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Namaste

Kalaniketan Shishukunj has given many people a very strong foundation that has helped them in surviving through the years. Be it the regular Sunday activities, wearing the white uniform and going in early to play "Haathi ni Soonth", and then for a collective prayer session, followed by a "Baudhik" session and so forth, or the Jeevan Ghadtar Shibirs, which really groomed us to live with dignity.

I have always been fond of music since childhood. From the guidance that I received from Shree Gurudev, a well-known tabla player in Nairobi, who I regard as my Guru and who I met through Shishukunj, as well as the inspiration from Late Shree Indubhai Dave, I grew up to build on my musical talents in playing tabla and other percussions. Today I perform in front of huge crowds of 4,000 to 5,000 people in Canada, and am welcomed as a strong member by many bands here. All I think of is the strong support of my family and loved ones AND undoubtedly Kalaniketan Shishukunj that gave me the opportunity to realize my potential and build on it.

Effective Public Speaking seminars, the famous Wednesday "bethaks" and general guidance from many senior "karyakars" of Shishukunj taught me all the attributes that we put on our resumes' today - teamwork, leadership skills, communication skills, multi-tasking and good organizational abilities.

I would not have been who I am if I never learnt how to work with a team of individuals at Shishukunj. I agree that many attributes are from the family and parents, but many more come from outside influences and we all know that children are like sponges, they learn from everything happening around them. Children are naïve and innocent, as we say "Baal Devo Bhava", but that innocence needs grooming and proper guidance that only a place like Kalaniketan Shishukunj could give during my childhood.

Sports also bring people together, and in my Shishukunj days, we used to tire ourselves playing badminton, table tennis, darts, chess as well as the outdoor games like "Chakbilu", Dodge ball, "Langdi", 3-sticks and many more. While having fun, these games built our characters as well. This cannot be achieved through playing the current day screen-based games.

I am forever indebted to Kalaniketan Shishukunj for all the good attributes that were instilled into me in my childhood. I wish all the attendees at the Sammelan the very best and take this opportunity to congratulate Shishukunj on the various milestones that it marks in December 2015.