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  • 28 Jun 2020 3:45 PM | Anonymous

    By Ria Deshpande

    Bharti Bhakta is the owner of Manor on the Hill Assisted Living Community, and in the past twelve years, she has also become a yoga and meditation instructor. She credits her practice in aiding her to become a more grateful and balanced person, and encourages everyone to try it as well. Read her story below!

    How did you get into yoga and meditation?

    I run an assisted living facility, and around thirteen years ago, this one lady came to place her elder sister. She asked me if I do yoga, and after telling her that I do not, she suggested that I buy a yoga book titled “Do Yoga in 30 Days”, saying that it is the best book she has ever bought. After that, every time she visited, she used to ask whether I have bought the book and after months of me saying no, she finally gave me the book so that I would have no excuse. So, I have been practicing yoga since receiving the book in 2008.

    What kind of training do you have? 

    I did a six week teacher training session in 2010, and a second asana training in 2014. I completed both in India. 

    What is your favorite style of yoga? What about your favorite way to meditate?

    It really depends. Some people feel comfortable doing simple asana style yoga, whereas others like to sweat with hatha yoga. I enjoy all styles, as long as it helps my body feel healthy. I feel that no matter the style, yoga and meditation is extremely rewarding with physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. It helps the body feel energized and balanced. For example, I enjoy doing pranayam (breathing exercises) and meditation for mental awareness and feeling lightness in the body while at the same time making my life force feel very energetic. It is important to keep in mind that yoga and meditation makes the mind feel very compassionate for any being, and I always tell people that it can help you do anything you pursue more efficiently. 

    How do you think yoga and meditation has changed your life?

    Physically, I have lost some weight and I feel more healthy, but beyond that, I see many mental changes. I have lost interest in arguing with anyone and overall, I am a more calm, level headed person. Meditation goes beyond the mind and can help change your personality to what you want to become. In fact, some jails in India even have prisoners practice yoga and meditation to change them into a better person. It really is powerful. 

    What advice do you have for people who want to start yoga? 

    I see many people who say they do not have time for yoga, but I always tell them, even if you don’t have time for a full one hour yoga session, give at least thirty minutes or even five minutes -- just keep going. You need to make it a habit, a lifestyle, and after you do, your body and mind will ask for it and it won’t feel like a chore anymore. The hardest part is always getting started. 

  • 28 Jun 2020 3:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Pravin Trivedi

    Rush hour in our little town of Westborough used to be lunch time on Main Street, which is a mile long and has fifteen turns going in and out of shops and streets. It can take a long time at lunch time as well as at going home time. It gets a little easier if you know how to cut across streets and shopping centers, but you have to be willing to sacrifice a little of your sanity to go out at these times. That is what I thought when I had to deposit a few checks in the Bank yesterday. It was not so. I took less than five minutes to get in my car, drive to the bank and park with ease in the ample but empty parking lot. There was no one standing in my way, no one in the entrance to the bank and no one at the Keurig coffee maker. Wait, there was a catch. I could not get to the coffee maker. The door of the bank was locked. I was being heavily signaled by three bank workers from inside the bank to make sure I did not break down the door. Trying to comprehend what was going on, I kept pointing to the locked door and the workers took no notice. That is when it occurred to me that I may be missing something.

    I thought the workers in the bank all had the virus and were making sure no more people got infected. When things did not change for the next few minutes, I accepted defeat and retreated to my car to go back to my work, or home. Still not giving up, I called the bank on my cell phone from the car. After waiting for a long time and been given many reminders that due to the virus many people were absent and that the wait on the phone would be long, I eventually got a live human voice at the other end of the phone to tell me that I had a couple of ways to deposit my checks. Either go to a credit card machine or do it using a scanner at home. Not being familiar with either of these, I decided to go home and get myself in a self-imposed quarantine. That is a modern way of saying self-imprisonment.

    On the way home, I saw a line of cars outside another bank branch. This was a way I had not thought of. These people were banking using the drive-up teller and car drive up machine. So, I got in line. I found out that to move ahead by one car took fifteen minutes. I got out of the car and followed the line of cars by walking. I counted twenty-two cars to the teller’s window. That equated to more than five hours. Still taking a chance, optimistic me, I went back to my car and got in, hoping I had enough gas. At one point it looked like no one had moved for half an hour. I walked again and saw one person had left an open space. I knocked on the window of the stopped car, only to find out that the driver had fallen asleep. I drove out of the line and headed home. For once, we were told even by the government not to go to work, lie in front of the TV and do NOTHING, we cannot get that right!!

    Pravin Trivedi is a retired Computer development engineering Director with four Master’s degrees. He has worked in New England, Shanghai, China; Tokyo, Japan; Paris, France; London, England; and Colorado and California. He has been a local resident for over forty years and was very active in music circles, in the India Society of Worcester and in Springfield, and one of the architects of IA of Greater Springfield where he was secretary for five years.

  • 28 Jun 2020 3:33 PM | Anonymous

    By Ragoo Raghunathan

    ISW co-sponsored a networking event with STEMPeers, a non-profit organization at the India Day celebration at the DCU Center in August 2019, where professionals from various sectors (biotech, computer science, business etc) participated. It was part of an effort to bring together our local STEM students & professionals and provide a platform to interact, support, learn and gain from each other.

    STEMPeers was founded in 2015 by Ananda Ghosh and Abhinav Dey, both postdoctoral researchers from IISc, Bengaluru, with an idea to build a community that can openly discuss issues pertaining to the life of STEM graduates and to create a supportive and a creative community.

    The foundation of the community is based on values that are relevant today with a vision to:

    • Create equal opportunities through shared resources and encourage creativity
    • Create an open environment where members can make informed decisions and succeed in their endeavor
    • Invest in the professional development of the members

    In order to achieve that STEMPeers have come up with various programs that its members can avail and contribute to like: Career Development, Mentorship, Work Life Balance, STEM Education, Science Policy, Ethics in Science, Women in Science, Building Tomorrow’s Leaders, Social Entrepreneurship and Fellowships & Awards.

    Some of the activities run and sponsored by STEMPeers include: Club Sciwri – an online magazine to give visibility to the members’ scientific writing skills in social media; CSG Consultancy Club - a breeding ground for aspiring ‘consulting professionals’; The STEMPeers Weekly - the official newsletter covering the highlights from the World of STEM with a volunteer editorial and writing staff.

    Currently the organization has over 16,000 members from around 70 countries and currently run on Facebook as a closed group. New members are always welcome and added to the group by a fellow member. The annual conference held in major cities in USA and Europe generally attracts ~200-250 members and showcases a number of professional panels, speakers and networking events.

    STEMPeers (www.stempeers.org) is run by the founding members and volunteer ‘leaders’ supported by a board of advisors (including Ragoo Raghunathan from ISW). Recently STEMPeers organization was recognized as the World’s biggest STEM Community Network by the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology (https://rdcu.be/b4Tad).

    With a large representation in the STEM professions, ISW members are encouraged to share their time and talents with others in their field. STEM students and professionals interested in being a part of the STEMPeers group are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Ragoo Raghunathan (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ragoo/) or Dr. Jagan Srinivasan (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jagan-srinivasan-a71b653/)to be added to the group.


  • 27 Jun 2020 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    ISW eSandesh is pleased to introduce a section Community Voices where we publish opinion pieces from our community on issues. While these pieces provide perspectives and opportunities for conversation, they represent the viewpoint of the author and not necessarily those of ISW. We encourage a robust dialogue on these issues and welcome alternative viewpoints for publication.

    Black Lives Matter by Aarshiya Sachdeva

    “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” - Angela Y. Davis

    As most are now aware, the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others have left many Americans in a state of fear, anger, and despair. Witnessing the instant outrage on social media and protests both in neighboring towns and across the globe, I, along with the other officers of the Shrewsbury High School Black History Committee, was certain that we needed to express our solidarity within our town. In the midst of a global pandemic, we found it even more necessary to unite our local community. With great political divide across the country, we wanted to convey one crucial message: this is completely a humanitarian issue. No difference in opinion can change the fact that George Floyd was a human being who did not deserve to die. By creating a peaceful remembrance - a march and vigil in the center of our Town of Shrewsbury, we wanted to bring our community together to mourn the tragic loss of George Floyd and the other endless victims of police brutality.

    Now, as you are reading this article, you might be telling yourself: “yes, I agree, it was terrible that George Floyd’s life ended so soon, especially in the cruel way that it did, but what could I have done to help?” Fortunately for you, I am positive that many others are thinking the same. The influx of responses in our “RSVP” Form immediately after we publicized the event reiterated that the vast majority of our community was also left feeling hurt or confused - they were desiring an opportunity like this one to not only showcase their support for the Black community, but to discover the answer to our #1 asked question at the event: “What can I do?”

    The first (and most important) thing that each person reading this can do right now is to open up a new tab and make a simple Google search. It is astonishing how much information is available right at our fingertips, but most can’t even take the time to seek it. Although there are countless ideas and events to research, here are a few helpful key terms to start: “school to prison pipeline, police brutality, racial wealth gap, war on drugs, systemic racism.” If you are as infuriated by the inequality present in our system as I was when I first became aware of it, I have linked a website below with a variety of ways to support the Black Lives Matter Movement - including a map of protests, petition and donation links, and other resources.

    However, I understand that many do not have the means to donate, or to attend protests. Nevertheless, I urge each and every one of you to use your voice. At the beginning of this article I chose to share one of my favorite Angela Davis quotes. I used to believe that as an Indian-American, I couldn’t possibly be racist. I failed to realize how America was built on principles of systematic oppression of Black people, and that it will take several years to fully resolve this issue. By staying silent, we are also contributing to the racist tendencies of our country.

    There are countless ways we can adjust our daily lifestyles to be actively anti-racist. Have those difficult conversations with your friends and family members. Continue to educate yourself through books, movies, podcasts, and documentaries. Use your race to your benefit - as a way to empathize with those who feel like outsiders in their own country. Support black-owned businesses. Don’t center the narrative around you. Recognize that even as an Indian immigrant, you are privileged. Condemn the privilege. Create a long-term strategy to ensure that you will be an ally and advocate after the outrage ends.

    As members of the Indian-American community, we must do better.

    Link to BLM Resources: blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/
    Link to George Floyd Vigil Footage (video credit:Krista Fogg of Shrewsbury Media Connection) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4WW1_z262M

    (Image credits Megan Albertson & Angelica Vlahos)

    ISW eSandesh asked Kavya Balaji, who had written an impassioned piece titled “Black Lives Matter - An Informational Letter to the South Asian Community” about what motivated her personally to get involved or speak out about this issue? We thought we would share her message to the community.

    I have always been passionate about social justice from a young age and I always voice my opinions and concerns when I feel like something is unjust. Growing up in a country where people love to say that everyone is equal and all lives matter, but behind closed doors support a system that has never stopped oppressing Black communities felt unbearable to me. I empathized with my Black brothers and sisters who constantly undergo this suffering and I did my best to be informed about the issues. For years, I read up on unbiased accounts of American history and read/watched stories from Black storytellers. I studied social issues and community resilience in depth through my undergraduate and masters degrees in International Affairs, Social Entrepreneurship and Resilience studies. With the knowledge that I had gained, I knew I had to do everything in my ability to support the Black community and thus, I went to work to put out a newsletter to educate our South Asian community on why we need to support this movement. If you don't feel the urgency and feel their pain, you probably haven't scraped the surface of knowledge of what they have underwent. Black people built this country up, and America owes everything it is to the Black community. We Indian Americans owe our comfortable lives in the US to the Black community. We can no longer continue to live unaware of the struggles faced by Black America, it is time we open our eyes, open our hearts and open our pockets to support this movement.

    Kavya has worked with her colleagues to also translate the original article into Telugu and Hindi. These articles can be found at:
    English:  https://tinyurl.com/SouthAsianBLMLetter 
    Hindi: https://tinyurl.com/HindiBLMLetter
    Telugu: https://tinyurl.com/TeluguBLMLetter

    The Everything Podcast
    Aditya Khanna, Spencer Dodge, Kevin Harper, and Nihal Wadhwa

    This year has been incredibly unique and we are certainly living in unprecedented times. That being said, many college students are left with more free time and the ability to pursue interests aside from their university. Me and three other friends are typically involved in current affairs and have found ourselves having conversations that may be beneficial for other people to listen in on, so we decided to start recording them and creating a podcast out of it!

    All 4 of us having grown up in different environments; we have two people, including myself, of the South Asian community and two of the White community. In addition to this, we’ve all grown up in different political atmospheres and have been exposed to a wide range of views which believe makes our perspective unique. All 4 of us have diverse opinions on current issues and believe that having a civil conversation about why we feel the we do can unite others over their differences.

    Our first episode, titled “Racial Injustice”, comes after the recent killing of George Floyd. Our episode, however, is not limited to that as we talk about the entire Black Lives Matter movement and what it means to be a Person of Color in America. We also touch on stereotypes within every community and the role that we play in defining the future. We release episodes on a weekly basis and the upcoming episode, titled “Coronavirus”, covers the entire pandemic response and what out fall looks like!

    Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8xNjhlMjczNC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/75NwB8CElKfcrMvmXcIQv5

    The Hidden Disease
    By Danush Chelladurai

    Had you told me a year ago about the events of the past couple months, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Most people wouldn’t have either; and yet, there were so many signs that pointed to it happening. To think it really took this long to happen is delusional. Many people want to go back to their life as it was pre-2020, but we can’t. The trope of a “new normal” is an understatement. Yes, I’m talking about a disease, but not the one you’re probably thinking of. I’m talking about the systemic racism against black people that has plagued this country for nearly 400 years. We’ve all looked at ourselves and remarked how insane it is that this problem hasn’t been solved yet, but we were all alive back then. “Black Lives Matter” has been the rallying cry for this movement, and we can’t even meet that incredibly low bar.

    The scariest part of this isn’t the introspection about our own microaggressions and discriminatory practices, it’s that almost everyone around you has as well. As a kid, it’s realizing not only that the “adults don’t have the answers,” but that they’re part of the problem. The people you look up to: celebrities, teachers, friends, relatives, older siblings, and even your parents - many of them aren’t exempt from blame. But, this is bigger than just police vs the rest of us, or black and white, it’s a problem with our whole way of life. We’ve all stereotyped before, and ultimately, African Americans are just the first group in the infinite queue of groups such as, women, LGBTQ people, and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, who’ve been hurt by stereotype threat. It really is up to our generation to take on a bigger role by not only voting for our next president but also participating in local elections. When we have kids of our own, we have to not only teach our kids about math, science, writing, and reading, but also place equal importance on subjects such as politics, ethics, and sociology. It’s up to all of us to continue the process to make sure everyone genuinely has the human rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • 27 Jun 2020 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    By Amita Rao

    On Saturday, June 20th, ISW organized the 2020 Antakshari event, an annual spirited and fun competition, that brings out the ISW community’s passion for Hindi music. Unlike previous years, this year the event was held completely in a virtual setting using Zoom. Registrations poured in till the last minute, and at the end, there were 17 teams registered and eventually 12 teams participated.

    To manage the teams easily, the teams were organized in 3 qualification rounds of 4 teams each. The winners of each qualification round would automatically move on to the Finals, along with 2 or 3 wildcards. The purpose of having the wildcards was to give a chance to teams who, due to any circumstances, may have ended up narrowly losing out in the qualification rounds.

    This foreboded well for our winners who were actually the 6th and last team to make it to the Finals.

    The actual competition clearly showed the talent and passion of the participants, who not only sang a myriad of beautiful songs but also were amazing in every aspect of the knowledge based rounds. Some of the songs in the rounds were structured as a tribute to a few illustrious Bollywood stars that left us too early. The Final Round was a close affair, with multiple teams within striking distance of first place.

    But in the end, Musical Gaurs - Minakshi, Varun and Deepa (who joined us from California !) were able to increase their lead on the final stretch and ended up as Winners.

    The Seths (Neha and Amit) took 2nd place.

    And after a close tie breaker, Eat Love & Pray (Lopa and Amitabh) secured 3rd place.

    Even though the other finalists gave a hard fought performance, there can only be 3 winners.

    Kudos to all the participants for showing such enthusiasm. And also a big thank you to them for their patience while the organizers worked through some glitches due to the unusual setting of this event.

    These events cannot be held without our equally enthusiastic and passionate audience who, even with this event being virtual, showed up and supported the event admirably.

    Another important aspect of ISW Antakshari 2020 was that the entire event was broadcast live on ISW’s FaceBook page. Check it out if you missed it.

    An edited version will shortly be available on ISW YouTube Channel.

    The hosts - Santosh, Yogitha and Nikhil, along with ISW event organizers - Amita and Sarita were buoyed by the success of the event and are looking forward to host an equally, if not more, vibrant musical event next year.

    Preliminary Rounds

    Finals of Antakshari 

  • 27 Jun 2020 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    The liveBio Program is a three-week program open to 7-9th graders and some 10th graders who have an interest in biology. All fees from this program will be donated to a nonprofit organization known as Abby’s House to help provide shelter for women and children. CP and Honors classes, and AP tutoring is offered, where prices vary. For any questions or concerns please email the founder, Sonal Gupta, at livebioclass@gmail.com

    For more information about sign up deadlines, payments, and more, please visit the link below.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IR84l5iJCaTlSTAeelksNMzUGMMPywU_kru7Jy-RxFQ/edit

  • 16 Jun 2020 10:21 PM | Anonymous

    by Rashi Khanna

    Each year ISW recognizes high school students for their outstanding work in academics and in the community.

    ISW is pleased to announce the 2020 Awards for Academic Excellence go to:

     Danush Chelladurai

     Divya Raghunathan 

    The 2020 Citizenship Awards go to:

     Yash Chauhan

     Tanvi Manjrekar

    Congratulations to the awardees for their amazing work and we wish them the best.
    Thanks to the judges for their diligent review.

  • 15 Jun 2020 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    On June 13th, the Indian Youth Group (IYG) held its very first virtual Election! Despite the pandemic, IYG worked diligently to hold a safe and fair election. We are very proud to announce the newly elected IYG 2020-2021 Executive Committee:

    • President: Divya Raghunathan
    • Vice President: Gaurav Jaisingh
    • Co-Secretaries: Aryan Kale & Rishabh Makkar
    • Treasurer: Rishab Parikh
    • Project Manager: Arnav Mishra


    Top Row: Advisors Mitali Biswas and Shubh Agrawal, Outgoing President Raunit Kohli. Second Row: Outgoing Treasurer Avi Shah, Vice-President Gaurav Jaisingh, Outgoing Secretary Anjali Tanna. Third Row: Project Manager Arnav Mishra, Treasurer Rishab Parikh, President Divya Raghunathan. Third Row: Co-Secretaries Rishabh Makkar and Aryan Kale

    ISW loves to say that we are the future of our community. I can say with full confidence that they are correct. Our members have proven themselves to be leaders in their community, providing hundreds of hours of service to people all around the Central Mass area. I have no doubt that our new EC will run this organization flawlessly. I am excited to see how they adapt to our new environment and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

    In my six years of IYG, I have grown tremendously and made life-long friends. From Lazer-Craze to Showcase India, IYG has been like my family. I would like to thank all the IYG advisors who have helped grow this organization to nearly three times the size of when I first joined: Tikoo Aunty, Poonam Aunty, Rajit Uncle, Mitali, and Shubh. I would also like to thank the ISW EC for being so supportive of us and being a guide for our success. Thanks also to every member of IYG, including all of those members in the class of 2020: we will be remembered as not only the quarantined class, but also the largest number of IYG members in a single class to date.

    I am honored to have been a part of this incredible organization, rising the ranks from member to President. As I step into the next stage of my life (on the other side of the country), I will carry with me the innumerable skills IYG has given me. The India Center will always be my home and I am thankful to be a part of this incredible community!

    Raunit Kohli
    Outgoing IYG President

    An Update From IYG

    As we enter June and our 4th month in this pandemic, IYG is reminded of the many events we missed out on. During this time, IYG would have participated in the Boston Walk for Hunger and celebrated Holi with our Humrahi Group. Most importantly, IYG would’ve run our 2020 presentation of Showcase India! To be candid, the COVID-induced shock has been a bit harsh on our flagship event. After months of preparation- gathering choreographer information, mp3 files, making programs, and booking venues- it was admittedly quite disheartening for the IYG Executive Committee and members alike. Showcase India represents much more than just a show. It’s a symbol of community, of unity, of hard work and mostly, of ambition. However, we have learned to take this misfortune and learn from it. We have learned to realize that success did not lie in the event itself, but rather in the skills that our group has learned while working on it. We’ve been able to develop a positive outlook and learned to focus on the “journey” rather than the destination, as the journey holds more value.

    Luckily, IYG has made sure that Covid-19 has not stopped its growth. We are excited to be holding our executive board elections at our virtual June meeting on Zoom. We look forward to seeing what our new EC will be doing! We also have a record number of seniors in IYG who have now graduated and are preparing for the next chapter in their lives!

    For our members that aren’t graduating, the struggle has been equally challenging. The switch to online learning has been difficult. Every student has a different learning style- which can be targeted with various in classroom techniques. However, with this sudden switch to a single technique, teachers are forced to think outside the box with different ways to cater to each individual student on an online platform. IYG recognizes this struggle and would love to express their gratitude to all teachers in these trying times. For the students themselves? We all find it imperative to realize that these times are hard, and it truly is okay not to be okay. Prioritize your mental and physical health. Getting an English paper in 2 days late is worth saving yourself from having a panic attack. Several schools have opted to go Pass/Fail for this year’s second semester, allowing a lot more lenience on the student’s part. Take care of yourself. Sacrificing your health is not worth a good grade.

    In these hard times it’s so important for our community to stick together. On behalf of IYG, we wish you all the best, and to stay healthy and happy.

  • 14 Jun 2020 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    Interviewed by Ria Deshpande

    Saharsh Mehta is a resident of Westborough who attended UMass Medical School, expecting to graduate in June 2020. Instead, under Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to address the coronavirus pandemic, his batch became one of the first in the country to graduate months early in March.

    I recently had the opportunity to speak with him about his unique experience. Read his inspiring story below!

    Where do you work?

    I spent seven weeks in a surgical ICU unit at UMass Memorial, which is meant for patients who need non-emergent surgeries. However, due to the pandemic, the unit was converted into a coronavirus ICU for very sick patients who either tested positive or were suspected to have COVID-19. I will be starting as an orthopedic surgery resident at UMass in July.

    How did you handle the transition from academics to crisis, especially since it happened so quickly?

    In medical school, while years one and two are primarily didactic, years three and four are clinical where you rotate through different specialties. At UMass, this is done gradually, with one-month rotations at different hospitals in Massachusetts such as Cape Cod Hospital, Saint Vincent’s Hospital, and Milford Medical Center. This definitely made me more malleable and accepting of different workflows and strategies. My coworkers and the protocols in place helped me integrate as well, and it helped that I was working at my home school hospital where people were very understanding. However, I certainly had to take on a little bit more responsibility. It helped that attendings and residents were also learning with me since COVID-19 is so new. I didn’t feel like I was behind on anything, and there was a lot of relying on medical intuition. 

    What is it like to be on the front lines during a pandemic?

    The protocols in the hospital changed a lot with the pandemic. We couldn’t wear our scrubs to work. When we stepped into the hospital, there was a row of tables where you sanitized, got a new mask, and changed into new scrubs. We wore a mask all day with the presumption that everyone who was not tested had coronavirus. I made it a point to carry very little with me, bringing only my pager, pen, license, and credit card. As I live with my grandparents, I decided to rent a place to stay isolated and keep them safe. When I came home every day, the first thing I did was shower. The whole experience was surreal at first, but you get used to it. Aside from this, I noticed that things in the hospital moved a little slower due to the pandemic. The rapid response team usually comes right away after the code is called, with different medical professionals rushing into the room. However, with the pandemic, the neurologist had to do televisits instead of actually being there, though I didn’t see any adverse outcomes from this.

    Shoutout to the nurses! They were the ones going into patient rooms everyday, they’re real heroes.

    How is the reality of working as a doctor different from what you learned in school?

    In med school, my responsibilities were to look at labs, talk to the nurses, and write notes, while only carrying one patient. However, as a doctor, I had a lot more patients and the care we gave and decisions we made looked a little different. For example, I had a patient who was incapacitated and needed a tracheostomy, which is basically a hole in the neck to help with breathing. We talked to the family on the phone, and they said that the patient probably would not want to have one done so we were only able to provide comfort measures instead of doing procedures. Thankfully, we were able to let the family come see the patient. That was one of the things that changed the most from med school to working as a doctor -- I had a lot more contact with the patients' families, calling them once or twice every day. Working in such an isolated environment, this contact was very gratifying but it was also tough. It was hard to communicate by phone with family members when someone’s not doing well - especially so since most people were not able to visit loved ones.

    Do you have any specific advice to give to the community during this time?

    First of all, I want to say thank you to the community for engaging in social distancing and putting their trust in us. Healthcare workers put themselves on a pedestal sometimes but they are just doing their jobs, and are really fortunate to get paid. Other people are making sacrifices every day too. I really want to thank essential workers like grocery store workers and transportation workers -- you are really the heroes. EMTs are also incredible and I wish that they were paid more.

    Finally, I just want to say that human beings tend to push each other away in times of crisis, but I really urge you to come together instead. Instead of social distancing, we should be physical distancing, but standing in social solidarity.


  • 14 Jun 2020 5:22 PM | Anonymous

    By Ragoo Raghunathan

    For the past 8-9 weeks, a majority of us have been sitting at home, either at a make-shift office, kitchen table, dining table or bedroom nook-converted into office. Normally we would be meeting people on the way to work, at work, breaks, on the way back home, or just while grabbing a drink at your local hang-out spot. All this has become almost impossible. However, it has become paramount to keep networking.

    Given the uncertain times, one needs to keep constantly networking. No telling when you or someone you know or love will need to look for a job, project or business partner. So, how do you keep networking in times of social distancing.

    Social networking is key. Tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are becoming more relevant than ever. Use any extra time to update your profiles, relevant to the audience you are catering to. It might make sense to have 2 separate profiles – one for business and one for personal stuff. Never mix them up. Be current and update as often as possible. Engage your preferred audience by posting relevant information and tagging people you would like attention from.

    Video Conferencing is the other approach. With various providers like Zoom, Webex, Anymeeting offering limited free service offerings, it might be helpful to set up an account. This can be used for keeping in touch professionally with your network. You can schedule calls, forward invites or even have instant video conference calls with a small number of people with the free account. Some of your contacts may have paid, employer provided accounts that can accommodate more people for a group call. For personal networking, FaceTime and WhatsApp video tools come in very handy. I’ve used WhatsApp video a lot more in the recent few weeks than I had ever in the whole of last year.

    When you are networking, keep a few things in mind.

    Be mindful of their time. Scheduling a call is always better, however you may not be able to do it all the time. When you call, ask them if they have a few minutes. Tailor your conversation based on the response. Don’t add to their frustration with outrageous asks and impractical requests. I’ve seen that calling on the 15 or 45 after the hour usually gives you a better pick-up response. People usually set up calls on the hour or mid hour. These calls usually end a few minutes after the hour or past mid-hour. Even if they have another call, there is some time before they jump on it, and if they recognize your number they may be willing to pick up that call and give you 10 mins of their time.

    Be prepared to give! See if you can be of any service. You could just ‘like’ or ‘share’ a post to your network, retweet a message important to them without them asking you. It will be appreciated. Offer to give them your time, share your skills, make a connection they could use, give a referral, sign into a webinar they are offering or a live session they are hosting – anything that they may appreciate.

    Reach out to a past connection, friend, co-worker, boss, teacher, mentor. Let them know you were thinking of them. Recall specific moments or memories you had with them, rebuild those connections. Reach out to your local neighbors and local businesses that you have been interacting with, via their customer service portal and appreciate their service. Let them know you can’t wait to visit them.

    Either way, this too shall pass. However, we cannot expect to go back a 100% like it was before. There is going to be a ‘new’ normal. Start thinking what that new normal may look like for you. Good luck and keep networking. Keep giving. Remember that the happiest people area not those getting more, but those giving more.

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