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  • 17 Jun 2021 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Nalini Goyal
    July 15, 1954 - June 14, 2021

    Nalini Goyal, a beloved member of the ISW community who is remembered fondly by many for her service, passed away peacefully at home on June 14, 2021, surrounded by her husband, children and grandchildren.

    Daughter of Jaswant Singh Sanghi and Sumitra Sanghi, she grew up in Jaipur along with her 3 beloved sisters, a caring younger brother, and host of extended family. Her dramatic flair and vivacious personality gave her the family nickname ‘Bubble’ for life. She was extremely fortunate to find her soulmate in Arvind Goyal, with whom she built a mutually loving and respectful lifelong partnership. They moved to the US from Bombay, first to Michigan then Rochester before finally settling in Massachusetts which they considered their forever home.

    Living in the United States shaped the way she thought and gave her the freedom to develop her identity and realize her true potential. This was realized in her many accomplishments, earning the distinction of valedictorian of her class at Becker Junior College, the founding of the ISW Cultural School, her entrepreneurial venture of Nalini’s Creations, her support of Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence as Gala committee chair, as an Advocate for the Domestic Violence Services Network and finally to her true calling at Gifts of Hope Unlimited, where her empathy for victims of domestic violence intersected with her entrepreneurial and creative talents, and her unique ability to bring people together. By far, her biggest accomplishment is the web of love she wove across the world.

    She is survived by her husband, Arvind, son Siddhartha, daughter Vandana and her husband, Sumeet, and grandchildren, Samar and Siena.

    A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 19th at 11 am at the ISW India Center, 152 Main St. Shrewsbury.  In lieu of flowers, gifts in Nalini’s honor may be made to Gifts of Hope Unlimited at www.giftsofhopeunlimited.org

  • 7 Jun 2021 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    By Devishi Jain, ISW Youth Reporter

    Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background in dance? When you started dancing, if you received formal training, when you started your dance school, etc.?

    My name is Ekta Jain and I am from Delhi, India. I started my dance journey when I was ten years old. I joined Kathak classes in Lucknow Gharana as a hobby, but soon, it became my passion in life. I performed in various events at college. But, dance became my second priority after I got married and began pursuing a profession. I worked as a computer teacher for about 4 or 5 years. Dance was nowhere in my life at that time. I was the mother of two beautiful daughters and to take care of them, I quit my job and started staying at home. But the passion for dance was always in my heart, no matter how suppressed. Even though my kids were still small, I wanted to start dancing again, so I started teaching dance classes at home. And this is how it all started. Since then, I haven’t looked back. I began teaching and got a fabulous response from my students. Then, to update myself, I took formal training in salsa and hip-hop. The name of my dance school was Kids ‘n’ Dance and I had more than 100 students. I taught more than 1500 students in India and we did more than 200 shows and my students won many dance competitions. My annual dance events were even telecasted on local news.

    When we had to move to America, I had to start over from scratch. I had to build up my school again in a whole new country. From 5 students to 10, then 15, and so on. I opened Ekta Dance Academy here and it has been going strong for 7 years. However, I did take a break when we moved to Florida for 2 years because I did not really teach consistent classes there. But after coming back to Massachusetts, I started teaching professionally again and I had 100+ students from ages 3 to 60. COVID-19 has definitely affected my business, but not my zeal and enthusiasm. After 17 years of pursuing my passion, the journey is still continuing and I am still teaching dance. I am very proud and satisfied with what I have accomplished, but I want to continue dancing and being creative for the rest of my life.

    What motivates you to continue dancing and teaching even after all these years?

                When I see the tremendous amount of love, support, and encouragement from my students, I get very overwhelmed and touched because that is my biggest achievement. I see the happiness in the eyes of parents when they see their kids dancing. I feel very appreciated, especially because of the ladies in my dance class. There are many ladies in the classes who haven’t danced before and have never been on stage, but they have had a hidden desire to dance. But now they’re performing and receiving so many medals and certificates, which they proudly show to their families and friends. All of these things really encourage me to keep on going, trying new things, to keep innovating my choreography.

    How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

                Whenever I choreograph any dance number or act, the first thing I keep in mind is the aim, the reason. Why am I choreographing this dance? What’s the reason behind it? What are the emotions hidden in the song? I create a story. I always try to show some type of message so that people don’t just watch a medley of a couple of songs and forget about the dance. They should feel what the performers are trying to say through their dance. The audience should feel the emotions and message of the song. That is why I think my style of dance and choreography is different from others because I always try to tell a story through my dance.

    What do you think motivates your students to continue dancing and coming back after every performance or competition?

                The first thing I tell my students before they perform on a stage is that they are dancing for themselves. First, they have to enjoy the dance, and only then can they entertain anyone else. They have to completely express the emotions and story in the song and choreography. The biggest thing they find in my dance or after doing any performance is happiness, satisfaction, and a way to express themselves on stage. They are doing something for themselves and that keeps them going. I don’t pressurize them. I don’t scold or criticize them because everyone is different. I don’t expect everyone to do things the same way I do them because everyone has their own abilities. This is why they have to first enjoy the dance and that enjoyment and fun is what they find in my dance classes. They can express themselves through dance without any judgement, so they keep coming back to me and keep looking forward to the next performance.

    Over the course of your teaching, what are some trends you have noticed among younger dancers? Do you have a message or piece of advice for young aspiring dancers?

                As the years pass by, I feel as though kids are getting very impatient and get bored quickly if you keep teaching the same type of dance and choreography to them. So, I always try to include variety and innovation in my dance. Sometimes they’ll do a dance drama, sometimes they’ll do a folk dance, or contemporary, hip-hop, classical, a happy dance, a sad dance, etc. The variety in the dances is what fascinates them.

                A piece of advice I would have for young dancers is that they shouldn’t just follow the herd. They should set their own trends. Be the trendsetter. Dance is a vast field and it has an ocean’s worth of space for innovation and creativity. So, when you hear a song, don’t just copy the steps that have already been done. Make your own steps and show your own emotions through your dance. The most important thing missing in dancers currently is that they don’t feel the dance. You should feel the soul of the dance and instead of just dancing with your body, dance with your entire soul and heart. The dance should first be expressed well on your face, and then your hands and legs. So, the message is just that they should dance with their soul because dance is supposed to be about expressing yourself.

  • 24 May 2021 11:23 PM | Anonymous

    By आशा Asha Singh 

    मिल-जुलकर जीतेंगे

    —————————

    माना कि कठिन समय है

    जन जन के मन में भय है,

    हर कोई है आशंकित

    बिगड़ी जीवन की लय है

    लेकिन

    हम साथ हो सहयोग करें मिल के लड़ेंगे और जीतेंगे !

    कैसे ?

    आओ हृदय के दीप जला

    जीवन को दीपित कर दें,

    सारी कड़वी बात भुला

    मन को आनंदित कर दें।

    सूरज की किरण सा तप कर

    जग को आलोकित कर दें,

    पलकों से कॉटे चुन कर

    दामन को सुरभित कर दें।

    सुख स्नेह का बादल बन कर

    नभ थल अभिसिंचित कर दें ,

    असमय मुरझाई कलियों को

    हम फिर से विकसित कर दें।

    इस समय की यही पुकार सुनो !

    सब मिल कर हाथ बढ़ा दें ,

    हम लड़ेंगे और जीतेंगे

    विश्वास ये मन में भर दें।

    जीवन है दुखों का सागर

    यह लेख अस्वीकृत कर दें ,

    'खुशियों का प्रतीक है जीवन'

    यह सत्य प्रकाशित कर दें।

    आओ हृदय के दीप जला

    जीवन को दीपित कर दें,

    हम लड़ेंगे और जीतेंगे

    विश्वास ये मन में भर दें !

    Together we will win.

    Agreed the time is tough,

    People are afraid,

    Every one is apprehensive,

    The regular life is disturbed.

    (But together we will win.)

    Let us light the lamps in our heart

    And enlighten the life

    Forget all the bitterness,

    Collectively bring happiness,

    Just shine like the rays of sun,

    We enlighten this world.

    Remove the thorns on our way,

    Fill life with the essence of flowers

    Let us act as cloud of love

    And shower the earth and sky with affection

    Let us care untimely shriveled buds,

    To bloom into flowers.

    Let us join together,

    Fulfil the demand of time.

    Let us have faith and belief,

    We will fight and win.

    'The life is full of sorrows'

    Let us reject this notion.

    'The life is symbol of happiness'

    Let us publish this truth,

    Come on, let us light the lamps,

    And enlighten our life

    Have faith and belief.

    We will fight and win.

  • 24 May 2021 11:20 PM | Anonymous

    ISW, in partnership with PelMeds, IAGB, IMANE, TAGB and many other community organizations, held a Covid Vaccination camp on May 2nd and May 23rd at the newly opened ISW India Center. With volunteers manning the desks and a crew of doctors administering the vaccines, the center was busy from 9 am to 3 pm. Nearly 300 people took advantage of the opportunity including community members from across MetroWest and eligible youth as young as 16.


  • 24 May 2021 11:18 PM | Anonymous

    By Tanvi Gahlot, ISW Youth Reporter

    I interviewed Mr. Sandeep Shah, the CEO and Founder of Skyscape, a telehealth company. Mr. Shah has been a pioneer in mobile access of healthcare information ever since the release of the first mobile devices. He has now developed an app, released last year, called Buzz which helps healthcare workers communicate. He gave great advice for high school students who are interested in technology and telehealth in the modern era.

    Tanvi Gahlot: What inspired you to create your company “Skyscape”?

    Mr. Sandeep Shah: Well, while my wife was in training to become a physician I saw the struggles she faced. This was taking place right around the time mobile technology was making its first appearance around 1993. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to marry technology that could be carried and the information needed by a physician because they can’t always consult a book right when they may need some of the information. Although, through their extensive education, doctors already learn a lot of the things necessary, information is constantly changing and the field of medicine is constantly modernizing. The idea of such accessible technology would be really helpful. When we started, our mantra for the company was that this platform should not affect the workflow of physicians. The idea was that if you had a question, you should be able to get an answer quickly, almost within 10 seconds; and the information should be valid and up to date.

    Tanvi Gahlot: Telehealth has been gaining popularity, especially during COVID; how do you believe Skyscape is contributing to this trend?

    Mr. Sandeep Shah: Telehealth is something that many companies have been trying to deploy. However, due to the pandemic everything has been moving quicker because there was a need for healthcare during such a difficult time. Last year we had actually created a new product called “Buzz”, this product is the next step in telehealth evolution. It is used by healthcare providers to get relevant and up to date information instantly. Buzz is an app where healthcare providers can communicate with colleagues, patients, and other healthcare providers. Even before the pandemic we noticed that the healthcare cost in the US is almost 3.5 trillion and approximately a third of it is considered to be a “waste”. This occurs mainly because of lack of communications or fragmented communication. Although technologies are abundant in hospitals and it works for groups in a particular hospital, when different hospitals have to communicate, they run into problems. This is where our product comes in, creating a universal platform for hospitals to communicate, not just internally, but also with other hospitals.

    Tanvi Gahlot: If you were hiring a recent college graduate what are some things you would look for?

    Mr. Sandeep Shah: So there are two aspects I would look at, one being the person's training and the other being how the person looks outside their application. Although we do look at academics and other things that are filled out in the application, in reality, the person’s personality matters more than a piece of paper. Considering they are straight out of college, we also look at how interested the person is in what we offer and how passionate they are to learn new things. Moreover, we look for what the person has accomplished outside of their academics.

    Tanvi Gahlot: What advice would you give to high schoolers who are interested in having a future career in business/healthcare technology, like you?

    Mr. Sandeep Shah: I think at the end of the day it boils down to one’s passion for what they do. The primary question one should ask themself is “are you passionate about the subject you are embarking on?” Your journey should not be because of someone else's ideas or suggestions. For example, if you're not into cooking, but someone tells you “Hey, a restaurant is a great business, why don’t you start it?” I think you would fail, not because you are incapable, but because you have no interest in cooking and you are not passionate about it. The thing is, you could acquire a lot of skills along the way, but you should have that inner ambition to learn and move further. The other aspect to this is, you must be a team player. All jobs require contribution and you won’t get very far on your own because at some point or another you're going to need to get someone's opinion or help.

    Tanvi Gahlot: What hobbies do you have that allow you to get your mind off work?

    Mr. Sandeep Shah: I have lots of hobbies! One of my major hobbies is mountain climbing; I have climbed 20,000 foot mountains in the Himalayas. After coming to the US after a pause I’ve started doing it with my family. The most recent climb was right before the pandemic. When we had gone to the Everest Base Camp, it really got my wife interested. For the past few years we’ve been doing all sorts of hiking and climbing in different parts of the world. That brings me to my other hobby my family and I have, which is traveling; we’ve travelled to over a 100 countries. These trips act almost like a reset, and when we get back we’re really motivated to dive back into our work. My other major hobby is photography. I usually take pictures while on trips. However, sometimes I also take pictures of nature or pictures at a party we might be attending.

  • 10 May 2021 8:10 PM | Anonymous

    By Ragoo Raghunathan

    Professionals are constantly required to present their ideas, sales, reports or even a subject matter slide deck to an audience. While some are talented presenters, most people are nervous. They say gifted speakers are born, but effective speakers are made! So, you have to practice. Today, speaking is a competitive skill. It gets you the promotion, the job offer, the raise; it is a leadership skill, and a must-have.

    While listening to Diane DiResta on a podcast recently, I made some notes on a few tips and tricks that she highlighted which made a lot of sense to me.

    Often people tell others too much. Realize who is your audience and what they need to know. Sometimes less is more. If they want more info they will ask. Give them what they need to know and not everything you know. It is important to realize that when you give them little, they retain it better.

    Engage them in a short conversation before you start talking so you can customize what you deliver. Your talk must be listener-centered, not speaker centered! Lead with what’s important to them. For example, instead of saying “I have this great idea….”, you can start by saying “I have a way we can be more productive in this department.” This gets the listener’s attention and then you can lead them down the path. It is paramount to know yourself, know your audience and know your message well before you start speaking.

    Start by getting their attention – their dream, their goal, etc. Then address any roadblocks, and eventually bring in the recommendation or solution. You must present the solution to their problems rather than your problems. She recommends not to start with details. Keep it for the middle, not the beginning. Like a sandwich – bread is on top and bottom. The interesting juicy, tasty details are in the middle.

    You cannot be nervous when you talk; if you are, you are being self-conscious. You are being afraid that you will fail, or trip or forget something. If that happens, you cannot focus on the present and be there with the audience. Come back to the present by focusing on your breathing. Assuming you know your message, the rest is mindset. Go out there and do it. It is ok to be nervous, the adrenaline gets you ready for the performance.

    Often, we think the audience is against us. Actually, they are not. They want to hear you out and be on your side. Do not assume that the person in front of you is ignoring you. For example, if someone is typing on the phone or computer when you are talking – tell yourself that they are taking notes. It is better than assuming they are bored. Feed off the positive signal of an audience who can engage with you.

    If something did not go well, learn from it so you do not repeat it next time.

    Another important thing is to see how you come across visually – pay attention to it as well, especially if you want to have an executive presence. Make sure your body, tone and words are giving off a consistent message. Work on it so you can build credibility, trust and confidence. Body language is important when you speak. Video record yourself and see what you can improve.

    Make sure you make an eye-connection. For example, look at a person for part or most of a line you are saying. It builds relationship and trust. Gestures are also important. Hands above the waist and within an imaginary gesture box. If you are sitting at a table, keep your hands above the table. Gestures are important, but do not be perpetually moving. Find a resting position for your hands within the gesture box – above the waist and below the chin.

    Project your voice – it is second to the body language. Match your tone to the audience and the message being delivered. If the audience is quiet, you match it; if they are excited, match it too. You must be in sync with the audience.

    Use the right language – convincing language when you are presenting an idea or expecting someone to buy. If you are in a conflict resolution situation – use the phrase “you may want to consider”. Size your audience, meet them ahead of time if possible, pace them and speak their language. Mirror the audience.

    How do you know if you are prepared? Of course, you need the material. Get to the location early and practice at the location if possible. There is more to the presentation than your slides. Think about what could go wrong and think about alternatives. Have some one-liners and adlibs ready if things go wrong. That is a good recovery technique.

    Handling difficult situations – don’t fake it. Remember nobody knows everything. If you do not know something, let them know that you are not sure about it and will get back to them. If possible, deflect it to a person on the stage but only if you are confident that they might know the answer. In the worst case scenario, answer what you know . For example, say something like “I’m not a 100% sure about that, but what I know is…..” and fill in with what you know.  

    For more tips and suggestions, please look up Diane’s book Knockout presentations.
  • 10 May 2021 5:02 PM | Anonymous

    By Smrithi Krishnaswamy

    Tamilians worldwide celebrate their New Year on the first day of the Chithirai month. Referred to as Puthandu or Varsha Pirappu, this year, Tamilians celebrated the Puthuvarsham (New Year) on April 14, 2021.

    People across the globe look forward to New Years day with the hope of new opportunities, and it is no different in this case. Puthandu is the day that marks a new beginning. It is that day for celebrations, feasts and get-togethers. Everyone will wear new clothes, pray, and eat delicious food.

    One dish in particular, called mangai pachadi, is a staple for this holiday. It is made of grated raw mango, jaggery, salt, red chillies, neem flowers, a pinch of turmeric and oil. The raw mango symbolizes sourness, while the neem represents bitterness, jaggery signifies sweetness, while chillies mean pungency. It is one of the most important dishes because the contrasting flavors reflect the emotions and challenges people experience. This delicious recipe suggests that life is full of surprises and contrasting events. Therefore, it encourages and inspires people to enjoy life regardless of what it has in store for them.

    In India, traditions are very similar, with many families conducting a pooja to pray at home and then enjoying a meal together. Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated in the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, which many people attend as well.

    I hope this article gave some insight about Tamil New Year! Thank you for reading.

    Image Credits: 1: https://www.subbuskitchen.com/raw-mango-pachadi/
    2:https://thefederal.com/the-eighth-column/chithirai-thiruvizha-missing-meenakshis-wedding/

  • 10 May 2021 4:59 PM | Anonymous

    By Diya Sadhu

    Now that the dust has settled over the Wall Street GameStop debacle, let’s unpack what really happened here. To compare this to a sort of class revolution would not be an understatement. For years, the high class has dominated Wall Street, allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to remain static in their financial status. Market manipulation is a common practice on Wall Street. It is not uncommon for major hedge funds to unjustly exploit their influence and resources to generate massive income. While these companies thrive in their moral gray area, there are not exactly legal regulations which prohibit them from market manipulation. It is simply labeled as a byproduct of capitalism.

    These injustices did not go unnoticed by people who frequented the Reddit app. The wildly popular social media outlet is home to a host of members of the WallStreetBets group. This is a community of traders on Wall Street who discuss their trading endeavors. Many of them had a shared interest in GameStop stock, mainly because of the nostalgic value it held. In early 2020, GameStop stock was essentially worthless at a share price of only $3. They had suffered a steep decline from their $50 share price in 2014. However, thanks to the increased faith of the Redittors, the stock jumped to around $20 as 2020 came to a close. The unprecedented comeback of GameStop intrigued the Wall Street hedge funds as they quickly took notice of the renewed price.

    The attractive new price was not enough to restore complete faith in the stock, however. Some hedge fund's viewed that this was an inflated price and the stock was bound to fall again. This in-depth analysis of the market is often not available to the common trader which makes them vulnerable to manipulation by these hedge fund giants. And so the shorting of GameStop stock began. The hedge funds were essentially borrowing stocks and then selling them to people. Expecting that the price would return to its low original value, they hoped to then buy the stock back at the lower price. The profit they earned would often be at the loss of the common traders who bought the stock from them.

    Unbeknownst to Wall Street, Redditors were concocting a plan of their own. Before the hedge funds were able to buy back the stocks at a lower price, they were going to make sure GameStop stock would rise so high in value, that the hedge funds would lose money. They instructed one another to buy and hold GameStop stock. Their plan was overwhelmingly successful as they were able to push the share price from $40 to $76 in a matter of three weeks. It even reached its height on January 28th, with a staggering price of $483. When it came time for the wealthy hedge funds to buy the stock back, many lost billions of dollars. Through the lens of a major Wall Street investor, this is devastating and perhaps even unfair. However, to see this from the perspective of a common trader, it is simply financial karma. Many argue that Wall Street has been practicing market manipulation for decades so why is it suddenly unjust when it was implemented by the common man.

    SOURCES:  https://internationalbanker.com/brokerage/gamestop-what-happened-and-what-it-means/

  • 26 Apr 2021 11:28 AM | Anonymous

    by Ragoo Raghunathan

    In the past weeks, the ISW 2025 Professional and Entrepreneurs Network (PEN) initiative met with a group of entrepreneurs, community leaders and professionals to discuss and pull together ideas in an online brainstorming session. The 2-hour zoom call included a Jamboard session and discussed ways to support and develop this initiative. The participants included ISW President, Puneet Kohli, ISW ex-President, Ashish Cowlagi, Raj Melville, Manohar Ganapathy, Navinkumar Loganathan, Mandy Pant, Kelly Mittal, Nagendra Rao and Suzanne Gray and me, as leader of this initiative. 

    The session included very passionate ideas and feedback from the group. At the end we had collected over 100 ideas that were categorized into around 10 topics. We are currently collating and prioritizing these ideas. These range from collaborating with other entrepreneurship organizations, to having programs targeting youth and professionals interested in start-ups, having regular meetings at the newly expanded India Center, job fairs and career workshops – to name a few.

    We soon expect to come up with a more detailed plan and strategize on how we can work with the community in supporting this goal. As a primary event of this initiative, we plan to have a Meetup at the India Center in Mid-May (15th) to launch the PEN Group initiative.

    Please watch this space for further notifications and updates on this topic. Feel free to reach out to us at ProfessionalSelf@iswonline.org to get directly involved and contribute.

  • 26 Apr 2021 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    By Tharegha Manoharan

    India is a diverse country with many different people, cultures, religions, traditions, languages, and beliefs. Made up of 28 states and 8 union territories, it is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, the Great Himalayas and the majestic Indian Ocean. Despite the differences between the territories, borders, and individuals, India is a united country, accepting of its differences.

    Because India was such a rich power, the British came to India and attempted to take over the country. That is also why Christopher Columbus wanted to find India. When he went looking for a sea route to India, he landed in America instead and mistook the Native Americans who lived there to be Indians. However, after years of struggle under British rule, India won her independence on August 15, 1947. As we all know, our great Indian independence leader, an inspiring patriot, and a hero to all, Mohandas Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi, called the awaited agreement between India and British to be the “noblest act of the British nation”. With such a great motivational history, people all over the world celebrate Indian Independence Day in remembrance of our brave soldiers and the sacrifice of our citizens.

    Since independence, India has grown and is still growing in all categories. India is the world’s largest democracy and, with 1.3 billion people, has the second largest population in the world. It is the most diverse country on the planet as it has more than 19,500 languages and dialects spoken across the country.

    Speaking to my parents and other adults who immigrated here, I know one of the major reasons they moved to the United States was to provide their future generations with better and more opportunities than they might have had. People sacrificed many things to keep their family happy. But once here some opportunities are not available to us in the United States that would be normal back in India. For example, parents and adults want their children to learn their mother tongue and culture. That is why organizations such as the India Society of Worcester and the ISW language school are so important. They help reinforce some valuable things we might have “left behind”. Luckily, the “homesickness” and pride in India’s culture helps create opportunities like they had as kids for their own children in the US. We should be proud of our nation’s history as we live in gratitude every day; but we should also use this to carve out a greater tomorrow.

    Be safe, be kind, be proud and be happy.

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