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Bal Vihar Celebrates Ashirwaad Divas 2010

Press Release

VHPA Bal Vihar of Southborough celebrated its 14th annual day on June 20, 2010. Children and parents were dressed for the occasion in traditional Bhartiya attire to participate in the annual Ashirwaad Diwas. By 9:30 a.m. the entire Bal Vihar family was gathered at the Sadhu Vaswani Center in Dracut.

The day began with a puja to Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and wisdom. Shaifali Verma, the senior-most student, led the puja, which was performed by all the students and their families. Shaifali pronounced all the Vedic mantras in flawless Sanskrit, and explained each step of the puja, so that even the youngest children understood what they were doing.

After the Puja and prasad, the children presented their projects which they had prepared during the academic year. There were two levels, based on age. Children above the age of eight had made a PowerPoint presentation on a famous Hindu leader or religious or literary figure. The younger children dressed up as their favorite God or Goddess and gave a short talk about them. The two winners from each level presented their projects. The first one was on Lord Vishnu, presented by Vani Sharma, and the second one was on Jijabai, the inspiring mother of Shivaji. this was presented by Shrushti Jagtap. There was also a presentation on Astrology by Aneesh Kashalikar, complete with a horoscope of one of the young teachers of Bal Vihar which Aneesh had made. Then everyone enjoyed the showing of the video of the play “Draupadi ka Swayamvar”, which the children had performed on the occasion of Hindu Heritage Day on May 22.

By this time everyone was hungry. Spurred on by the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen, everyone scrambled to the dining hall . Many adult volunteers helped out in the kitchen heating rotis and the scrumptious dishes prepared by the hands of some of the world’s greatest chefs (moms)! One look could carry you towards the mouth-watering alu gobhi, channa, palak paneer, chawal and dahi vada. When one serving wasn’t enough, people flocked back for seconds, thirds even fourths! The children’s spoons worked in unison as they gobbled down delicious gulab jamuns and halwa.

Then it was back to the program, and a talent show. All the children had prepared small acts which they presented with great enthusiasm. Items included such varied acts like a Bharat Natyam dance, Carnatic music, patriotic and devotional songs, a children’s dance, and even a Tae kwon do demonstration. It was amazing to see the talent of even the youngest children, some of whom were 3 years old.

To end the day, awards for Hindi, Shlokas, Projects, and also conscientiousness, musical ability, diligence, determination, punctuality, enthusiasm and most potential to name  few, were presented to selected students from each of the four groups, amongst applause. Two senior students, who are the youth leaders, were recognized for excellence in leadership. A plaque was awarded to the graduating senior of Bal Vihar, Shaifali Verma, for her outstanding contribution to all aspects of the program, and her leadership and mentoring of the children. For brightening the spirits of Bal Vihar, latest additions to the Bal Vihar family were given a small gift. Many agreed that nothing felt better than getting an award from your own beloved gurus. The program concluded with the Prarthana (prayer) and a Bal Vihar group photograph.

Each year Bal Vihar gets one step closer to educating the Hindu community. Classes are held every Sunday from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. There are different levels, depending on the age of the child. The teenagers have a Hindu Dharma group, where they learn about their rich culture and heritage. The Southboro Bal Vihar always extends a warm hand to small boys and girls, pre-teens or teens that are interested in learning Hindi, playing games, doing yoga or reciting shlokas. Thanks to all the countless volunteers, participants and parents who traveled and organized the program, the Ashirwaad Diwas 2010 was a great accomplishment for the entire Bal Vihar community. It represents the entire year that was full of laughter, love and learning.

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