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  • 21 Jan 2023 4:28 PM | Anonymous

    ISW Women Empowering Women initiative turns two!
    by Kalyani Kanuri

    To commemorate the two year anniversary of ISW-WEW initiative, ISW hosted a wonderful celebration on Saturday January 21st at the newly renovated ISW (India Society of Worcester) center in Shrewsbury, MA. The event featured Dr. Manju Sheth, as the keynote speaker . Manju is a renowned physician at Harvard Vanguard and creator and host of “Chai with Manju” and the creator of New England Choice Awards and “Women who Win” platform.

    The program was kicked off by Prof. Snehalata Kadam, chair of WEW, who talked about her vision for a forum where women can uplift each other by sharing their experiences and transforming the “I Can’t” to “I Can”. This initiative started off as an online forum during the pandemic. Snehalata; an assistant teaching professor of Physics at Worcester Polytechnic (WPI), talked about the upcoming collaboration of ISW -WEW with WPI’s South Asian Student Association (SASA) and ISW’s Professional and Entrepreneurial Network. (ISW-PEN).

    Mr. Puneet Kohli, the president of ISW, talked about the organization’s upcoming 60 years anniversary celebrations and how the organization has not only brought the Indian community together but also other communities. He explained how ISW maintains strong relationship with other organizations in Boston such as IAGB. He further talked about how the community came together to support the ISW expansion. With the expansion, ISW is now able to kick off new initiatives such as the “ISW University” which teaches students of all ages , “ISW Symphony” to support art in all forms, “ISW PEN initiative” and “ISW Sports” which recently held Game Night.

    Talking about how each and everyone’s journey in life is unique and different, Manju Sheth the guest of honor spoke about how women can learn and inspire each other. Hailing from New Delhi, Manju loved to write stories from a young age and even started her school magazine. She trained in Medicine in Calcutta, London and Boston. She talked about how the demands of practicing medicine which leaves little time for other activities. Her determination, hard work and multitasking helped her to achieve her goal of being a journalist and media professional in addition to her medical profession. She strongly believes that it is important to realize your strengths and feed off of them. She was invited by India New England News to start “Chai with Manju” Over the past 10 years, she has interviewed world renowned personalities such as “Sadh Guru”, Pandit Jasraj”, “ Sudha Murthy”, “Shankar Mahadevan”, “Joe Kennedy” and most recently “Indra Nooyi”. Manju recently started a new platform, “Women Who Win,” to showcase the stories and experiences of extraordinary women in different fields.

    The event also felicitated the WEW’s first group of panelists – Yogita Miharia, Director of QA at Oracle, Aditi Taylor, SVP, at MFS Investment Management, Kalyani Kanuri, Senior Manager of Finance at Quest Diagnostics, Terri Camesano, Dean of Graduate Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute along with Dr. Manju Sheth.

    Neha Kaushal , a core team member of the WEW team, talked about what inspired her to join WEW and her involvement with SEWA, a charity organization where she was involved in an initiative to train women who lost their livelihood in new professions such as saree weaving.

    Kalyani Kanuri, talked about upcoming ISW WEW events. In March the team will be hosting the “Gift of Giving” that will feature a group of panelists who are active with various charities. This event will be followed by a mental health awareness event followed in June by an educational event featuring panelists who will provide high school students and their parents with insights into choosing majors in college and life in college. She also talked about a mentorship program aimed at making the core members available to anyone who would like to learn about fields such as finance, marketing and IT.

    The event aptly ended by a beautiful poem by Kajal Kaushik Dixit , a core member of ISW titled “Tu Dar Math, tu aage badh” which means “Don’t be afraid and keep moving forward”!

  • 15 Jan 2023 10:10 AM | Anonymous
    Additional session Sunday 7.30 am started  February 5

    On the morning of January 14th, a session of Heartfulness Meditation was held at the India Center. More than thirty individuals were in attendance. The session began with rejuvenating yoga by Devesh Srivastav and introduction to Heartfulness by Shruti Sehra and George, preceptors from Heartfulness Center. Many attendees reported feeling a sense of inner peace and left feeling rejuvenated.

    The sessions with yoga and meditation will continue at 9 am on Saturdays at the INDIA Center. Depending on response, additional sessions maybe added early Sunday am or weekends. Any questions please send email to

  • 11 Jan 2023 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    We want to recognize the amazing volunteers who contribute to India Society of Worcester  

    Deadline for  awards extended to Feb 28, 2023. Track your hours

    Try and fill it at the end of each quarter in 2022

    Additionally, if you want, you can allow ISW to share your info to be considered for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). The PVSA recognizes incredible individuals who are committed to a high level of volunteer and service with a PVSA medal and a letter from the White House. More info at:

    To be eligible for President’s Volunteer Service Award, one has to be a  US Citizen or permanent resident.

    If volunteers have volunteered for other organizations that do not have this PVSA program, we can combine it , depending on verification, as long as there is no duplication.

    Hours Required to Earn Awards in Each Age Group

    Age Group                        Bronze                 Silver                                          Gold         

    Kids (5–10 years old)     26–49 hours      50–74 hours                              75+ hours 

    Teens (11–15)                 50–74 hours       75–99 hours                           100+ hours 

    Young Adults (16–25) 100–174 hours 175–249 hours                        250+ hours

    Adults (26+)                    100–249 hours 250–499 hours                      500+ hours 

  • 6 Dec 2022 10:45 AM | Anonymous
    Christmas Magic Moments at ISW

    The 16th Annual India Society of Worcester Christmas celebrations were held at the newly expanded India center on December 3rd 2022 . Families dressed in Christmas colors in Indian attire, from women in their colorful Saris, to men in their suits and cultural garb, kicked off the very first 2022 Christmas season together! Christmas lights with the sounds of joyous Christmas carols sung in various Indian languages rang through the hall and brought the Christmas Spirit.  After two years in the pandemic,  many families wished to attend the in-person 2022 gathering but the registration has to be closed early to limit the seating to 300 in the new India Center hall and  over 250 came to celebrate the first Christmas of the season at the India Center. 
    Ms. Saritha Deshpande and Ms. Geetanjali Virmani moderated  the program and this year’s Christmas Story was shared by Mr. Krish Dhanam , a popular motivational speaker engaged in corporate world for over 30 year in 5 continents.  The message of unconditional love demonstrated in birth of Jesus Christ bringing peace and Joy was presented by Mr. Dhanam  . Mr. Puneet Kohli , President of ISW along with EB members cut the first Christmas cake following ISW Christmas tradition  with greetings to the community.  Dr. Jagan Srinivasan , VP,  ISW, narrated the significant events of ISW in 2022 including the success of ISW Gala event by the generosity, commitment and the faith of its members in ISW.  One of the founding members of ISW , Dr. Sahadev Passey along with Mrs. Carolyn Passey by his side gave the ISW Hallmark Speech from ISW formation days and growth over each decade from its beginnings in 1963 and shed light on the ISW Vision and gave the challenge to next generation to continue the legacy . M Rajoo Ananth,  Chair , ISW Crisis committee narrated the compassion and care of ISW community towards our fellow Indians hurting around us in our own neighborhood.  The appearance of Santa Claus brought Cheer and Joy to the children as they received Christmas presents and their families took pictures with Santa . The highlight of this year's event is the festive Christmas dinner set up arranged Mrs. & Dr. Passey and families enjoyed Christmas dinner put together by the many volunteer  families sharing the love and Joy of Christmas

    ISW Christmas 2022 - Event photos


    ISW Christmas 2022 - Photos with Santa!AnkrLuFnKxGN809ZDWsnKzZSn1TU?e=bj3G1z

    ISW Christmas 2022 - Dinner photos

    written by - Mr. Ernest and Mrs. Manjula Gulla

  • 21 Nov 2022 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    The Diwali celebrations in collaboration with NEBG's Night Lights, began with our dynamic Dhol Tasha Lazim team, and despite the cold weather they delivered an energizing performance outside.  It  was followed by the  ISW cultural program in the auditorium.  Throughout the evening , we had Free Henna, a display of Indian plants from NEBG, Lantern Craft in the  classroom. The  Chess game by Tara Chess Academy and  3D printing by Kunal showcased our in person 3D printing classes at India Center.

     The Gallery Bazaar with colorful wares from India, the Culture exhibit by Carolyn , floral Rangoli in the lobby, Sand Rangoli in the entrance walkway, and not to mention the catering by Bawarchi all contributed to a dazzling evening. 

    We are honored to be a part of the popular NEBG Night Lights  exhibit , which also included the new Ramble exhibit . Enjoy the pictures.

    Arathi & Shiamin

  • 22 Oct 2022 11:32 AM | Anonymous

    ISW University is offering new sessions

    Join for Social Chess on Saturdays at 5 pm : it is free for experienced players.  If you want to learn, sign up for classes $30 for 6 sessions

    Semester A runs for 15 sessions October, 22 2022 -January 2023. Private tutoring in Spanish , chess and Python are underway.  Do support our IYG volunteers for their service hours


    These Innovation classes are a product development hands-on sessions ending in students submitting to two challenges for prize money They are open to Middle school or more Starting October 27 Thursdays 30 mins online first. Feedback from the parents, our daughter is learning the aspects of the product and patterns. Definitely a new experience. Dr.  Bhatia  is well experienced and knowledgeable, we are glad to get the training/mentoring from him. Another parent, glad she is participating, she is developing her own voice and we appreciate Dr. Bhatia inspires kids through this program.

    ISWU and IIT AGNE: 3D Printing Workshop Grade 1+ 

    Grades 1 and higher, no previous requisites, need their own laptop. Starting October 29 Saturdays 60 mins, in person. One slot left

    ISWU & ISW Sports: Chess Beginners & Intermediate Classes (in person)

    Classes for all ages, adult or child (in person).

    Oct 29th, Nov 5th, Nov 12th, 19th, Dec 3rd, and 10th, closed for Nov 26 for Thanksgiving. Free Social Chess sessions for experienced players available at the same time.

  • 10 Oct 2022 5:25 PM | Anonymous

    ISW Durga Puja

    By Shivangi Das Gupta

    Durga puja is an annual celebration that takes place every October and is a cultivation of social, cultural and religious gathering. In this interview Shivangi asks Barin Bando about what it means to celebrate and experience this event.

    Barin Bando says that the reason Durga puja is celebrated in October is because it symbolizes the best time of the year: when monsoon is over, winter is ahead and harvesting has just been done. The five days of celebration are Sashti, Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami and Dashami. The first day signifies the welcoming of Ma Durga and her four children into her paternal house. On this day the deity is unveiled. On the second day, Saptami, the nine forms of Durga are worshipped. The third day celebrates the day Durga killed Mahishasura the demon. On Nabami goddess Durga and her daughters are celebrated and showered with gifts. And on the last and final day the Durga idol is immersed into the Ganges River and married women partake in Sindhur khela, where women play with vermillion to show respect and gratitude.

    Durga puja is happening all over America on a larger scale because of the influx of Indians, but Barin Bando mentions how it can be easy to forget the source of this fun. Indian society has given us the opportunity to experience the social aspect while maintaining originality. It is quite different from India where those who cannot travel to different parts of India may have a limited exposure to the different Navratri/Durga puja/Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations. But with the wide range of diverse celebrations in America, a door is opened for everyone to experience different traditions.

    The different activities like language school and Humrahee and what ISW has to offer is the magnet which attracts people to come and celebrate this event. The cultural performances, the well performed puja, and the opportunity to mingle with family and friends is what people look forward to when attending and this is why it is important to have all three aspects. This year Barin Bando invited six singers who are part of the Indian Ensemble in the Berklee College of Music, an internationally acclaimed music school located in Boston who performed a beautiful collection on the Nabami day. Several accomplished dancers who completed their arangetram were also invited to showcase their talent on stage at ISW Durga puja by portraying items that told the stories of Ma Durga.

    Barin Bando finishes with some childhood memories of Durga puja in Kolkata. He mentions it as feeling like a “happy, good time”. He specifically remembers going to a pandal with his grandma where he would watch her offer her prayers to God and would do the same. The music in the air and the rhythm of the dhak are also some fond memories for him. There is generally less pressure in school, families are in good spirits no matter their situation and helping each other out.

    He hopes this festivity continues to grow with celebrity and local talents at ISW in years to come and wishes to see it spread to communities outside the Bengali community.

  • 10 Oct 2022 5:16 PM | Anonymous

    New Job, New Country! Embracing and Empowering A Multi-Cultural Work Environment

    An event organized by ISW WEW- Women Empowering Women

    September 10th 2022

    This event brought together women from different professional backgrounds to discuss how they succeeded in their personal and professional endeavors when they moved to the US.

    Dr. Saritha Venkatesh, a practicing OB/GYN in India, switched her professional trajectory by joining pharmacovigilance and drug safety in pharma industry after moving to Unites States. She commented on never losing your identity in any environment.

    Vishakha Khamankar, a bank officer in India moved to the US to start her new family. Starting as a volunteer at the public school system, she is currently a personal financial representative. Her two cents was that family caretaking and professional career can go hand in hand.

    Madhavi Vaddi, a senior architect, IT by profession was able to maintain her professional career after hers move to US. She mentioned that a strong family support was crucial for her success. She highlighted that staying strong and making your voice heard is crucial steps that helps you grow.

    Suchitra Shinde had her own successful architecture business in India before moving to US. Here, she decided to switch to IT field as she found the flexible work-life balance helped her keep moving forward. She mentioned the need to maintain the enthusiasm of being always a learner.

    Kiran Kewalramani was in financial sector after completing her MBA in India. After her move, cooking and celebrating with family and friends helped her initially before she found her calling in the workforce as a financial manager.

    All panelists discussed about unintentional and unconscious biases against women and how we need more awareness of this issue. They reiterated the point of being strong and having a strong support network of family and friends that helped them succeed. The panelists and the audience discussed how everyone’s journey was their fingerprint within the community and sharing our stories can help women empower themselves to learn from each one of us.

  • 8 Oct 2022 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    Sanedo! Sanedo! Lal lal Sanedo….the song echoed at ISW’s Garba events on September 30th and October 1st 2022. 

    The community came together to celebrate the feminine form of divinity Maa Durga and danced to the family favorite tune of Sanedo. Men and women in their most colorful and beautiful Kurtas and Chaniya Cholis sprung up from their spots and landed spinning, dancing with swift turns, swinging arms and short, energetic hops on the Sanedo beat. 

    Every year ISW celebrates the spirit of Navratri by honoring, worshiping, and celebrating the Hindu deity Maa Durga (also known as Maa Shakti). This year as well, ISW celebrated 2 nights of Navratri Garba. Friday night had live traditional garba music by Jhankar, and Saturday night was foot tapping music by DJ Rohann. Both nights were truly breathtaking! There was not a dull moment. Everything from the music played to the enthusiasm of people from various cultural backgrounds constantly hopping and skipping in concentric circles on Garba songs. 

    Garba night is incomplete without Maa Durga’s Aarti. ISW’s committee executed this in the most traditional way; on Friday by worshiping Durga Idol in India Center; and on Saturday, by worshiping the clay lantern with a light inside, called a garbha deep ("womb lamp"). The vessel itself is a symbol of the body, within whom divinity (in the form of the Goddess or Devi) resides. Garba is danced around this symbol to honor the fact that all humans have the divine energy of Devi within them. And the circles symbolize the cycle of life. 

    What kept the bazaar vibe going was traditional vendors and delicious Indian food.   

    Many of us have grown up in India playing garba every year for Navratri. ISW’s Garba events rekindle the joy of playing garba here in the United States and recreate the same energy and vibe far away from homeland. The best part is that we are sharing that culture with our younger generation who were seen having as much fun as anyone else.

    ISW would like to thank all our volunteers for helping us organize such amazing dandiya nights. And we would like to thank YOU, our community at large, for coming to celebrate with us.

    written by  Sonam Ahuja and Amita Rao

    ISW Cultural Committee Members

  • 26 Sep 2022 11:00 PM | Anonymous

    A recap of the ISW Gala 2022 - Jalsa with Sudesh Bhosle

    By ISW eSandesh Youth Reporter, Tharegha Manoharan

    10 years ago. The same, breathtaking place. The same, encouraging crowd. The India Society of Worcester (ISW) proudly celebrated their success in fulfilling their vow for a bigger, better center for the community this past Saturday, September 17th. A decade ago, ISW took their first steps towards a new center at a similar gala during their 50th year celebration. Today , ISW successfully achieved their dream of expanding their center in Shrewsbury doubling from 4000 to 10,000 square feet!

    To honor this accomplishment, which was achieved flawlessly despite a worldwide pandemic, an impressive gathering of over 250 patrons met at Worcester’s historic Mechanics Hall celebrating this outstanding feat and displaying their support accompanied by the one and only Shri. Sudesh Bhosle, the inimitable voice of Amitabh Bachhan.

    The event started with a red carpet welcome and complimentary valet service for guests, enthusiastically greeted by ISW volunteers. Upon entering, a commemorative photo portrait was taken as a way to remember this exciting evening on the magnificent staircase. Many guests stopped by the Silent Auction room, a first for ISW, and the Youth Room, which was a welcome respite for younger kids.  As guests arrived in the main hall for the cocktail reception, it was a sight to see – friends catching up with one another, meeting new people, enjoying the bright atmosphere, especially at an event this grand after so many years. 

    Speaking to the many donors who supported the society, it was apparent how the society played an important role in maintaining community connections. For many, the India Society of Worcester became one of the first places to connect with others. Now decades later the growth of ISW is a dream come true mainly due to the hard work of all its volunteers over these past years, who have transformed this mere “community center” into a special place for the ISW family. From its humble beginnings when dance and singing lessons had to be held in someone’s garage to the bustling, large ISW Center today fills their chests with pride.

    Talking to the various people contributing to an event like this, it made me realize how much appreciation we had for one another. Long time ISW member, Mr. Barin Bando, emphasized how much effort had to be put in to plan such a gala. He also mentioned how everyone attending the gala was always there to lend a hand, whether it be in the past or the present. Gala Chair, Shiamin Melville, said that it was a fabulous evening that was made possible with the dedication and effort of the numerous ISW volunteers.

    This gala not only celebrated the success of ISW’s expansion, but also the accomplishment of most of their ISW Vision 2020 goals by creating a a home away from home. As Mr. Puneet Kohli, president of ISW, said, “The ride just keeps getting better and better.” He attests to this by comparing ISW’s accomplishments today with where it was when he first joined 18 years ago. Mr. Balki Chanrakasan, ISW Secretary, takes great pride in declaring how ISW has reached a whole other level to truly connect to the entire community, breaking all social barriers, as proved by events such as this gala.

    The social hour was followed by a delicious dinner consisting of a variety of mouthwatering selections catered by Bawarchi and was followed by a video by Sandeep Shah that summed up the efforts and achievements of ISW. With the new ISW Center, the video highlighted how ISW truly was the place where its members could learn, play, celebrate, grow, help others in the community.

    Mr. Puneet Kohli took the stage reminiscing about the promises made at the 2013 gala to grow ISW, the first step in that direction with the bhoomi puja, and the challenges of construction during the covid pandemic. Through it all, friends and ISW members called to encourage the team to continue the important work. With their support and encouragement, ISW was able to successfully open the doors of the newly expanded center in 2021 fulfilling their commitment to the community: to families, to kids, the youth, and their senior supporters. Since its opening, ISW has already held over a hundred events at the new center! Beyond celebrating cultural events, Free Health Stop and returning to in person ISW School's language classes, the new center allows ISW to bring the community together with a range of activities from ISW Symphony in music, art and creative projects; ISW University with a range of offerings from 3D printing to tutoring; ISW Professional and Entrepreneurial Network with topical panels and discussions; ISW Sports offering activities from pickleball to chess; and ISW Women Empowering Women bringing together women to share experiences and encourage each other’s endeavors. Not to forget the Humrahee meetings returned with new  activities for the young at heart.

    Mr. Sanjay Shah, the chair for the fundraising committee for ISW, thanked the supporters and donors, many who were in the room, for their support. This was shown by the fact over half the initial project estimate was raised in 2018 the year the project was launched. He acknowledged that ISW has been built on the shoulders of volunteers, many present at the gala, along with community members who have contributed to the growth of ISW.

    This led to the main event of night, the long-awaited performance of the one and only Mr. Sudesh Bhosle, a playback singer for countless Bollywood films, and especially known for his enthusiastic rendering of favorite songs. He was joined by his son, Mr. Siddhanth, and accompanied by Mrs. Sunita Kapur, her daughters and a team of musicians that came from New Jersey. A special addition to this talented group, was ISW’s own Mrs. Sarita Deshpande. The performers enchanted the audiences’ heart, and drew them towards the stage, where they broke into dance to the popular, energetic songs. After a short break to replenish their energy with desserts and tea, the fun-filled event carried on till 11pm.

    The most heart-warming moment for me was my conversation with Mr. Shyam Sharma, one of the founders of the India Society of Worcester back in 1962 when there were a mere 13 Indians in the area. Beginning as the Indian Association and growing into ISW, the number of people involved has grown from 13 to over 10,000 today. Mr. Sharma describes himself as part of the history of ISW, watching the physical growth of the community, supporting each other through different needs, and celebrating with each other. It doesn’t matter how you first connected to ISW, it always provides opportunities to create more connections.

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