Cricket to continue at San Ramon park, but hours limited

In response to resident concerns, the San Ramon Recreation commissioners modified the Cricket hours at Monarch Park to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. once the school is opened for play in August and stipulated that the 240-member association strictly adhere to the time constraints. The league will play cricket on Saturdays at Windemere Ranch Middle School, while league play on Sundays would remain at Monarch.

Noise, traffic and not being able to use the park when they want are just some of the complaints that neighbors of Monarch Park on North Monarch Road have about organized games of the sport made popular in Britain, India, Pakistan, Australia and other countries.
The San Ramon Cricket Association rents the Monarch Park cricket pitch — the only one in the city — to host its league games on weekends from March through November. For about the past two years, games have taken place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Monarch Park.
As of Aug. 1, the commission would permit league cricket play on Saturdays at Windemere Ranch Middle School, while league play on Sundays would remain at Monarch.

The parks staff is also asking that the cricket pitch — the only one in the city — remain at Monarch Park and be rented to sports organizations for group play. Parks staff would also like to look at possibly adding a cricket pitch to the yet-to-be built Rancho San Ramon Community Park. The 35-acre Dougherty Valley park is not expected to be built for a few years.

“We love playing cricket,” said Zeeshan Khan, a 12-year resident of Gale Ranch, the subdivision where Monarch Park is located. “We’re as much as privileged to live in San Ramon as our neighbors are.”
The vast majority of the association members, composed of about 70 percent of San Ramon residents, hail from countries including India and Pakistan, where the sport, played on a 360-degree field, is hugely popular and part of the heritage.
Following the vote, which Commissioner David Ernest opposed, league leaders said they were pleased.
“This is a very positive outcome for the SRCA,” said Sridhar Verose, association president. “We are happy the city commission is supporting us.”
But some neighbors said the decision failed to address several issues.
Stephen Moy said the small neighborhood park on North Monarch Road was never intended for adult league play — of any sport — and that cricket players deserve a more suitable location.
Samantha Finnegan, a mother to children ages 2 and 4, said she remains concerned about safety after seeing the cricket ball fly into the playground area and cannot use the park on weekends when she is off work because the fields are occupied.
“It has nothing to do with cricket as a sport,” she said. “To me, it’s 100 percent about the use of the park as a neighborhood park for my family.”
Although the commission’s decision will stand unless appealed to the City Council, the location issue will be revisited when the Parks and Community Services Department updates its master plan, said Director Karen McNamara.
One potential site for a permanent cricket field is the 35-acre Rancho San Ramon Community Park slated to be built in the next five or six years by Dougherty Valley developers.

From: By Rebecca F. Johnson Correspondent Posted: 05/15/2010 05:24:32 PM PDT By Sophia Kazmi Contra Costa Times Posted: 05/11/2010 03:56:48 PM PDT

Punjabi Giddha dance competition

Perhaps nowhere even in urban Punjab would you see such a fervor for the local folk dance Giddha as you would see in the Bay Area.
Six local Giddha teams get together with teams from LA, DC, Dallas and Seattle to participate in the 2nd Annual West Coast
Giddha Competition
. This competition is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the beauty and spirit of the Punjabi culture. This event serves as a night to celebrate the rich tradition of Giddha and Punjab.
The competition this year will take place on May 22, 2010 at 6:00 P.M. at the state-of-the-art Castro Valley Center for the
Arts in Castro Valley, CA. This year about 20-25 teams could be submitting applications for the competition. Months of preparation, long practices, and devotion make the competition highly competitive.

Saturday May 22, 2010
5:00 PM
Castro Valley Center of Arts
19501 Redwood Road, Castro Valley CA 94546
Parking is available next to the theatre.

There is unfortunately a $20 ticket to the event; However the Tor Punjaban Di™ II Committee claims that it will also use portions of the proceeds from the event to help fund youth events and organizations, aiming to promote education and awareness of the Punjabi culture via music and dance. As well they have already pledged to financially assist out of state teams that qualify for the competition. Tickets will be sold at locations throughout the Bay Area.

Giddha is a popular folk dance of women in Punjab and exhibits teasing, fun and exuberance of Punjabi life. The dance is derived from the ancient ring dance and is just as energetic as Bhangra and at the same time it manages to creatively display feminine grace, elegance and elasticity. Giddha is essentially danced in circles. Girls form rings and one of the dancers sit in the centre of this ring with a dholki (drum).

The vitality of Bhangra can also be seen in the Giddha dance of the women of Punjab. This dance translates into gestures, bolian-verses of different length satirizing politics. The dancers enact verses called bolis, which represent folk poetry at its best. The subject matter of these bolis is wide ranging indeed – everything from arguments with the sister-in-law to political affairs figure in these lively songs – bolis can also cover themes from nature to excesses committed by the husband and his relatives, some talk about love affairs to the loneliness of a bride separated from her groom.

No musical instruments except perhaps a dholak accompanies Giddha and provides the rhythm for the dance. The distinctive hand-claps of the dancers is a prominent feature of this art-form. Giddha is a very vigorous folk dance and like other such dances of Northern India is taxing on the legs of the artists. (from Sikhwiki)

Some pictures of the event from last year (copyright G&H Studio)

Giddha - Bay Area Competition - Punjabi Dance
Giddha - Bay Area Competition - Punjabi Dance
Giddha - Bay Area Competition - Punjabi Dance
Giddha - Bay Area Competition - Punjabi Dance

Basant Kites Festivals in Bay Area

Spring! It’s that time of the year when India and Indians everywhere come alive in a riot of vivacious colors to herald spring! As India is a country of diverse cultures there are many varied festivals to celebrate the arrival of spring in the different parts of the country! Basically most festivals have a religious fervor to it and are symbolic of victory of good over evil !
Holi, and then Basant Panchami.
During spring in the northern states of Haryana and Punjab, the mustard fields are in full bloom and resembles yellow carpets laid out on acres of land . Hence, yellow is the color of the festival and people wear yellow clothes and fly yellow kites on the rooftops after a religious ceremony dedicated to the Goddess of learning! People fly kites in the nights as well using searchlights!
The spring festival Uttarayan of Gujarat in north India falls at a time ,when the sun and the wind flow ,is favorable for flying kites!

In the Bay Area, there are at least two festivals being celebrated.

Basant Kite Festival, Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, Sunday, May 16, 2010
“We are gearing up for the Basant Kite Festival. This year for the very first time we will be celebrating this cultural tradition, common in India and Pakistan, by bringing the Silicon Valley Pakistani and Indian communities together. Every year at this event we fly desi kites, have a kite flying competition, music program at the center stage, dancing (bhangra and others), children games and activities, vendor booths and stalls, food booths, etc.”

Basant Kites Festival Sunnyvale 2010
Basant ites Festival Sunnyvale 2010

Kids ‘n Kites Festival, Central Park, Fremont, Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The City of Fremont Parks and Recreation Department is holding its annual Kids ‘n Kites Festival on Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival, presented by American Swim Academy, is located within Central Park, next to Aqua Adventure Waterpark.

The festival is free to the public, and includes free kites to the first 2,500 children in attendance. There will be live entertainment on the main stage, interactive booths highlighting summer activities, play area for the kids, food, and more. The festival has something fun for everyone!

Kids N Kites Festival Fremont 2010
Kids N Kites Festival Fremont 2010