At 69, Niranjana Parikh is a sports fanatic. But those who know her say that they have never seen someone with as much dedication to her community as Niruben as she is known. She is heavily involved in volunteer work for non-profit Satsang Center, a community advocacy organization for the South-Asian population. She has given thousands of hours of her time over many years to organize the cultural events for children and to raise funds for relief efforts following severe earthquakes and flooding in her native India.
Parikh is an accomplished bhajans singer, and has dedicated herself to support and comfort families who attend the center when they have a death in family or a loved one who is very sick. She is also cofounder and certified Yoga teacher for Natraj Yoga Center.
Amongst raising her three sons and working as a bank teller, Parikh’s passion has always been service, and the promotion of Indian culture.
INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?
Niranjana Parikh: I enjoy singing Bhajan-Kirtans, cooking for charitable causes, imparting our culture to youngsters and teaching Yoga. We have been going to VHP Camps in MA and NJ (one week each, every year) to work with our children and adults for these activities since 1998.
INE: To which charitable, community and professional group do you belong & why?
NP: My husband I are one of the founder Sewaks of SATSANG Association Inc, Nataraja Yoga Center in USA and India. We also belong to Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY (Guruji Bhramhanad Sarswati), VHP — America for Camp Activities, VYASA Yoga University in Bangalore (We promote their teachings and curriculum, offer their certification training and therapy programs), Muni Sewa Ashram (We devote one week every year for Teaching Yoga to some 700 Students for last 6 years), Ekal Vidyalaya (We support 5 to 7 schools every year for 15 years, and are strong advocates for the program).
We strongly believe in our Heritage and we want to promote and preserve it.
INE: What are you hobbies and interest?
NP: I love dancing Garbaa & Raas, playing games with children and adults, Kabbadi, Khokho, Badminton, Volley Ball, cards, etc. Love to watch TV Game Shows, Sports (Celtics, RedSox, Bruins, Patriots. (Yeh!!! ) Addicted to some Sitcoms? Love travelling through different countries.
INE: In what way you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field?
NP: I love new challenges and to lead by example. I think people are influenced by my energy (so they tell me). I like to teach yoga, organize programs, cook, play with children, sometimes all at once! And when a student tells me they can’t do something (whether it’s a Yoga pose, or they are too scared to use the zip line at the VHP camp), I like to joke to them “I’m 90!” I say, and then I do it myself. When young parents and children tell me that they are inspired by me and my husband to do sewa, that is when I feel I’ve truly made a difference. When I am able pass along the influence of my father’s Sewa & Samskar, my mother’s Bhakti, and my husband’s motivation to the next generation; there’s no better feeling. When I see gleaming eyes of the children and tears in their parents, beaming smiles on Autistic ladies, I feel blessed!
INE: Your rare talent?
NP: Nobody suspects a 69 year young women to be good at sports, but I through high school and college I was very actively involved in sports competitions and usually came number one. So I still play anything I can, at VHP camp I even broke my finger playing Kabbadi! Don’t worry, I healed and am playing again!
INE: Your favorite books?
NP: Ramayan — Vivekananda, Akhand Anand and Jan Kalyan.
INE: Your favorite quotes?
NP: See Good, Be Good and Do Good! Help Others!
INE: Who inspires you the most?
NP: Father —(Pita) and Husband (Pati), Morari Bapu, Guruji (Dr. Ramamurti Mishra MD — Brahmananda Sarswati).
INE: Your core value you try to live by?
NP: Be Honest! Simple Living! Help Others! Be like a Child!