This is the first edition of eNews since the the new Executive Committee took charge of IAGB operations for the term 2017 - 2019. This edition introduces a few new features to increasingly engage our readers and community beyond the regular updates.

In this edition you will see:
  • Note From the President's Desk
  • Guest Column From IAGB Member
  • Community Spotlight: Shefali Kalyani and We Care Charity
  • IAGB Upcoming Events
  • Community Calendar
  • Our Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners

We will strive to to introduce more new features as we go along. Every month, we will spotlight a new personality from our community. Additionally, 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 become a / an annual / life / corporate member of IAGB or Contact Us if you are interested to volunteer at our upcoming events.


It's been a month since the new Executive Committee has come into force and what a busy month it has been!! Having organized ourselves into five platforms (Civic Leadership, Community Services, Youth/Next Gen Engagement, Senior Interactions and Culture), we have set some lofty goals for the next two years. We want to propel ourselves forward speedily and in multiple directions while maintaining a consistent focus on quality and transparency in operations. But no matter how strong our desire and how expansive our focus, one thing is pretty clear in my mind. We cannot do this without your support and engagement! T his is YOUR organization and we are here to serve you. Therefore, please come forth with ideas and feedback, engage and volunteer with us to help us make it what YOU believe IAGB should be for you, your children and our society!


Our deepest sympathies to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack and the Sutherland Springs, TX church shooting
India Association of Greater Boston is shocked and saddened by the unfortunate killing of innocent residents, tourists in New York city and church goers in Sutherland Springs, TX. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time.
Contributing author: Nilay Mukherjee

The Role of Indian American Organizations in our Evolving Diaspora

Satyajit walked into Winchester High School, his nerves slightly on edge. He had no idea what to expect. This was his first experience with the local Bengali club, which was celebrating Durga Puja: his first one away from his home in Kolkata. He had come to Boston a mere nine months ago. As he stepped inside, he heard the familiar sound of Dhak, its haunting rhythm playing in the background. He saw the image of Ma Durga: old fashioned but such a sight for his sore eyes! He heard people talk in Bengali. The smell of freshly cooked khichuri hit his nostrils. Yes……this was beginning to feel like home: not really, because this looked like a time capsule from thirty years ago, but this would do.

For many immigrants living in the USA, Indian American organizations offer a chance to relive special occasions away from the homeland. Important festivals: both religious and secular, food, culture, the works! The organizations offer a chance to belong to a community of like-minded people who all have a common ancestry, a common culture, a common sense of identity.
Many of the Indian American Organizations were founded in the 70s by immigrants, fresh off the boat, thirsting for a taste of the motherland. The old timers tell tales of when a mere 30 people used to attend the festivities and everyone knew each other. “It was like home!” they say, as their voice trail away wistfully. This was the time, when you had to wait for someone to return from India so you can get something as basic as a supply of cooking spices: black jeera or poppy seeds or haldi!

The times, they have changed! With the influx of the IT generation, being Indian is not what it used to be back in the seventies. There are Indian stores, Indian movies release in theaters the same day as in India, every major celebrity comes by to pay homage to the NRI’s. And there is something else: a large population of second generation Indians. They have different dreams and different aspirations. Can the quintessential American-Indian organization adapt to meet these changing needs?

What are these needs? When we can get Indian food anyday we want, Indian culture abounds in multiple TV channels, cricket is no longer something you have to “pool” money to watch: what can these organizations offer? Simply more Bollywood dancing, sarees and jewelry shops? Or is there something more?

There is more. For one, there is a growing interest in politics. Gone are the days when Indians would focus on growing their careers and wealth under the radar. They now have a voice and they want to be heard. There are Indians at the local politics level: even a couple of Governors of Indian Origin. The possibilities are unending. Can the Indian American Organizations adapt to this need?
How are we going to marry the generations? The old timers who are happy listening to music from twenty years ago with the fun loving IT generation with the ABCD’s who have grown up here: barely speaking the language and probably married to a through bred American (if there is such a thing). Can we find common ground? Are there issues that interest them all? The organizations that figure this out will be the ones that thrive. Otherwise, when the old timers die, the old way will go with them.

As we stand on the threshold of this important transition, it is time to rethink how we come together, how we celebrate, how we address our diversity of needs. India, as a culture, has always thrived in this atmosphere, finding unity in diversity. I remain hopeful that our organizations can do the same. 

Members interested in submitting a guest column in our newsletter can send an email to iagb@iagb.org.
Starting with this eNews edition we will shine SPOTLIGHT on an individual (or a team) who has (have) founded and/or running an organization that impacts positively and significantly on the lives of New England residents.

This month we are shining the SPOTLIGHT on Shefali Kalyani - the Founder and President of We Care Charity

I AGB: Welcome to the first edition of SPOTLIGHT. We consider our privilege to have this opportunity to interview you for our inaugural edition. Please tell us how you started We Care Charity (WCC).
Shefali Kalyani : I thank you for shining the light on a noble cause – feeding the hungry. My motivation was just to feed people. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know where and when. I simply had the urge. The reason I had this urge was because I am a devotee of Shridi Sai Baba, and there its always about feeding. I have read lot of religious literature and if you talk about Bible, talk about Gita, it all comes down to feeding the hungry. That is one thing I took from all of it and that is how I developed the urge to feed people.

My first time was when Nashua soup kitchen called me and asked to cook for two hundred people. It was overwhelming, but we had lot of friends who came and helped us. We paid for everything as we were not a nonprofit at that time. Lot of our friends too chipped in financially as well. Next day we got an anonymous donation of fifty dollars. Even today we don’t know who it was from. I believe in miracles, and in fact I rely on them. The true experience was not so much of cooking but of serving was very humbling. So I said to myself I want to do it again. So we did it again and again and then the Nashua soup kitchen asked us if we want to take the 4 th Saturday of every month to cook and serve. That’s how this all started. But then when people started to give me money as donations, I felt uncomfortable to take it, as I didn’t know many of them. That is when we decided to form a nonprofit 501(C) 3 organization. Now we can give donors tax receipts.

IAGB: How would you motivate others to follow your steps?
Shefali Kalyani: Even before my first time cooking and feeding, I once volunteered at a soup kitchen. That day as I was serving half way through I felt sick in my stomach. I felt a pinch in my stomach as to how many hungry people are there and something that I had not seen even though I grew up here. I left half way through when I was serving. I was afraid that I was going to throw up. The manager ran up to me and asked if I was okay. I was crying and telling him I had never seen anything like this. He looked up to me and said, go home today, but I know you will be back. Anyone who feels so bad after watching these people usually do something more. He said to me – “you will do something more”. And it was only one month after this I cooked and served the first two hundred meals I spoke about before. The best way to motivate others to follow on my footsteps is to ask people to come and volunteer at a soup kitchen once. Serving is where the magic takes place. The kind of people you meet, the kind of stories you hear will help you realize how lucky and fortunate you are.

IAGB: If people have interest in sponsoring, especially as a celebration of their milestone birthday or an anniversary, could you tell us how much to the closest approximation it will cost?   
Shefali Kalyani: We had a couple that celebrated their 50 th wedding anniversary at the Nashua Children’s home. We had people who celebrated their wedding by feeding the hungry. And there are many other such examples. The cost for this particular soup kitchen to prepare 200 meals is three hundred dollars. We don’t count people, we count plates. Because sometimes one person can eat up to three or four plates because that is the only meal they are having that day. On average we get 180 to 200 people. Any leftovers we keep in the freezers and serve again a day later.

IAGB: Fundraising is an important part of your charity and your signature event Dil Se (From heart) is pretty popular in the New England area. Could you please talk a little about its history and the future of it?
Shefali Kalyani : Our very first fund raiser event happened at a friend’s place, and we raised about three thousand dollars from it. The second one was called ‘Yeh Shaam Mastani’ at Elk’s lodge at Westford, MA. It was a sold out show with two hundred and fifty people showing up and we raised about $11, 000. Next came Dil se – and the name came about because everything I do is from my heart and hence Dil Se. The first Dil se event was at the Agganis Hall in Worcester. A friend of mine – Jay Srinivasan encouraged me to do the event on a larger scale. Many other friends and some sponsors too helped me to pull this off and this event helped raise $52,000 last year. This year too Jay helped in a big way and practically managed the entire event. All the singers who performed took no money for their performance. This year we raised $65,000. Dil Se 3 will be on October 6 th (Saturday), 2018. Tickets are already on sale and we have sold about 200 tickets by now. The tickets cost $35 and $50, same as this past year. 

IAGB: How do you see the future of this organization and of your efforts?
Shefali Kalyani : When I started I just wanted to feed people but it snowballed. Started with Nashua soup kitchen. In the same month then I started in Dover Children’s home in Dover, NH. Next I got a call from Portsmouth Children’s home. The way it started was because I use to give fruits at Dover’s children’s home. I use to collect all the left over fruits from the Sai Baba temple on Thursdays and bring them over to the children’s home. This was way back in 2011 even before I started with Nashua soup kitchen. Since fruits are expensive especially fruits likes grapes were normally not available at Children’s homes. As of right now we feed about 1,800 people a month, spread over 12 soup kitchens and three children’s homes. Now we have a lead volunteer at each of these centers who bring their own volunteers. I teach the lead volunteers what to cook, what to buy and where to buy. As they establish themselves, they do their own purchases and then scan and send me the receipts which are reimbursed from the We Care Charity funds. Next, my vision is to open up a food pantry. We already have narrowed down the location and it will be in Salem. NH. This food pantry will be for people who have resources to cook but need help with groceries. We will be taking donations of canned food items in addition to money. Lot of people who come to food pantry have jobs but most of them are low paying jobs and it makes it hard for them to purchase groceries. The space that we have locked in for this food pantry was negotiated down to $500 a month as lease payments. 

IAGB: Some rapid fire round to know more about you as a person. What is your favorite appetizer, main course, and dessert?
Shefali Kalyani : Samosa, Puran Poli (roti made with daal and jaggery filling), Seviyya

IAGB: Who is a better cook, you or your husband?
Shefali Kalyani : Me at every day cooking, but my husband is better at mass cooking

IAGB: What is your favorite pastime?
Shefali Kalyani : We Care Charity is my passion and pass time.
IAGB: What is your favorite cuisine outside of Indian?
Shefali Kalyani : I love Thai food.

IAGB: Since your signature fundraising event Dil Se is about music, who is your favorite singer
Shefali Kalyani : Lata Mangeshkar has always been my favorite singer.

IAGB: Thank you so much sparing your precious time for a sitting with us and giving us a tour of your kitchen and introducing us to your volunteers. We hope our readers will be motivated by reading this interview and visit a soup kitchen to volunteer their time, make donations in cash and/or kind to We Care Charity and we wish you all success for the start of the food pantry.

Note to Readers: Donations to We Care Charity can be made at http://www.wecarecharity.org/donate2.aspx

IAGB interviewing team: Sanjay Kudrimoti and Umesh Rao

** Free Event**RSVP by 11/11/17 at (include full name(s), email address, phone number): https://goo.gl/Y2XMb1

In recognition of special needs and in order to facilitate access of members of the Indian diaspora, Consulate General of India, New York, will be holding a Consular Facilitation Camp in MA. Apply online and bring all supporting/backup documentation to the camp so the consulate can check/pre-approve your application and notify CKGS which in turn will expedite the application approval and prevent potential hiccups. We will also take this opportunity to welcome and interact with our new CG from NY.

Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017
Venue: Chinmaya Maruti, 1 Union Street, Andover, MA 01810

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Consular Facilitation Camp@ Community Hall
11:00 AM - Noon Complimentary Chai/Snacks@ Community Hall (catered by Madras Grill)
Noon - 1:30 PM Brief Cultural Show, Formal Introduction of Hon'ble CG & DCG to the Community, Talks and Q&A @Auditorium 
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Complimentary Lunch@ Community Hall (catered by Madras Grill) 

Organized under the "Consulate@YourDoorstep" initiative of the Consulate General of India with the support/assistance of Global Indians for Bharat Vikas ( www.gibv.org ), India Association of Greater Boston, Milan USA, Art of Living, Chinmaya Mission, VHP America, and other local organizations.
Cradles to Crayons
** Open to all members/non-members **

IAGB is joining hands with Cradles to Crayons to benefit local children living in low income and homeless situations. IAGB will gather select items for donation (see website for details). Additionally, we welcome all children to come in and design a 'well wish' greeting card with a message to go with the donation. Our goal is to send at least 100 cards from our community. Art supplies will be provided.
Venue: Burlington Library, Burlington, MA
Saturday, December 9th. Time: 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM
** Open to members only**

IAGB by-laws are currently being updated. A Special Hearing will be organized for current members to vote on proposed amendments.
Venue: Burlington Library, Burlington, MA
Saturday, December 9th. Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
IAGB will be organizing the annual Republic Day Mela on  Saturday, January 27, 2018 . This day long Mela will include 13 competitions along with a cultural performance segment. Competitions include  Science Quiz, Geography Bee, Kite Making, Art Competition, Poetry Writing, Essay Writing, Chess Competition, Trivia, Photography, Carrom, Elocution, Story Telling and Skit Enactment.   Program timing will be shared at a later time. For detailed rules and participation related to the competitions and the cultural performances, visit  www.iagb.org

There will be no participation fees for both the competitions and the cultural segment. However, the participants and selected performers must be a member of IAGB. Members can participate for free in multiple competitions and cultural performances, if selected. If you are not currently a member, please sign up for membership at: www.iagb.org/membership
Venue: Burlington High School, Burlington, MA
Saturday, January 27th. Time: 1:00 PM - 8:30 PM

IMANE Annual Dinner and Entertainment. 

The IMANE annual meeting is at the
Hilton Hotel, 2 Forbes Road, Woburn MA 01801
on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 5 PM. 
We are pleased to announce an acceptance by the 19th Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. as our honored guest.  

Please R.S.V.P. to Sameer O. Kapasi, M.A., M.D: Chander M. Kapasi, M.D., M.P.H. kapasi.imane@gmail.com, chanderkapasi@hotmail.com
Phone: (617) 965-5162
Pratham’s New Apps Enhance Children’s Learning Skills
Pratham , one of the largest and successful non-governmental education organizations in India, has developed two free apps for Android devices. The apps are designed to “make learning fun and take a young mind on a journey of self-discovery.”
Pratham’s New Apps Enhance Children’s Learning Skills
Pratham , one of the largest and successful non-governmental education organizations in India, has developed two free apps for Android devices. The apps are designed to “make learning fun and take a young mind on a journey of self-discovery.”
PraDigi or Pratham Digital offers interactive content to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills, support subject-specific competencies, and promote the ability to think critically and work collaboratively.
Pratham Books is a library of books with Indian content in multiple languages for different age groups.
Shadaj Presents Strings n Beats: November 19
Shada j is a Lexington-based nonprofit organization, which aims to bring about cultural integration through music.

In collaboration with Lexington Community Education, Cary Memorial Library and Indian Americans of Lexington, Shadaj presents Strings n Beats, a community outreach event, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, at Cary Memorial Hall, Lexington, MA.
New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar Inaugurates Largest Temple
in North America: November 19-26
New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar (NESSP) announces the week of November 19-26 as the new dates for the inauguration of the largest Shirdi Sai temple in North America at 99 Shirdi Way, Groton, MA. The week-long festival will include worship, ceremony and a showcase of music, dance, ancient culture and tradition. NESSP invites all devotees to the celebration.
You can email NESSP or call 978-528-1985.
Saheli Holds Nirbhaya Fundraising Gala: December 8
Saheli celebrates the strength, resilience and empowerment of South Asian women at its Nirbhaya fundraising gala. It will be held from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday, December 8, at the Hilton in Woburn, MA.

The gala includes “an empowered walk of women who have overcome life’s challenges, a sumptuous dinner, music, dance and the screening of a video.” Buy your tickets and email Saheli with any questions.
Lokvani Holds Community Heroes Night: December 9
Lokvani celebrates the community heroes and youth. It will be held on December 16, 2017 from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Contact Anil Saigal 617.470.6202 .
Editors: Sanjay Kudrimoti and Umesh Rao
IAGB Communications