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  • 17 Jan 2022 4:21 PM | Anonymous

    by  Ayan Mishra, Grade 6

    Hello everybody. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!

    My name is Ayan Mishra, and today I am going to talk about a topic near and dear to our hearts, Christmas.

    1. What is Christmas and why is it celebrated?
    2. Who was Santa Claus?
    3. My favorite part of Christmas :-) 

    Before I go on to my first point, I have a question for you. What do elves learn at school? The elf-abet

    Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians all around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways. For example, in Sweden people have a huge parade following someone with a crown of candles. They wear long white robes and sing hymns from their Bible. In America, people put up their Christmas trees after Thanksgiving, and decorate their houses with lights in their front yard. The shops, malls, restaurants, etc. all are decorated and you can feel the holiday cheer everywhere. On Christmas Eve, Christians go to church late at night to pray and sing carols. On Christmas day, they invite family and friends for a lavish feast and enjoy the holiday.

    Moving on to the next point, Santa Claus was a real person, Saint Nicholas. He wasn’t what we think of him today. He did not wear a red suit and live in the North Pole. Saint Nicholas was a bishop who discovered the joy of giving. At night he went to houses and gave gifts to people. Saint Nick wasn’t just fun and games, he only gave good kids gifts and he gave bad kids a lump of coal, sticks or stones. That’s how the legend of Santa Claus started and even lives today. Kids keep cookies, milk and a carrot for Santa Claus and his reindeer, believing he would eat them and leave presents.

    Coming to my last point now, my favorite part of Christmas is, waking up in the morning and running to see the presents under the Christmas tree and in my stockings on the fireplace. The best moment is when I get to unwrap my presents and find some surprises as well. This year, when I came down the stairs, I saw a lot of gifts by our Christmas tree and the stockings. I hope you all got lots of presents too. To my surprise, I got an iPad as a Christmas present from my parents and quite a few other things like Legos, puzzles etc. from my cousins. I enjoyed un-wrapping them with my cousins over a Zoom call.  I have also celebrated two Christmas mornings in India as well with my grandparents, where my gifts doubled in number! Let’s not forget, some other kids are not as fortunate as me, and do not receive gifts on Christmas. Being a part of Indian Society of Worcester and volunteering with them, I love what they do for these kids. Volunteers donate presents to be put under a Giving Tree which is put in the community center. ISW also celebrates Christmas where anyone can come and get a present. I LOVE being a part of this wonderful community!

    What did we learn about today? Today, you read about; What is Christmas and why is it celebrated, who was Santa Claus and my favorite part of Christmas.

    Hope you had a Merry Christmas and received many gifts! Thank you for reading!

  • 20 Dec 2021 7:39 PM | Anonymous

    ISW Professional and Entrepreneurial Network (PEN) held one of its most popular events on Saturday, December 18th. The topic was Launching your own small business – Journey from basement to market” moderated by Kelly Mittal, co-chair of the ISW PEN initiative. The room had a very participative and captive audience as Margie introduced EforAll - a non-profit organization that enables underrepresented individuals successfully start their own businesses - as exemplified by two graduates of the program on the panel, Charles Luster founder of 2GetherWeEat and Pooja and Vishal Suchde, founders of Namaste Woo at the Worcester Public Market and Urban Spice World.  

    Their journeys were very inspiring and quite revealing of the commitments that one must make in order to start and get a business off the ground in this competitive market. Check out the live video streamed on our FB site here.

  • 20 Dec 2021 7:22 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteers came, volunteers saw, volunteers conquered

    A big shout out to all the volunteers to showed up for the Community Service Day at India Center on Sat Sunday Dec 12.

    The new storage room, outdoor pod, kitchen pantry and other areas have been completely reorganized. Cabinets and drawers in the newer Community Hall have dedicated for specific activities. Traffic controls like rubberized speed bumps and chain barriers have been added in the parking lot for security. Items stored in the pod have been relocated to where they should be. 

    Due to the dedicated efforts of the hard-working volunteers, India Center is now ready for many more activities to come. 

    A place for everything and everything in its place. Mission accomplished!


  • 20 Dec 2021 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    By: Arush Jagan 

    Hi, my name is Arush Jagan and I have been playing the tabla for about 4 years.  First let’s start with the basics. The tabla which is also known as the “indian drums” is a North Indian instrument. One day when I was just 7 years old, I overheard my mom talking about something related to enrolling me into a class. I went to my mom’s room and heard the word tabla.

    In the middle of her call, she asked me, “Arush, do you want to be in a tabla class?” I said yes and she said, “The teacher is strict, are you sure?” I still said yes but she said that the more strict teachers you have, the better you learn something. When my mom enrolled me, I thought the teacher would not be that strict.

    The next Wednesday, I woke up and saw a large red bag with black outlines in my room. I jumped out of bed and opened the bag and saw 2 big things. The first thing I noticed about the drums is that the bigger drum was lighter than the smaller drum which was very strange. A few seconds later, I heard my mom say, “Arush, come outside.” So I closed the bag and rushed out as if someone was chasing me. My mom said, “You have your first tabla class today, don’t miss it!” As the day went on, my mom said it was time to go. I sat in the car with the bag and went to the place where my class would be hosted. 

    After going there, I learned about this instrument and learned all the hand positions of the tabla. I learned that the bigger but lighter one is called the dagga and the smaller but heavier one is called the tabla. I realized that only the smaller but heavier is called the tabla but the entire thing of called the tabla.

    Coming back home, I was thinking if I could be the world's first tabla player who had ever been starting to play at such a young age. A few years later, I became a master at it. I practiced and whenever I played smoothly and nicely, I felt in my heart that someday, I would be a teacher who would teach students properly and would courage people who are not passionate about this instrument.

    At my very first tabla recital, my teacher told me what to play. When I went on the stage, I was imagining how I would play to make my teacher proud. When I was done, my teacher said that was the best performance he had ever seen from a 7-year-old. Ever since then, I would be thinking of having a career of music and being the most popular tabla player to ever exist.

    I was really starting to think that my parents wanted me to have a singing career as well. At approximately 5:30 pm on a Thursday evening, I told my parents what I learned in my first ever singing class. Today, the Indian instrument tabla is fun to play once you get into the mood of playing it. From the day I got my very first kaida to play, I was confident that I would be the most popular tabla player to ever exist on this planet. My mom says I always have a fantastic imagination. 

    Also, there are many ways of proving that your skills in music like the tabla can be used to develop your math skills. One way I can prove that music skills can apply to math skills is that if you are in the mood of playing the tabla, you have the confidence to persevere and do incredibly difficult math problems.

    Epilogue

    Dear ISW parents and kids,

    In this article, I wrote about my feelings when I play the tabla very well. If you are an Indian American who plays drums well, I would highly suggest the tabla to play when you are in a good mood, ,because it relaxes you. If you are a beginner tabla player but wanting to play like a master, Choose Amit Kavthekar as your tabla teacher. And again, I feel relaxed, happy, and grateful for the tabla to exist and it to be played when in a good mood. 

    Sincerely,

    Arush Jagan
  • 6 Dec 2021 11:52 PM | Anonymous

    by Asha Singh, ISW Cultural and Language School Teacher

    मोहक पतझड़

    हे प्रकृति ! मैं तुझ पे बलिहारी

    क्या ख़ूब चलाई पिचकारी ,

    चित्रकार नहीं कोई तुझ जैसा

    जो दृश्य दिखाये   मनोंहारी

    प्रभु नें रहमत बरसाई   है

    रंगों से करी है कारीगरी ,

    फूलों  के दर्प को चूर  किया

    पत्तों की बनाई फुलवारी 

    राहों के किनारे पेड़ों की

    मोहक ये छटा  प्यारी -प्यारी ,

    ऑखों से गुज़रते दृश्य लगें

    ज्यों दुल्हन की चुनरी न्यारी

    प्रभु तेरी लीला अजब - गजब

    अद्भुत लागे ये छवि सारी  ,

    कहनें को मौसम पतझड़ का

    पर ऋतु की महिमा है  भारी 

    मन मोहित है , आनंदित है

    एक अमिट छाप मन पे न्यारी ,

    कुछ दिन में समय फिर बदलेगा

    बिछुड़ेंगे सभी बारी बारी 

    है धन्य रचयिता हम सब का

    अनुपम श्रृँगार पे मैं  वारी ,

    मन ! मंत्र -मुग्ध हो  जाता है

    कर जाता ऐसी जादूगरी 

    फिर नई कोपलें आयेंगी

    होगी   हरियाली सुखकारी

    परिवर्तित करके रंग -रूप

    यूँ ही चलती है सृष्टी सारी 

     आशा

    O Amazing Nature!

    I am indebted to you for this colorful spray.

    There is no painter like you,

    Who can show such pleasing scenes.

    God has showered his blessings,

    Using colors as his medium.

    Selecting the best of the flowers,

    To make leaves into a beautiful garden.

    The beguiling trees by the roadsides,

    Look so beautiful.

    The colorful scenes look like

    Robes of Indian brides.

    O God! thanks for your wonderful creation.

    It is an amazing scene

    It is called Fall Season BUT,

    The season’s glory is overwhelming.

    We get filled with lots of joy,

    And the effect is unforgettable.

    Soon the seasons will change,

    And the leaves will drop one by one.

    We are thankful to the great Creator,

    For this Incomparable appearance.

    One feels hypnotized

    With such a magical experience.

    Later new buds and pleasing greenery will sprout.

    This is how Nature continues

    With changing shapes and colors.

    This is LIFE.

     Asha


  • 6 Dec 2021 11:50 PM | Anonymous

    By Ruchi Chauhan

    Several ISW members attended the recent Consular Facilitation Camp organized by the Medford Shivalaya Temple that helped provide onsite services like passport renewals, OCI applications, and emergency visas. It was very well organized and kudos to all the volunteers who worked really hard to help the people with free printing/scanning and notary services.  Most of the appointments ran on time, even though it was a little chaotic.  Thanks to efforts like these, it saves New Englanders a trip to New York or from mailing important documents to the Indian Consulate.  Another ISW member remarked that despite everything the volunteers were extremely courteous, and crowd control was amazing! Kudos to the organizers.

  • 6 Dec 2021 11:23 PM | Anonymous

    A number of teams with ISW members participated in the First Lego League Robotics regional tournaments across MA this weekend.  

    Shrewsbury Regional Tournament 

    Team Shooting stars won the Innovation Project award at the Shrewsbury Regional Tournament. They built a neighborhood community shopping solution that saved time for neighbors, helps reduce the number of driving trips and also helps local businesses. Team shooting stars is based in Shrewsbury and comprised of Pradnya Cowlagi, Diya Shenoy, Nichelle Thinagar, Ravena Arun and Rhea Seth ( grades 6 -8) This team also hosted the ISW LEGO programming summer camp earlier this year and is currently planning remote LEGO camp for kids in India. 

    Shrewsbury based  Team Robo Runners  won the first place Core values award for gracious professionalism and Team Resolvers  won the second place core values award in the Shrewsbury regional tournament.  All three teams also won a golden ticket to qualify for the Massachusetts State Tournament later this year. 

    Team Robonauts also won an award for their Robot design at the tournament

    Worcester Regional Tournament 

    Team Trailblazers won the Best Innovation Award in Worcester. The team consisted of Tanvi Badenehal, Abrar Haq, Atharv Mishra, Ari Padovano, Sonakshi Pillai, Ronav Sukhija, and Viraaj Vaddi. Coaches and mentors included Madhavi Vaddi and Ramesh Vaddi as Lead Coach/Mentors, Divya Manchala and Deepa Padmakurup as Mentors and Omkar Vaddi as Youth Mentor.

    Robotics at ISW University 

    PS - Did you know that ISW has started LEGO programming classes? Keep eye open for the next session on the ISW Website or eSandesh.
  • 8 Nov 2021 3:07 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Pratibha Shah is an internationally renowned Ayurveda expert trained in Traditional Health Sciences (Ayurveda, Energy healing) as well as Public Health. She has founded two non-profits, and is a prolific speaker and educator in the community. Before moving to the US, Shah was a Chief Medical Officer with the AYUSH ministry in India.

    She will be speaking about Ayurveda at the Diwali at Tower Hill - Festival of Lights being co-hosted by ISW. To attend event do register at ISW for promotional code for discount tickets https://iswonline.org/event-4532389

    We interviewed her to find out a bit more about Ayurveda and how one might apply in everyday life living here in the West.

    1) What would you say distinguishes Ayurvedic medicine from western medicine that someone here in the US typically is exposed to?

    There are many differences between Western medicine and Ayurveda. I will share three key differences here.

    • In Western medicine, an individual is being seen more and more as parts of a whole. There is a specialist for every body part. Seldom the person is being looked as a whole, as far as outcomes and long-term effects are concerned. Ayurveda has always looked at an individual as a whole. And here whole denotes not just the physical whole, but the trinity of mind body and spirit.
    • In Western medicine, the approach is centered majorly on symptoms management. Whereas in Ayurveda, healing begins with root cause analysis and addressing the root cause as the first step of treatment.
    • In Ayurveda, the protocols focus on capacity building. In Western medicine, since the primary aim is to manage the symptoms, the sick individual is likely looking at long term use of chemical drugs with inevitable side effects, and then too no resolution from the illness for which they originally sought treatment. Here I am talking primarily about chronic illnesses as they form the bulk of the disease load on the healthcare system.

    To sum it up, Western medicine aims at mitigating disease and symptoms. In Ayurveda, the goal is to impart wholesome and complete health to the client, which is more than mere absence of disease.

    2) Most folks think of a doctor when they are ill or hurt. Are there precepts of Ayurveda that one can apply in everyday life beyond treating an ailment?

    Yes absolutely. As I often like to say, Ayurveda is the complete user manual of the game of life, where all guidelines and resources to live a wholesome life, reaching one’s full potentials, can be found. If I could define Ayurveda in 3 words, it would be:

    • Prevention - tools for primary prevention from diseases, which include daily practices, seasonal practices, practices that help with life transitions, food guidelines and more
    • Promotion - building upon the baseline of health and well-being with capacity building herbs, specialized bodywork, and anti-aging protocols
    • Personalization - of health and well-being protocols and therapeutic (treatment) protocols

    In my opinion, Ayurveda is one of the most complete systems of health and well-being. And that is why I do not like to call Ayurveda a system of medicine. It is a system that guides life itself, health and well-being comprising a big part of it, and of course detailed treatment protocols for diseases as well.

    3) There is a newfound interest in natural and organic foods and ingredients. Yet Ayurveda is based on centuries of knowledge. Has the west accepted the findings and knowledge that Ayurveda represents? Do people look for scientific proof or clinical validation?

    Ayurveda is one of the world’s most ancient continuously practiced healing science, which has not only stood the test of time, but continues to provide contemporary health solutions even today and will continue to do so till life exists. Because Ayurveda is a system that is organically and intimately connected and aligned with universal rhythms and wisdom. It maps the complexity and dimensions of the human entity quite completely and beautifully.

    It is true that there is an increasing interest in natural wellness products and methods. However it would not be fair to compare the new age supplements with Ayurveda as some of these natural products, are not so natural and can be processed and altered themselves.

    Now for the most pertinent question about whether the West has accepted Ayurveda. At a federal level, no. We must remember, it is sickness that generates the big bucks, not wellness. Hence systems like Ayurveda are not yet licensed in this country, even though evidence is building up regarding the efficacy of Ayurvedic interventions. But fortunately, people are waking up and I see an increasing number of people wanting to own and drive their own health for lasting benefits. My clientele has steadily increased over the years and as a senior faculty in two leading Ayurveda schools, I see that trend in the number of students enrolling to learn and study Ayurveda, as well. As someone who has dedicated her life to Ayurveda, my hope is to see Ayurveda licensed and regulated in this country, hopefully in near future.

  • 8 Nov 2021 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    A poem by Asha Singh, ISW Cultural and Language School Teacher

    दीपावली की शुभकामना

    ——————————

    झिलमिल तारे नील गगन के

    धरती पर हैं आए ,

    घर आँगन के साथ साथ

    मन आलोकित हो जाए।

    पावन पर्व दिवाली का

    ये शुभ संदेशा लाए,

    है प्रकाश का उत्सव ये

    हम सारे कलुष मिटाएँ।

    खुशियों की छूटें फुलझड़ियाँ

    सौभाग्य सुमन खिल जाएँ,

    शुभ कर्मों से जग में हम

    सुख शाँति के दीप जलाएँ।

    लक्ष्मी गणेंश की पूजा कर

    हम मिल के दीप जलाएँ,

    सबके जीवन में मंगल हो

    प्रति वर्ष ये पर्व मनाएँ।

    पावन पर्व दिवाली का

    हम धूम धाम से मनाएँ

            आशा

    Best Wishes for Diwali

    _____________________

    The twinkling stars in the deep blue skies

    Have landed on earth

    Lighting each house’s courtyard

    And together enlightening our minds

    They bring happy tidings

    Of the holy festival of Diwali

    These lights of celebration

    And erase all imperfections

    The sparklers lit with happiness

    Open flowers of good luck

    With good deeds we light around the world

    The lamps of happiness and peace

    Together we worship Lakshmi and Ganesha

    Lighting the Diwali lights

    Let your life be filled with fortune

    Every year we celebrate this festival of Diwali


    Let us celebrate this holy festival spectacularly - Asha 


  • 8 Nov 2021 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    by Dhruv Jagan, 9th Grade, St. Johns High School

    Prologue

    Once upon a time, there were these 2 parents who had this crazy idea to drive across the country. Well, these 2 parents just happened to be mine! It happened just a few weeks ago, this summer of 2021. At first, I didn’t really want to go because I wanted to hang out with my friends here in my neighborhood. But after my mom told me that the scenery would be nice, and I could see some cool new places and, of course, the added incentive that I could use the pools at the places we would stay, I decided to go.

    I looked at the map that my father showed and the trip looked LOONNGG! We were going to take the Oregon Trail that traverses the north of the country starting from Massachusetts all the way to Oregon. We were going beyond Oregon to see my aunt in San Francisco. Basically, we had to cover the full 3,000 miles. To do that we decided we needed to drive around 8 hours every day. We also made sure to be flexible and have an open mind to accommodate my 3-year-old sister, Uruvi’s patience for the ride.

    STOP 1: NIAGARA FALLS

    Our first stop: Niagara Falls. When we reached Niagara Falls, we were stayed at this hotel called “Aarya Hotel,” which had an outdoor pool. We were excited to go and play in it. We rested, and the next day, we went to see Niagara Falls. I remember looking at it from the Canadian side, but this time, we looked at it from the American side. The first time I saw the falls I was amazed by Mother Nature! Having seen many smaller falls, this fall reminded me of the impact of the power of Mother Nature. We were about to leave, when my mom decided we should experience the Maid of the Mist ride. I was a bit skeptical about going because I had no idea what to expect. The last time I went on it was when I was 7 years old, so I didn’t remember what it was like. But my mom didn’t give us a choice, so we went. The next thing I knew, I was standing on the top deck of the boat. When we were on the boat, I felt a surge of happiness as we went near the falls and got super wet. It was really refreshing on that hot day. Even Uruvi liked it! I had never expected that we would go so close to the falls! We were so close to the falls that the whole boat was engulfed in mist. I couldn’t see anything but mist around me!! There were moments where I felt like I was in a whole different world.

    Next stop: The windy city, Chicago!

    This article is part of a series that details my experiences on our cross-country road trip across the different states.


    STOP 2: CHICAGO

    Route to ChicagoOur last night at Niagara Falls, I did a Google maps search of the distance between Niagara Falls and Chicago. 556 miles, 8.5 hours! The big question; will Uruvi be able to handle going to Chicago as well? She was enjoying the car ride and she was overall comfortable. She was also happy and excited, and she didn’t want to go back home because of the swimming pools. Knowing my mom, I was dead sure that she would say “If we start something, we should finish it”. So as I guessed sitting on that hotel bed, without thinking twice, she decided we are going to continue. We got in the car, ready to head to Chicago. I was mainly excited to go because my elementary school teacher and our former neighbor, who is from Chicago, had recommended an awwesssome place to eat the world-famous Chicago style deep dish pizza!

    The drive was uneventful nature-wise as we didn’t see much scenery on this part of the car drive compared to the last one. But it was still fun to see different cars and trucks. We even played a game called the word game, where someone starts with with a random word, and the next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the word that the person said before. It was fun, but it got boring after a while. Totally not because I couldn’t find some words….J  Anyhow, I was watching YouTube on the iPad when we had to take a break to eat. We all didn’t know what to eat, so we just got quick subs from Subway. When we arrived at our hotel, we saw that there was this very nice Mexican restaurant just across from our hotel called “La Fogata.” We arrived late, so we ate there.

    The next morning, my mom had another 5-hour meeting which she needed to attend undisturbed . My dad saw this natural history museum near us, so we decided to go there. We arrived and it took us a while to find it (somehow) because it was a little bit hidden. We paid for our tickets, and as soon as we entered, it was like a WHOLE DIFFERENT WORLD. There were so many dinosaur skeletons, bugs and beetles, and even an underground, ancient Egyptian maze! We first saw all different kinds of bugs and beetles. They were all so creepy and crawly, I would probably get nightmares if one of them came into my bed. After that, we wanted to go see a presentation about history, but you had to pay again to go through it, so we just went through the Egyptian maze. It showed us many things including King Tut’s golden covered tomb, how they built the pyramid, and more! After that, the gem exhibit. A rare GemstoneThis one contained all the different kinds of gems, shiny, and non-shiny. I personally liked the ruby and the blue sapphire the most, since they were my favorite colors. My brother liked the diamond and, well, my sister liked everything! We didn’t want to eat there, so we went to this very big hall, in which many people were taking pictures with dinosaur skeletons that couldn't fit in the normal exhibit. There was a giant brachiosaurus and a T-rex.

    Chicago Skyline and my momSelfie with BrachiosaurusWhen we arrived back, my mom had set us up for a boat ride at the Navy Pier, which was just going to do a big circle in Lake Michigan. I was a bit tired from the museum, but my mom dragged me out. When we arrived there, we got onto the boat and saw an amazing view of Lake Michigan. It didn’t take long before the boat was on its way. When we were about halfway through the sail, the sun was setting, and we saw the amazing skyline of Chicago. At that exact moment, my friends facetimed me!! I answered and told them I was on a boat, and I also showed them the skyline. They told me that it looked sick and told me don’t drop the phone.

    Deep Dish PizzaAt the end of the day, we decided to have some yummy, mouthwatering deep-dish pizza at this place called Gino’s Pizza. It was recommended by my 4th grade teacher and former neighbor, Mrs. Spangenberg, who hails from Chicago. You could actually write your names on the wall, so no one can forget that you were there. My father kept listening to songs from the Blues brothers, an old time Hollywood classic which highlights Chicago with the song “Sweet Home Chicago”. I kinda liked the tune but after a few times I was done! And that, my friends, is what we did, in the amazing city of Chicago.

    STOP 3: SIOUX FALLS

    Well, we’ve gotten to Chicago, why not just keep going ahead? We are all feeling fine and not overly tired, and so it was decided that we would soldier on. What’s the next stop though was the question? My dad mentioned he had read about a waterfall in South Dakota that was kinda fun stop. At first, I heard it as “So falls”! I was intrigued that a waterfall could be named in that way, but a quick search proved me wrong. The word is Sioux Falls!

    Reading through the history of the falls, made me really want to go there. For all you geography and history lovers, the Sioux falls is an important geographical attribute of the Big Sioux River and formed 14,000 years ago! It seems the early settlers had found the land close the falls very appealing. So we embarked on our drive to South Dakota, to see Sioux Falls. Our drive was the same, nothing different except for the amazing sunset I captured from the car. We reached our hotel on the outskirts of Minnesota.

    The next morning, we drove to Sioux Falls. At the entrance to the Falls, we found a engraving that said that a time capsule lay there and would be opened in 2064 to mark the 125th anniversary of South Dakota. I really want to come back then to see the opening of the time capsule. I will be 57 years old, HAHA! The Falls also had a nice park to play in, and there were many rocks inside of the ground! The rocks were emerging from the ground and my dad told me the rocks were quartzite. They were bright red in color. It was crazy cool! We wanted to take as many pictures as we could, and we were doing the most unique poses on the rocks. Some nice people offered to help take some of our pictures, and that was very kind of them. Uruvi was showing off my mom's sunglasses to everyone and everyone smiled and loved her.

    There was also a small waterfall that was in the middle of it. It was a blistering sight to see a bright waterfall in the hot weather. It was scorching hot that day, so we decided to take some pictures with the waterfall and the geese that floated inside of it as quickly as we could. There was a small bridge over the river that led to the falls, that connected the park and the restaurant. My mom went into “photo frenzy mode” and I lost count of how many pictures she took ON THAT BRIDGE. There was a restaurant just next to it, but we had already eaten before, so we didn’t go there.

    Uruvi, of course, didn’t want to go back in the car as she actually wanted to swim in the lake! She is sometimes such a whiny girl. We had to drag her across the park, just for her to get in the car and bawl her eyes out. We gave her the phone, and she immediately stopped crying. It's as if she knows that if she cries a lot, we will go to our last resort and give her the phone. Arush and I were a little annoyed that she was getting everything and anything she wanted.

    We still had 4 hours left of our drive, and our arrival time was already an hour late. We couldn’t find a fancy hotel near our next destination, so we had to stay in a simple motel called “Super 8.” Arush and I kind of wanted a fancy hotel, but we were caught by surprise by how comfy the MOTEL was! It had big beds, an even bigger TV, and they had an amazing breakfast! We were happy and had a good night's sleep. The next morning, it was very sunny and hot, so we got up earlier to quickly get ready and on the road to North Dakota. Stay tuned folks!

    STOP 4: MOUNT RUSHMORE 

    So here’s the thing about road trips, you get involved more and more as the number of days you travel!. Trust me, true fact! and I vouch for it. As the third leg of the journey finished, I was like where to next! So where did we drive to? Our next stop was in North Dakota, living just only one hour away from Mount Rushmore. I had read so much about Mount Rushmore in my History class, that the idea to see it in person made me giddy with excitement! Believe me when I say this, travelling in the back row of a car with my two siblings, anything would seem exciting! Haha. jokes apart, I do like them but spending a major part of the day in the back row is a test of my patience! We started our drive, and our drive an hour shorter than usual. This was due to the time zone changed. As my father explained, as we go west we gain an hour because they are behind us.

    For this part of trip, my mom was prepared, and had bought some cards to play inside of the car. I wanted to be on my phone, because I wanted to facetime my friends, but she said, “Stop being a teenager and enjoy time with your family!!” I had to agree, so we played war, which is the simplest card game I know. The game was to split the card evenly between the number of players. All you must do is flip the card that's on top of your deck, and whoever has the biggest one gets all the cards. Last person who has cards wins. We played for a little bit, then it got boring because we were arguing which card was worth more. I then watched Naruto for the rest until we got there.

    When we arrived, it was late evening, around 7pm. Our arrival was actually 8 pm, but since we go back an hour, from central time to mountain time, we got an extra hour. My dad checked us in, and me and Arush went to our room, and within A MINUTE, we were ready to go into the pool, oops sorry a WATER PARK! This was the coolest, a waterpark next to our hotel! It was like a dream come true. Dad dropped us at the waterpark, and we quickly got comfortable with all the different kinds of water obstacles. We played around with Uruvi and I raced her for a while. When we got tired, we went back to our room and turned on the TV.

    When Dad and Mom came back, we were excited for our Indian dinner. Indian Food in North Dakota, that was surprising for me. But as my father in his professorial tone (yeah, he is a Professor of Neuroscience) said, North Dakota has a huge immigrant population from Nepal, a country which happens to be India’s neighbor. Hence there is no shortage of Indo-Nepalese cuisine.

    After dinner, Arush and I went to bed early that day, so we could have full energy for the waterpark tomorrow morning. The next morning, we quickly had our breakfast, and changed so we could go to the waterpark. We wanted to get there and spend as much time as possible, because in the afternoon we had to go to Mount Rushmore. There were a lot of people already there, and we decided to start with the lazy river. The water in the lazy river was warm, so it was relaxing to get in on a chilly day. We found a donut float for two people, and almost slept on that lazy river! We went on the waterslides and the normal pool for so long that we didn’t even realize it was 1pm, and we had to go back to the hotel room to leave for Mount Rushmore! We rushed back, relieved that my parents weren’t there, and we quickly showered and got ready. My parents arrived, happy that we were already done getting ready, and we quickly jumped back into the car, and went on our way to Mount Rushmore.

    We had arrived in North Dakota on July 2nd, two days before Independence Day. The whole route was covered with American Flags, and I could hear our National Anthem being played everywhere. It reminded me of school where we would sing it during Morning Assembly. The drive to Mount Rushmore was a short one, but the terrain was hilly and the drive was slow. We arrived at the Gates of Mount Rushmore, which was more than 5000 feet above sea level. When we got there, we had to walk up a few stairs to a walkway that had all the state flags on the side of it.

    At the entrance was a wonderful lady, who was asking all passersby to put a pin on a world map, indicating where we come from. I put my pin on Massachusetts and Dad and mom put a pin on India. The lady was so nice and asked me several questions about school and if I am liking it.

    As we walked up the stairs, there in the middle was the world-famous Mount Rushmore. It was a sight to behold and I for once was left spell bound. My parents on the other hand, were taking picture after picture after picture. Yes, the repeat is to reiterate the number of pictures they took! I also learnt some more historical facts; that Massachusetts was the 6th state to be inducted into the Union.

    When we finally got to the closest location to the monument, we saw how big it was. It was MASSIVE. The faces of the four presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln) looked about 100 feet wide, AND LONG!!! I overheard a tour guide mentioning some very interesting facts about the monument. Don’t ask me to recite what all he said, but a few things I did remember. The whole mountain is made of granite and erodes 1 inch every 10,000 years. The other fun fact that I could recollect was that each of the noses of the Presidents is 240 inches long ! Lastly, the most amazing fact, that if you turn the mountain 90o, you can see another face!! I tried that and did not see any face. If any of you find a face, do let me know.

    We took many selfies and pictures, and I even did a vlog there! On our way down the mountain, we enjoyed some ice cream, and started our journey to the next stop, knowing we would be on the road, only for three more days till we reach California! Till Then, Enjoy!




    STOP 5: YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

    At this point, me, my dad, my brother, and my sister were all getting a little tired of all the driving we had to do every other day. My mom on the other hand, miraculously was full of energy and wanted to continue as if we just started. Of course, we were back on the road at 8:30am that day and were headed to Nevada.

    Our drive wasn’t any different from the others, but we started to observe that the roads had way more desert-type vibes rather than a normal highway with fields on the side. This wasn’t good, because it meant that there would be no service for almost the whole ride. But, yes there's a But, I knew that beforehand, and downloaded a few episodes of our favorite serial so we could watch it offline.

    I was chilling watching, and my dad went through and exited, and I wondered why. Well, my stomach answered that question. I had totally forgotten that all I had in the morning was 2 waffles and milk, and I was starving. We stopped at a Subway as a last resort, ate quickly, and jumped back on the road. When we arrived at our hotel, we were all tired, and decided to grab some quick Pizza Hut, and sleep as soon as possible.

    The next day we thought that we had come so close to one of the natural wonders of North America, we should not skip the Yellowstone National Park even though it was far from the hotel. Well, the reason for us to stay so far from the park was because of our impromptu nature of going on the road trip. Needless to say, it was going to be the most amazing part of the natural beauty and so all the hotels in the 300-mile radius were all booked. Hence, after a lot of thought we had our lunch and we departed to go see the Yellowstone National Park, which was almost 4 hours away.

    Yep, another long drive. We left at 2, which was late, and arrived around 6:00 pm. When we got there, we had to drive slowly though the wavy and curvy road. When we saw Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring, we were AMAZED. It was a cold atmosphere, but the blows from the geyser warmed us up with some warm and moist air. Pretty sure we took around 100 pictures just at Old Faithful. When we saw the Grand Prismatic Spring, it almost looked fake! It was a very shallow pond-like place, with rainbow colors inside of it! This wasn’t a geyser, it was more like a steaming hot pond, which let off warm air every now and then. We were amazed to see all the different colors inside of it and took many more pictures!

    We walked around more, looking at the big trees that were there. When we looked at the time, we were suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of distress. It was 8 pm, and we all forgot that it was going to take us 4 hours to get back as well! We had no choice but to drive back, and arrived back at 1 am, ending our second to last part of our onward trip!


    STOP 6: CALIFORNIA!!!!

    Almost there! Almost there! These were the words my mom kept repeating the morning of our drive. Well, we were all excited to be so close to reaching our destination, so we all jumped into the car as enthusiastically as possible. Leaving Reno Nevada was quite a different feeling. No more hotel stays but the comfort of getting to a home was exhilarating. After six nights in hotels and pools, the comfort of a home and my parents yearning for some chai (Indian tea) was a tempting one.

    Our drive was just the opposite as the last drive. Instead of going from greens to desert, we went from desert to greens! This time I was so excited to reach there that I totally forgot I hadn’t eaten, and my stomach was rumbling like a bear! After a quick munch, we drove, and drove, and drove, and drove. Why did this LAST drive feel so eternal?

    The temperatures outside were soaring in the low 100s! I was getting tired, and I got even more exhausted after I found out we were only 3 hours in! Of course, as if it was a habit, I went on my phone and chilled while watching some Netflix and Face Timed my friends. They told me they were playing outside and were going to have a sleepover that night. I was a little jealous, but I didn’t say anything. I mean, you would be jealous too if your friends were having a sleepover, and you weren’t, right? I hope so because sleepovers are the best. Anyhow, 1 hour had passed quickly, so that cheered me up! I told them to have fun and ended the call.

    We finally arrived in San Jose, CA at my aunt’s house. It was early evening, and our little cousin Vilohit was waiting outside to greet us. The house was big, with a nice backyard we could play some mini-basketball in. We all greeted each other and were excited for all the things we would do there.

    Our first day, we had some sausage and eggs for breakfast, and there wasn’t a solid plan of what we were going to do that day, so me and my brother played some basketball with my little sister and went for a walk as well. We went to a beach near our house (Half Moon Bay Beach) as I love water. The water was so warm, compared to the beaches in MA. I did not want to come out of the water.

    As the evening was setting, we decided to visit another very interesting spot in CA. It is called the San Andreas Lake Trail. My uncle (Rajesh kaka) told us about how the lake formed from the earth’s crust via a tectonic ridge called the San Andreas Fault. This geological feature extends all across California and as per reports, causes some of the major earthquakes in that region. The name of the fault is derived from the lake. We walked a mile-long stretch of the lake and of course took pictures! By now, you must know that we are a family of picture takers . It was very serene walking along a lake. At times during the walk, me and Arush would do a small sprint just to see who is fitter.

    As the day came to an end and we watched the sunset near the lake, it was an amazing sight. It was an amazing beach with the sun in the back and a beautiful view. We took hundreds and hundreds of photos and ended the night with some amazing tacos!

    The next day, was nice and sunny weather, (what else can we expect from sunny CA!), so my mom told us to spend as much time as possible playing outside. We got tired after just an hour, so we came in and had some dinner. My aunt is an avid gardener, and we spent time tending her garden that evening. She grows everything from garlic to squash. Having a home garden is so much work but it is fun when you can eat the produce that you are growing. In the evening, we had dinner at a local Indian restaurant. There are many of them there and I found out that CA has the second largest population of Indians outside of India.

    The week passed so quickly, and it was time for us to pack up and start the journey home. The whole trip to CA was such an amazing experience. Given my initial inhibitions, I am glad we did this road trip. I have memories that I will cherish all my life. In addition, writing this travelogue was fun. It kinda made me relive the moments with you all. I hope you enjoyed it!

    As they say in Spanish, Adios mi amigos!

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