As we get ready to say good-bye to 2019, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our members, readers and well-wishers for your continued support to IAGB. In the last month, we had the opportunity to welcome the Indian Ambassador to US, Hon’ble Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla along with Hon’ble Consulate General Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty. At this gathering IAGB brought together representatives from multiple regional organizations. Partnering and collaborating with a wide diaspora of Indian Americans, we will make a bigger impact on the governance at local, state and federal level by highlighting issues and areas of concern to Indian Americans.

The IAGB team is busy gearing up for the upcoming Republic Day Mela 2020 and we hope you are as excited as we are.

In this issue, you will find:
  • Boston welcomes the Indian Ambassador – Sanjay Kudrimoti & Yogita Miharia
  • Guest Column – Shuchi Gupta
  • Spotlight – Jollson Varghese of KANE & Manoj Pillai of NEMA
  • OCI Updates – Published and verified by CGNY
  • IAGB Upcoming events
  • IAGB Recent events
  • IAGB Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners

Like always, we invite you to submit guest columns on diverse topics for inclusion in the newsletter. Your feedback and suggestions and welcome!! Please contact via Email if you wish to make community event announcements through this newsletter.

Please visit our Website to sign up for annual family/single or life membership of IAGB. Contact Us if you are interested to volunteer at our upcoming events.

IAGB wishes Happy Holidays to all its members!
We wish you and your family Happy and Joyous Holidays! We hope you get to take some time off and recharge and rejuvenate for the new year.

-- Yogita Miharia & Sanjay Kudrimoti


BOSTON WELCOMES Hon’ble Shri. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the Indian Ambassador to USA

-- Sanjay Kudrimoti & Yogita Miharia
Dec 6th 2019
On a typical crisp December day, Boston warmly welcomed the new Indian Ambassador to US – Shri. Harsh Vardhan Shringla. With the city of Boston blanketed in a thin layer of snow that had been coming down since early morning, a group of volunteers from India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB), men dressed in suits and women adorning beautiful sarees, came driving into the city from the many suburbs where they live and work. The early evening traffic issues were compounded with the snow and slick roads, but none deterred them and their enthusiasm for the evening. Northeastern University (NEU) sits right in the heart of the city of Boston and within its heart is the Curry Center – the student Union building which was the venue for today evening. Students, who were in the midst of preparing for their semester end exams, rushing between dorms, dining hall or the library, were plentiful company for the short walk from a nearby parking lot to the Curry Center. The Ball room was a flight of stairs above this hustling bustling student center filled with young energies. By the start of the event, close to 150 guests, all by invitation only, had assembled to meet and hear from Ambassador Shri. Shringla.

The first to address the group gathered for the evening was the dean of NEU’s school of Business, Dr. Raj Echambadi. He welcomed Ambassador Shri. Shringla, the Counsel General of New York Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty and other podium guests including the two main organizers of the event Mr. Sanjay Gowda, President of IAGB and Mr. Kanchan Banerjee, the Managing Director at Boston Center of Excellence (BoCE). Dr. Echambadi highlighted the achievements of Indian- American students/faculty at the NEU. One by one, all invited podium guests spoke to the audience.

One of the triumphant moments from that evening was when Mr. Gowda called upon the stage, leads of regional organizations to be felicitated by the Ambassador. Overall there were representations from twenty-two regional organizations. In addition to these, there were community leaders from well-known organizations like Saheli, Hindi Manch and a few others. Bringing all the regional organizations to assemble at one place to network and get to know each other was a highlight of the evening, and considered as an epic achievement by many. Mr. Gowda and the entire IAGB team hopes this will help in unifying the disparate resources of all Indian Americans living in New England, not just to help manage cultural events better, but also in lobbying efforts with local, state and federal governments in areas that are of interest to Indian Americans.

Finally, the key note was delivered by the honorable Ambassador. Shri Shringla addressed the gathering with lot of passion and enthusiasm. He expressed his sincere gratitude for the invitation and felicitation. In his address, the Ambassador touched upon many of the hot topic issues related to India. He explained the intent of Indian Government’s action to repeal Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir and laid down the arguments for the expected growth in economy, improvement of living standards and most importantly achieving peace in one of the most intense hotspot region of the world. He also addressed the migration issue on India’s northeastern border and how Indian government is partnering with its neighbors and helping them to improve their economies by making investments in their future. He encouraged and urged all the organizations gathered there to make united efforts in bringing their concerns up the channels and promised to return to Boston soon when the weather is much warmer and comfortable.



-- Shuchi Gupta
Have you watched the British Baking Show? Its additive! All those people, regular folks like you and me, whipping up sugary treats that look and sound delicious...My family, ages 4 and up, is hooked. I find myself making desserts way more often than I used to, simply to curb the sugar craving that watching baking shows creates in us.

My 9 year old is positively bitten by the baking bug. Takes it from her mom maybe. I have loved baking ever since my mom got an OTG back in India. From rock hard cakes to, crater cakes to doughy cakes I have done it all..kudos to my parents that didn’t once complain about the giants amounts of materials i wasted. I was in grade 5 o 6 when I started baking. I wasn’t very good at it. My mom used to bake vanilla and chocolate cakes. But even back then I wanted explore flavors. I would try changing the recipe and almost always it would not work. At least at first. Then came grade 9 and all of this took a back seat for almost a decade. Nothing was paramount than getting good grades on board exams or as my mom would remind me often, zindagi barbaad. Yeah, she can be dramatic when she needs to be. Before I knew it was in college doing my MBA and before i was out of there i was hired as a management trainee with a well known company. My parents were happy so I was happy. Mumbai is where I was posted before I moved to Delhi. I remember some stressful days at work when I would just take my car, drive home, which btw was an hour's drive one way, and bake a cake. Baking would automatically release all of my stress. It made me happy like nothing else did. It made me feel ready to take on the world again.

We moved to Bangalore and I was baking almost every day.i was now confident enough to try flavors of my own and they worked every time. I did not know what to do with so much cake. So i would distribute it amongst my grateful neighbors. It was a big apartment complex so there was no dearth of neighbors. Soon the moms, prodded by their kids, started requesting me to teach them baking cakes and making frosting. After a day of work, my evenings were taken up by visiting someone’s house and baking, frosting, decorating. I absolutely loved those days. It was just so heart warming to see how a simple act of baking made entire families excited and happy.

I moved to USA a few years ago. It boggled my mind to the how easily, hard to find ingredients in India, were available in stores hereI Indeed a land of opportunities. I immediately took on baking again.I am a pretty good baker today. My favorite bit is definitely the decorating! My 2 girls absolutely love it too. Something about letting your creativity out on something that is also delicious! It pleases all senses, visual , gastronomic and everything in between! Holidays and around and this is a time when baking is particularly big in kitchens. Families huddle in kitchen to whip up various bakes, cakes, pies, pastries, sweet and savory. After all, winter is when you can afford to go easy on the calorie counting and let go just a little bit! And kids get delicious memories to cherish for a lifetime!

I continue to write my story with a piping bag in my hand and I am so grateful to have a passion like this in my life. I feel everyone must have something apart from work, that makes you happy, releases all the happy hormones. Have you found your’s yet? 

Shuchi Gupta is a mom to two, an avid baker and loves to play with flavors in food. She is a published author and loves to paint when she wants to unwind.
Our community spotlight this month is on KANE (Kerala Association of New England) and NEMA (New England Malayalee Association. We spoke to Mr. Jollson Varghese, the current President of KANE and Mr. Manoj Pillai, the current President of NEMA. "
Jollson Varghese of KANE
Manoj Pillai of NEMA
IAGB : Thank you Mr. Jollson and Mr. Manoj for representing KANE and NEMA respectively and for this SPOTLIGHT interview. Tell us about your organization, its history and its structure.
Jollson Varghese : KANE stands for Kerala Association of New England. It was founded in 1970, and will be soon celebrating its 50 th anniversary. KANE is a membership based non-profit and non-political organization, currently with a membership base of 600 families. The term period is from Oct through Sept. The executive committee consists of 51 members. We also have a division under KANE for our youth called “KANE Junior”. KANE junior has a parallel structure of committee members like KANE and have their own separate bank account. 
Manoj Pillai : NEMA stands for New England Malayalee Association. It was founded in 2004 as a non-profit and non-political organization. NEMA is a registered non-profit organization in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We have about 500 member families that keep renewing their membership year after year. Our term is Oct through Sept. The executive committee consists of 57.

IAGB : What is the mission of KANE & NEMA? 
Jollson (KANE) : Our mission is to nurture and embrace the Malayalee culture, to provide a home away from home. 
Manoj (NEMA) : Our mission is to nurture and bring the Malayalee culture into the US. Most broadly, NEMA serves to cultivate and support the exchange of ideas between Malayalees and people of other cultures.

IAGB : Tell us about your events. Which one is your flagship event?
Jollson (KANE) : We have a variety of events throughout the year - Halloween, Diwali, Christmas, Kala Sandhya, which was started last year as a showcase for, Malhar, which is a dance competition that runs over three weekends, an outdoor family picnic and Onam celebrations. Onam is our biggest and most popular event. Our volunteers cook all the traditional food that is served at Onam. Almost 2000 people attend it every year. Halloween is organized and run exclusively by KANE Junior. We are working towards making Malhar our flagship event. I was one of the core people who worked on Malhar during its inception in 2016. 
Manoj (NEMA) : Like KANE, we too have a variety of events throughout the year - Hallo-Diwali, where we include the elements of Diwali like fireworks into Halloween, Christmas, Badminton tournament, family picnic with outdoor fun, and Drishya, which is spread over five weekends. Drishya is our flagship event and is well known even outside of NEMA. It started in 20 09 10 as a small event for local participants. Now, we see close to 1500-2000 participants. It is one of the biggest events in New England and is even getting national attention. Our judges come from outside of New England area too. Winning in Drishya is a matter of prestige for dance schools. Drishya turns ten in 2020. 

IAGB : Where do you see your respective organizations in the next five years?
Jollson (KANE) : We want to continue spreading our mission and keep seeing new members. I would like to see this organization sustain for many years to come and make sure our youngsters take charge. It is very important to sustain this type of organization to keep our roots alive especially when living outside of India.
Manoj (NEMA) : Seeing the enthusiasm of the volunteers, my expectation is it will continue to grow. We want to make sure the passion doesn’t die. We want to instill more passion in our members by upholding our mission, by giving back to the community through our various cultural programs and charity activities. We want our kids to be the future face of NEMA, to proudly embrace our culture and carry on the mission. The goal is that our kids get that feeling of belonging. As long as this is there, our organization will sustain. I would like to see our youngsters come forth and take charge.

IAGB : What are some of the other initiatives of your organizations?
Jollson (KANE) : One of our important community service initiatives is KANE care. It started 5 years ago with the goal of charity, humanity and awareness. We have raised substantial amounts to be donated to Kerala floods and Chennai floods in the last few years. We go to local soup kitchens to cook and serve as and when possible. We also conduct various seminars on variety of topics for the benefit of our members. We invite knowledgeable members from the community to speak at these events.
Manoj (NEMA) : We have an active youth wing under which they volunteer at our events. We give them volunteer hour certificates at the end of the year to motivate them to serve. NEMA is enrolled in PVSA (Presidential Volunteer Service Awards) and thus are officially entitled to give out these certificates. Our newest initiative for Christmas event is to go green. We will be using compostable utensils only and are working with special vendors who will come and collect the compost. We also recently donated $50,000 for Kerala floods that we raised in 3 days from across New England. The money collected is being used to build 7 houses for people who lost their homes in the floods and needed rehabilitation. We are also starting to explore ways to work with local charities. NEMA also has an emergency task force to help the community in emergency situations.
IAGB : Tell us about your experience as a President of your respective organizations.
Jollson (KANE) : This is the 50 th year of KANE and I feel truly honored and privileged to be the president for this milestone year. We will be doing a special celebratory event and giving out a souvenir to all our members. We will also take this opportunity to recognize all our past presidents. 
Manoj (NEMA) : As I mentioned, Drishya turns ten in 2020 and I am thrilled to be the president during this time. This year’s event will be even bigger and better not only for its members but also for our participants. We are currently working on the logistics for that, so stay tuned.

IAGB : What is the need for two Malayalee organizations in New England?
Jollson (KANE) : It is more important to have Malayalee representation here than to think about which organization they belong to. The two organizations are based in two different geographical areas, thus enabling us to serve better.  
Manoj (NEMA) : The Malayalee community was growing, and we couldn’t accommodate all under one roof for any event. There are close to 1000 households in MA, ME, NH, VT, RI, CT. 

IAGB : Tell us about yourself
Jollson : I was born and brought up in Kerala. I did my Masters in Computer Science from Mahatma Gandhi University. I came to the US in 2008 on an H1B visa and am currently working as a Software Engineer with Technology Company in downtown Boston. I live in Southborough with my lovely wife Jeejo who is a Software Engineer. We have two kids, Jeremy and Jeniya. I have been a member of KANE since 2008 but became an active volunteer in 2011. I am an Art Enthusiast, and I do content creation and digital design for KANE since 2013 for its Newsletters and Events.
Manoj : I work as an IT engineer and I always look forward to any opportunity to serve people in need. I live Chelmsford with my wife and 2 boys. I enjoy reading, cooking and music. I hope to continue serving the community and be part of many selfless service initiatives.

IAGB : The two presidents also told us how both organizations always join hands and bring movies or artists from India for the benefit of the Malayalee community. They both share a common missing of spreading the culture irrespective of the funds. 

Visit http://www.kaneusa.org/ to learn more about KANE.

Visit https://nemausa.org/ to learn more about NEMA.

-- Yogita Miharia & Sanjay Kudrimoti


Welcome relief regarding OCI rules for NRIs - please see the update from Consul General of India, NY
IAGB upcoming Events

Republic Day Mela 2020: Open for Registrations.
We are excited to announce the details for the upcoming Republic Day Mela 2020. It will be celebrated on January 25, 2020, at the Burlington High School, Burlington, MA. The Republic Day Mela is a day-long event with multiple competitions (for all ages) and multiple cultural segments.
Register for Competitions at :
Register for Cultural Performances at:
Support us through your partnership and advertisement. Early bird for booths ends on December 15th. Please visit iagb.org/sponsorship for more details. Any questions on sposorships, send an email at sponsorship@iagb.org.

IAGB hosted Indian Visa Camp and helped many community members to get their Indian PASSPORT/ VISA/ OCI applications pre-approved by the consulate staff that was visiting us from New York..
The event venue was Swamy Narayan Temple in Lowell MA on Saturday, November 16th 11am-3pm .
Feaster Five Run

To promote a healthy and energetic lifestyle, IAGB participated in a 5K /5 Mile walk/run which is the largest race in the Merrimack Valley and 2nd largest in the state (only 2nd to the Boston Marathon).
The race happened on Thanksgiving Morning (Thursday) at 8:30am. Over 10,000 runners run this race. The Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race, presented by Schneider Electric, has been a Merrimack Valley tradition since 1987.
Visit by Indian Ambassador to Boston in Pictures
India Day celebration has been made possible by support of number of great organizations and individuals every year. Corporate sponsors of India Day 2019 are Harvard Pilgrim and Healthcare, Newyork Life Insurance Company, One World Cuisine, BMW of Sudbury, Indian Circle for Caring, and Nexus Holidays. IAGB would like to extend a sincere thanks for their support and generosity.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care(HPHC)
Headquartered in Wellesley, MA, Harvard Pilgrim and its family of companies provide health benefit plans, programs and services to more than 3 million customers in New England and beyond. A leading not-for-profit health services company, Harvard Pilgrim guides members – and the communities its serves – to better health.
Hotstar (Star TV India) which is now part of The Walt Disney Company. Hotstar is the biggest streaming destination in India with 300 Mn users and the leading South Asian platform in the US. We have the best of Indian Entertainment,MoviesWeb Series, regional content and Sports including the IPL and Cricket World Cup. The purpose of this email was to reach out to understand how we could work with the Indian community at your workplace. We have built our reach in the US through community connects such as Cricket fests, match screenings, comedy fest etc.
Currently Streaming
Hotstar Specials- Out of Love
Showing Master Chef India
Movies- Housefull 4 and Arjun Reddy
Everything in one Platform Don’t Miss the Excitement.
Now Subscribe Using Promo Code IAGBSTAR for special discount.
Newyork Life Insurance Company
At the heart of New York Life is a commitment to be there for the customers when they need -whether today or decades into the future. NY Life has delivered on that promise for nearly 175 years by investing wisely, growing a diversified mix of businesses, and remaining true to the mission as a mutual company, accountable only to their customers, not to outside investors.
People come to work at New York Life to contribute to the financial goals of millions of families and businesses each day. NY Life has a diverse, nationwide workforce that allows them to support the communities where we work. New York Life has a dedicated South Asian Unit for the past 20 years.
One World Cuisine
For over 30 years, One World Cuisine restaurants group has provided Boston with distinctive culinary excellence from the Indian subcontinent. Over the years, the family of restaurants has grown to include diverse culinary concepts ranging from casual takeout, to fine dining and nightlife, to gourmet Indian groceries. One World Cuisine is constantly expanding and pushing the envelope of Boston’s restaurant trade through innovative concepts, unsurpassed quality, and impeccable service.
At BMW of Sudbury, a Herb Chambers Company, we don't believe in providing the same old dealership experience, and we aren't interested in sticking to the status quo. We are committed to satisfying our customers' every automotive need, and we strive to create the kind of environment that they'll want to share with others. Come to this Massachusetts BMW dealer and you will find a wealth of chic and well-designed vehicles for your consideration. Browse our new 2018-2019 inventory and you'll find a large selection of  new BMW  models, including the ever-popular BMW X5 SAV®, BMW 3 Series sedan and BMW i8 coupe. We also have plenty of well-kept  used BMW  models for budget-conscious shoppers to browse, as well as trustworthy Certified Pre-Owned BMW vehicles. 
Indian Circle for Caring USA Inc., (ICC) is a volunteer non-profit organization focused on providing urgent or emergency guidance and support for our fellow community members and their families as they may encounter unplanned and unexpected events such as serious sickness, hospitalization, accidents, family crisis, and death / bereavement of a loved one. Started in August 2007, ICC has been actively building awareness in the community by working with existing social, religious, professional, services, media and other organizations as well as participation at various events. ICC has over 5,500 members and has received support of over sixty (60) organizations. In order to provide needed support to its clients ICC has built a bank of over 250 volunteers and established strategic partnership with several organizations.
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in New York, Nexus Holidays is a global tour operator with 15 offices worldwide. Our speciality is in the designing, developing, worldwide marketing and selling of high quality tour programs exploring regions such as China, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and much more. By serving over 70,000 customers annually, we are known as one of the leading brands for Asia travel, as our tour programs are designed primarily for North American travelers valuing reliability and flexibility, with attractive prices. Nexus Holidays is also a fully integrated retail travel service provider offering services in air booking, hotel arrangement, cruise reservation and holiday travel. We have established a significant presence across the United States with five offices located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC and New York. With our local knowledge and global expertise, we create value and deliver on promises to achieve the ultimate goal of offering you a seamless travel experience. Explore with Nexus Holidays now!
Editors: Sanjay Kudrimoti & Yogita Miharia
IAGB Communications