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  • 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 spencer.streeter@crl.com, or apply through their website (www.criver.com) 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 www.criver.com.   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!”

  • 30 Nov 2020 9:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Ragoo Raghunathan.

    Three out of five (62%) Americans polled wanted to start a business and make their dreams come true. In a survey of 1,000 American non-business owners done by the New York Post as many as 37% have genuine aspirations to become their own boss and 25% of them said they would seriously consider it.

    While there are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world, not all of them succeed, 22.5% of small business fail within the first year. While the startup environment is promising, you should definitely consider a few questions before starting a business or before reaching out to investors.

    In a recent blog article on LinkedIn, Ian Mathews, the CEO of 5on4 (https://5on4.group/) suggested these questions that I thought would be interesting for aspiring founders or entrepreneurs in our audience.

    1. What problem are you trying to solve? Is it widespread?

    2. What pain will you alleviate or eliminate?

    3. Is this problem real enough where someone will pay you to fix it?

    4. How are people dealing with the problem without you? What competitive solutions exist?

    5. How will you improve upon existing solutions? How will you supplant competitors?

    6. How easy is this business to start? What are the barriers to entry?

    7. If it is a simple business to start, what prevents others from quickly following you?

    8. What will make your product/service unique enough to command a premium? How will you avoid a race to the bottom on price?

    9. Will this business scale? Can it thrive without you doing all the work?

    10. How will you get attention and attract new customers? Will those customers purchase once or repeatedly?

    Depending on their background, an investor might put greater emphasis on certain of these questions. Some might dwell more on the marketing aspects, while others might be more curious about the engineering challenges. Regardless of their expertise and background they will all touch on these questions. If investors ask these questions before making a commitment, shouldn’t you also be asking yourself before you commit your time and effort?  

    You can find out more nuggets on Ian’s website at 5on4.group.

  • 30 Nov 2020 9:25 PM | Anonymous

    By Pravin Trivedi

    At what cost?  Ever since we have moved into a condominium from a large house, we have been trying to grow tomatoes on our deck. It started with an outlay of capital for pots, wires, potting soil and so on. The first year wasn’t a full growing season but we did get a ten-dollar tomato out of it. The second year was better, giving us a return of fifteen-dollar tomato.

    This year, we were given another opportunity of complete rest, stay at home, and not going anywhere. What more would an avid gardener wish for?? We were charged with ideas and our deck was filled with plants that  left us with little room to sit in. We got planters and bought a large tomato plant, a cherry tomato plant, a hot pepper plant and were given a nice red flowering Impatiens plant. You would think you were in a professional horticulturalist’s garden!

    As days went by, our neighbors were thinking of putting an inspection station at the condo entrance to ensure no more plants snuck in to take residence on our deck.  They were going to sign a petition not to allow an increase in size of decks attached to the condos.

    Then the problems started. We had flowers on the plants. No tomatoes. That went on for a few days. Then we got green tomatoes for a few weeks, followed by tomatoes with black bottoms, one or two green chilies and many more flowers. We reacted to every situation.  We frantically searched for solutions on YouTube. We moved the plants into the sun, then out of the sun. Sometimes twice a day. Watered them, then did not water them. Watered them at night, watered them in the morning. We could hardly walk on the deck because the plants now owned the deck. We now have a steady supply of red tomatoes but are exhausted by the end of the day. Perhaps we will put an ad in our condo paper, “Plant supplies for next year, free from our condo. We’ll deliver.”

  • 30 Nov 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous

    Are you interested in encouraging voting in Georgia? Do you want to gather with other young professionals who are interested in social justice issues? Are you free on Friday, December 4th from 8-9 pm? 

    If you answered YES to the questions above, please consider joining SAYAA (South Asian Youth Activists and Allies) as we write letters to encourage Georgia citizens to vote in the Senate run-off elections! Letter writing has been shown to increase voter turnout and is considered to be one of the most effective tactics to boost voting. 

    If you are interested in writing letters with us, please feel free to research letter-writing campaigns that feel like a good fit for you (a simple google search would do it!). For many of them, you'll need to register a day or two in advance and print out their templates, so you'll be ready to write and mail. Letters must be mailed out by Monday, December 7th to ensure they reach their destinations in time! 

    Even if you are unable to write letters, please feel free to join us for some good company and discussions on all things voter suppression, the importance of the run-off, and how to further engage in activism!

    RSVP by sending an email to sayaa@iswonline.org to let us know that you'll be joining. Feel free to forward this invitation to friends who you think would be interested in participating.

    We look forward to seeing you soon!


    SAAYA Committee: Shubh Agrawal, Keerthana Balakrishnan, Danush Chelladurai, Tanvi Jain, Aditya Khanna, Kavya Raghunathan, Aarshiya Sachdeva

    Advisors: Raj & Shiamin Melville

  • 30 Nov 2020 8:58 PM | Anonymous

     ISW’s Diwali Event

    Diwali is delight, Diwali is delight
    No dark night , Everywhere light
    Things are bright , Diwali is delight
    Bliss and peace we should invite
    On this lit Diwali night
    Let the glow be bright and bright
    Nothing dark should be inside
    Let not crackers show their might
    Nor should smoke reach new height
    Let not pollution sharply brite
    Diwali is delight, Diwali is delight

    As the poem says, ISW community really had a delight of celebrating Diwali this year by putting up the event completely virtually. There was the same number of volunteers, enthusiasts, artists, performers and energy in this event. 

    This year’s cultural program theme was ‘Saat Rang Ke Sapne’ (7 colors of dreamland). The cultural program started after the Diwali Pooja program with an amazing Ganesha Stavan - the students of Jasmine Shah, one of our community’s favorite choreographers, presented their dancing feet to a song praising Lord Ganesha. There was a great lineup of performers presenting Guru Vandana, Sunflower medley, the dance drama based on ‘Love you zindagi’, with the dancers’ great stepping feet depicting Indo Western Kathak fusion and some fusion based performances to Bollywood music. Some of the performances showcased the beauty of rhythm through a very popular dance style - Tarana. Our virtual spectators positive feedback for the mothers and kids dancing in Shaadi Ke Sapne was appreciated. In keeping with the program theme, the Diwali stage was filled with colorful and entertaining performing arts and artists. Around 140 participants contributed their amazing flair on this ISW platform. The participants came from far and near; as close as Shrewsbury to far away Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

    Another novel segment of this year’s Diwali celebration was a ‘Diya Painting Contest’ where many of our ISW school kids and their families participated and showcased their creative, innovative ideas for painting and decorating Diwali Diyas. There were a range of Diyas, from Diyas painted in watercolors and acrylic paints, to Diyas shaped as beautiful peacock and flowers, as well as a Diya shaped with dominos. All in all, the contestant’s creativity was at its peak. The willing contestants were Svana and Ahaana Deshpande and Avika Mathur. The event this year was really a bouquet of different colors- in terms of dance forms, art forms, and different age categories.

    The event ran for over 3 hours on a beautiful Saturday and the ISW Diwali Committee is really grateful for the support of ALL the volunteers, committee members, participants and most importantly all our viewers in the audience attending this first virtual Diwali event. You can view the entire performance on the ISW Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iswonline/videos/ Please visit our website for more upcoming events and to become a part of ISW family. https://iswonline.org/

    Sarita Deshpande

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