Holiday greetings! A message from your GNY Chapter president

Dear GNY Chapter friends:

It gives me great pleasure to send you this Holiday greeting as we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas next month followed by a Happy 2016 New Year.

Personally, I love the Thanksgiving holiday. Just like the Pilgrims, all of us came to the US, bright eyed and bushy tailed after graduating from our beloved Alma Mater – IIT Bombay in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and now in the 10’s. The GNY Chapter IITB Diaspora comprises of senior citizens like me and younger alumni and alumna who just graduated in 2015. Our several thousands of alums in the New York area residing in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are at the top of their game contributing not only to the country of our choice, but also giving back to India. We have a lot to be thankful to our country of choice – US, our country of birth – India, and to our alma mater – IIT Bombay.

Next week, our Annual donation campaign – GO IITB 2015 will start in full swing. I urge you to donate generously and in larger amounts as much as you can. The top two contenders for your generosity remain Need based Student Scholarships for many students who find the cost of studying at IITB too onerous and Young Faculty Awards to attract world class faculty to IIT Bombay.  Recently, some of our creative and innovative alums in the GNY area like Deepak Agarwal, (’70 ChE, H-2) have spent a considerable amount of their personal time working closely with the IITB General Secretary Hostel Affairs and Dean of Student Affairs in coming up with another very interesting area for us to donate our funds. The students at IITB have expressed a keen desire to have alums donate towards building an A/C equipped 50 person computer/study hall – each equipped with 8 to 10 computers, a shared printer, decent furniture and book shelves in each hostel. This would allow the students to study comfortably in a properly conducive environment instead of spending all their time in cramped hostel rooms with 2 students per room. It is estimated that each such unit would cost between Rs. 8.5 to 10 lakhs and IITBHF would ensure that this project is handled directly between alums in the US, HF and students without excessive interference from administration. A total of $200,000 would provide for such computer/study halls in all hostels.

Thanks to all of you, our Chapter had a good year organizing many events starting with the Financial Planning seminar, followed by our popular summer picnic, a lecture seminar given by IIT Gandhinagar Director Sudhir Jain, our hugely successful Annual Reunion attended by over 120+ alums and friends, Youth Achievement Award for our children, publication of another stellar GnYPoint 2015 magazine edition and last but not the least our first ever Diwali Dhamaka attended by 140 of us with our families and friends. As we speak, three of our Chapter alumnae – Shweta Bhandari, Suhani Shorewala and Anshu Agrawal are hard at work planning a first ever  IITB Women’s Forum or Mixer in the GNY area  for early next year. Many of our active volunteers are also planning to have more family style events like Holi for 2016.

It is well said that Squeaky wheel gets the grease! A direct and affirmative intervention by a few of our Chapter members has resulted in a positive change in the cumbersome procedure related to securing IITB transcripts that need to be sent directly to professional societies like various State Boards of Professional Engineers, or to academic institutions. Going forward, instead of sending a $100 money order to IITB, you can now contact IITBHF and make an easy credit card payment to HF using their payment gateway for your transcript request. On your behalf, IITBHF will transfer the funds to IITB. You will still be required to communicate with IITB and fill out their online form. Please contact Subha at IITBHF for more details.

In 2016, we are planning to throw our hat in the ring to try and steer the Faculty Alumni Networking (FAN) event to be held in New York. We are quite hopeful that we will succeed in bringing the 2016 FAN meeting to New York.

We also want to start alumni networking activities in the format of Special Interest Groups (SIGs). For these SIGs only those who are genuinely interested in the specific subject matter would participate. Let me highlight two of them:

Contract Bridge Group: One of our alumni spouses – Rita Kinkhabwala (wife of Minesh Kinkhabwala) recently became a Life Master with American Contract Bridge League. She earned this designation in recognition of her outstanding achievement in Bridge Competitions. She has volunteered to start a Bridge Group and has offered to coach and mentor those of us and any of our family members to either learn or to improve their Bridge skills. This requires a commitment of 3 hours, 1 weekend a month. There will be a nominal charge of $5/person/meeting for snacks, etc. Teams need to be formed in multiples of 4. Please email me personally by no later than January 1, 2016, if you are interested: ruyintan [at] aol [dot] com. Please include in your email your level of competence in Bridge as Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. Depending on your response, if we have a minimum of 8 persons, our first meeting to discuss and possibly have a brief session will be on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 11AM. Venue: Mehta Residence -8 Glenview Drive, Warren, NJ 07059.

Investors Club Group: Three of our alums – Gagan Singh, Raj Singh and Kumar Shah have expressed their desire to start an Investors Club to allow alums interested in financial markets to meet once every two months and review and discuss investment and market trends and other relevant information on a specific topic for that meeting. Please be advised that no solicitation or plugging for a specific product will be allowed or tolerated. Again, please email Raj Singh directly by January 1, 2016 of your interest to join the Investors Club: singh_rajindra [at] yahoo [dot] com. We would like to cap this group to no more than 20 to 25 persons. Our 1st meeting would be on either the 2nd weekend in February 2016 or on a Friday evening in February. Meeting Place TBD.

Many thanks to all of you and especially our hard working volunteers – both alums and their families for making this year a success. Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays.

Yours in service,

Ron E. Mehta – President IITBAAGNY

IITBAA-GNY’s first ever Diwali Dhamaka

We held our first ever Chapter Diwali Dhamaka celebration that was organized entirely by 6 IITB spouses and 2 young IITB alumna. The sold out event was attended by almost 110 alums and their families and friends. The mood was festive, the music was rocking aided by a lively DJ and to top it off our very own Sankumani Sarma IITB-1990 wowed the audience with a masterful Gazal performance aided by a top notch tabla player and a Benjo artist

We had over 20 children ( ages 2 through 18) attending the function without getting bored as our able and talented organizers kept them entertained with games and scavenger hunt. Our popular Bingo game was enjoyed by all with the lucky winners bagging over 105 dollars in prize money. The IIT junta was regaled by some great jokes from our very own Subodh Batra IITB-1972.

After partaking of delicious appetizers and a fabulous buffet dinner, the crowd was on their feet rollicking to beat music, free form dancing and Dandiya. A professional photographer took portraits of interested families and friends.

A small token gift was given to our Event Organizers

Mita PatelSonurita Parmar, Vrinda Master, Sunaina Singh, Mala Ganapathy and Bindu Krishna (all spouses of IITB alums) and our dynamic young IITB alumna duo of Shweta Bhandari and Suhani Shorewala.

The success of this event has been an outpouring of support to have all our future social functions like this one, picnics and Holi be organized by our dedicated team of alumni spouses and alumna.

Volunteer group picture

 More photos here

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The event was also covered by TV Asia.

11-year old Mira Modi is selling truly-random passwords over the internet!

Mira Modi, daughter of IIT Bombay alum and Columbia University professor Vijay Modi, and ProPublica journalist Julia Angwin, recent made news for her little venture. Mira, 11, sells truly random passwords chosen by handrolled dice, over a e-commerce website that she has set up. You can get one too for $2!