In a first ever virtual memorial day celebration, India Association of Greater Boston commemorated the 2020 Memorial Day with fitting tributes from war veterans, state legislators from all over New England, covid survivors and front line doctors. The event took place on Monday, May 25th, 2020. The day started with honouring the ultimate sacrifices of the many fallen heroes who died while serving in the US military forces and in line with in a true tradition of visiting memorials and cemeteries (virtual) and having family gatherings to remember these soldiers. The responsibility of being grand marshal for this virtual parade was taken by NH house speaker Steve Shurtleff. This was followed by New England legislators sharing their messages with community, starting with Congressman Mr Chris Pappas, MA State Senator Mr Jamie Eldridge, Nashua Mayor Mr Jim Donchess, Deputy Speaker Ms Karen Ebel, State Rep Ms Latha Mangipudi, MA state reps Ms Kay Khan and Mr Tackey Chan, Ex State Reps from VT Ms Kesha Ram, Ex state rep and current congressional primary candidate of RI, Mr Bob Lancia, MA community leader Mr Nam Pham & Ex-congressman Paul Hodge. NH Congresswoman Annie Kuster sent her tribute via pre- recorded video.
The speakers spoke of intense personal experiences and talked about how these sacrifices have given us the freedom and the way of life that we enjoy today. Speakers also urged people to remember on a daily basis the ultimate sacrifice given by our heroes.
In a year where we lost 93 veterans to COVID in HOLYOKE, Massachusetts, dedicated time was given to share experiences of COVID survivors and front line doctors fighting this ongoing battle. IAGB’s very own, past president Mr Anil Sehgal, shared his own experience of a successful battle that he had to take against coronavirus. Dr Charudutt Paranjpe & Dr Rekha Bhandari shared their own experiences of fighting this virus from front lines and offered advice to veterans and senior citizens.
In this time of being “Alone Together” More than 50 people, including many veterans and ex IAGB officers, joined this virtual parade on ZOOM and session was viewed by more than 3400 people across all of New England area.
So take the time, not just on Memorial Day but every day, and take a moment to say thank you to our fallen heroes. For those who never left the battlefields, we must hold them up in our heart and continue honour their memories.
#bhaagiagbbhaag Virtual Walk/Run was one of IAGB’s successful fundraising events that brought people together, virtually, to get up and get moving! In this mission, people were reminded to do their physical exercise, especially during these unusual times when everyone is working from home and it is very difficult to get physical activity unless an event of this kind is organized.
It was a hot day on 20th June 2020, temperatures were expected to touch nearly 100 degrees, and it did turn out to be the hottest day so far this summer. But, in spite of being over 80 degrees in the morning; starting at 8 AM, we were joined by over 200 participants all over the New England area to run/walk on Bhaag IAGB Bhaag day, individually but together. Each of the participants during the process were encouraged to post on social media using the #BhaagIAGBBhaag at the end of their walk/run. Please have a look at this video of the pictures that were posted using the #BhaagIAGBBhaag: We were amazed to see people from the community supporting this mission by wearing IAGB T-shirts and tagging their pictures on social media, making this beautiful event go viral. We are so thankful and ever grateful for all the people who came together for this. You guys rock!
Congratulations to one and all for helping us raise over $5000 towards our IAGB Cares Relief fundraising effort for local food banks and homeless shelters. IAGB as promised will match every dollar up to $10,000.00 through our “IAGB Cares Relief Fund”. Our sincere thanks to T-shirt sponsors: Leader Bank(Sushil Tuli), Bleumi (Thomas Arul), Lakshmi P. Thalanki DMD, MS(Family Orthodontics of Cambridge & Hudson), and Shova Sharma of New York Life Insurance, Million Dollar Round Table agent.
In the meanwhile, enjoy this super cool video of all of us individually yet showing “WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER”!
IAGB Community Youth Excellence Awards 2020: Call for Nominations
IAGB is pleased to invite nominations for the prestigious “IAGB Community Youth Excellence” award. Anyone – including parents, friends and relatives – can nominate a student. Students can also nominate themselves. The deadline is July 31, 2020.
IAGB will recognize a maximum of two students, who demonstrate extraordinary achievement in one or more of the following areas:
Arts and music
Exceptional service of an altruistic nature for the greater good of the community
Eligible nominees must be rising junior or senior high school students of Indian origin, who reside and attend school in the New England Area.
Submit nominations with the following required supporting documentation by July 31 to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Student/school/town name, and student contact details (email, telephone number and address).
A one space two-page essay in Microsoft Word on:
How has Coronavirus affected your education and personal development? How has school closure led to new study solutions?
List major achievements in detail, using separate pages for each area of achievement. Include any supporting documents such as images, videos, etc.
If nomination is made by someone other than the nominee, include the name of the nominating person and contact details.
The awardees will be notified via email and recognized at India Day Festival 2020 on August 15th. If you have any questions, send an email to email@example.com.
Traditional India Day celebration with large gatherings isn’t possible due to COVID-19, however IAGB would be celebrating in a very unique and creative way. For more details on India Day 2020 and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.iagb.org
India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) is the oldest and one of the leading Indian-American organizations in New England. It is a non-profit, non-political, and
non-religious organization, serveings the Indian American communities in the New England region. IAGB strives to foster a strong Indian- American social, cultural and community presence in New England.
SEWA and IAGB raised funds for local pantries, in partnership with local community organizations
As the COVID-19 crisis deepened, the local pantries were flooded with more people needing the basic food items while the food and monetary donations dried up, and they were in dire need of food supplies. India Association of Greater Boston(IAGB), partnered with SEWA international – Boston to help raise funds for local pantries and shelters. We are grateful to the Sewa team for providing a platform for everyone to come together, volunteer, help each other, and give back to the community during these challenging times. The funds were distributed to five local pantries in the New England region, including Nashua Soup Kitchen, and People Helping People / Burlington Food Pantry.
IAGB extends free daily live online yoga sessions – Guru Samaga
IAGB has extended and continues to offer free online live tele-yoga sessions, specifically designed to help well-being during this stressful time. We are partnering with NationalInstitute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) and its Integrated Centre for Yoga (NICY) located in Bengaluru to offer the yoga sessions. Initially, the yoga sessions were offered 5-days a week for four weeks in April. We saw upwards of 65 people attending these sessions regularly, and people from all over are benefitting from these sessions.
The overwhelming response compelled us to extend the yoga session beyond the initial four-week offering. These free yoga sessions are currently running for an hour on weekdays, starting at 7 am. The focus is on breathing exercises, pranayama, and meditation. The entire course is carefully planned based on scientific research and data. For more information and joining the sessions, please click https://www.iagb.org/yoga-covid19/.
IAGB in partnership with NIMHANS (National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences) and its Integrated Center for Yoga (NICY), Bengaluru, India, also organized a special power-packed 3.5-hour session with several experts and panelists from India and the USA sharing their experiences on the International Day of Yoga on June 21. The program started with a live yoga session, followed by an overview of the scientific/medical research data related to mental health through a webinar headed by Padmashri Dr. B.N. Gangadhar. Well renowned yoga practitioner and an eminent Physician/Yoga expert and the Director of SVYASA University, Dr. Nagarathna, in her presentation titled “Yoga for mental health” covered many aspects of her and her institute’s work and highlighted the important aspects of practicing yoga as a family. Following that, a moving video message by Sadguru, Founder of ISHA, specifically focused on people living in the USA was shared. In the next the segment, Harvard University Faculty, Prof. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, shared a presentation on “Yoga for stress.” and showcasing the strides yoga research is making in academia. The final segment of the day involved a panel discussion on “Yoga in Modern Life and Healthy Life Style.” The well-known ayurvedic medicine practitioner, Dr. Jyoti C Hinduja, and yoga practitioners Ram Chelkhara from the Art of Living Foundation, Jay Gupta from ‘Yoga Caps,’ Mr. Dev Lingadevaru from Bramhakumaris, and Mr. Narendra Karapakula from ‘Bharatiya Yog Sansthan’ participated in the panel discussion. Over 180 people attended the entire program.
As American poet Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words”.
Often while rushing through the humdrum of life I’d find myself repeating the lines. “What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare” by WH Davies.
What else would aptly define the busyness of the day, when to-do lists were longer than the arm, yet life silently begged for us to stand a while and just be?
My love of poetry started in middle school, where English teachers made poetry come alive – the passion they infused the class with, the debates they encouraged that kept me engaged.
Reading the English translations of Nobel Laureate Tagore and Kalidasa made me wonder about the beauty of the originals and how much more powerful they would have been!
I count among my favorites Byron, Keats, Shelley, Tagore, Kalidasa to name a few.
I fell in love with poetry in general and especially with “Bangle Sellers” by Sarojini Naidu.
The poem that describes the journey of a young girl through her life with colors of bangles, the bangles that she wears at every stage in her life – why does it stop after the woman becomes a wife and a mother. Why wasn’t there a bangle color after that stage in her life? This was a question that has often bothered me.
Poetry has been a part of my life even after graduating school. Like everyone who loves Bollywood, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sheer magic of Bollywood lyrics.
Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, Majrooh Sultanpuri amongst so many others gave word to songs to suit every mood. If you can’t find a poem to express in Bollywood song what you’re feeling, you just haven’t looked hard enough!
Of my current favorites is this gem, that I can’t resist sharing, penned by Javed Akhtar from the movie “Kal Ho Na Ho”
“Chaahe jo tumhe poore dil se
Milta hai woh mushkil se
Aisa jo koi kahin hai
Bas wohi sabse hasin hai”
Poetry transports us to another world – a world of mystique, a world of fantasy, a world of hope. It is therapeutic – a way to process experiences and emotions. Poetry enriches, challenges, empowers and inspires the human spirit.
Poetry steps in to provide solace, reduce tensions and give us hope. To fill in the silence with meter, words said and unsaid. Poetry is that balm that heals the soul, a salve to wounds that we were yet unaware of.
In these unexpected times, when families are cooped up in close quarters, we have a greater appreciation of solitude.
If I were to sum it up in verse-
“They flash upon that inward eye, which is the bliss of solitude.
And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils”.
Some of my favorites are listed here- [need links for poems]
I wandered lonely as a cloud – William Wordsworth
Bangle Sellers – Sarojini Naidu
The Elegy on the death of a Mad Dog – Oliver Goldsmith
Our community spotlight this month – Sat Bir Singh Khalsa
SPOTLIGHT Interview with Prof. Sat Bir Khalsa, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Director of Yoga Research, Yoga Alliance
IAGB: Prof Khalsa, thank you for being SPOTLIGHT person for our IAGB Newsletter issue. Could you briefly describe your personal journey as to how you got interested in Yoga?
Prof. Khalsa: I was part of the counterculture in late 60s and early 70s and developed interest in the altered states consciousness. My readings further informed me about the strategies about achieving these deeper unitive states of consciousness. Yoga was one such strategy that I learned about. It had inherent advantage because it was not only using the cognitive practice of meditation but also the physical postures, the breathing, the whole lifestyle – a complete approach to making a spiritual journey. Around the same time while working on my undergrad studies at University of Toronto, I heard about and enrolled in a Yoga class for credit and never looked back. My Yoga practice began with my class and later I started going to the Ashram close to the campus for Yoga practice and workshops and engaged in the Yoga practice on a regular basis, and in 1973 I moved into the Ashram.
IAGB: How did Yoga become your academic career and when did it merge with your profession?
Prof. Khalsa: I was always interested in research and wanted to pursue my research interest into Yoga. I started my Ph.D. program in department of Physiology back at University of Toronto with a goal of studying Neuroscience and Neurophysiology to understand the neurophysiology behind these practices. Later I pursued Post-Doctoral work in Sleep and Biological Rhythms at University of Virginia. Some years later the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health awarded me a five-year research career award to study Yoga for Insomnia. So, at last my lifelong goal for doing research on Yoga began in year 2000 and is continuing ever since.
IAGB: Is Yoga an ancient relic or a shiny new thing that is being brought to a wide consumer base?
Prof. Khalsa: Yes, Yoga has been in the history and fabric of India that may be traced back to the Harappan and Indus Valley civilization, but it was never prevalent in the general population throughout India’s history and had remained in the shadows. I would argue that the biggest transition in Yoga practice happened when several Yoga Masters such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Swami Satchidanada Saraswati, including my teacher Yogi Bhajan (Harbhajan Singh Khalsa) came to US from India in the late 60s and early 70s. That’s when the movement really started. By year 2000 Yoga was more popular in US than in India but that has changed since then and Yoga in India is now greater than anywhere else thanks mainly to the new age Yoga Masters such as Baba Ramdev (Ramakrishna Yadav), Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Sadhguru (Jagadish Vasudev) and a big help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Their fame and the growth of Yoga Institutes across the country has pretty much revolutionized the popularity of Yoga in India. The genesis of research on Yoga can be traced to Kaivalyadhama starting in 1920s but then the momentum was picked up with the body of research work done by Shirley Telles out of NIMHANS and since then Yoga research has been growing both in the west and in India. Additionally, Yoga is growing exponentially in the west with 14% of US population actively practicing Yoga.
IAGB: Is there a distinction in Yoga practices here in the West as compared to in India?
Prof. Khalsa: Yoga has grown in two separate veins. One is the physical vein (fitness and health) and the other is the traditional Yoga (as a contemplative practice). A lot of the Yoga in the west is practiced as ‘Asanas’ which serves as a gateway to practice the traditional yoga (that incorporates pranayama and meditation). In India meditation and Yoga are synonymous and they go together. In the west there are many practices that are just meditation with no postures and no breathing exercises (such a transcendental meditation, Zen practice, Buddhist Vipassana practice). The research in Meditation and Yoga is growing too and it is part of the branch of Integrated Medicine.
IAGB: What have been the main challenges that Yoga has faced in its expansion? How would you motivate the wider population and specifically the youth to take up Yoga at a young age?
Prof. Khalsa: One of the obstacles faced in the growth of Yoga has to do with media marketing. Yoga has been promoted in the west by an image of rich, white, woman, flexible doing acrobatic stuff which is at odds with the traditional yoga practice which can be practiced by anyone – the elderly, men, children, people with disorders, obese people, even a quadriplegic can practice by deep breathing. That said, like any other product or service, people who intend to start Yoga practice have to ‘shop’ for the right style for their individual fit. While 14% of US population that is practicing Yoga is significant, it is still a narrow segment as 80% of this population is rich, white, educated, and woman. But more recently Yoga is progressing from the confines of Studios and Ashrams into mainstream society. Yoga is being introduced into institutions such as workplace, health care systems and schools. I believe that the social injustice (because presently it is being made avail by only the rich and educated) can be rectified by introducing Yoga into the schools and into the curriculum, that way you are giving it to everyone. Data reveals that, people with lower income, of minority background are people with greater stress in society and are more in need of Yoga. Workplace is good alternative, but it must be extremely prevalent to be significant and will still miss the elderly and the children populations. Yoga via Health care system is promising especially for treating behavioral related risk factors for disease. But when introduced in schools, Yoga can become a life skill set for millions and they can carry it forward as their life progresses. Furthermore, our children have a huge mental health burden which often goes unrecognized by the society. The cumulative risk factor for a child to develop a clinically significant psychiatric condition between ages 9 and 19 is 80%. Yoga helps with self-regulation and stress in a powerful way.
IAGB: In the day and age of instant gratification – is there one form of Yoga better than other for ‘quick’ results?
Prof. Khalsa: With the rise in popularity of Yoga the diversity in style and options of practices has also grown including some unique ones such as Beer Yoga and Goat Yoga which probably adds to the confusion for beginners seeking Yoga. There are many websites that guide you in your ‘shopping’ experience. Additionally, a book from Harvard Health Publication: Harvard Medical School’s Special Report: Introduction to Yoga is a great resource. This book is a good resource for help in identifying the right style of Yoga for everyone based on their individual needs. People interested mainly in fitness but not in meditation aspect can get drawn towards Hath Yoga or Power Yoga, but my personal recommendation is for people to try the traditional Yoga in order to achieve all the benefits of yoga. Traditional Yoga incorporates not just the asanas, but also the pranayama, the deep relaxation practices and very importantly the meditation component. The ‘shopping’ experience includes three main elements – you, the style, and the teacher. Ideally, I would also recommend trying multiple classes with different teachers. A good fit is critical because without a good fit you won’t practice.
IAGB: Are there any specific commercial/noncommercial Yoga schools/studios that one should choose over the others?
Prof. Khalsa: All Yoga schools/studios are commercial. Yoga teachers earn a living teaching Yoga. All the Yoga styles have their own reputation and branding. The only credentialing of Note is from Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit certification body. Schools of Yoga have registered with this organization and have established guidelines for teacher training. So, if your instructor is certified by the Yoga Alliance, you have a certain degree of confidence that that teacher has gone through a Yoga teacher training program. That said, there is no licensing or government regulation over this, so that doesn’t mean someone who is been teaching Yoga for a long period of time but is not certified by Yoga Alliance is not a good teacher.
IAGB: Outside of Yoga what are your other interests?
Prof. Khalsa: Yoga has been a large part of my life – my professional as well as my personal life. I live in a Yoga Ashram community – The Baba Siri Chand Yoga and Retreat Center (Yoga at the Ashram). The style of Yoga taught at the center is Kundalini Yoga style by our teacher Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini Yoga has a strong popularity in Europe, South America and of course in US and Canada. This style is not taught much in India. The center also has a Gurdwara and many of Yogi Bhajan’s students also became Sikh. Outside of Yoga – I enjoy sports, I play racket ball and street hockey routinely. I enjoy and watch ice hockey. I have an interest in Naval History. I have carried this interest since my adolescent years.
IAGB: What is your connection to India? Have you traveled to India?
Prof. Khalsa: Though I have no ancestry in India, I have traveled to India probably 25 times over the past 20 years. Most of my visits to India have been for conferences, for interaction with other Yoga Researchers, to give lectures and to visit Yoga research institutes. The three most notable ones in India are – Kaivalyadhama Yoga institute and research center in Lonavala, SVYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana) Yoga Institute in Bengaluru and more recently the Patanjali research foundation in Haridwar.
It was my pleasure to chat with Dr. Anil Saigal and Ranjani Saigal, two well-known and highly respected names in the Boston community. The entire community was very worried for their wellbeing after they contracted COVID. No one knew much about the disease in March, so the unknowns were bigger. I spoke to them about their experience battling this terrible disease and their takeaways for us.
IAGB: Thank you very much for your time and willingness to share your COVID journey with our readers. Do you know where or how you contracted COVID-19?
Dr. Anil Saigal: I was in Oxford from Mar 5th to Mar 15th. At that point, there were no restrictions in the UK and life was normal. Since I couldn’t get a direct flight home, I came through JFK, where I had to spend a night. I either contracted COVID in UK or JFK. Ranjani wasn’t with me, but she got the infection from me.
IAGB: When did you start showing symptoms? What were your symptoms? Did you have any pre-existing conditions?
Dr. Anil Saigal: I flew back home on the 16th of March and on the 19th I started feeling sick with slight fever. So, I called my doctor on the 20th. At first the nurse I spoke with did not think I had COVID based on my symptoms but I insisted on seeing the doctor, who after hearing my travel history agreed I should get tested. I got the positive test results on 23rd morning. I self-quarantined at that point. And no, I do not have any pre-existing conditions.
IAGB: At what point did you have to be hospitalized?
Dr. Anil Saigal: My daughter Amrita has many friends that are doctors, and one of her friends asked her to check if I was breathing normally or heavily. She called Ranjani to check that who noticed that I was indeed breathing heavily. Amrita’s friend recommended to not take any chance and call 911. The ambulance came and took me to Lahey. I don’t remember if I was breathing heavy or anything but remember walking to ambulance and being wheeled into Lahey. This was the last thing I remember of my long struggle and rest is a blur. For me, getting medical help at the right time was critical. I was intubated as soon as I reached the hospital.
IAGB: At what point did you get tested, Ranjaniji?
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: My symptoms were cough, fever and feeling faint but nothing as extreme as Anil’s. The hospital declined testing for me. When the hospital informed me that Anil had to be intubated, I fainted. I was transported to Lahey by ambulance where they tested me immediately. I was hospitalized for a day. My main symptom associated with COVID-19 was feeling dizzy. Our friend Dr. Ashok Joshi gave me an oximeter so I could keep tabs on my oxygen level.
IAGB: What happened after that?
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: I was home, in total isolation, feeling unwell myself and worrying for Anil incessantly. When our friends found out, they started reaching out. My dear friend Raksha Soni took charge of the food along with Vaishali Gade, and this is how “Meals to Heal” program came into being. I was the first person to benefit from it. Every morning there would be home cooked food delivered to my doorstep. My neighbor was very kind and made sure I had the basic necessities.
IAGB: When Anilji was at the hospital and you were home alone, how did you manage at home?
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: Prayer, Prayer and more Prayer. I was praying all day. I am a trained priest, so have access to many scriptures that I read all day long. Being in isolation, I had no one to hug, so I would pick up my idols and hug them. God wanted me to get closer to him that way. In my opinion, you need something to hold onto, your faith is very important. At such times, you get into prayer so quickly. My kids learned so many scriptures in this time. The Power of prayer is amazing. With God by my side, I never felt alone.
IAGB: Tell us about your experience with the hospital
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: Lahey was amazing. It was very well equipped. The doctors were excellent and were very kind to talk to our family, and they did all the right things. But having someone on top of everything was important. This is when our kids’ friends helped a lot.
Dr. Anil Saigal: Honestly, I have no memory of those 50 days! And no one could visit me during that time. I was intubated for 29 days, and even after that when I was conscious while still at the hospital and rehab, I don’t remember anything. Apparently, this is a common phenomenon and in fact better for a patient that goes through trauma so there is no PTSD. I would rather take this than remember the saga.
IAGB: At what point did the hospital discharge you?
Dr. Anil Saigal: After I was taken off the ventilator, I was in the hospital for another week. They were constantly monitoring my vitals and parameters. Once they knew that I had recovered from COVID-19 I was moved to rehab. The only remaining issues I had upon discharge from the hospital were ventilator issues. Rehab was focused on making me independent. I was there for 12 days, which is an unusually short recovery time.
IAGB: Tell us about your stay at the rehab center?
Dr. Anil Saigal: There was an entire wing of COVID patients, but no one was allowed to interact with each other. On my second or third day there, they asked me if I knew the date and I was shocked to find out that it was May 7th. I said what happened to month of April? When I later told Ranjani and kids, they started laughing. That’s when they realized I remembered nothing!
IAGB: How was homecoming?
Dr. Anil Saigal: To me it seemed like I was out for a short period as I have no memory of the hospital stay. But once I realized what had happened, I was thrilled to be back home.
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: He doesn’t remember he had such a hard time but everyone else knows ☺ When he was moved from Lahey to rehab, he did not understand what the whole fuss was about as he didn’t realize he was in the hospital for so long. Once at rehab he realized what had happened he was super excited to come home. And the whole family was beyond ecstatic! It felt like God came at that moment. Every day he was at the hospital felt like a year. This is the year we bonded more with our son-in-law, and his family. His sister is a God gift who helped us immensely in these tough times. She is a doctor herself and kept the communication going with the Lahey doctors.
IAGB: What would you like our readers to take from your experience?
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: People should understand how serious this is. It can happen to anyone. We did not take it that seriously initially. If we knew, Anil would have been more cautious in Oxford and JFK. He wasn’t wearing a mask then and no one else was. Till it hits you personally or someone you know, it is a just a number. But when it hits you, you realize how real it is. One thing I found out was even when your loved ones are in the ICU, you can send holy ash (vibhuti). The Chaplin will make sure they will put ash on the patient and say a prayer. The hospital supports you in sending your faith via these means. This meant a lot to me.
Dr. Anil Saigal: Most important thing we learned is everyone should have a healthcare proxy. About 80-90% Indians don’t have. If you don’t have one, DO IT urgently. And make sure your spouse and kids know where the papers are. For everything in ICU, they need permission. We cannot stress how very critical it is to have a healthcare proxy. Especially when moving me from Lahey to rehab, they would have needed a court order without a proxy, which could take a week’s time. Fortunately, I was awake and I could tell them that my wife is my proxy.
IAGB: If you were to go back and redo, what would you do differently if you got COVID?
Dr. Anil Saigal: I would take it more seriously to begin with. Otherwise from my side I couldn’t have done anything differently. I quarantined myself as soon as I knew I had COVID.
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: If it was today, they won’t have intubated Anil right away. But this is all emerging so we don’t know what is accurate. If one ever has to go to the hospital, make sure someone brings your personal belongings back. All of Anil’s stuff was lost. They had no clothes for him when he was being moved from hospital to rehab. Another important thing is to have resources around you. You need a lot of doctors to humans’ translation. My Son in law’s sister is an amazing person, along with Amrita’s friends – I want to give a shout out to these younger doctors. I have absolute appreciation for these youngsters who are so willing to help. The hospitals are so busy that they have no time to talk to everyone. We were lucky to know a doctor at Lahey. Build your network. Ask for help.
IAGB: One thing that both of you are looking to get back to when this is over?
Dr. Anil Saigal: This is my second life. I will make it a point to try to make some difference in this world, to do my best to help people with this second chance I have been given.
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: I want some peace, quiet and an uneventful life! To Anil’s point, I learned a lot and want to share that with all. Ekal is a blessing for me, it keeps me engaged and happy. It is my way to give back to the society.
IAGB: Have you been tested for antibodies?
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: We haven’t been tested. And unfortunately, we cannot donate since we have been to India to a malaria impacted area very recently. Though I have signed up myself in the plasma registry for future needs.
IAGB: Now that both of you are mostly safe from this virus, are you folks staying home or going out?
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: No place to go now ☺ No celebrations or events…lol. We are not taking any more or any less precautions than others are. We haven’t changed our lifestyles. We go for a walk every day to get fresh air.
Dr. Anil Saigal: I am not bored as I don’t know where first 2 months went by!
IAGB: Parting words for our readers?
Dr. Anil Saigal: We take things for granted. We need to remember that every day is a special day. Enjoy the most you can because you never know what strikes when. Have fun, be helpful, be respectful and take one day at a time.
Mrs. Ranjani Saigal: We are blessed to live in the Boston community I have received incredible help. IAGB’s mission is critical, it is building community, and it is very important to continue with this mission. Everybody we have touched knowingly unknowingly in any way, reached out back. It is unimportant to “succeed” in life but important to reach out to people. We are truly blessed to be in this Boston community.
Dr. Anil Saigal, a former IAGB President is Professor of mechanical engineering at Tufts University. Ranjani Saigal, former IAGB Director is executive director of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA. They are very active community members and co-founders of www.lokvani.com, a South Asian media outlet in New England.
IAGB in collaboration with Shishu Bharti is excited to present a fun-filled, thoughtful , and educational insight into India’ s long journey from being a subjugated nation to a free nation, now in it’s 73rd year of Independence. There will be 6 sessions with prizes at the end of every session as well at the end of the classes. Please register at the link below to participate. All classes will be held on Zoom. Upon registration you will receive a Zoom ID and password to participate. Classes will begin on July 12th, Sunday from 10 am to 12 am. Registration is free. These classes are open to all Middle School and High School students.
I do not look to history to absolve my country of the need to do things right today. Rather I seek to understand the wrongs of yesterday, both to grasp what has brought us to our present reality and to understand the past for itself.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor
“An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India”
India gained its independence from the British on August 15th 1947, after almost two hundred years of British rule. The British East India Company came to India in the 17th century to trade with a rich and prosperous India, created an Empire that lasted for two centuries, and then left an exploited and impoverished nation.
The resistance to British rule had an extremely violent phase in 1857, called the “Sepoy Mutiny” or the “First War of Indian Independence”, which led to crushing defeat. It took a decades long nonviolent movement, finally led by one of the greatest human beings in history, Mahatma Gandhi, to gain independence.To further their rule, the British deepened religious divisions that led to a bloody partition into two countries at Independence. All Indians and those of Indian origin in the world are living with the legacy of this period.
In this six part virtual series course sponsored and promoted by the Indian Association of Greater Boston (IAGB), a group of passionate teachers from the Shishubharati School of Culture and Languages will explore this topic.
We will go through a timeline of the events through three centuries, describe the critical factors and important personalities at play; using a book list, Youtube videos and voluntary quizzes to supplement and illustrate the lessons.
Prizes will be given for participation through the course, and at the end.
Who: Middle School and High School Students
When: Every Sunday 10 AM -11 AM, July 12 – August 16 2020 (Zoom link to be sent)
For any questions, please contact: Indian Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) : Mrs. Lata Rao (firstname.lastname@example.org) Shishubharati: Dr. Seshi Somapuram (email@example.com) , Mr. Vineet Kumar (firstname.lastname@example.org)