Member Spotlight: Mandar and Shama Deshpande

An amicable and proud Marathi couple – Mandar and Shama Deshpande


ShamaMandar1Meet our amicable and proud Marathi couple – Mandar and Shama Deshpande. Mandar, the current lead for the Infrastructure Committee of A2MM, hails from Pune, Maharashtra. An aspiration for specialized education brought him to the American soil of Kansas State University to pursue his Masters in Molecular Biology in the year 2000. After meeting his match in Shama, who hails from Solapur, the couple set base in the University town of Manhattan, Kansas where they continued living for 12 years. Shama went on to purse her MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering and secured a job within the University itself upon graduation. It was here, while both were working for the University, that their love and enthusiasm for our cultural traditions came to the fore. As a couple they spear headed the tradition of Ganesh festival for 10 days at their home for the Indian students of the University. Students and acquaintances looked forward to joining the Deshpandes in welcoming bappa, singing artis, admiring decorations and of course enjoying the delicious Prasad meal cooked by Shama. It was here in Kansas that they became proud parents to their adorable boy Sahil who is now quite the 6 year old daredevil boy whom we have all come to love and cherish.

ShamaMandar2                  As luck would have it, work and family connections brought the Deshpandes to the land of Pure Michigan in the year of 2013. Ajay and Uma Kanade, who are part of their extended family, introduced them to A2MM and they instantly found a connection with the vibrant community to further their passion in our deep rooted culture. The hospitality and warmth of our Ann Arbor Mandal quickly lured these newcomers to become actively involved in various committees within a year of moving here. They found their niche by contributing in a way that resonated with their own core interests of our rich Marathi culture.

Mandar’s love for art, theatre and music can be dated back to his school and college days where he participated in his society celebrations for various festivals and carried forward his zest for theatre by actively participating in the esteemed Firodiya Karandak during his college days. He proactively used his experience, fueled by his desire to grow roots within our Marathi community, and started getting into the action from behind the scenes by attending program planning meetings for A2MM. While shadowing Ajeet Kulkarni who was the lead of the Infrastructure Committtee in 2015, Mandar quickly learned the ropes and took the helm to play the lead himself in the year of 2016. Mandar enjoyed being a part of the planning, execution, learning process and feels like he has made some great friendships along the way.

Some of Mandar’s other hobbies include dabbling with newer technologies, Traveling, nature walks with Sahil and Shama and food.ShamaMandar3

Shama is a very strong, supportive partner to Mandar. Her quiet demeanor is full of surprises. A very avid sports person in her school and college years, she explores anything thrown her way with a calm and enthusiastic approach. Back in Solapur, she played Kabbaddi on her school team, cricket and basketball on her college team and went on to be in the Kansas State cricket team as well. Shama loved and thoroughly enjoyed participating in A2MM programs, helping out with food and decorations and went on to accept the responsibility of heading the Decoration committee for the year of 2016. A few of her other interests include Reading, traveling, hiking and jewelry making.

As a husband and wife team both have successfully executed their respective responsibilities for Infrastructure and Decoration, with the support of their team members, for all of the A2MM programs for 2016 along with simultaneously managing work and Sahil’s routine seamlessly. They look forward to being of help as and when needed.

Their vision for A2MM is – “Growth as a big family without hurting the core values of: Hospitality, all inclusive approach, warmth and camaraderie”!