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April 22, 2009

AID-Buffalo Newsletter, and the old days of starting AID-Buffalo

Filed under: association for indias development — neosurya @ 21:04

AID-Buffalo volunteers have now put together a quarterly newsletter. They have done a great job, it is a first for the chapter, and I mirror the newsletter here with great pride: sambhaavna_jan_mar_09

AID has come a long way from when we started in 2004. The first meeting of AID-Buffalo was held in Aug 2004 at the Flint Apartment Complex visitors center, across from the Jacobs management center. Karrishma used to stay in Flint vilage and helped get the place and organize the meet. I had sent out emails to some of my friends, organized a pizza party (Somehow felt that no one would come without food). Siva and Siddharth Bhat got sufficiently interested to continue being with AID.

I left for an internship in India, and returned in Jan 05 (Got engaged in the interim), and moved into an apartment at 55, Springville with Karthik, Amar, Amit, JC, and Sankalp. It was a totally excited, hyper set of folks; it took a bit of convincing, but once in, they did a lot of work . Anand Srinivasan walked into one of our CSH; he had recently come to Buffalo, and was looking for R&R I presume. He did get a lot of it in the years that ensued :). AID meetings were held in the CSE conference rooms in Bell Hall. Siva became the treasurer and managed our meager income; Amar took up printing of T-shirts. We had a couple of tables at the temple, and a table at the GISA event that summer. Kishore met us at the GISA event, saying his room-mate would be interested in joining AID. The roomie was Narasimha, or Rao as we call him. Girin and Ruchita also took good interest in AID.

Rao really put the next big change to AID. He introduced several things, including serving food at CSH :). The meetings moved to Cooke Hall, in Rao’s Biology dept. He pushed for selling Tops cards, we had a table at the Ganesh chaturthi celebrations in Winspear Avenue. I remember that we made daal for about 70 people at Rao’s house in Princeton court apts. At the Ganesh pandal, we got introduced to Sajay and Vidya. Vidya later became our secretary’s, and their house a regular hangour for AIDers. The Ganesh pandal hosts (Rupali and Abhijeet) were absolutely awesome; They donated the entire proceeds of that event to AID-Buffalo.

At about this time, I chanced upon the major find of “Vijay Loganathan Sambhandhan”. Seniors in Buffalo would pick up incoming students. I was assigned to pick up Vijay from the airport. The dude was ultra-disorganized. He had absolutely no clue as to where he should be going. I put my car in short term parking and met the man himself in the Buffalo airport lobby.

Me: “So, where are you going”

V: “I dont know man.”

Me: “oops. Let us leave your stuff at my house. How was your flight, you hungry?”

V: “Hungry man!!!”

Me: “You wanna come for a meeting, there will be food”

V: “Ya man, wats the meeting about?”

I really felt bad taking him to AID meeting; this was a young student who had come to seek dreams in the USA. On his first day off the flight, I take him to a meeting where we discuss India’s problems. But there was no go. The GISA president had not told me where to drop him; Vijay did not know where to go and was hungry. International flights can be terrible sometimes. And AID meetings after that, kinda bad. But man, did this guy rock in the meeting. He actually gave us constructive ideas. He advertised a get-together for all newly arrived students in his apartment and told everyone about AID. We got a whole bunch of volunteers. In due course, he also became the “murari of main street”. Abhinav also joined us around this time. He later introduced Anand Pandey to AID.

Abhijeet and Rupali later helped organize a dance program for us in the temple. Rao worked hard with Vijay and Swathi and a host of other AIDers to host Shobhana’s concert in Buffalo. Karthik got a whole load of money from Jaguar, BMW, and Ford.

AID grew. Jyostna and I cherish every moment spent with AIDers and hope that it will grow even more.

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