“IAGB Republic Day is a great event celebrating January 26 1950, when the Constitution of India was adopted. It is an event bringing together New England communities for an evening of Indian patriotic program & food. It’s special to me as I got to volunteer in a ‘Saheli’ booth at this event a few times earlier.”
“The event I am looking forward to the most is the cake decoration and baking event. As an amateur baker myself, I picked up baking during quarantine. I find baking and decorating cupcakes or cakes a pretty relaxing activity. Although I am not the most artistic person, decorating baked goods is not too difficult, so most of the time my edible creations look pretty good.”
“In past years, I have helped out with organizing backstage at the IAGB Republic Day event, helping ensure that all the performance groups were ready when they needed to be. Last year, I also worked with the story-telling competition for young children, which was especially fun! This year, I’m looking forward to helping out with the cake- decorating competition and seeing all the beautiful creations that participants will make!”
IAGB Republic Day Celebration – the celebration of India’s Constitution. As always, we will be celebrating this event with the Republic Day Mela, a virtual month-long event with competitions for all ages throughout January. An in-person celebration on January 29th will follow these virtual events, 2022, with a cultural showcase ‘Towards the light together…” composed of classical, fusion, and Bollywood performances.
So mark our calendars and celebrate India’s Republic Day.
IAGB to celebrate India’s 73th Republic Day in traditional pomp and style IAGB is planning to celebrate India’s 73rd Republic Day on 29th January 2022 with its hallmark style of pomp and gaiety with the cultural program to lift the spirits and strengthen our hope “Towards the light together” and many other activities leading up to and the day of the event.
12 exciting competitions will be held virtually and some in-person during December and January. These competitions offer the Indian diaspora a chance to actively exhibit and hone their talent in Art, Story Telling, Elocution, Essay Writing, Cake Baking and Decoration, Chess, and Carrom. Poetry, Bollywood Quiz, Jeopardy, and IAGB Shark Tank.
Deadlines for entries are coming up soon- New Englanders are encouraged to book their slots well ahead of time. This year’s highlight is the partnership with TiE Young Entrepreneurs. Young talented professionals from TiE will help train participants interested in the IAGB Shark Tank to review and fine-tune their pitch to the “sharks.” This event promises to be challenging and entertaining. It’s coming fast, so don’t miss signing up. This year’s Cultural program has its theme as “Towards the light together.” The program symbolizes hope and cheers in these days where everyone is wary and apprehensive about their daily life and activities owing to the ongoing pandemic. Along with Bollywood, the cultural program will comprise folk, classical, and fusion performances from various states in India. As we are taking a step forwards towards the light, we want to appreciate our neighbors and highlight their uniqueness as well- we are sure you will enjoy these special performances from pan-Asian countries.
Venue: Marlboro Middle School, 25 Union Street, Marlborough 01752
—————————————————————————————————————————————— IAGB is closely watching the situation arising from the COVID -19 and the risks from the current variant and plans to take a final call on having the in-person event soon. If the condition worsens, contingency plans are entirely in place to conduct the event virtually with no less grandeur.
Veena Handa is a woman of many traits – a finance professional, a teacher, a mentor for young professionals, supporter and ally for women, love for designing and sewing clothes, all the while striving to make the world we live in a better place, by giving back to the community.
Veena Hand arrived in the USA in 1972, after finishing her Masters’ in India and then living in Australia for a few years. Throughout her professional career, she worked with many Financial Institutions – MetLife, Fidelity Investments, John Hancock Financial. She retired as AVP of Operations from John Hancock Financial. As a professional, she managed teams across many geographical locations while mentoring her team and helping them with career development. She received many accolades and recognition throughout her career, including the Excellence in Service Award from MetLife and the Star of Excellence Award from John Hancock. She was on the Advisory Board for John Hancock’s Global Women’s Alliance and led multiple programs to strengthen the women’s alliance.
After her retirement in early 2018, Veena immersed herself in community service. She volunteered at the Community Center in Lexington and delivered talks on Retirement Planning and Budgeting. She has been working with Minuteman Senior Services on different projects, working as a certified SHINE counselor helping seniors with information, counseling, and assistance on health care programs. She is also active as a Money Manager assisting seniors in money matters, managing checks, and balancing statements. Veena is involved with AIF on their program, Circle of Hope, working with other women on special projects. She is also on the board for Lexington-based nonprofit .net. During the pandemic, Veena joined the ‘Sew We Care’ team and helped provide masks and scrub caps to local hospitals and health centers. She is now the Vice-Chair for Vision-Aid, contributing to the cause of the visually impaired. Veena believes that it is the community that brings individuals together. So, if you have the time, the knowledge, and experience in a particular area you should always look to share and give back to the community.
We thank Veena Handa for sharing with us her journey, words of wisdom, and inspiring us to give back to the community.
An integral part of India’s legacy and heritage (dharohar) are its cities, towns, and villages. History awaits at every corner of India, whether it’s a lost legend, a well-preserved palace, or a village bazaar. Through our ‘Dharohar’ section we will bring to you some of India’s treasured places.
This month we showcase Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the Indian state of Kerala. Located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland, Thiruvananthapuram is known as the Evergreen city of India, characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills.
Month of January is typically busy in Thiruvananthapuram due to the “Nishagandhi Dance Festival”, and “Swathi Sangeethotsavam”. Nishagandhi Festival runs for seven evenings with each dedicated to a different genre of dance. Swathi Music Festival pays tribute to the compositions of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, who was the king of Travancore in the early 19th century. The entire festival is devoted to his compositions and attracts eminent musicians from all over India.
The city takes its name from the word thiru-anantha-puram, meaning “The City of Lord Ananta”, referring to the deity of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple located in the city. The city comprises beautiful beaches, long stretches of palm fringed shorelines, windy backwaters and historical structures. The city is also popular for its ancient temples that are renowned for their architecture. As you traverse through Thiruvananthapuram, there are many popular beaches and hill stations worth visiting. Kovalam, Shanghumukham, Varkala are just some of the beaches that attract a lot of tourists. Agasthyakoodam is famous for its rare herbs that are of high medical value that are found on the slopes of the hill. Ponmudi is another hill station with breezy pathways, excellent trekking trails and is home to a variety of flowers, and eye-catching butterflies. Another place worth visiting is the Neyyar Dam. Located across the Neyyar River, passing from Agasthyakoodam and merging with the Arabian Sea near Poovar, the Neyyer dam is situated at the foothills of the Western Ghats. The dam is a famous picnic spot because of the lake that it encompasses. Boating and mountaineering are some activities one can indulge in while here. Lastly, the Napier Museum is something you can’t afford to miss while in the city. With rare collections of bronze articles, antique musical instruments and ivory carvings, it is also known for its admirable architectural design. Thiruvananthapuram is also a major academic hub; it houses several educational and scientific institutions like Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST). Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the main airport and well connected to all the major cities of India. By rail, Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is the main railway station. It is also well connected by road, including many buses run by Kerala tourism. Thiruvananthapuram is certainly a perfect getaway to visit with its beaches, lush hills, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries and islands.
IAGB held its first-ever in-person seniors’ meet-up on Dec.11th. And though we were graced with heavy rains that afternoon, it was an information-packed event attended by our seniors and senior caregivers. A great line-up of speakers with expertise in various fields such as Health Care plans, Medicare and other insurance programs, basics of money management and budgeting skills, daycare facilities and how those can improve seniors livelihood, many neighborhood programs, and how they can utilize those and not be pushed into isolation, as well as meal programs was welcomed by the audience. Along with many resources available for senior care information, avenues were presented to volunteer for seniors – to care for those who have taken care of us thus far. We are thankful to our speakers and presenters: Ellen M. DiPaola, JD, President & CEO – Honoring Choices Massachusetts, Cynthia Phillips – State SHINE Program Director for Elder Affairs & Elaine Miller – Regional SHINE Program Director, Julie Greenspan – Money Management Program Manager – Minuteman Senior Services, Rachana Shah – Evergreen Adult Day Care, Rita Shah, MSW, LCSW – Founder, FISCO & Retired Co-ED, Saheli and Pratima Penumarthy – Founder & CEO – Volunteering for Seniors Inc. You provided in-depth information and attendees really appreciated the Q&A session along with your personal inputs. Lexington-based teen singer Anuprabha Dandapat made the afternoon even more enjoyable with her soulful singing. Program crescendo was reached with a delightful Kathak Fusion by Mona’s Dance Academy students and ever graceful Mona Bhowmick herself. Attendees enjoyed the entertainment program with hot ‘chai’ and light refreshments IAGB Director Tanu Basu led this event. IAGB Director Asha Thotangare helped with the event day logistics along with the rest of the IAGB team members.
Aashna Miharia, a junior at Winchester High School, is the published author of the middle-grade fiction novel In Their Heads. Over 150 copies of this novel have been sold, receiving high praise from readers aged 8 to 13. An aspiring writer, Aashna is also the founder of the free, virtual summer program “Read & Write with Aashna,” in which she held one-on-one reading and writing lessons over Zoom for over 80 elementary-aged children to help them grow academically during the pandemic.
In addition to running her own program, this past summer, Aashna attended the prestigious School of The New York Times and Youth Writers Workshop at Bard College to further her writing education. Ashna is also a Senior Journalist for Winchester High School’s newspaper, The Red & Black, and a paid writer for the magazine Winchester Living. At her high school, Aashna is the co-president of both the Help Immigrants Learn English club and the Food Bank club, as well as an award-winning member of the Model United Nations team. When she is not doing schoolwork or participating in these organizations, she works at Book Ends in Winchester. Visit https://aashnamiharia.com to learn more about Aashna! IAGB congratulates Aashna Miharia on being the December 2022 Youth of the Month.
~ IAGB Youth Editorial Director, Aarushi Pant
IAGB Youth Opportunities Column and Raising Awareness
IAGB Youth Spotlight: Who: 25 and under When: Submissions are due by February 15th. Nomination form: https://forms.gle/yNMAZNBDeNB9c14SA Inviting nominations for October IAGB Youth Spotlights! The IAGB youth initiative spotlights talented local youth who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to art, sports, or the community! Nominees must be 25 years of age or younger, and they must have lived in the New England area.
STEM-Away Summer Internships: Who: College students and junior professionals. Limited spots are available for high school students When: Applications are due March 31st. Apply here: https://stemaway.com/apply Are you interested in a career in STEM? Apply for a virtual STEM-Away summer internship! These are free educational remote internships for students to learn, collaborate, and prove their value based on their merit and ability. Students will become work-ready with critical technical & soft skills and complete projects in the Bioinformatics, Cloud Computing, Full Stack, Hardware Engineering, Machine Learning, or UX and UI pathways. Find out more here: https://stemaway.com/
United Tutoring Volunteer Opportunity
Who: High school and college students looking for a way to earn volunteer hours virtually by tutoring, or contributing to the organization in many different ways. When: Apply to be a tutor or team member year round. Apply here:https://unitedtutoring.wixsite.com/unitedtutoring/get-involved-1 The pandemic has made getting volunteer opportunities and hours extremely hard for high school students, however United Tutoring allows students from all over the globe to earn verified hours from tutoring and helping out with behind the scenes assignments with a registered non-profit. Learn more at https://unitedtutoring.wixsite.com/unitedtutoring