A Letter from the BANA 2019 President, Ashish Shetty
It is with great excitement and humility that I write this first letter to the BANA community. Some of my fondest memories growing up were attending BANA. The two years between each BANA felt excruciatingly long -- I couldn’t wait for a fresh trip to a new city, a time to catch up with old friends, meet new friends and participate in some youthful shenanigans.
While my parents enjoyed going to BANA to keep a connection with friends and family from the motherland, I enjoyed bonding with Bunts who shared the experience of being first generation Indian-Americans. I am increasingly of the conviction that community and real human interaction is important in this age of ever-growing isolation.
Nevertheless, we recognize that for BANA to continue to thrive, we need to remain relevant to the needs of its members. With that in mind, we revamped our on-line presence with fresh takes on the website, BANAvani and social media.
The Tri-State area has a proud history of hosting BANAs and we hope to build off the success of those great events. Our New York-based executive team is focused on continuing that tradition for years to come. We have assembled a talented team that is committed to keeping BANA fresh and vital.
We recognize that we are stewards of a great tradition. We want to hear what is important to the community at large. Please share your suggestions and thoughts as we endeavor to keep BANA as relevant for future generations as it has been for the past.
BANA Youth Camp, 2018 (Ages 14-21)
Dates: August 17-19, 2018
(Arriving Fri evening, leaving Sunday mid-morning).
Location: Camp Nock-A-Nixon
Closest airports: PHL or Newark Liberty.
(We'll be arranging car-pool or pickup as we get closer to August).
Fee per attendee: $50 (This includes stay and meals. It does not include transportation).
We'll have more info about what to bring, etc, once you register.
Please RSVP no later than July 31, 2018.
If interested, please RSVP to:
Below is a rough itinerary:
Friday night: “Leave your electronics at the door.” Ice breakers.
Saturday and Sunday: Morning yoga and meditation, youth led discussions on topics like “When east meets west” and “Networking in the age of Facebook and Linked In,” outdoor activities....and more to be announced!
BANA Scholarship Information
Dear BANA members,
The Scholarship Committee is now seeking applications for the following three 2017-2018 scholarships: SAT Scholarship & Lila Shetty Memorial Scholarship (Medicine).
Descriptions of the scholarships are listed below. We look forward to reviewing applications from all the talented members of our community!
SAT Scholarship Award--$500—Deadline is June 15, 2018
Eligibility criteria are as follows:
· BANA membership (son or daughter of a BANA member)
· SAT score must be from the 2016-2017 school year
· Scores must be received by June 15, 2018
Lila Shetty Memorial Scholarship--$5,000—Deadline is June 15, 2018
Amount: $5000 annual scholarship
Scholarship Information: This scholarship is for an applicant pursuing a degree in Medicine (MD).
1. You must be currently enrolled or admitted to a United States or Canadian medical University.
2. You must be a BANA member or child of a BANA member in good standing for at least the past two years. For purposes of this specific scholarship, a child is defined as the person being 26 years old or younger.
3. Past winners are NOT allowed to apply.
4. You must apply by June 1st each calendar year.
Checklist of Items to be submitted:
Copy of MCAT score
Acceptance letter from the Medical University or a letter from the registrar’s office verifying attendance
Personal statement (200 word limit) explaining why the applicant is deserving of the Lila N. Shetty Memorial Scholarship. The personal statement should include the applicant’s past involvement in BANA and/or future participation or commitment to BANA.
The four required documents (listed above) must be mailed together in one packet to 1 West St #2232, New York, NY 10004. The packet should be postmarked no later than June 15th.
Selection Criteria: The decision for the award will be based on the following three criteria:
50% will be the MCAT score.
40% the undergraduate GPA.
10% will be based on a personal statement (limit 200 words) about why the applicants is deserving of this scholarship.
Please note that the winner of this scholarship will be notified this summer. It is strongly encouraged but not required for the winner to attend the BANA convention.
Please encourage your children and young adults to apply for these scholarships!
Dr. Ranjith Shetty, an assistant professor and interventional cardiologist living in Tuscon, Arizona, recently treated a patient with a life-threatening heart condition who had declined open-heart surgery. To address her condition while respecting her wishes regarding treatment, Dr. Shetty performed a new and complex procedure which was much less invasive than open-heart surgery. The treatment was a resounding success. You can read a full write-up of this inspiring story here, and find out more about Dr. Shetty by reading his professional profile.
Sonya Shetty won two gold medals at the 2017 Junior World Racquetball Championship, which featured competitors from over fourteen countries. Sonya earned one of her gold medals by winning the Age 10 and Under singles competition in only two games. Shortly afterward, Sonya earned her second gold medal of the Championships, when she competed in doubles. You can read more about the Championship on this blog.
The BANA Podcast
BANA: A Startup.
In the first episode of the BANA podcast, Ashish Shetty and Renuka Ballal discuss the origin of the Bunts Association of North America and how it is evolving as it moves into its third generation. Anita Ballal and Dr. Suresh Ballal recall the grass roots beginnings of BANA, and touch on the involvement of Mahabala Shetty, Jagnath Shetty, Shankar Shetty, Dr. Dinker Rai and others in the New York area.
We hope you enjoy this podcast, and that we can use it as yet another mode to connect our community as we take BANA into the future. And if you have a topic or person of interest you would like included in a future installment, please write us! We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Get to Know Your Executive Committee
This is a Q&A we will be doing with each of our BANA 2019 EC members. This issue’s Q&A is with Renuka Ballal, an EC Secretary.
Where did you grow up?
RB: I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. But at this point I’ve lived in New York most of my life and consider myself a New Yorker as well.
What do you do for a living and how did you get into that line of work?
RB: I producer visual effects ("VFX") for film and television. As opposed to special effects, VFX are any effects that did not actually happen in front of camera – usually this means computer-generated effects which are finished in post-production (in other words, after shooting is complete). I knew I wanted to work in the film industry when I graduated from college, but did not have a VFX background at all, and it was a bit of a surprise to go down that road. I started out by writing coverage for screenplays - "coverage" is essentially like a book report on a screenplay - to give producers a quick overview and help them determine if they actually want to read a script or if it's a pass. My background was in English lit and creative writing, and writing coverage was somewhat of a natural extension of that. But when you start out in film and TV, you can get production assistant jobs in a variety of departments, regardless of your background, because a lot of the tasks you’ll be given (driving somewhere, restocking a dressing room), are not skill-specific. As with most jobs, the most important things when starting out are a strong work ethic and eagerness to learn. For me, it so happened that the best opportunities I was getting – with regard to projects, but also with regard to people who were open to mentoring me – were in visual effects. I also liked that, since it was rooted in technology, the field was constantly evolving. Filmmaking involves a lot of creative problem solving, and in a lot of ways VFX takes that to the next level.
What do you think of when you think of BANA?
RB: I think of family. It was a great way for me to see many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m lucky to have a wonderful extended family, and a lot of them attended when I was younger, so it was an exciting reunion of sorts.
What is your favorite BANA memory?
RB: I’m not sure I have one favorite memory in particular. Dancing is a big thing in my family, so I always looked forward to the dance nights, and one of my best BANA memories took place during one of those. My great uncle, Ragush Ballal, was a larger than life character in my family, but he had a very raspy, gruff voice, so I was initially a bit frightened of him as a kid. I was on the shy side when I was younger and one BANA, he saw me sitting off by myself and insisted I join everyone on the dance floor. He joked around and danced with me until I loosened up and started having a good time. That is definitely a great BANA memory – it was the first time I realized how fun-loving, charismatic and warm this person in my family was.
Why did you want to be involved in the EC?
RB: When Ashish asked if I’d be involved with the upcoming BANA, I was actually a bit reluctant at first. I haven’t been very involved in the community in the past and didn’t think I’d have anything helpful to add. But he said that this next BANA almost wasn’t going to happen…I think because it’s a lot of work, and the founding generation now has plenty of other opportunities to see each other (weddings, etc). He thought this might be a time to evolve the organization a little, so it’s better suited to the several generations of Bunts now living in North America. That got me interested. I didn’t have much of a connection to the broader Indian community growing up, I think maybe because my parents came to the US much earlier than most Indians in St. Louis, so we were a little outside of the community there. So being “Bunt” is something I have connected to more than being “Indian.” And I’ve definitely thought about how that culture might be lost in my family moving forward – my Tulu is terrible to non-existent and I don’t know a ton about our traditions, and now that all my grandparents have passed on, my connection to Bunt culture and India is becoming more tenuous. I would love it if BANA could be a cultural resource for us moving forward. I’m also looking forward to incorporating modern forms of outreach – social media, the website, and (if people like it) the BANA podcast – more prominently.
What are your hopes for BANA as it moves forward?
RB: Those two things – for BANA to be a cultural resource and for it to modernize so it’s easily accessible to the largest amount of people - but I would also really love to see BANA become more involved in giving back. There are so many generous people in this community, and the Bunts Association could be impactful in community service efforts, here or in India (or both!)
The Bunt Community is sad to see the loss of the following members. Below, obituaries from their friends and loved ones.
DR. BOLA VITHAL SHETTY
Dr. Bola Vithal Shetty, BANA president (1983-1985) died on January 10, 2018. He is survived by his wife Dr. Daiva Shetty of Germantown Maryland and his son Martin Shetty of Lithuania.
Almost seven decades ago, Dr. Vithal came to this country, when he was the first Bunt to immigrate to the United States. He was in his early twenties and pursued his education in Philadelphia. He obtained two bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees and a PhD from the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania. His degrees were in Medical Chemistry, Pharmacology and in Pharmaceutical Sciences.
He had a long span of scientific works including his work at well known pharmaceutical companies, where he performed and organized drug research. He then moved on to pre-clinical evaluation phase tests before drugs were marketed. He was also associated with the Food and Drug Administration for almost twenty years, where he was involved in regulatory review matters.
A world-renowned scientist, he held patents for 200 drugs, including the development of the well known drug Metolazone, widely used to treat hypertension congestive heart failure, edema in pregnancy and cirrhosis of the liver, and which is also used as a diuretic.
He authored three books including his autobiography, published by "On the Write Path Publishing," Colorado, 2012. This book is an interesting insight into his life as immigrant and the environment which existed in the USA during the early ‘50s.
Although he mostly grew up here in the USA, he had great affection for India, his birth country. He was grateful and extremely fond of the village where he was born, and devoted considerable energy in the various ways he could. He established a charitable foundation, the Dr. Bola Vithal Shetty Foundation, to extend scholarship for poor students to pursue education, and to bore wells for drinking water for poor families.
He has a large loving family as well as relatives in India who are very grateful for his charitable work.
DR. KARUNAKAR SHETTY
Dr. Karunakar Shetty, age 80, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA with his family by his side. Karun, as he was lovingly called, is survived by his wife, Ushamani Shetty, daughters, Ribitha Shetty and Risha Shetty, son-in-law, Bishu Jayaram, and grandchildren, Karishma, Dhiren, Samiya and Subin.
Born in Brahmavar, Karnataka, to Gulabi and Sarvotham Shetty, Karun grew up in Mumbai with his parents, his sister, the late Lila Shetty, and Ratnakar Shetty. From his early days, Karun had a passion for science and medicine, which led him to pursue a medical degree from KMC College in Mangalore. Throughout this time, Karun was a fast sprinter and competed in major university events. After graduating in 1961 with a degree in medicine, Karun went back to Mumbai and joined King Edward Memorial Hospital as a resident.
Karun married Ushamani in 1963 and they both started their journey in life, where their commitment led to a long and fulfilled life. Ushamani’s term of endearment to Daddy was Annu. Soon after, Karun and Ushamani had their first daughter, Ribitha. Balancing priorities as a new father and husband, Karun set his eyes on exploring the world.
Karun arrived in England in 1966 to work as a Radiation Therapy Assistant in Bristol and Liverpool. Shortly after, Karun moved to the US in 1968 with Ushamani and a very young Ribitha. They arrived in Philadelphia, where Karun worked with Misericordia Hospital as a Radiology Diagnostic Fellow. It was in Philadelphia that they had their second daughter, Risha. When an opportunity came up in Greensburg,PA in 1976, Karun and his family relocated.
Greensburg is where Karun really shined. In a few years, Karun became the Chief of Radiology. Quickly, Karun became a key member of the local community in Greensburg and Pittsburgh. He served on several committees and boards including Executive committee of the SV Temple, a member of the Jeanette Rotary, Board member of Jeannette District Memorial Hospital, and President of the Bunts Association of North America.
Though born in small town India, Karun had a passion for nice cars and always styled himself fashionably. Karun was far from selfish, doting on his wife and never missing an opportunity to spoil her. Karun was also very generous to his family and friends, and never hesitated to lend a helping hand to someone in need.
Karun had a penchant for travel and enjoyed taking his family on vacations. Always one to enjoy life, Karun’s favorite pastime was to frequent Denunzio’s in Greensburg with his buddies, and order a Ketel One Vodka with Roses Lime and some Shetty’s Spicy Shrimp - a dish he co-created with the Chef.
As a father, Karun was always concerned about his girls’ lives, future and their upbringing, and was present at every important milestone. As a grandfather, Karun loved watching Penguins games with Karishma, bonding with Dhiren over the finer things in life, and playing school games with Samiya and Subin.
Karun lived a dynamic, fantastic and fulfilling life. From being an amazing husband, to a compassionate dad, to a loving grandfather, Karun showed us how one should live. He will be terribly missed but his life will be celebrated every day.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
Mrs. Sujyothi "Sue" Shetty passed away on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. She was born on December 12, 1948 in India to Mr. MPC and Susheela Shetty.
Sujyothi was married to Dr. Santosh "Sam" Shetty, who was a Radiation Oncologist at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, MA. They were married in 1969 in India and came to the US shortly thereafter. They settled in Andover, MA and lived there for 45+ years.
Sujyothi first worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance as an assistant to the Executive Vice President. After leaving to raise her two children, she became a travel agent as her second career. Additionally, she was actively involved in the Holy Family Auxiliary and Women's Guild and supported the Chinmaya Mission in Andover.
After retirement, she enjoyed spending winters in Fort Lauderdale. Sujoythi enjoyed traveling and especially enjoyed celebrating holidays and special events with family and friends. She had a zest for life and though it was not her career, she was the ultimate party planner and loved hosting.
On a personal note, Suji Aunty was always someone who blessed me and the Boston Bunts community with tremendous warmth and affection. She made sure that my family and I felt welcome when we moved to the Andover area and I have so many great memories of Suji Aunty hosting amazing Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. Her grace, compassion and love made her a powerful connecting force within the Boston Bunts community. Suji Aunty was truly a beautiful person both inside and out.
Sujyothi leaves behind a son, Shawn, a daughter, Sajini, a son-in-law, Chethan and the grandsons she adored, Elan and Alec - all of Andover - and a sister, Mrs. Surekha Adyanthya of Mumbai, India.
She will be missed dearly by her extended family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the Chinmaya Mission, Andover, or the American Cancer Society. Additionally, please feel free to send any messages or memories that you would like to be forwarded onto the family.