Past Events Reports
Puzzling with Puzzles ----Snehal Kadam
As a parent, how many of you have bought the world map and map of India to hang it in your family room? Well I have! The hope was that my kids will look at it often. Clearly, I wasn’t right about it. And one fine day, I saw my friend finishing a very complex 1000 piece world map puzzle. Looking at the intricacy of the puzzle, gave me an idea. How better to educate my kids about geography of the world and reduce their screen time! :) It seemed like the perfect fun family activity. One problem though, how do I get my kids interested in this and yet make it engaging? I decided that having a reward-based puzzle competition sounded a great idea. Incentives are a good way of getting kids engaged in activities that are usually dealt with groans and whys!!
We all know puzzles have many benefits like:
1) it improves your short-term memory.
2) it exercises the left and right sides of your brain at once, (thanks to my neuroscientist hubby!)
3) improves your visual-spatial reasoning,
4) a great meditation tool and stress reliever
5) a great way to connect with family
6) great for some needed alone time
7) And You'll live longer
My biggest bane as a teacher/mother/parent is getting into the winter vacation and having my whole family stuck to electronics. So the idea of getting away from the electronics accompanied with the puzzle competition made perfect sense. I borrowed the puzzle from my friend, Lucky and decided to get started with the kids. We even cleared out our kitchen island and all of us got together to separate the puzzle pieces. The task though overwhelming was a challenge as the first day was spent more about strategizing how to solve it. I was surprised to see each member of the family come up with different ideas. As we got on solving the puzzle, little did I realize that it was so much fun and rewarding to even figure out where a single piece went. Days went by and the puzzle started to come together. The smiles and discussions that went on the kitchen island was music to my ears. Remember all this went on with a 3 year old tugging our PJs to find out what the fun was ! So by the 6 th day, we had solved almost all of the puzzle, I mean we had 999 pieces on the board. But we were unable to find the last piece. The whole house got searching for the missing piece. Frustrations rose among the kids and us, as to where could the last piece have gone. Little did we all know that our 3-year old wanted to be involved in the puzzle. She had carefully hid the last piece in the partition of our sofa! Once found, the smiles returned and she placed the final piece in the right spot. The joy of a completed puzzle bought out our inner child and we all gave ourselves a group hug !
When I decided to start the competition, I did not imagine so many families joining in. The excitement in the community was amazing as 21 families participated in the competition. Some of the families even rushed to buy the puzzles to participate in this fun family event. One common message I got from all families was how this brought all of us from their screens to the dining and kitchen tables as a family! So thank you to all who participated. Happy New Year to all of you and may we solve many more puzzles in the coming year!
1.Kinkin Kumari and Divya Singh
2. Lazers: Yajas and Sai
3. The Piparia sisters
4. Shaurya and Suhani Aditi Jain
5. Deshpande family
6. Navin Jain Family: Dhruv and Rishi !1st Dec24th)
7. Gupta Girls (4th)
8. Shiamin and Raj Melville
9. Dhruv Arush Urvi & Jagan
10. Lucky Hoque
11. Tanushree Nekenti
12. Dixit Brothers
13. Rajit and Kashvi Naik (3rd Dec 25th 7 PM)
14. Anika and Rohan Savla (Yashodhara)
15. Shilpa Nikte (2nd Dec25th 330PM)
16. Anu Melville and Jack Saxe Staral
17. Ayan Mishra (Neha)
18. Khanna (Stuti)
19. Peerzade's (Sahar)
20. Karishma Babani (Manju)
21. Mukta Munjal
Puzzles are fun and a great way to pass time when you are bored. They are also challenging as they make you think how to put pieces in the right place and forces you to look carefully for differences in the pieces. The puzzle we solved was named “The Mystic Maze”. We really enjoyed solving the puzzle as it was mysterious with a lot of very small details and a lot of different colors. We had a lot of fun doing the puzzle as a family!– Dhruv (9) and Rishi (12) Jain. They have donated the gift card to the ISW’s Crisis Committee’s fundraising efforts. So inspiring
ISW Nominating Committee would like to announce the elections for the 2021-22 Executive Board and Governance Committee. The nominating committee would like to present the following slate:
Slate of Candidates
Mr. Puneet Kohli
I am a life member of ISW, serving the community for past 12+ years. I live in Grafton with my wife, son, daughter and parents. My son is doing is undergrad at UCSD. As part of ISW community I have had the honor to volunteer and lead many community serving activities at ISW from cultural to strategic to logistical. As member of the Executive board for over 12 years I hope to continue to serve ISW and community. Being a software engineer by profession I hope to continue to help connect ISW to larger community in Greater Boston area.
Dr. Jagan Srinivasan
My name is Jagan Srinivasan and I am a resident of Shrewsbury for the past 8 years. Since our arrival here, most members of my family have been involved in volunteering at various cultural activities organized by ISW. I have 2 boys and a lovely 3 year old girl. My wife Snehal and I have been part of ISW community for past 8 years and have active volunteers for ISW and many other community activities.
Mr. Balki Chandrakasan
Balki Chandrakasan currently lives in North Grafton, MA with his wife and two kids . I have been very active in community volunteering in various organizations and associated with ISW for the last 12+ years . He started with ISW language school teaching Tamil for several years and later became part of ISW executive board for the last 4 years .He is always interested in connecting with people and working to bring the Indian community together Balki is a Senior Technology Professional and working for Charles River Labs .
Mr. Manoharan Ganapathy
I am living in Massachusetts for more than 12 years, from a small town near Chennai, Tamil Nadu and residing in Shrewsbury with my family. I am very passionate about service and giving back to my community. I have been active in many nonprofit organizations for the past 6 years. Glad to be part of the ISW family.
Mr. Rajesh Khare
Rajesh is currently serving as the Treasurer of ISW (2019-2020). Rajesh has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2018 and has been an active member for many years. Rajesh has volunteered at many events/activities like Westborough/Shrewsbury parades, Language School, India Day, Diwali at WAM etc. He lives in Westborough with his wife Arti and 2 kids. Both kids attend the Marathi school at ISW
Mrs. Poonam Hingorany
Poonam has been volunteering at the India Society of Worcester since the mid 2000’s and held a position on the Executive Board as the IYG Advisor from 2014 to 2018. She is serving as Assistant Treasurer on the current Executive Board. Poonam has a master’s degree in Accounting and an MBA from Framingham State University. She lives in Grafton, MA with her husband Sanjay and daughters Sneha and Pooja who both have been students and then student teachers of the ISW Cultural school and IYG Board members. Poonam enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, trying out new dishes and staying active
Mrs. Amita Rao
Amita has been part of ISW serving in many roles as a volunteer. Her passion to volunteer and help drive many of the events has made her contribution to ISW valuable. She lives in Westborough with her husband, son & daughter who all are active volunteers in many ISW
Mrs. Nisha Bawa
Namaste !! My name is Nisha Bawa & I am a life member of India society of Worcester. I have severed on ISW committee in various capacities. I am honored to be nominated to server as religious committee chair person for the second year.
Mrs. Ruchi Chauhan
Ruchi and her husband Ramendra live in Shrewsbury, MA with their older son, Yash, who is a freshman in Northeastern University and their younger son, Kunal, who is currently in 8th grade. Both have been students at the ISW school as well as IYG members. She currently has been working at Floral Street School and is very passionate about working with kids.
She started at ISW Language school as a volunteer Hindi teacher. Currently, as a Co-Director, she is responsible for over 140 students that attend five language classes on Saturday and Sunday, organizing classes for 11 different grades in 5 diverse languages, and recruiting over 40 volunteers that teach the sessions. For 2020, during the COVID lockdown, she helped create Masti Mazaa classes - free online classes for kids where they participated in different activities like origami, math, english, cooking, etc. During 2020, the online language classes and the one-on-one tutoring classes by IYG members, have helped the ISW community operate in response to the COVID-19 lockdown, thereby continuing ISW’s work in the community.
Mr. Shri Garg
I have been a volunteer of ISW since 1981 or so. During this time I have served ISW in several positions such as Assistant Secretary, Scholarship Committee chair, IYG Adviser, President, Chair, Board of Trustees. For the last 3 years or so I am serving ISW as Chair, India Center Committee. I would like to continue my job for the next term also. I hope ISW has liked my service in previous years. I would like to do a much better job in the coming years. It is always my privilege to serve ISW and I am thankful to the ISW community for its trust in me.
Mr. Arvind Basil
I was born in India in 1960, married to Anita in 1987. Blessed with daughters Shruti and Kirti (who are now Physicians ) in 1988 and son Amogh ( presently a Junior in Assumption College)in 1999. I moved to USA in 2003.
I have been an entrepreneur through out my life. I presently live in Auburn and own the UPS store at Westborough.
Mrs. Suchitra Agarwal
Suchitra Agrawal has been a resident of Shrewsbury for over 32 years. She graduated with a Masters's degree in English Literature from the University of Rajasthan and has done her schooling at Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls Public School in Jaipur.She has been a lifetime member of ISW for 20 years and has actively participated in various roles throughout the organization. These roles include participation in the Religious Committee, the Rental Committee, the School Committee, and she has most recently served as a Member-At-Large. She has been a Hindi K-1 language teacher since 2007 and has been passionate about introducing the youngest language students to the Hindi School. She has also served as a member of Bancroft School's PTA and has supported the Shrewsbury Public Libary in their volunteer and community outreach endeavors. She has always found joy in volunteering for community and educational organizations, particularly working with senior citizens and young children, and often combines her interests from running a local knitting group to collecting food and clothes for charities. Among her proudest achievements is watching her two children progress through the Hindi School and become language teachers themselves before graduating. She finds true pleasure in being part of ISW and is always willing to do whatever it takes to serve the community. She currently resides in Shrewsbury with her husband.
Mr. Kamlesh Khilnani
Born and raised in Mumbai, living in Marlborough, MA now with my wife, Preeti (also from Mumbai) and two boys, Arnav and Jeet. ISW has been a great find for our family, making great connections, having the resources to expose our kids to some cultural activities, language school and the new state of the art India center.
Mrs. Sakshi Garao
My name is Sakshi Gurao and living in Shrewsbury from last seven years. I am an accountant by profession. With great interest in social activities, I joined Spirit of Shrewsbury Fall Festival in town and currently working as a volunteer Treasurer position in the organization. I have various interest mainly in art, dance, music, and cooking. I am trained traditional Indian dancer.
Mrs. Bhawna Sadhu
The committee nominates the following members for Committee on Governance :
Meera Gupta has served the ISW Community in various roles for over 30 years. She worked as an Architect and Builder for many years. Meera currently ownsAunty G's, an Indian Street Food and Ice Cream Restaurant with her husband in Marlboro, MA. She was the First Woman President of ISW from 2005-2008. Also, she was adevoted Religious Committee Chair and Chair of India Center Committee for several years. Meera is committed to being a loyal member of India Society of Worcester for years to come.
If you have any questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
ISW Committee on Nominations
Renuka Garg(Chair), Barin Bando, Carolyn Passey, Sonal Koppikar, Shaikh Hoque
The Committee on Nomination of India Society of Worcester is pleased to announce the upcoming General Body meeting and Elections to be held on Sunday, January 31, 2021* at 2 PM at India Center (152 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA)
The committee solicits nomination for all the following 15 positions of the Executive Board for a term of 2 years starting January 2021.
In addition, the committee solicits names for the nomination for all the 3 Positions of Governance Committee for a term of 2 years starting January 2021.
Please use the online form to submit your nominations - Nominate Here
Included below are eligibility requirements that must be met for all nominations
A person nominated for a post in the Executive Board shall be a dues paying member of the Society for at least one full year prior to the election date. In addition, a person nominated for the position of the President and Vice-President shall meet the following requirements:
You can nominate yourself or any eligible members for the open positions. To nominate a person to one of the positions, please use the online form by clicking here on or before November 22nd, 2020.
Once the nominations are received, the nomination committee will create a slate of prospective candidates to be appointed for all the posts. This slate will be available to the general public on or before January 13th 2021. Please look for the slate in your email and on our website www.ISWOnline.org.
Please email the nomination committee email@example.com), if you any queries about the slate or the nomination process. (you can also reach Renuka Garg @ 508 523 6664). Nominating Committee members include -
(Renuka Garg, Barin Bando, Shaikh Hoque, Carolyn Passey, Sonal Koppikar)
* Date is subject to change based on the COVID-related restrictions and construction schedule at India Center.
SW Participated with town officials at city of Worcester, Town of Shrewsbury & Town of Grafton along with other partner organizations(IAGB, BVIS) to hoist Indian National flag to celebrate India's 74 years of independence. The volunteers of ISW were on site along with city officials to hoist the flags and stream the event live of facebook. Check out the videos link here. Worcester, Shrewsbury
Thirty One years that’s how long we’ve been hosting India day at India Society of Worcester or ISW. What started back in 1989 in the halls of Worcester auditorium, no one could have imagined that one day it would be streaming live from someone’s home office, being watched by hundreds of people on their devices, enjoying amazing dancers perform in their living rooms, backyards, parks or sometime on the roads.
The year 2020 has shown us a new normal, in which ISW has broken all barriers to bring to the community not 1 or 2 but multiple live online events from Antakshri to art night to yoga and now a 3 day, 5 session virtual India Day event .
So once again from bottom of my heart thank you to all my fellow ISWers who made this event possible & to all the dancers, singers and teachers, to our community and above all to all of you the audience who boost our spirits by liking, sharing and commenting on our posts and videos and encouraging us to make ISW a home away from home for many of us. So with that I invite you to Please watch all the videos we are sharing in this special edition and share, comment and like us on FB. Check out our special India Day page.
Happy Independence Day Jai Hind.
Puneet Kohli, VP ISW, Chair India Day
Panel on '"Racial Solidarity as South Asians"
As part of India Day, a committee of young adults hosted a panel discussion on '"Racial Solidarity as South Asians". The group, called SAYAAA, are part of the second generation of ISW community members who on their own have raised their voices by organizing vigils, posting on FB and hosting podcasts and writing articles. They discussed how they educated themselves, strategies to combat racism and how to get more involved in the future. Click here to read more about the session, watch the panel video and take the survey if your would like to learn more and join.
SAAYA Committee: Shubh Agrawal, Keerthana Balakrishnan, Danush Chelladurai, Tanvi Jain, Aditya Khanna, Kavya Raghunathan, Aarshiya Sachdeva
Advisors: Raj & Shiamin Melville
SAYAA, South Asian Youth Activists and Allies
An Initiative by the new ISW Young Professionals group
We are excited to announce a new ISW group to reach out to young professionals of South Asian descent.
The first activity is committed to social justice and racial equity initiatives in the South Asian community. SAYAA, or "South Asian Youth Activists and Allies", is sending out a survey to gauge the interest in pursuing this endeavour. Click here to take it. SAAYA also plans to host an online discussion about these issues.
The group - through dialogues, education, disseminating of resources, and engaging with peers and the wider South Asian community - hopes to advance the mission of organizing social justice activism, standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) peers and self-reflecting on the community’s role in perpetuating injustice within the South Asian community.
The group is very interested in working with individuals ages 14-35. If one is outside this age range but would like to provide opinions/suggestions, one can still access the shared knowledge and resources. Please forward the survey to young professionals you might know. For any additional questions or information, please email: SAAYA@ISWOnline.org
Hope you and your family are doing well during these difficult times. Please let us know if ISW can do anything to help you in any way.
For the India Society, one of our biggest efforts this year is the expansion of the India Center. We were writing to give you an update on the progress.
India Center Construction:
After “Bhoomi Poojan” ceremony in October, we started full steam ahead on construction. The foundation was poured in December, steel for the building was ordered, and plans and paperwork for building permit were submitted to Town of Shrewsbury. The plan was to start the site work in March. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit us hard, all non-essential commercial construction was halted by orders of the Governor, permits were delayed, and work at ISW came to a screeching halt.
The Expansion Committee along with general contractor and architect continued to meet on a weekly basis, and the slowdown gave us an opportunity to make improvements, especially in design of the lobby that we have named India Pavilion, but overall construction plans suffered a significant setback. As phase two of reopening has started in Massachusetts, we are happy to inform you that we are back on track for construction. Town of Shrewsbury has issued the building permit. Remodeling of the old lobby is already underway. The steel structure will go up soon and current plans are to have the construction completed by November.
You can see more pictures and drone video of the construction made by our outgoing India Youth Group (IYG) president Raunit Kohli, here
Unfortunately, we have not been able to do much fundraising over last several months. Our plan was to focus our efforts on gala at Mechanics hall in June with a prominent Indian artist, but that has now postponed to at least 2021. Some of you have been extremely generous in their offer of providing us a loan, and we certainly intend to take advantage of that offer. At the same time, to ensure cash flow, we have signed up with DCU for a construction loan. We are hoping to minimize the amount that we have to borrow, and a lot will depend on funds received against our current pledges as well as new pledges we are able to generate.
We want to thank those of you who have shown great support of the project by making significant pledges. Many of you have made a full payment against your pledge and others are making payments over a three-year period.
Thank you again for your contributions!
Ashish Cowlagi, President ISW
Rajiv Dayal, Chair, Expansion Committee
Sanjay Shah, Chair, Fundraising Committee
ISW & Ekta Jain brings you Free Dance for fun virtual class. Join for an an hour of fun and exciting dance class. Learn at your own pace. See the details in the flyer below.
As I reflect on the events of the last several weeks, I am drawn to Rabindranath Tagore’s stirring prayer:
While tempting to turn to prayer, the recent events call for reflection, learning and action. The continued acts of violence against people of color is unacceptable and inexcusable. We are saddened by the countless lives taken and the racist incidents across the country. That is not enough. Today we have to rise up and stand in solidarity with the Black community and say together that Black Lives Matter.
We are an organization of immigrants whose mission includes building bridges with the communities we live in. In this moment we need to reflect on the privileges we enjoy from equitable immigration, an outcome of the Civil Rights Movement. We need to reexamine our own biases which, while different and based on our own cultural roots, may also color our interactions with other people of color. We need to reaffirm our commitment to work toward a more fair, equitable and just society in the country we have adopted.
Many of us grew up outside America. Our individual experiences have shaped our perceptions of our adopted home. However, this is a time to broaden our knowledge and to examine our own biases. With that in mind, some of our volunteers and board members have contributed to building a reading list below. These links are not as an endorsement of the authors, but differing perspectives that we hope will inform your own opinions. We encourage you to begin your own conversations with your family and friends about the current state of racism in our country and the path forward.
For our youth, I know that these conversations have already started. We will include their own activities and perspectives in our next issue of eSandesh.
ISW has been and is committed to serving every part of our community, regardless of language, religion or ethnicity. We will also continue to remain true to our founding principle as a non-political organization while we redouble our efforts to build bridges with the communities we live in, including the Black and LatinX communities.
I hope you will join us in this conversation as we continue to pray for good health, peace and a more equitable future for all of us.
President, India Society of Worcester
A Suggested Reading List
[Thanks to many friends, board members and volunteers for their help in building this conversation and in helping find resources.]