On behalf of ISW family and our community we would like to share our utmost condolences on passing of our beloved Shobha Shastry. Ever since I have known Shobha she has been a pillar for the ISW community, always helping, always smiling and always ready to help anyone in the community. We have lost a leader, a friend, and someone everyone in the community will miss.
Shobhaji touched many in the ISW community and we have compiled memories and recollections of our community members on the ISW website. ISW will also be hosting a memorial service for Shobhaji on April 8th at the ISW India Center at 6:00 pm. Please register for the event as we have limited capacity in the halls. Details of the service will be posted on the ISW Website.
We all pray for her soul and for strength for the family.
Puneet Kohli, ISW President
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Shobha for the education of Shobha's granddaughter Suhana Sundari Sullivan may be made to a college fund set up in her name. Please mail checks to:
Account owner FBO Sahana Shastry
The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan
C/O 44 Carriage Hill Rd, Northborough, MA 01532
Shobha Aunty was a caring and kind person who never hesitated to help out IYG whenever we asked. Whether we needed to borrow an extremely specific color of fabric to decorate at Showcase, or to borrow a million statues to line the halls of Oak Middle School, Shobha Aunty was there to provide us with anything we needed. She would consistently provide her expertise when it came to what colors look good together and ensure that our shows would always have a beautiful background. She was a joy to be around, and we savored every moment we got to spend with her, even organizing the warehouse after Showcase. We thank her so much for all of her help in the community and all she has done for the Indian Youth Group.
Divya Raghunathan and Ria Deshpande
Leke Ja (take it)
Shobha was the most generous and fun-loving person I knew. She was willing to give of herself and give to all charities. I never heard her say no to anyone, and everyone felt that personal connection. But she was no pushover, and one could always count on her to give her candid opinion. She also had choice words when she saw an injustice being done. Will miss her, dearly.
PS I never knew how she did it, but she used to get samosas delivered from the concession stand to our seats at Regal cinema for the Indian movies we saw with her.
Raj & Shiamin Melville
Shobha related an incident to me about a time when she was the ISW Cultural Secretary in the ‘90s. The annual Diwali program was being held at Shrewsbury High School. Shobha had made an elaborate backdrop for the stage with paper and cardboard as Alankar and its warehouse had yet to happen. It was raining heavily as she carried it to the stage and as soon as she put the backdrop down, it collapsed. Shobha was really distraught but Dr. Passey and a few committee members ran over to help. Before you knew it they had helped put it together and the decorations were in place. When Shobha related this story to me her voice filled with emotion and she said, “Ragini this is when I realized that ISW was not just an organization - it was a family”. This family also gave a name for her company - Alankar. Shobha has been such an integral part of the ISW family and we all feel like we have lost a dear family member with her passing.Ragini Seth
Shobha was a good friend to me. She did wedding decorations for both my daughters Ami and Avni. Her name is so appropriate for what she did as her profession. She always poured her heart out when she did decorations. She will be missed dearly. Om shanti
Once Asha Bhosle came to sing in Worcester's Memorial auditorium. Shobha's seat was next to Susmita (Bando) and I. Entire concert Shobha and Susmita sang along with Asha ji, that too loudly. I requested them to stop but they were unstoppable. Rest in peace dear Shobha.
One time she came to our Yankee swap party and my daughter’s present was swapped with someone and she wasn't happy about it. Shobha immediately gave her $50 that brought a huge smile on her face.
We will miss Shobha Didi’s commitment to the community. She was always there at a moment’s notice and with a smile. Her legacy will live on forever.
Larger than Life, Bindaas, Friend, Supporter are just few of the many words which describe Shobha Shastry. To us at ISW she was Shobhaben, our big sister. In addition, I have so many personal memories of Shobha. No memory of Shobha is complete by remembering her patent “Arre saala aisa kya karta hai”. Even when she was lovingly yelling at you there was love and affection in her voice. As we all cherish those endless memories of Shobha, there is a void we will all feel. I am sure she is watching us from those heavenly gates and saying “Arre saala aisa nahi waisa setup kar…” we love you Shobha, you will always live on our hearts forever.
I came to know Shobha for more than 25 years. She had such a huge stature, I don’t know how I can say in few words. I have yet to meet a lady with so many qualities. She had a heart of gold. Blest with strong willpower she made Alankar Decorators a success. She touched the heart of every single person with her heartwarming laughter and the confidence she exuberated. She will be missed by all.
It felt like a special connection from the first time we met Shobha. She was an integral force behind every occasion we celebrated. Her creative and vibrant contributions went beyond decorations. She was generous with her ideas & connections related to caterers, artists, and other vendors. She would want to stay behind the scenes while ensuring our success.
We believe this quality made her the quintessential pulse and the spirit of our community. One tends to take these for granted, and now, having lost her, we will miss a helpful, fun-loving, cheerful friend forever.
Neeta & Sandeep Shah
I think of one incident happened in my previous house. We were hosting 14 children from Samarthanam. Most of them blind and cannot hear also. One of them was an exceptionally talented singer. He entertained all present in my house. Shobha one among them. Without solicitation she wrote a check for a $1000 donation. Her spontaneous gesture of kindness is one among many. Miss her.
I still remember the very first time I saw and met with Shobha ji at her old office in Northborough. We went to ask her the timing to get to her warehouse to get some decorations for the event.
At one side, she was talking/asking us what kind of decorative stuff we needed and on the other side was giving instructions to her staff about loading, unloading, sorting the decorative material and many other props and sets from the events.
When I told that I speak Marathi, she immediately started communicating with me in Marathi fluently, and said that 'पण आमचं मराठी म्हणजे मुम्बैय्या मराठी - rough and tough' and laughed loudly. This was her amazing quality to connect immediately to people she came across with her.
Shobha ji's amazing ingenuity of keeping her clients and volunteers like us satisfied by opening the doors of her 'Entire Empire of Decor' was incomparable.
Whenever we were in a meeting planning and organizing events and were discussing decorations, backdrops, or props needed for that event, without any second thought, we would just make a list of stuff to pick from Shobhaji's treasure house! She never ever asked why, where, or when it came to any ISW event decorations or backdrops.
One could find a passionate and dedicated businesswoman, a great leader and at the same time very warm and big hearted personality in our Shobhaji! She must have already started decorating and ornamenting paradise up there!
हरी ओम !
Sarita Dike Deshpande
Shobha was a generous and blessed soul. One example among many- When she decorated for one of our son’s events and we paid her money in spite of her refusal to charge anything, she just donated that money to our temple. She was like a sister to us, and we will miss her immensely.
Sanjay and Neela Shah
Shobha and I were multilingual and one of the fascinating things we used to do was to change the language to a different one depending upon our audience. It was a privilege to speak with another multilingual person
When I was introduced to Shobha and I told her that I was from Bombay too. The first thing she said was “Dost Hummara Aur Tumara Khoob banegi”. Then she started talking about Bombay. I really had a wonderful time at our first meeting. Then our dosti continued. Rest in peace Dost.
Loving thoughts about Shobha
We were so lucky to have known Shobha for at least 30 years and were able to call her “friend”!
A few moments that stick in our minds:
Working with Shobha during the numerous ISW events that she decorated - for free - till all hours of the night! The laughter that would fill the room always made it fun to be there with her. In fact, Sahdev was the person who gave Shobha the name ALANKAR when she first began her solo business.
Sahdev and Shobha bonded over paan and when we attended a social event in which Shobha was providing the paan, we could be sure that she would always sneak a few extra to our table!
For a short time, we had the pleasure of being part of the “movie group” who attended the Indian movies that were shown in a Westboro theater. Shobha would arrive with samosa and hot tea in hand until she convinced the theater to start providing them. Of course, there was always paan!
When both Katy and Sean got married, Shobha was the person they chose to decorate for their weddings. She took this responsibility to the highest heights, as if she was decorating for her own children! Nothing was too good for them.
More importantly, when Sean and Lauren were married, it took place in Rochester, New York - Lauren’s hometown. Due to space and the distance from Massachusetts, it was going to be an intimate wedding and reception. Shobha made the wedding venue and reception hall look so beautiful and made sure nothing was missing. It was perfect!!! Since we did not have any connections in that area, we would never have pulled off something so wonderful if we had had to do it on our own. The most important part of the story was that she left 2 weddings she was doing in Boston, after midnight, came with all the decorations and a few helpers and arrived around 4:00AM. From there, she got to work setting up a room for Sean’s Sehrabandhani, decorating the area where the Milni ceremony would take place, decorating the horse, wedding venue and lastly the reception hall. All without sleep!! Everything was beautifully done, and the people of Rochester were blown away. The punditji said he had never seen anything like it here and felt he was back in India. Then she packed it all up and was back off to Massachusetts, with only the smallest of naps!
It’s so easy to continue with Shobha stories but these are a few that stick with us and have often been repeated with friends!
Carolyn & Sahdev Passey
We always enjoyed her company and she was perfect company for an evening of fun. Professionally she did a great job for Priyanka's wedding and guests still talk about the Wow factor of the decorations
Rajiv & Priti Dayal
Shobha is one of those people you will never forget once you interact with her. From the way she approached things, to her ability to talk to the person in their language (we often spoke in Tamil), to the fragrance of the paan she used to chew that wafted as she approached you and the respect she commanded with her presence, she was one of a kind. Talking about my older daughter she used to say, feel free to come to me for her wedding, I'll give you all the decorations she needs! She was generous with her words, actions and the friendship she shared with the ISW community. We and the entire community will miss her a lot. Thank you for making this place a better place while you were around us. You are probably in a better place, Rest In Peace Shobha!
Poornima and Ragoo Raghunathan
Very sad day for our community indeed. Shobhaben will be missed dearly. We knew her for last 20+ years. Truly talented caring, helping personality. I saw Shobhaben as a very transparent person who just spoke the truth. Nothing sugar quoted. Very candid, loving, bindaas and always always wearing a huge smile spreading happiness. She made so many people’s dream come true. I have personally gone to her facility multiple times to pick decorations for all sorts of charity events. She will always remain in our hearts and has left a mark on all of our hearts.
Om shanti shanti shantihi
Vivid memories of Shoba ji comes from the good old "Apka Manoranjan" TV Ads about Alankar decades back! Other memorable moments are going to the godown with Ragini ji, Shiamin ji and Sharat ji to pick up props. We sometimes saw Shoba ji there. And the conversation and laughter!
Surely we all miss.. Om Shanthi!