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  • 1 Mar 2021 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Priya Vaidya

    “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan

    Volunteering is a noble act to take on regularly during our routine lives. I believe this gives immense satisfaction at a personal level and it helps the community and strengthens one's commitment towards society and humanity at large. This past year has been particularly challenging due to a pandemic where many volunteering opportunities were inaccessible and not possible due to social distancing.

    Just as we learnt to do many things virtually like socialization, learning and shopping, you can also do "online volunteering" with this very useful list of resources and links. This is a useful resource for teens, highschoolers, college students as well as adults who can make a huge difference to the community by giving their precious time and utilizing useful skills they possess. Browse through this extensive list of options and find something that suits your skills, time availability and your interests. Good luck!

  • 1 Mar 2021 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    By Keerthana Balakrishnan

    On Saturday, February 20th, the members of SAYAA, The South Asian Youth Activists & Allies at ISW,  hosted a movie night for the film, 13th. This powerful movie discusses the history of racial inequality in the United States, especially focusing on the African American community disproportionately placed in the nation's prison system. Ava DuVernay, the director of the 13th, created this documentary with a powerful look into how the modern-day prison labor system links to slavery. 13th  discusses America's 150-year history of race, imprisonment, and minority disempowerment. Especially during Black History Month, this film allows us to learn and understand how we can use our resources to help aid racial equity efforts.

    Prior to the movie night, SAYAA invited those attending and others  to donate to groups including the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester ( Donating supports those who are disproportionately impacted by economic downturns, and even a small donation will make a huge difference. Along with this movie night, SAYAA had been encouraging many to donate throughout the month of February and the link to donate will be closed on March 7th.

    Although Black History Month may be coming to an end, it does not mean reflecting on the injustices do as well. No matter who you are, it is our job to stay aware of current events and speak up for those who do not have the voice to do it for themselves. SAYAA is committed to speaking up against racial inequality, beginning a dialogue, while also increasing our own self-reflection of the role South Asian communities can play in supporting social justice and promoting activism to combat such trends.

    If you are between the ages of 15-35 and are interested in joining us or learning more, please contact with any questions or inquiries.

  • 1 Feb 2021 6:59 PM | Anonymous

    by Ragoo Raghunathan

    In the previous issue of Your Professional Self, we talked about Imposter Syndrome and how to deal with it. One of the questions that came about from reading that is how do the real imposters deal with their feelings and what are some lessons we can learn from that?

    So, here I’m referring this time to a follow-up article by Amber Naslund, who is a Principal Content Consultant at LinkedIn and has been a Writer, Author, Marketer and Speaker for over 20 years. With her permission I share an article about this topic for our audience. Please let us know your thoughts.

    But Why Don't The Actual Imposters Get Imposter Syndrome?

    Sometimes you look around your industry, or business as a whole, or the world of "influencers" and think to is it that person doesn't seem to feel a lick of imposter syndrome?

    Or why do the charlatans and the hucksters seem to conquer the world with wild confidence while the rest of us sit paralyzed with self-doubt wondering what the hell we're doing out here?

    I've got a couple of things for you to keep in mind.

    Perception is Rarely Reality

    I happen to know a bunch of really powerful, successful people that I've met along the way in my career.

    High-powered VCs, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, attorneys, C-suite executives at companies you know well.

    I also know a bunch of people who hawk their influence or their "secrets" or their multi-level marketing schemes with an apparent utter lack of shame, peddling their brilliance and their mastery right alongside their knockoff Rolex.

    But I've got news for you.

    All of these people? They feel this stuff too.

    They don't always talk about it or let you see it. But it's there sometimes. The key is that they don't ever let it drive. Meaning they feel it...and they do things anyway. They let the doubt ride shotgun and they accept that it's there, but they don't make decisions from that place.

    It takes a lot of practice to do that. You have to continually work on courage and conviction and trusting yourself and you have to be wildly willing to screw something up and find out that you were wrong without letting that utterly destroy you, or letting your inner attorney use that as evidence in the case you're constantly building against yourself. Simply put, you have to be willing to - as they say - feel the fear and do it anyway.

    The carpetbaggers do so out of desperation; they know it's just a matter of time before they get called on their nonsense, so they've got to hurry up and capitalize on whatever opportunity they can before the walls come crashing down and they have to move onto something else. You know the type. You've watched them re-invent themselves with a new schtick every year or two. Stop worrying about what they're doing or not doing. They feel it, they're just not telling you.

    Successful people also question themselves all the time. But they actually care about the outcome. They care about things like integrity and reputation and their self-doubt serves as a governor on the engine - sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. But it's from a place of actually caring about what they do and how they do it.

    But they also know one critical thing that helps them use it as a force for good.

    Discomfort Is A Sign Of Growth

    Successful people are rarely stagnant.

    And no, I don't mean the bullshit about waking up at 3am everyday and hustling hard and all that stuff.

    I mean that they know they have to do things that occasionally make them uncomfortable because they know that new things - things with high potential - feel different at first. Hard. They're willing to be perpetual beginners and suck at things and question their skills because they know that's the first step to getting better at something. You can't be an expert before you're a clumsy beginner.

    Over time, they're willing and able to actually internalize their successes. To look at what they've accomplished and instead of downplaying it, embrace it. This also takes practice for a lot of people. We're taught that humility is important, so we have a hard time looking at things we've actually achieved and letting ourselves feel good about it. But it's important to know what's working and to appreciate how far you've come so the unknown roads ahead feel less daunting.

    That's how you learn to trust yourself. To say "wow, this feels weird. I'm in new territory here and so of course it's going to feel unfamiliar. It's normal to feel a little intimidated by the people who do this well already, but the only way I can get to that level of mastery is to wade through the messy parts of learning and growth. And because I've done that before in other areas, I know that - even if I can't see the outcome today - I'm capable of finding it."

    So the next time you're feeling daunted, unworthy, or otherwise like you don't belong somewhere, I want you to reframe that feeling as a good sign. That means you're not stagnant. You're moving toward places that are new, different, bigger. And it's likely that the people you're looking up to are feeling their own doubts along their own path.

    Oh, and by the way? Someone is probably looking up to you, too.

    You've got this.

  • 1 Feb 2021 6:30 PM | Anonymous

    by Pravin Trivedi

    MBTA. What a mouthful. And intimidating! Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority. Try that in one breath… Quite a daunting task, isn't it? Why is it that sometimes the T looks like an old tram, sometimes like the subway, and sometimes like a real diesel train? And he used to wonder what about the Boston T party? Found out it has nothing to do with a party… nor the T! But on with my story.

    “So, is this the T then?” said the elderly woman with the southern drawl.

    “No, this is not the T!” said the conductress gruffly. She must have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed. Or too early? Or had she not gone to bed at all? She certainly did not look like someone who would have been up late at a party.

    “Get off at South station and then take the Red Line.”

    “Oh is that where I get the T? And what is this Red line? Should I not take the T, and is the Red something also the Freedom Road?” Her eyebrows knitted in confusion.

    “Look ma’am, I don’t have the time for a chat now. After I get all these passengers their tickets, I'll talk to you.”  And with that she departed ungracefully and in as much a huff as she could muster.

    “I wonder what has got into her?” thought the Texan, a little crestfallen but not quite defeated. Being cheerful by nature, she looked around to see who else she could entice into a conversation. The New Englanders, true to nature, withdrew hiding behind their papers, looking out of windows so frosted and dirty that you could see nothing beyond. Some simply shutting their eyes as if in a trance or asleep as soon as she looked at them.

    The crowded 8:15 pulled out of Framingham with bells clanging and the shrill horn at full blast, stopping the traffic on Main Street, and made its way to Boston. For a while, the Texan looked crestfallen, with no one to talk to. Her husband was slow in getting on the train. Ever since they were married forty years ago, he had never kept pace with her. She always led the way. Even the two grandkids, Jeff and Mike, 7 and 5, were somewhat slower. They were sitting two rows, away with their mother, her daughter in law.  The kids were jousting and trying to get her attention. Mother was asleep. They desperately wanted to know if they had to drink the T. And when would that be? Why can’t we get a doughnut, grandma?

    Suddenly, grandma found her prey. He looked like a nice quite old balding gentleman, trying to read his book, but also trying to see if he could help. He was a little more than a couple of seats away. He had just lowered the book when she caught his eye. He looked at her, and seemed to smile. Later she learnt that he was always smiling. 

    She saw him move a little and that there was space on the seat next to him. She mustered up her courage and decided to negotiate the short distance and sit next to him. That was easier said than done. When she finally got up and walked the few steps, she lost her balance and fell on him. Gentleman that he was, he tried to catch her to ease the fall. She ended up in his arms instead! Finally, quite out of breath, they disentangled themselves and sat side by side as the train slowed down to a halt at Newton station.

    “I am sorry madam, I was trying to tell you that the station was close. Sorry if I hurt you in any way.” The words struggled out of him. She still had her hand with the pocket book wrapped around his neck and seemed reluctant to let go, as if she really needed it for support.

    “Forgive me for being presumptuous but I was heard you asking for directions to take the T?” he said.

    “What do you mean?'' she said, pleasantly surprised that he had no foreign accent as she had feared. His words were still incomprehensible to her. They felt like music, and she thought she had never heard anyone talk quite so quaintly, except in the movies. Certainly, no one in plain old Plano, Texas.

    While this was going on, the daughter-in-law was getting worried. She had watched as her mother-in-law lurched down the aisle, making her way up the carriage and nearly smothering the stranger in an embrace. What was she up to?  She signaled to her father-in-law to come over and keep the two kids from getting away while she figured out how to break the two up.

    “Watch these two, and no matter what they say, don't let them get away. I got to go and rescue mom.”

    “Why, what’s she up to?”

    “No time to explain, I got to get there before the train starts to move.”

    Depositing the grandpa next to the two kids’ she made her way quickly down the aisle. Seeing her approach, the stranger moved closer to the window to make some room. She thrust herself in the little space left as her mother-in-law seemed reluctant to make more room.

    “Hello, so nice of you to join us. Doesn’t the motion of the train motion seem just like a bullock cart? You must be careful when you move. You must be her sister,” he started to say.

    He felt he had the older woman completely entranced but was in danger of upsetting the younger one in case she felt insulted. Before she could respond he continued, “My apologies for being presumptuous, you must be the daughter!”

    Her face brightened up, and she stammered a few words of a muffled uncertain greeting.

    “Mom, why were you bothering this nice young man?” she said sternly.

    “What may I ask is a bullock cart?” she smiled sweetly turning to the stranger with whom her older companion was talking.

    “We were doing fine until you butted in.” said the irate matron.

    “You are so lucky to have such a lovely companion. Of course, she is looking after you, talking to a stranger in a train. You cannot be more careful these days,” he said. “I was just asking her whether she needed assistance in getting anywhere in Boston, since I couldn't help overhearing our wonderful overworked but rather abrupt conductor.”

    “She was plain rude to mom,” she said, trying to get an even keel, and establish herself in the conversion. The slightly irritated mom looked on feeling a little left out of the conversation but thinking she could regain control of the conversation.

    “We want to go to Quincy market.”

    “How did you get on the train? You seem to be from some other place than around here. Did you get any directions? Are you visiting? It must be difficult for the two of you to manage the kids and get around this big city in rush hour?” The questions poured out of him.

    “We live in Plano, Texas, and are vacationing here.” the younger one said.

    “My son has a conference and he asked us to go to town on our own,” the mother blurted at the same time.

    As they were conversing, the father was showing obvious signs of impatience with the grandkids. He also wanted to know who the women were talking to. Seizing the opportunity, the mother whispered in the girl’s ear, “Go look after them, I can handle this.”

    The young one reluctantly returned to her brats, but not without flashing a ravishing smile at him while bending over and holding onto his hand in a firm goodbye grip.

    “Go,” said the matriarch shoving her away, finally getting her to release the brown man’s hands that were beginning to turn blue.

    “I think there are such lovely places to visit in Boston. You may want to take the kids to Fenway park on a tour. I am sure they would like to brag about the winners and the Green Monster.”

    “I am sure if you knew where you were going, it would be fun. Otherwise, you spend more time getting lost in a big city.”

    “Yes, and that is not fun.”

    “And what is the Green Monster?”

    “Oh my! Don't let the kids know that, especially if they are Red Sox fans.”

    “I don't know what they see in the game, but they are glued to the TV screen whenever baseball is on”

    “Well, at least you know where the kids are.”

    “You got a point there,” she finally agreed, touching him lightly on his hand.

    He sharply withdrew, as if stung. Then thought about it and slowly put it back. She pretended not to have noticed either movement.

    To be continued ..... 

    The MBTA PArt II

    “Getting to Fenway is complicated. Why don’t I make a slight change of plan and accompany you to the next train connection? That way I will not worry about your getting there.”

    “No, no, no, I will not hear of it,” she said. As they were arguing, the train slowly lurched, swayed, and squealed to a stop in the dark caverns of Back Bay. Almost everybody got up to leave, and so did she but she felt his hand grab hers and he said, “No, not this station.” 

    She sat down and made no motion to take her hand away.

    As the compartment emptied out, the rest of the family made their way down the now empty seats around them. When she realized that they were close, she suddenly withdrew her hand as though stung. He pretended not to have noticed it. The young one did not miss it, though.

    “Hello, are you all going to enjoy the historic city of Boston?” he asked the three he had not yet met. “And what would you like to see? The museums?”

    “Yuck!” said the kids.

    “Now that is no way to talk to someone you have just met. Why don’t you tell him your names? Come on now.”

    Once they were introduced, he again picked up the theme, “I bet you would love the lightning demo at the Science Museum! And they have a life sized the dinosaur. Or would you prefer to sit in the bleachers and stare at the green monster?”

    “Yippee,” both kids screamed at once. Neither grandparent understood their enthusiasm but were pleased that the stranger's infectious charm got them in his spell.

    Grandpa was quiet but as the squealing died down, he muttered, “It is nice of you to take us to the T.”

    As the train’s wheels screeched into South Station. The kids were impressed as he pointed out the sleek 150 mph Acela train on the far track.

    “What is that big building?” the kids asked him.

    He scratched his head for a moment. He was not all that familiar with the city.

    “It is a big, tall Boston building,” he said rather casually. “They make baked beans there. Big, tall special beans, and that is why they call this Beantown.”

    “You are making this up, aren't you?”

    “Isn't he fibbing mom?”

    “That is not a nice thing to say,” mom admonished them while looking at him with an impish smile on her face. “You are, aren't you?”

    “Can he come with us mom?”

    “Can you come with us, sir? Can you take us to Fenway?”

    They had encircled him on the platform and felt trapped.

    “I am sure the nice man has somewhere to go. Stop harassing him and thank him for showing us the way,” the older woman said slowly, watching his expression keenly.

    “I wish I could. But I need to go to my school,” he said. “But I will make sure to put you on the right train to your destination.”

    The children were silent. Dejected.

    “And if you get a chance, take the duck tour,” he said.

    Immediately they were fascinated, again under his spell. He could have led them anywhere. Their mother kept watching him, with concentrated attention.

    “You go to school? Aren't you...,” trailed off one of the twins.

    “John it is not nice to...” admonished the mother.

    “...say that I am too old to go to school?” he laughed.

    “Please don't mind him”

    “I am not offended. Listen pals, you are never too old to learn. Always remember that.”

    As they walked into Boylston station, he saw that the old man was busy trying to get his wallet out and he warned him to be careful of being mugged.

    “Well, this is your station and platform. I will put you on the right train. You get off at the next stop. It is that simple.”

    He saw the young woman scribbling something on a scrap of paper in her hand.

    “Ah, here is the train,” he said as the green line screeched and ground to a halt. “Come on, and get in, they close the doors quickly sometimes.”

    As they climbed aboard and shook his hands, the woman slipped him a piece of paper unnoticed by others.

    The old man said Thank you and slipped something in his coat pocket.

    They left him dazed as the doors shut and the train moved off with an awful screeching sound.

    He pulled out a crumpled 10-dollar bill that the old man had stuck in his pocket. Too late to give it back as the T had left.

    He slowly opened his other hand holding the scrap of paper the young woman had slipped him. There was a phone number, and shaky handwriting.

    “Call me after 10 p.m. They will be asleep.”

  • 1 Feb 2021 5:55 PM | Anonymous

    It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we share the news of the demise of Kirit Upadhyaya who peacefully passed away on Saturday, January 23rd, 2021 surrounded by his immediate family. Kiritbhai was recognized in the community for his dedication to volunteerism working with many cultural and regional organizations. He was the original architect behind the plans for the new ISW India Center and devoted hours of his time with selfless spirit of service. We will miss his compassionate and warm personality. His spirit will live on thru his work at the India Center and his contributions to numerous other organizations. May his soul rest in peace and may the bereaved family find a measure of solace at this difficult time.

  • 18 Jan 2021 8:34 PM | Anonymous

    By  Ragoo Raghunathan

    During one’s career, you go through different stages in your professional life. Jumping between jobs, titles and opportunities to climb up the ladder and expand your portfolios. Often you will come across an opportunity that might sound too good. While most feel good and accomplished a few might get that feeling that they do not deserve that position and start doubting themselves. This is real, you are not alone. I have talked to many professionals who fall into this state of mind. It is important to realize that this is also natural and figure out how to deal with this.

    Recently I read an article by Amber Naslund, who is a Principal Content Consultant at LinkedIn and has been a Writer, Author, Marketer and Speaker for over 20 years. With her permission I share an article about this topic for our audience. Please let us know your thoughts.  

    Imposter Syndrome or Incompetence? How Do You Know the Difference?

    As you wade through the feelings that imposter syndrome (IS) surfaces - feeling like a fraud, wondering when people are going to find you out, and disbelieving even your own evidence for success - you might have a moment of pause.

    What if those signals are actually hints that we're just not very good at what we do?

    No one is good at everything, of course, so it stands to reason that we have some things that we can work on and improve. How are we supposed to know the difference between feeling like a fake and the very necessary self-check we need to identify where we can improve?

    Here are a few things to keep in mind.

    Healthy Self Awareness Requires Balance

    Self-awareness is a good thing. And we can all probably scare up a few examples in our head of people around us who lack that (Dunning-Kruger Effect, anyone?)

    But healthy self-awareness is not just a punishing inventory of all the ways we fall short of our own expectations.

    If your personal reflection doesn't have a balance of both your opportunities to improve and your strengthsit's not self-awareness, it's self-flagellation (ask me how I know the difference).

    Sometimes we need help to gain that balance, which is where having a committee of champions can come in handy if you find it hard to do on your own. Think of it like training wheels for your ability to self-assess in a healthy way.

    But if you listen to that voice in your head and it's only spewing critique, criticism and condemnation of your skills and abilities, it's likely the IS monster coming to play.

    Imposter Syndrome Rides Alongside Growth

    Imposter syndrome doesn't tend to show up when we're sitting comfortably with where we are right now.

    If you're settled neatly in a groove, a place where you're squarely in your wheelhouse, imposter syndrome doesn't have a job to do. So, it slips away quietly for a while.

    But high achievers rarely stay comfortable for long, so they're always pushing to do more, to do better, to improve and excel...and imposter syndrome can't resist that combination of things. So in some ways, it can really help to recognize that those fraud feelings often show up when we're in the growth zone, embarking on new things or new feelings and in a spot where we aren't sure whether or not we'll succeed.

    Imposter syndrome loves to exploit you when you're at your most unsure, so if you can reframe its voice as a signal of growth, courage and bravery in the face of uncertainty, you'll be ahead of the game.

    Take an Inventory of the Facts

    Imposter syndrome is about feelings, not facts.

    You feel like a fraud, but that doesn't mean you are. You feel like you're about to get called out, whether or not anyone is endeavoring to do so. But it's not based in evidence. In fact, that's exactly what you need to refute it.

    Let's say you have a job that comes with regular opportunities for feedback; is there any consistent thread about things you need to improve on, from multiple sources? Are those sources people who are actually close enough to your work to know what you do well and where you might have opportunities to grow? We all have things we can stand to work on, so it's totally okay if those things are there. But you're looking for consistent feedback that's based on evidence and examples, not general hand-waving.

    I know when I have something to work on because I hear it from more than one source I trust, the feedback is generally given by someone who wants to see me improve, and it's delivered with compassion and with concrete recommendations and examples.

    But the Imposter Syndrome junk is just a droning, monotonous and generic "you're not good enough and everyone can see right through you". And the "evidence" it seems to proffer is often in direct contradiction to facts. Take the time to go through your inventory of truths, and have facts on hand. If you can refute the tapes in your head with evidence to the contrary, that's likely just IS trying to wear you down.

    Facts, with evidence, not feelings.

    You Don't Have To Do It Alone.

    Imposter syndrome isolates us, because it's loaded with shame and fear. That's it's MO.

    But one of the greatest weapons you can wield is belonging. Whether it's a colleague, friend, therapist, or an army of all of the above, allow yourself to find support, validation, and encouragement outside your own head. Most people have these sorts of feelings occasionally and talking about them can diminish their impact almost immediately.

    Yep, there are moments when we've hit the limit of our abilities or stepped outside our skill set. But remember, skills are fluid; they can grow, we can learn, and even failure is not permanent. Imposter syndrome wants us to think in absolutes, but when you remember that you have the power to change and evolve, the idea of "incompetence" looks a lot less threatening.

  • 17 Jan 2021 5:45 PM | Anonymous

    by Pravin Trivedi

    Ten years after we bought our first home, we decided we wanted a bigger, better and more comfortable home in an area better than a HUD housing development. We spent six months looking without finding any that we liked. During this search, one of the first houses we looked at was one partially constructed where the builder had died. The foyer needed tiles; the heating and HVAC ductwork still hadn’t been connected to the furnace and so on. It looked like it needed about another $30,000 or so of work to complete. The house had a brook running behind it. I loved it but looked like too much work. So, we continued the search for a house we could move into right away.

    A few months later, a house on the same road a few lots uphill from the one we saw and by the same builder had a “For Sale” sign on it. I noticed that a bank was the seller. I decided to do a little research. I found out that since the builder was not paying the bank, the bank had repossessed some of the homes. My bank owned that house and when I visited them, they told me that they were going to auction it in two weeks.

    Well, a house auction is not something one does every day! I asked the manager what was involved. He said that you had to put up a banker’s check for $1,000 and then could join the bidding with other bidders. We thought it was crazy, but the starting bid was $100,000. With our estimate of the work involved, if we got it at that price it would be a $130,000 home. Just a few months ago the asking price was $149,000 until the builder’s wife took it off the market.

    Finally, on the day of the auction, armed with a check, we went up to the house on the hill. The bidding was going to be in the living room, and already there were thirty or so people crowded in. We were disheartened, and would have left if it were not for the fact that the bank already had our check. Others might have also been wondering like us as well.

    One of the folks came over to talk to me. He said, “Are you bidding on the lots or the house?”

    “I don't know what lots you are talking about. We are here for this house,” I replied.

    “Good,'' he said, “don't worry. We are here for the lots that are not yet built. Just bid a dollar above the bank’s asking price and you’ll get yourself a lovely home.”

    The bidding started and just to be sure, I bid a hundred dollars more than the bank opening bid. After a few calls, nobody outbid me and we got the house at that price!

    Next few days were terribly busy. We had to find out what loans were on the house and pay them off. Check with the town for back taxes, unpaid electricity and utility bills. Then we had to find vendors to do the remaining sheetrock, heating, and air-conditioning work. We decided to do the tiles in the foyer ourselves, and to complete the yard work and plant shrubs. We managed to get all the work completed and paid off within thirty days of our successful bid. We got an occupancy certificate and decided to move in with the help of our extended family.

    Thank god for extended family. Three brothers in law, their families and a rented U-Haul truck going back and forth between the two houses from early morning till late in the evening, and countless round trips later we finally transferred all our belongings into the new home. The next day we cleaned out the old place thoroughly and repainted it. We decided to rent it out.

  • 2 Jan 2021 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    by Pravin Trivedi

    Happy New Year

    Remember Christmas and me and my friends and working at the British Post Office during our college years?  Well, we are still in Jolly old England and a week later it is New Year’s Eve. We are out of the money that we made during Christmas and now back to poverty.

    We had made friends in that time, so we decided why not call on them?  Auld Lang Syne  is an old Scottish song  that is sung at the end of the old year and ringing in the start of the New Year.  It is sung with great feelings of comradery and as much dedication and gusto as though you were Scottish too! It is comparable to the US custom of the lighted ball coming down the well-known track in Times Square.

    We were four friends staying in London and had two and a half scooters between us.  I say two and a half because one was always broken and inoperable for one reason or other. Our friends always wanted to hear us play and sing Christmas carols. So, we decided to do that. Why Indians singing Christmas carols?? After Christmas? Why not?  We have Santa Claus visiting around New Year’s at the clubs in Amdavad!!

    Among the four friends, we could play a flute, a guitar, a piano, bongo and a squeaky clarinet. So one evening we got on to two scooters with our gear (sans piano) and started the rounds of our friends. We were well received at the friends we called upon.  We were hoping to visit seven or eight friends but everywhere we went we sang at least one full carol at their doorstep, then were invited in for drinks, sing another one or two more. After the third stop, we  were not sure if we could manage the scooters.

    Each scooter had two of us piled on with our musical instruments. At one road junction, I had to stop in the middle of the road, on the crown. After the cross traffic passed, I started to let out the clutch.  The front tire rose suddenly and dumped my passenger in the middle of the road. Meanwhile the scooter ran away from me. I had to run quickly and ingloriously chasing the scooter while my friend sat dazed in the middle of the road wondering what happened.

    We called it a day after three houses, but word travelled fast. Folks we had not called on complained so much that we had to have a repeat performance a few days later and throw in auld land syne.

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot
    And never brought to mind?
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot
    And days of auld lang syne?

    For auld lang syne, my dear
    For auld lang syne
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And days of auld lang syne?

  • 12 Dec 2020 7:49 PM | Anonymous

    By Ragoo Raghunathan

    Living in the suburbs of Boston, we may not realize that there are plenty of organizations right here near our India Society of Worcester – in the biotech, pharma, IT, medical and digital healthcare industries. One such Global company – Charles River Labs (CRL) – is situated very close to our India Center in Shrewsbury. I recently talked to Spencer Streeter, one of their HR Business Partners who alerted us to the fact that they are actively hiring during these COVID times. Being in the biotech service industry myself, I realized that CRL has been an invaluable partner to many pharmaceutical companies around the world with their pre-clinical study support during the process of drug development.

    Here is an excerpt of our conversation. Feel free to reach out directly to Spencer at, or apply through their website ( if you find any position interesting.

    1. What are some of the achievements of CRL, either overall or during COVID times? 

    At Charles River, we are passionate about our role in improving the quality of people’s lives. This year we are currently working with approximately 60 different companies on a Covid Vaccine or different Immunotherapies. We approach each day with the knowledge that our work helps to improve the health and well-being of many across the globe. In 2019, we supported ~85% of drugs approved by the FDA, a significant accomplishment that makes us all proud to be part of this remarkable team. Every role at Charles River matters to the thousands of clients and millions of patients around the globe. We strive to be the difference for our clients, colleagues, animals, and partners.

    2. What are some of the fields/areas of expertise you are hiring in? 

    We are looking to hire in a variety of areas including Biology, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Immunology, Immunochemistry, Pathology, Histology, and Clinical Pathology.

    3. Apart from full time jobs, are there opportunities for summer internships and volunteer positions for high school students, and for young professionals seeking to change their field of expertise?

    We do offer summer internships.  Due to Covid-19, there is uncertainty right now around how many and what sites will have them.  When Internships become available, they will be posted on our career page at   Our internships are structured, and the students are given a project to work on during their time with CRL.  At the end of the internship, they are asked to give a presentation to the scientific staff they worked with, to discuss what went right, what didn’t work, and what they learned from the experience.  Our internships are paid, and the individual must be actively enrolled in college courses.  Unfortunately, because of the nature of our work, and legal requirements, we do not offer volunteer positions for high school students.  

    4. Are you open to sponsoring work permit visas (J1, H1, O1) for immigrant students/candidates?

    For PhD level positions, we are open to sponsoring employees.  We are also fine to hire interns that are on student visas through their universities.

    5. What are some of your involvements (if any) in the local community or town? 

    Each site has different activities they perform in the community.  Last year, each site worked with Feed America to pack meals for the hungry.  As a company, we packed over 1 million meals.  Due to Covid-19, we were not able to pack the meals this year, but plan to do so again in the future.  In 2020, we also, as a company donated 2 million dollars to our local communities.  Each site was given a portion of those funds, and a committee at the local level was formed to determine which non-profits in the community would be awarded those funds. 

  • 12 Dec 2020 7:47 PM | Anonymous

    By Pravin Trivedi

    I attended London University in England for college. I quickly made friends with four colleagues in our living quarters and we used to go out together everywhere.

    We participated in all the British traditions for Christmas which meant heavy partying. As students we had no money. What were we to do? Well, we did what the British students did which was to get a job at the Post Office.

    Traditionally there used to be a lot of mail to be delivered during the holidays. Normally, the postmen used to come twice a day to deliver letters, cards and parcels. However, at Christmas time the volume of mail would triple or get even higher. Since college vacations would start around Dec 15th and last until Jan 7th or so, it gave the post office a great chance to employ vacationing students for two to three weeks. This gave students a week to study for the tests, that were typically after the Christmas break, and two weeks or more to earn a paycheck.

    It was good work. The regular postmen would do the sorting of letters and have huge bags ready for the students to deliver at 6 a.m. The first few days, the regulars would show you how to deliver the letters. Thereafter, you were on your own. When you finished delivering a sack of mail, you went back to the post office and they would give you another sack. Most days you did three rounds, or four if you were unlucky. No one asked you when you had breaks. You could sneak in a breakfast or tea on your return to the office. The regulars knew that and even suggested it.

    We felt like the jolly old man carrying a bag. Sometimes to please the kids in the neighborhood we even said, “HO HO HO Merry Christmas!”

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