The Vaso Samaj we all dearly love! How it started in the United States? Who are the "founding" fathers? What was the purpose of forming the Samaj? Who are the faces currently behind this lovely Samaj? These are some of the commonly asked questions? To find answer to these questions, I talked to one of the "founding" members, C.D. Patel. Based on the discussion, here is the history of our Samaj in the United States:
It started at the birthday party at Shashikant and Ushaben Amin’s house in Tenack, NJ. Due to pure spirit of Vaso, Shashikantbhai, who recently migrated from London, urged C.D. (Chandrakant Dahyabhai Patel) and Kamlaben, Suryakantbhai and Vilasben Patel, Kiranbhai and Pallaviben Amin, Mahendrabhai K. and Lilaben Patel, Jitubhai and Hasuben Amin, Rameshbhai K. and Indiraben Patel, Rajnibhai F. and Ilaben Patel to start the Vaso Samaj. It started and 1st picnic was held in Teneck Park, NJ. Over 60 people attended the first picnic. These are the founding members of our Samaj. The first picnic was held either in 1979 or 1980! The original committee continued to hold two picnics every summer! One picnic where each Vasovasi brought food from home and shared with fellow Vasovasi at park. Kind a big family gathering. "Ujani" as I remember! At second picnic, committee members and volunteers cooked the food and served! The following year Arvindbhai sponsored the whole picnic! Vaso Samaj had begun to pickup some steam! The Samaj gathering continued for two to three years and then for various reasons it was stopped! Events stopped but Vaso Spirits continued!
Arvindbhai did not liked the stoppage! So did the founding fathers! Arvindbhai once again sponsored the Diwali Dinner. They expected 100+ vasovasi to attend. They booked the hall in Delrun, NJ. The response was overwhelming! Over 300+ vasovasi responded; overnight committee members moved the event in Edison NJ in the bigger hall and called every one of venue changes! As Samaj begun to grow and founding fathers desired to semi-retire, they had begun recruiting young blood!
In 1994 at Spruce run park, I heard the request for young volunteers from Suryakantbhai. Naively, I raised my hand and pledge to help! Even though I did not lived in Vaso, I had same Vaso spirit! I volunteered to help! The rest is the history! Blessed with the US education and organizing skills, I begun to urge other young Vasovasi to join me to carry the torch! I did not had to do much! Everyone were so eager to work! Here are some of the "next" generation Vasovasi who are continuing the tradition started by our founding members: Rajesh and Malini, Praful (Nanji) and Priti (Sonal), Bhupendra and Jyoti , Manoj and Dolly, Anil and Jalpa, Vimal and Nimisha, Kiran and Priti, Hemash (Bhabhi) and Vanisha, Kakabhai and Gurangini, Indravadanbhai (Bhalabhai) and Harshita, Husmukbhai (Ragunwala) and Pragnaben and many others!
We are trying our best to carry visions our founding members have! They are our mentors and supporters! They are there at every step of the way to make sure we do not fall or fail!
Based on the feedback we have from our members and participants, we are doing a good job! Their feedback make us want to achieve more! Our events are getting better and participation is continuing to rise. On an average, we have over 500+ at the summer picnic and over 400+ at our Diwali dinner! The latest "Life-time" sponsorship implementation assure that the vision of our Samaj – events at lowest possible cost – would always be a reality!
Based on the history, past and present committee members, volunteers and participants, there is an enormous Vaso spirits and pride! I know it, because I am one of them!