe the initiative would have generated such a fantastic response.”

The outpouring of support may have been fueled in part by the very good-natured Ajay himself, known for his charitable fundraising efforts in the community, and through the sport of cricket.

Popular local cricket commentator Lenny Achibar in thanking those present, said, “I must admit that the Friends of Ajay fundraising committee thought we would raise somewhere in the vicinity of $5,000. But this is awesome. I must say a hearty thank you to each and every one for the support given to this cause.”

One of Ajay’s close friends Imran Anwar Sakur has established a gofundme.com social media campaign in Ajay Tikaram’s name. Contributions may be made at gofundme.com/ajaytikaram. So far that fund has raised almost $3,400; well on its way to the $5,000 goal set one week ago.

Additional contributions of checks or Money Orders made out to Thakurdial Tikaram may also be made by contacting Ravi Etwaroo 347-387-2381, Navin Narine 917-828-3489, Mario 347-392-2511, Rajiv Beharilal 718-924-4541 or messaging him on facebook@RajVBeharilal, and Ralph Tamesh at indocaribbeanfederation@yahoo.com

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