6 min read…
I moved to Ireland in 2016, when I was 24 years old. Thanks to my cricketing journey, I have travelled to a few places within India with various teams and learned a lot along the way. In fact, I should thank the game of cricket for a lot of things in my life, but it is a story for later.
Though I had been to different states and met a variety of people in India, my entry into Ireland was a whole new experience. The culture, the food, and the way Irish speak English were in a different spectrum altogether.
I am naturally a shy and reserved person. I am sure some of my friends may beg to differ; I am a livewire when I am around people I know for a long time. However, in a new environment, I scarcely talk. This has sometimes been misunderstood as me being a jerk, nevertheless, I am the one to blame.
But, my first 9 months in Ireland was in college and there, despite meeting students of all nationalities, I never felt alienated because everyone else felt the same. Everyone was experiencing something new and that nullified the culture-shock to an extent. I know it sounds like a paradox. At the same time, I was also playing for a cricket club full of Asians, which kept me in my comfort zone.
The reality struck when I landed on my first job. Yes, there were people from different parts of the world – Ireland, England, Poland, Russia, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, Brazil, Canada, and Colombia among others. You name it. But, most of them had been in Ireland for long and they were used to the Irish way of living. I was also one of the youngest in the company.
True to my nature, I was too shy to approach anyone and kept to myself for the major part of my first few days. I would eat my homemade lunch alone, and stay confined to my desk. Astonishingly, instead of judging me, my colleagues helped in many little ways to ease me into the culture.
My team lead regularly checked on me to ensure my comfort. He always dropped by my desk and sometimes took me for lunch so that I could socialise with others. What struck me the most was, while they took utmost care because I was the youngest, they never underestimated me. My suggestions and decisions were respected.
Now, I am a lot comfortable at my workplace and even began doing to new employees what my colleagues did to me – make the transition into a new culture seamless. This compassion has proved to be a key differentiator in my life.
“To say that my workplace is one of the major reasons I love Ireland is an understatement.”
In 2017, I changed cricket clubs to play at a higher level. While my old club had only Asians, the new one was – for the lack of a better phrase and my limited writing capabilities – Irish dominated. I was part of the senior group of around 20 odd players, some of whom had played International cricket already, and there were hardly any Asians.
Again, being the shy prick that I am, I remained tight-lipped throughout my first few training sessions. I’d say hello if someone greets me but never initiated a conversation myself. But my perspective changed when we had our first team meeting with the coach and management ahead of our season.
I was one of the 3 new players in the club’s senior group that season and our coach started the meeting by introducing me to the group. He read my previous year’s statistics for the older club from the notes he wrote down on a paper, thanked me for joining the club and it was followed by welcoming applause from all my mates.
Like, seriously? Wholehearted applause for a new member (and an average cricketer) from a group of International cricketers? To be honest, the team didn’t need me. It was the other way round. Rather, I needed the team to upgrade my level. They had enough stalwarts already.
Till date, my mates ensure that I am not left alone during training and match days. They always have my back. Today, even the thought of playing with the lads gives me the utmost joy. I couldn’t wait to get back on the field.
Is it the very nature of Irish culture to welcome people with open arms? I’ve heard and read about people in Ireland being friendly but in my 4 years of living here, I have had numerous first-hand experiences of exemplary friendliness and compassion.
I have also seen the other side of human nature. My friends have had eggs thrown at them, I was once hit on my head by a bunch of kids on the tram for fun (well, it definitely wasn’t fun for me), and there’s been a lot of news of people being verbally and physically attacked.
Still, personally, the positives outweigh the negatives by a huge margin. I realize that I could only construct the reality based on my collective experiences and it is absolutely normal for people to differ from this opinion. No two people are the same; no two experiences are the same.
I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the best people in this country and calling people of Ireland one of the friendliest would not be far-fetched.
We hope you liked this post. Please leave your comments or send us a private message with any feedback. Your suggestions would help us write better. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates.
– Kavi & Ninja