Wednesday, June 25, 2008
By Tenzin Dechen
Deccan Chronicle, Bengaluru, India
Deccan Chronicle, Bengaluru, India
It’s been a whirlwind romance with India for Sharica Brown, the captain and assistant director of the IPL cheerleaders team for Royal Challengers Bangalore. When she arrived in India two months ago, 27-year-old Sharica had no idea it would be a one-way trip. But in the short season that she’s been here, the American cheerleader has been bowled over by the cultural kaleidoscope that is India.
One week before her group was to return to the US, Sharica announced that she wasn’t leaving. “The minute I landed in India, I felt a connection,” she tells us.
“Throughout the IPL season, we’ve been to different states and seen different cultures. We have met so many new people and we’ve been embraced everywhere we went. I have a sociable personality and to get that response back, was a tremendous factor in my decision to stay,” she explains.
While her family has been supportive of her decision, Sharica’s successful career as a professional cheerleader comes to an end with this move. “I’ve been on three different elite NFL (National Football League) teams and that’s a huge honor, but I wanted to take my experience to another level. I’m 27 — that’s not old, but it’s mature for a cheerleader,” she shares.
“India has a lot of opportunities and my time here has been truly exciting. It’s been great to be part of something so new.” Now, she embarks on her new life with just what she brought for the IPL season.
“I brought two suitcases with me when I came, and now it’s all I own. Luckily, I overpacked, so I’ll manage,” she adds with a laugh.
Already she’s added an Indian touch to her wardrobe. After all, you can’t come to India and not buy a sari. “It’s so glamorous and sophisticated,” she gushes. “I love jewellery and I’ve been buying earrings and bracelets galore.” She shows off her exquisite handmade chandelier earrings and Indian bracelets.
And her closet is not the only thing that’s getting an Indian makeover. Being the adventurous one in the group, she would be the first to try any Indian food. “I have a French Creole background and we love spices. I just love Indian food,” she says.
As a dancer too, Sharica has discovered a new style —Bollywood. She’s even planning to take Hindi lessons. That should help her get a break in the entertainment industry, where she hopes to make her career. “I want to do modelling, dancing, or acting. I totally enjoy Bollywood,” she reveals. “You’ve got music, dance, drama — even if you don’t understand the language, you can follow what’s going on.”
Her attitude is totally positive and her love for India, apparent in everything she says. “I’ve been to other third world countries and you’re gonna get the poverty, traffic and pollution anywhere. But I just came with an open mind and searched for the positive. When I walk on the street, I feel free.”
To a stranger, she might sound like a naive foreigner on her first trip to India, but it’s hard to ignore her enthusiasm and appreciate the huge risk she’s taken.
“This city has been our home base and I feel it’s a great foundation. You have different languages, different cultures, people from so many different places,” Sharica says, describing the cosmopolis that the city has become today.
“Bengaluru’s a very up and coming city and I see the change from the old to the new. In that way, I think it’s the heart of India. I decided to open a new chapter of my life here. I gave up everything to start over, but I don’t regret my decision. I’m very happy and I hope it works out.”
Welcome and good luck, Sharica!