Monthly Community Paper | www.austinsouthasian.com | 512-828-6709 | Vol. 10 No. 05
AHT - Maha Kumbhabhishekam Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Birthday
With Sri HariHara’s blessings and support from 100s of volunteers in Central Texas, Austin Hindu Tem-
On the appointed day and at an auspicious time, the Kumbha is bathed with the charged and sanc-
Austin, TX April 1sh, 2017 - The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Austin, TEXAS celebrated the auspicious day of April 5th, 2017, Chaitra Sud Nom.
ple is completing another major milestone - Dwajastambha, Shikhara and Rushi Gopura Prathishta and Maha Kumbhahishekam. Kumbha means the crown of the temple.
tified holy waters in the sacrificial pot and by a mystique process, where divine powers trickle down a silver wire and enter the deities installed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple. (Continued On Page 10)
Devotees Rejoice.........05 Best Realtor.................06 Arun’s Scribblings.........06 Body - The First Gift.....07 SAIVA MILAAP..............07 Make A Difference.......08 SouthAsian Film Fest....09
According to the Hindu calendar, this day marks the 236th birthday of Bhagwan Swaminarayan as well as the birthday of Bhagwan Ram.
(Continued on page 5)
Jaitley Raises H-1B Surgeon General Why Trump’s Plan To ‘Hire American’ Must Visa Issue with U.S. Start With More Rights For Immigrant Workers Commerce Secretary Vivek Murthy
President Trump signed an executive order this week that directs federal agencies to implement a “Buy American, Hire American”
strategy and to reform the much maligned H-1B visa. No doubt,
lobbyists and congressional staffers are working overtime to develop an even more complex visa system that will be riddled with
new loopholes. (Continued On Page 21)
WASHINGTON — Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has strongly raised India’s concerns over the Trump administration’s move to tighten the H-1B visa regime with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Jaitley, in expressing his concerns, highlighted the key role played by Indian professionals in boosting the American economy. (Continued On Page 05)
WASHINGTON – Indian Ameri-
can Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, appointed by former President Barack Obama, has stepped down after he was asked to resign April 21 by the Trump administration as part of a move to appoint new leaders in key posts. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said Murthy was asked to (Continued On Page 06)
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Austin South Asian | May 2017
Devotees Rejoice Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Birthday
(Continued from page 1) This year’s program encompassed the theme: Bhaktavatsal Hari Birud Tiharo, meaning, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s resolve to care for his devotees.
Local volunteers of BAPS organized this joyous occasion. Weeks of the volunteers’ time were spent practicing dances, skits, speeches and song performances to execute a professional stage production.
of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram. Many had chanted dhun or read His spiritual teaching for hours at length to offer their devotion. Jitrendra Patil, a participant and volunteer said following on preparations and experience participating: “It was exciting to see how the examples relayed f r o m centuries ago still apply to us in this day and age, in striving to attain peace and spiritual understanding. It is truly astonishing to see how much we can learn from them even today.”
Maharaj continues to inspire individuals to a lead a wholesome life of spirituality. About BAPS The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org. About Mahant Swami Maharaj His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas.
About Pramukh Swami Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the wellbeing of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compas-
(Continued From Page 01) President Donald Trump April 19 signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa program to stop its “abuse” and ensure that the visas are given to the “most-skilled or highest paid” petitioners, a decision that would impact India’s $150 billion IT industry. The Indian IT industry has expressed serious concerns over the United States’ move to tighten the rules for grant of the H-1B visa, mainly used by domestic IT professionals for short-term work. During the meeting, Jaitley outlined the significant contributions the skilled Indian professionals have made to the U.S. economy and expressed the hope that the U.S. administration will take this aspect into consideration while taking any decision.
The audience was educated on how they too could nurture a modern dharma-based lifestyle by adhering to a vegetarian diet, maintaining sobriety and abstaining from other types of addictions.
The program not only encouraged those who attended to imbibe the positive values presented within their own lives, but also provided yet another way for the local youth to celebrate their culture and proudly display their heritage.
Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive.
During the meeting – the first cabinet-level interaction between the two countries under the Trump administration – Ross is believed to have said that U.S. has started the process of reviewing H-1B visas issues and no decision has been taken on them yet, they said.
Swaminarayan Jayanti carries much greater significance in the lives of the devotees who had fasted for the whole day in honor
Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s legacy was carried forward by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and today, His Holiness Mahant Swami
Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.
Ross is understood to have said that whatever the outcome of the review process, the Trump administration’s objective is to have
The Swaminarayan Jayanti program connected with the members of the audience to bring them together to commemorate the births and legacies of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram.
Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.” CONTACT: BAPS North American Headquarters Phone: 732-777-1414 Email: email@example.com SOURCE: BAPS
Jaitley Raises H-1B Visa Issue With U.S. Commerce Secretary
As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and servicefocused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The program highlighted many examples of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram’s compassion for their devotees and how, in turn, it inspired devotees to develop firm faith in God and cultivate a dharma-based lifestyle.
sion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age.
a merit-based immigration policy that gives preference to highlyskilled professionals. The executive order signed by Trump calls for a review of H-1B visas by the departments of State, Labor, Homeland Security and Justice. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. Indian technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year for their U.S. operations. The U.S. market accounts for about 60 percent of the revenue of the Indian IT industry. Reforming the H-1B visa system was one of the major election promises of Trump. Per several U.S. reports, a majority of the H-1B visas every year are grabbed by Indian IT professionals. India accounts for the highest pool of qualified IT professionals, whose services go a long way in making American companies globally competitive. (Continued On Page 21)
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Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Steps Down After Being Asked To Resign By Trump Administration (Continued From Page 01)
from the Obama administration.
resign after “assisting in a smooth transition” under President Donald Trump. Murthy was a holdover
Murthy’s deputy, Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, is serving as acting surgeon general and leader
Scribblings By Arun RIGHT HERE
Its not over there, If you share and care, The heaven is right here. Kith and kin, Health and time, If taken proper care, The heaven is right here. Temptation and vices, If kept from you afar,
The heaven is right here. Know not what’s above there, if you live here without fear, The heaven is right here. With love and affection If you spread peace everywhere The heaven is right here.
Austin South Asian
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the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps until the Senate confirms a replacement. Her previous positions include being a nurse officer in the U.S. Army. Health department spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said Murthy will remain a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Murthy said on Facebook that he was humbled and honored to serve. He said serving was the “privilege of a lifetime.” Murthy was confirmed as Surgeon General in December of 2014. He said in a Facebook post: “Two years and four months ago, I was honored to be sworn in as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. For the grandson of a poor farmer from India to be asked by the president to look out for the health of an entire nation was a humbling and uniquely American story.” “I will always be grateful to our country for welcoming my immigrant family nearly 40 years ago and giving me this opportunity to serve.” Murthy for years made headlines for calling gun violence a public health threat. In 2014, the National Rifle Association urged the Senate not to confirm him, the daily reported. Murthy, 37, was born in England to parents from India and grew up in Miami, Florida. His father is a physician too. Mur-
thy is a graduate of Harvard College as well as the Yale University schools of medicine and business.
--With AP and IANS reports (Couretsy: IndiaWest)
Sijo Vadakkan On Shortlist For HBA MAX Award ‘Best Realtor Of The Year 2017’ Mr. Sijo Vadakkan, CEO of Trinity Group of Companies (Trinity Texas Realty, Trinity Property Management, Development, Trinity Travel & Tourism, Omega Trading & Director Flowers TV USA) has been shortlisted for HBA MAX Award ‘Best Realtor Of the Year 2017. He won the Best Realtor MAX Award in 2015. This young and ambitious businessman shortlisted for this award three times. HBA MAX Awards honor those standout individual’s achievements in Real Estate area during the previous year. Clay Woodard, Move-up America(Lake Travis Builders), Tammy Templin (Lake Travis Builders )are among the finalist. Winners will be announced on April 8,2017 at J W Marriott hotel in Austin. Mr Sijo has built a strong reputation in the real estate business and his enormous professionalism has
pushed him to consistently be one of the Top Real Estate Broker in Austin. His Total sales were above 95 Million in 2016. ”I am thrilled to be the part of the Max Award.I have the opportunity to thank God, Family, and Friends for the never-ending support.”,said Sijo on receiving the nomination news from Home Builders Association. His achievements include Austin Business Journal award 2017,Platinum Top 50 Realtor 2016 & 2017, Max Award Winner 2015, Realtor Partner for the Century Communities-2016, Cal Atlantic Realtor of the year 2012-2016, Top producer for the NewLand Community. He has won Million Club Platinum Award in 2015 &2016. He is the advisor for many communities which includes Traviso, Santa Rita &Bryson. More Info : http://www. hbamaxawards.com/
To Advertise In ASA 512-828-6709
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Body - The First gift
By Sadhguru Vasudev Now people have come to the conclusion that body means pain. Body is not pain; body can be very, very beautiful. You can make your body in such a
If you look at this body as a mechanism, definitely it is the most sophisticated mechanism on this planet right now. All your super computers do not match this one. They say a single molecule of DNA can perform
This is the first gift that was given to you. And those people who do not appreciate this gift, those people who are not bothered to take care of this one properly, will God give any more gifts to them? It stops there. God gave you this wonderful body. Whoever is your creator, he gave you this wonderful body; the first gift that is given to you is a physical one, and then if he sees you are abusing it so badly, if you do not know how to take care of it, he knows it is not worth showering more gifts upon you. So it is very important that the body is kept in a comfortable and joyous state. If the body is joyous, it will encourage you to go further.
way that you need not have to carry it around, you can let it just float with you.
100 times more functions than all the computers in the world put together.
Just food, practices and a little change in attitude, you will see this body becomes a miracle.
A single molecule of DNA contains that many functions. So, this is definitely the best machine.
You don’t have to become a great athlete or something, but you can keep it well, healthy, comfortable and happy. Keeping the body happy is very important, otherwise it will pull you down, wherever you want to go it will pull you down very easily.
The physical body itself can be happy in the sense – after a bout of rain, if you go out and see, all the plants seem to be happy. Have you seen that they are almost laughing? Not just washed and clean, if you are sensitive you can see they are exuding happiness. Have you felt this? So particularly the body can be happy if it is kept properly. If you eat certain foods, the body will become happy. If you eat certain other foods, the body will become dull and lethargic, it will increase your sleep quota; we have not come here to sleep and go, isn’t it? I am talking about life, you know. See if we are sleeping for 8 hours a day, if we live for 60 years, we have slept for 20 years. 20 years of our lives we have slept; that is one third of our lives we have spent sleeping. Now, if we are sleeping for 12 hours, 50% of our lives we spend sleeping, the remaining 30 to 40%
SAIVA - MILAAP
Thank you to our donors, volunteers, seniors, children and com-
Such a wonderful evening at Radha Madhav Dham on April 9th under
The event was filled with beautiful music, song and dance performed by our seniors and our volunteers. Food donations by various supporters and wonderful Intergeneration art activities for the children.
The event allowed SAIVA to touch on each of our 4 programmatic Intergenerational mission priorities: Community Engagement: through Therapy Dolls, Fleece Blankets and Knit projects by our seniors.
munity supporters of MILAAP.
the beautiful Oak trees.
Education: Introducing our first STEAM camp and volunteering around education. Partnership: with Yours Humanly and Gyan Hee Shakti Hai, Indie Meme and others. Advocacy & Civic Engagement: Intergenerational conversations around Age-Friendly & Affordable Houston in Austin.
Our fundraising campaign from MILAAP will go towards Education and our first STEAM camp in August of 2017 for under privileged children to foster education. The campaign will continue through the end of May, we would love your support. To donate go to www.saiva.org and click on donate.
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goes in eating, toilet and the other ablutions, so what is left for life? There is really no time left. Nobody can enjoy his sleep. In sleep you don’t exist. The only thing that you can enjoy is restfulness. The body is well rested, that you enjoy. How to keep the body well rested? First of all, why tire it? Tiresomeness doesn’t come to the body because of work, for most people. People who are working more, are more active, isn’t it? Food is one important aspect, attitudes are also there, but food plays an important role. If you eat the wrong kind of food, you have to drag your body and go. If you eat the right type of food, it goes ahead of you, and that is how it should be kept. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a yogi, profound mystic of our times, and visionary humanitarian. His presence creates an extraordinary opportunity to break through limitations into one’s natural state of freedom, love and joy. Named one of “India’s 50 Most Powerful People” by India Today magazine, Sadhguru has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide, contributing to his vision of raising human consciousness. Isha foundation is conducting a 4-day Inner Engineering Program in Austin, Texas on Jul 20th-Jul 23rd, 2017. Inner Engineering is a program gleaned from the yogic sciences that offers tools to rejuvenate and achieve health, peace, joy and success. This program includes guided meditations, interactive discussions, asanas and the transmission of the sacred Shambhavi Mahamudra, which is a powerful and purifying energy technique that incorporates the breath. To learn more, visit www.innerengineering.com or call 512-6559589.
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Smart Home Innovations To Make Your Home More Comfortable
Innovations in smart technology continue to make our lives easier -- and now that extends to appli-
venience and control. Here are three to consider.
Gone is the era when your refrigerator merely kept your dairy and produce chilled.
Smart technologies can help you divert some of the thermal energy to other rooms.
These days, appliances like the GE Café and Profile series feature a Keurig K-Cup brewing system, so you can conveniently brew your morning cup of java without having to prepare the coffeepot or cue up an additional machine.
For example, Heat-Zone and Heat Duct Kits distribute up to 50 percent of a fireplace’s warmth to another room or within your home, allowing homeowners to enjoy the ambiance of their fireplace throughout the year, no matter the climate.
For more information, visit GEAppliances.com. Smarter Fireplaces
ances and amenities for added con-
Your typical fireplace adds comfort, coziness and warmth to one specific room, but sometimes you want to enjoy the ambience and aesthetic benefits without all the heat.
Make A Difference – 100 Days Of Presidency By Vidya Kumar
was never in doubt.
at home or at someone’s house.
Happy 100 days of the Presidency was completed. When Trump took office I thought that it is going to be the longest four years of my life and a nightmare.
But that is not the case in 2016 and so here I was completely disillusioned with President.
Yet, overall the thought that instead of concentrating on the country and its future it was way better to think selfishly about myself.
I was stressed about his twitter feed, his cronies getting the plum jobs whether they deserve to hold such esteemed offices’ or whether they are right for the job. I had fits of insomnia and get up in the middle of the night worrying about the state of affairs of our country. Some days I would feel that even though I am an immigrant the love for this country far exceeded the love that the President was showing. During the 2008 and 2012 elections I never had any doubt about John McCain or Mitt Romney being fit to be President. I knew where they differ would be policies but leading the country
I realized that the state of my mind needed to be calm. Started thinking what I could do differently so that I am not agitated and helpless all the time. Gradually, I decided that instead of expending my energy where I have no control on the events it is better to look inwards and improve myself these next four years. The first thought was to keep myself fit and healthy and thus have better control over my health. For the first time in a decade I joined Gym and felt good about myself as I started going to the gym regularly. I also started eating healthy the weekdays but come weekends it is a war with myself as I have no control over the food that I am eating
Maybe, some of the President’s narcissism was rubbing on me? I don’t know but it feels good and the worry has definitely diminished for me at least. So there is a lesson at every turn of our life that we learn. At present I do not know whether this is good or not but I am feeling that for the next four years this is the best course of action for me to look inwards and improve the person I am – physically, mentally, health wise, spiritually, socially and of course to give back to the community and to this country that I treasure as my own.
These heat management tools offer homeowners greater flexibility and control, giving them a truly customized fireside experience. To learn more about heat management options and how they open up possibilities for unique fireplace installations, visit HeatnGlo.com.
Double-Duty Washers We all have days when we generate a small but mighty load of laundry -- after a muddy soccer game is one example -- and new technology is making it easier to take care of those loads without wasting water, detergent or effort. Many manufacturers now offer separate compartments for small loads, while others have added convenience by introducing units that wash and steam clean clothes, eliminating a trip to the dry cleaners. When making home upgrades, first consider those that promise to make life more convenient and comfortable for your family. (StatePoint)
Don’t Let Your Wireless Bill Ruin Your Big Trip Travel can be rife with inconvenience, from delayed flights to lost luggage and more. And the high cost of staying connected via mobile devices is an additional headache for a growing number of travelers, especially those with international adventures ahead. This summer travel season, T-Mobile and research firm GfK released a new study that shows Americans’ reliance on their smartphones, and how potentially pricey travel could be for those who don’t understand the costs of international roaming. The study found that 69 percent of Americans take their smartphone when they leave the country and travelers are willing to make extreme tradeoffs for connectivity and the ability to maintain contact with friends and family. Indeed, more than half (55 percent) of Americans would rather lose their luggage than their smartphone, and two thirds (66 percent) of Americans would trade their preferred seat on a plane to ensure they have their cell phone when traveling abroad.
While people plan for the cost of hotels, airfare and other travel expenses, they can sometimes underestimate the cost of connectivity while traveling if they are not careful. To help you prepare for the busy travel season ahead, T-Mobile is offering tips to make sure you and your family can stay connected without coming home to an outrageous wireless bill. • Know your plan. Shockingly, six in 10 survey respondents (59 percent) confessed to not knowing what their international plan rates were. Considering that the average week abroad for a family of four can be more than $7,000 if you don’t plan ahead, this could be a major setback when you return from that fun vacation! In order to avoid bill shock, seek out a plan that helps eliminate unexpected expenses. (Continued On Page 09)
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Indie Meme film festival comes to a close with a surprise winner
By Sumaiya Malik Alka Bhanot, the founder of Indie Meme and co-founder of Indie Meme Film Festival is trying to familiarize Austin with the thought process of daily living in South Asia through independent film. She, along with Tripti Bhatnagar (co-founder) and ‘Memer ‘ team of intelligent artists/entrepreneurs toy with and analyze a film they find interesting and only select it for the Austin audience if they are sure that the film will reflect true South Asia. Then they put a selection of such films and prepare a weekend film festival and put it in front of the Austin audience. This was Indie Meme’s second year of film festival from April 20 to April 23 at the Arbor Cinema of Great Hills, with15 features and short films. Glamorized by q/a with the invited filmmakers and meeting some through Skyping with those who could not attend, the festival managed to attract different cross sections of a diverse Austin crowd. No film screening was less than ¾ full and Memers had to judge every film with a score between one and five. This was in preparation of the Audience Choice Award.
It was Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation), which stole the Audience Choice Award.
Bhutiani, both from different countries touched upon the same relations in different ways.
Shubhashish Bhutiani, the 26-yearold charismatic director profiled in 30 Under 30, by Times of India, Skyped with the audience from Brussels. He talked about the father/son relationship that is portrayed in the film and discussed the set of the hotel where the elderly came to die. The people in the audience shared their own aging parent experiences with an overflow of emotion.
Chronicles of Hari, was another eye opener and tissue grabber. It dealt with an inner conflict of Hari, a young man who dresses as a woman for a nightly theatrical performance. Ananya Kasaravalli, the director was present.
Pakistani student film, Me, Chabbar and Abu Chachu, set in a village in the Punjab also dealt with human relations and family pulls. Thus it wove a common thread across boundaries with the Indian Mukti Bhawan. Baqir Mehdi and
The big highlight of the festival was the arrival of members of Aam Admi Party to support The Insignificant Man, a documentary recording the rise of Arvind Kejriwal. The film follows Kejriwal and his Common Man’s Party. The 100-minute film has been distilled from 400 hours of behind-thescenes footage shot over a course
Vandana Agarwal liked Aamer, a short film in Shor Se Shuruaat, on the preview night. ‘Shor Se Shuruaat is an omnibus feature of mentored short films, around the central theme of shor or noise,’ said producer Raghavan Bhardwaj who was present throughout the festival. Parting (Afghanistan/Iran), White Sun (Nepal), Cinema Travellers…. So many thought-provoking films in a short span of three days brought South Asia to Austin. Sai Promod, the director of the festival, also launched his own short
Don’t Let Your Wireless Bill Ruin Your Big Trip
(Continued From Page 08) For example, T-Mobile ONE is designed with passport-holders in mind, and automatically includes texting and data at no additional
• Use data to your advantage. Fifty eight percent of survey respondents reported being worried
need and a plan that lets you utilize those apps for everything from maps and navigation to translation technology. • Use Wi-Fi when you can. If you don’t have a data friendly travel plan, put your phone in airplane mode and only use Wi-Fi when it’s available.
Hailing from an Indian background, Bhanot and her team reached out first to her Indian heritage to pull an amalgamation of Indian films with subject matter of intertwined cultures and languages. Then she turned to the rest of South Asia.
You won’t be alone. Staying connected is such a concern that one in five (21 percent) smartphone users reported going to extreme measures, like eating at a restaurant they didn’t like, just to use the WiFi, or even illegally pirating strangers’ Wi-Fi connections!
There was much talk about Lipstick Under My Burka, a feature film banned in India. Aahana Kumra, it’s lead actress, had flown in from India and was surrounded by intrigued Memers. The show was filled to capacity for this film. Skyping followed with the director, Alankrita Shrivastava, who is still fighting the Censor Board in India.
of two years with a fly-on- thewall approach. Filmmakers Vinay Shukla & Khushboo Ranka were in attendance.
cost in more than 140 countries and destinations. And if you travel to Mexico and Canada a lot, you’ll be happy to know that high-speed data in those countries is included. To learn more about the plan offerings, visit t-mobile.com.
about not knowing the language in a foreign country and 66 percent are worried about getting lost. With the right carrier, and access to unlimited data, your phone can break down these barriers for you! Make sure you have the apps you
So, take your family somewhere exciting this travel season and don’t forget your smartphones! You’ll be glad you have them while traveling, particularly if you take steps to keep your bill in-check. (StatePoint)
film called The New Machine. Promod actually travelled to other film festivals in the US to narrow down the selection for the festival in Austin. Big sponsors included KLRU, Movie OK, LifeOK, Star TV, Daman, Star Plus, Austin South Asian, Regal Entertainment Group and Cultural Arts Division. Alka Bhanot and Tripti Bhatnagar thanked all the volunteers and board members. Bhanot said, ‘It takes a village to put this festival together.’ It also takes a village to come and watch the shows. And truly, the villages were all there. People took back with them South Asia whether it was a part of their heritage from before or not. They also took back shared experiences of the audience. The purpose of making everyone comfortable with what South Asia is about was truly achieved this last weekend at the Indie Meme Film Festival.
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Austin South Asian | May 2017
Austin Hindu Temple - Maha Kumbhabhishekam (Continued From Page 01)
over a span of three days.
Let’s invite all the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu, Cauveri and others into this water pot and all the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesh and others. The unending oceans, the seven land masses as well are seated in various locations on the pot, so are all the four vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvanaveda.
Several preparatory rituals are part of this event: • Adhivaasa – An elaborate multi-day purification and sanctification process of immer• Maha Ganapati Pooja – To signify the sion of a murti in different materials before incommencement of the Kumbhabhishekam stallation. Different adhivaasas are performed festivals and to ward off obstacles and for on different days. Immersion of the deities in divine grace for successfully completing the grains of paddy is called Dhaanyaadhivaasa. function Immersion in water is called Jalaadhivaasa and immersion in milk Ksheeraadhivaasa. • Punyha Vaachanam – Purification rite Immersion in gold and silver is called Dhanaadhivaasa and in flower petals is called • Acharya ritvik Varanam – Assignment of Pushpaadhivaasa and finally resting on beds duties to the priests performing the ritual under blankets is called Sayanaadhivaasa. and offering of special garments to them • Moola Mantra homams – Oblations while • Kalasa Sthapana – Where the power of the reciting the moola mantra for each Deity are Supreme Divinity is invoked in the waters performed on several days to invoke the powkept in several kalasas (pots) er of the deities in the images.
Pratishtha rituals aim at bringing the unmanifest Nirguna Brahman to a manifest form in the Murti, giving energy and attributes, fit for worship and endowed with divine powers. This is accomplished by the power of the mantras recited by the learned priests with the conduct of the rituals as per the Agamas. The Yantra, which is a geometric representation of the power of the deity, is installed in the place where Dwajastambas and moorthis are to be installed subsequently. Along with the Yantra, precious metals and stones (Nava Dhathus and Nava Ratnas) are also placed as per shastras. Maha Kumbhabhishekam event is conducted
The growth of plants from these seeds symbolizes the prosperity of the temple
• Agni Pratishta – Establishing the sacred • Netronmeelanam – ritual in which the stfire for performing the fire oblations – hapathi/priests open the eyes of the Murtis (homams) As part of the Maha Kumbhabhishekam • Vaastu Puja and Homam – To worship the event, the power secured by the penance of Vastu Purusha conducting various Homams, is transferred to and consolidated in the main Homakunda. • Ankuraaropanam – Seeding of the soil. Then the main Homa is performed in this Homakunda after which, begin the rituals to transfer the divine power accumulated in the main Homakunda, to the main Kumbha, installed at the center of the Yagasala. Poornahuti (the ultimate sacrifice of one’s
ego) is then conducted in the main Homakunda. Elaborate poojas are conducted to the Kumbha to further energize it. Duriing the grand finale as part of the Maha Kumbhabhishekam, hundreds of sanctified Kalasas kept in the Yagasala are carried by devotees to the temple Dwajastambams, Gopuram, Vimanam, amidst Vedic chanting. This is followed by elaborate Abhishekams, performed with the sanctified waters from the Kalasas, along with the recitation of appropriate mantras. After the installation ceremony thus performed, the regular rituals such as Abhishekam, Homam, Alankaram, Archana, are performed routinely. At the appointed Muhurtham, Abhishekam is performed to the Dwajastambams, Rushi Gopurams, Vimanam, Main deities in the Garbhalayas and other deities in Upalayas. To get the Prokshanam after the abhishekhams is considered to be very auspicious. The main deities, sanctified after the Maha Kumbhabhishekam, are decorated in a splendorous manner. The Maha Deepaaradhana to the sanctified main deities after the kumbhabhishekam is a sight that many long to preserve in their memory. Excerpts from the four Vedas and quotations from the Bhagavad-Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Narayaneeyam, etc are recited at the time of the Maha Deepaaradhana. Thereafter the Prasadams are distributed.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – A Bridge Between Communities By Sumaiya Malik The political climate between India and Pakistan may shift between stormy to sunny in a matter of hours, but the people continue to remain friends and enjoy the common factors of culture, food, language and arts.
(Continued On Page 11)
Renowned Pakistani singer/sufiana qawal is one such factor. Nephew of the late, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, RFAK has carved a niche of his own and like his uncle is followed by all South Asians regardless of background.
College Admissions: 10 Tips To Stand Out Among The Crowd
By Raj Rajgopal
Did you know, on an average, college admission officers spend less than 45 minutes to review your application file? This holds true whether you are applying to the IVYs, MIT, Stanford, Texas, or other highly-selective schools. Admission officers have to make a quick decision among hundreds of very highly-qualified students. Follow these tips to stand out among the crowd: 1. Download a copy of the college application Spring term of your junior year and clearly understand the requirements. 2. Visit colleges during summer and perform detailed research on their programs.
3. Pick 3 dream schools and reach out to professors, alumni, student groups, and admissions office, and maintain your communication with them. 4. Do summer internships or other activities in an area close to your desired major. 5. During summer, write your essays with conviction and clarity. Illustrating a point with personal stories written with vivid details is a sure way to write a memorable essay. 6. Your essay should demonstrate clear interest in the college and its program by making references to your college research, summer internship, college communication, and other extracurricular activities. 7. Prepare a professional lookingresume that describes your activi-
ties in line with your chosen major. 8. Provide your recommenders with a copy of your essays and resume late Summer and get recommendations no later than early Fall. 9. Start filling in your application early Fall and have a third person review it before submitting. 10. Clean up your social media. One of the most critical mistakes most college aspiring students do is not deciding early on their desired college and major. Making this decision early will help you target your dream school with focus and precision and make you stand out. Raj Rajgopal is a College Admissions Coach at AdmissionGurus. com. Comments regarding this article can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – A Bridge Between Communities (Continued From Page 10) He was in Austin for the first time at the HEB Center in Cedar Park for an evening of paying tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali. He sang songs loved throughout the Sub-continent. His friendly countenance and welcoming smile drew his fans to wait for him till after the concert for a picture. The concert started at 9 p.m. bang on time and ended in three hours with a ten minute interval for sets change. Songs like Afreen , Piya re Piya, Yeh jo Halka Halka suroor hay, Ali Maula Ali Maula, and Sajna Teray Bina were some of the well known songs that Rahat Fateh Ali sang. The audience showed appreciation through clapping, dancing and flut-
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tering dupattas and flags. Rahat Fateh Ali acknowledged the excitement of the audience and commented, “It may not be the biggest crowd but he is deeply touched by the earnestness of the people. “ RFAK came with his orchestra, which included maestros of the Coke Studio world. His music included percussion, two keyboardists, two tablas, five ‘humnawa’, one guitarist and one with a clarinet. Gumby was seen on the percussion. Dhoom Productions organized the event. Vishaal Dave of Dhoom said that the orchestra and sound was top of the line and it showed in the concert. For more information about Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, please visit his website: http://www.rfakworld. com/
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Austin South Asian | May 2017
Computer Programming No Longer ‘Specialty Occupation’ For H-1B Visa Allocation
Computer programming is no longer considered a specialty occupation for purposes of allocating an H-1B visa, according to a new policy memo released March 31 by
noted the new memo.
Current law requires H-1B workers to possess a bachelor’s degree or higher, with academic credentials
ing to provide a detailed description of job duties and what might be produced as a result of the H-1B worker’s labor. “There’s a high degree of risk for consulting and outsourcing companies,” said Shah. “This just makes the whole process a bit more difficult.” The Trump administration’s rhetoric of H-1B workers taking American jobs is “overstated,” according to Shah. “H-1B workers are starting businesses and creating jobs for American workers.
The U.S. economy could be heavily impacted if we took the program away,” he said. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
specifically related to their prospective job duties.
The USCIS new guidelines essentially makes it more rigorous for computer programmers to qualify for an H-1B visa.
The new memo stated that applicants and employers must provide additional information to establish that a particular position is a specialty occupation as defined by current Department of Labor standards.
Applicants will have to provide additional documentation proving that they are qualified for a “specialty occupation.” The new memo rescinds a 17-yearold directive issued by the Nebraska Service Center, which processes H-1B applications. The old memorandum stated that most programmers had a bachelor’s degree or higher, but did not specify that degree was related to computer science or information systems. Furthermore, the old memo recognized that some computer programmers held only an associate or “two year” degree. USCIS noted that this is still the case and individuals with just a two year degree can get jobs as programmers. “As such, it is improper to conclude based on this information that USCIS would “generally consider the position of programmer to qualify as a specialty occupation,”
USCIS explicitly stated it was not creating new policy, but simply codifying existing policy. “The new policy is simply withdrawing the old guidance,” Tejas Shah, who leads Franczek Radelet’s immigration practice and cochairs the South Asian Bar Association’s immigration panel, told India-West. He explained that USCIS was not necessarily following the old memo anyway, in determining eligibility for H-1B visas. Renewals could be in jeopardy, he noted, stating that someone’s current position could be re-visited to ensure that credentials meet current standards. For lower level H-1B wage earners, it is difficult to establish that an assignment is complex enough to meet the qualifications for an H-1B visa, he said, adding that employers will also bear the brunt of hav-
“Trump wants a broad attack on all immigration. He’s taken the area where there’s discretion,” Las Colinas, Texas-based immigration attorney John Lawit told India-West. “This is a full-court press attack. He could re-define everything so that Ph.D.s don’t get H-1Bs,” said Lawit, who is known to the Indian American community for his work with asylum seekers who are facing deportation. Earlier, noted Lawit, the government allotted 185,000 H-1B visas per year, which was adequate to meet the needs of employers. The new allocation of only 85,000 per year has completely rigged the system so that only a handful of companies get the majority of visas. Lawit agreed with
Shah that the notion of H-1B workers stealing American jobs was a false premise. “You’ve got 150 million workers in the job market. How can 180,000 H-1Bs take away jobs from Americans?” From IANS: The Indian IT industry body Nasscom April 4 said the clarifying guidance by the USCIS on eligibility for computer programmers under the H-1B visa norms will have little impact on its members, as the clarification has been the adjudicatory practice for years. “The March 31 USCIS memorandum reinforces an existing practice by adjudicators and clarifies requirements for certain computer professionals,” said the National Association of Software Services and Companies in a statement from Bengaluru. Noting that several of its members have applied for visas for higher level professionals this year,
the apex body said the evidence showed that the jobs were complex and required professional degrees. “Our member companies provide skilled talent and solutions to U.S. firms. The H-1B visa system exists specifically because of the persistent shortage of highly-skilled domestic IT talent in the U.S.,” the statement pointed out. USCIS issued a second memo April 3 stating its intent to further police employers who have large numbers of H-1B workers. It has established a hotline and an e-mail for those who feel they are victims of the H-1B program, or workers who wish to report fraud. (Courtesy: IndiaWest)
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Austin South Asian | May 2017
SPRING AT “SHIKSHA”
By Pranoti Kale
SHIKSHA, the community-centered Hindu cultural school at Radha Madhav Dham (RMD), entered its 5th year this January.
The students have been enjoying studies as well as all the festivities that the New Year has brought. The semester started off with the Pongal and Makar Sankranti celebrations in January. The kids enjoyed
by the Indian Republic Day Celebrations on January 26th. The kids took part in a parade, carrying Indian flags and wearing colorful dresses to mark the occasion. They also played violins to accompany the national anthem that was sung by the Shiksha parents and teachers. February saw the Shiksha students enact Kaalaarchana for Shivratri. The mesmerizing performance was preceded by a narrative about the significance of Shivratri.
The school, which boasts a student population of greater than a hundred, has had a very exciting Spring semester, so far.
kite flying, painting Pongal pots and drawing Kollam. These celebrations were followed
This energy was carried over to the Holi performance in March. At the RMD Holi Festival celebrations, Shiksha students participated in the Holi Dance Enactment. The theme of the dance was taken directly From “The Divine Padas of Hori Madhuri.” The Annual Sports Day was celebrated on March 25th. The children participated in a variety of sports,
like the three-legged race, blind man’s bluff, relay race, etc.
The afternoon ended with a welcoming water balloon fight, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The following Sunday, the students took part in a powerful dance drama about Ram Navmi. The school students are now working hard to present a successful performance on the “Buddha” at the State Capitol Building on May 6th. All the pictures and videos of the different events can be found on Shiksha’s Facebook page. Hema Raja says, “By incorporating the celebration of Indian festivals as a part of its curriculum, Shiksha continues to provide students the total immersion into Hindu culture, which cannot be gained via scriptural or classroom studies alone”. The environment at Shiskha makes one feel a part of a new community where enrichment can continue for
parents and kids together. Families new to Austin are more than eager to enroll their kids at Shiksha to become part of this vibrant school community. Recently, Shiksha volunteer Rana Singh authored a new Hindi Book for Shiksha students. A plan is underway to replicate this book for other Indian languages as well. It will be a very useful tool in teaching Indian languages to the students. For more details on how to purchase this book, go to shikshausa. org or visit the RMD bookstore, located on the premises of RMD. The school looks forward to the Performance Day Celebrations in May when the semester ends. Everyone is welcome and invited to be an audience at this performance day to cheer the students and applaud the efforts of all involved.
Muslim Youth Of North America Austin Arrange A Career Talk At ICGA By Sumaiya Malik
cluding 7 men and 3 women professionals who talked about what they do and how they got there. There were about 80 high schoolers and parents in the audience. “The talk was arranged by the Deen and Dawa Committee of MYNA Austin,” said Hadiya Zaidi, a parent volunteer. Inaya Paracha and Shehab Ellithy, were the student leaders in charge of the total organization.
On Saturday, April 8th at 2:30pm Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) in Austin hosted a Career Guidance and College Planning Talk at the Manor Mosque (Islamic Center of Greater Austin ICGA). The talk included ten speakers in-
The speakers included Dr. Afshan Khan, Sarah Bawany, Dr. Akif Sultan, Tariq Aossey, Imran Khan, Dr. Omar Akhtar, Junaid Tayyab, Mikal Abdullah and Maheen Khan. Each speaker also took questions from the audience. This was followed by an early dinner in the reception. The speakers gave their best ad-
vice: Tariq Aossey the current executive director of Connecther advised the young students to, “Think like a business owner even in the corporate world.” He always thought out of the box. Aossey added, “Someone has to figure out stuff and it might as well be you.” Dr. Omar Akhtar is an orthopedic surgeon with a private practice in Austin who specializes in joint replacement of the hip and knee drew attention toward vocational training with passion and service to the community.
Quran and the US constitution have a lot in common. Maheen Khan owns and operates the Kumon Math and Reading Center, Westlake with over 180 enrolled students. Maheen attended UT Austin where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology. Her commitment to mentorship and guidance to students is commendable especially at her young age. Sara Bawany is a graduate student in the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work, set to graduate with her master’s degree in May.
Junaid Tayyab is an Accounting Analyst at Facebook in Austin, Texas. Prior to that, he was a Financial Statement Auditor at Deloitte & Touche.
Her end goal is to work in the domestic violence field, focusing specifically on Muslims and/or South Asians. She is on Instagram @sara. bawany
He reminded the students that to educate themselves about their religion. He pointed out that the
Ali Khataw is the founder and President of Encotech Engineering, a successful and well-known
civil and architectural engineering firm right here in Austin, Texas. He urged the kids to get involved in the community. He highlighted four points and asked the students to note them on their cell phones. Community Trusteeship, collaborative decision-making, inclusiveness and personal responsibility are four key factors he said. Imran Ulla is also the current President of the Qard Hasan Foundation, a local non-profit organization that provides interest-free loans to local college students. He reminded the students that success can be in many forms and not just capital gains. Family, kids work, steady life are all rewards as well, he added. Dr. Afshan Khan, a psychiatrist was keen to see the focus move to resilience, hard work and pushing through. (Continued On Page 15)
Austin South Asian | May 2017
‘Smile, Serve, Meditate’
(Continued From Page 01) By Suma Adapala
Capitol in honor of Sri Sri’s visit to Austin and presented to him.
The Art of Living Foundation hosted the organization’s founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on World Happiness Day March 20th at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Austin, Texas. Close to a thousand Austinites from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds were guided into deep meditation and enjoyed the wisdom enriched answers by Sri Sri.
Also, the Mayor of Austin proclaimed March 20, 2017 as ‘Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Day’. Sri Sri began the event with a cheerful smile. To be happy, he said that each of us
He defined meditation as the method to reach out to our spirituality and make it more active and vibrant in our lives. Then he led close to a 1000 people in a guided meditation for twentyfive minutes.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and an ambassador of peace. The State of Texas honored Sri Sri with a resolution presented earlier in the day at the State House of Representatives. The state’s flag was flown over the
ner strength. Serving connects one to everybody and helps with good karma and smiling keeps one sane.
Believe that you can uplift any situation around you.
For information on the Art of Living courses visit:
Instead of blaming others and making them feel guilty uplift them.
https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/ austin Phone: 512-786-6871 Email: email@example.com
“You are made up of substance, of love, so stop seeking love from others. Meditation is realizing that you are love.
The Art of Living Foundation, a non-profit, operates in over 155 countries, and has engaged in educational and humanitarian programs since 1981. Millions around the world have taken inspiration from his vision of “a stress-free mind and a violencefree society”.
Sri Sri answered, “Right here right now. Just turn back and look at your life... does it not seem like a dream?
There is a greater joy in giving. Happiness in giving is much bigger than receiving. I am here to give love and not to demand love.
should uplift our spirits and get rid of our stress. He defined stress as, too much to do, too little time and no energy. There are several ways to get rid of stress: breathing, meditating, and expanding our consciousness is one way.
After the meditation session, Sri Sri said that there are restaurants to fulfill hunger and beauty salons for beauty needs, finally there should be happiness centers for people to go when they are unhappy. One audience member asked, “Who am I? Where am I?”
Demanding love destroys relationship. Any relationship gets destroyed or collapses when love is demanded. Demanding love and making an effort to win love is wrong. The right thing is just being love. Do not ask anyone to prove love for you.” Sri Sri’s mantra for the evening was “smile, serve and meditate”. Meditation gives the in-
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Info@ AustinSouth Asian.com
Muslim Youth Of North America Austin Arrange A Career Talk At ICGA (Continued From Page 14)
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Mikal Abdullah is a veteran of the U.S. Army and multiple-winner of martial arts championships around the world. He is currently the founder and Head Coach of Aces Jiu Jitsu Academy, a Brazilian and Mixed Martial Arts Studio right here in Austin, Texas. Akif Sultan PhD, continued the conversation with an optimistic analysis. He said, “Once you decide something you will do it with passion. Whatever the roadblocks, remove them from your mind.” Inaya Paracha, said, “MYNA brings together the Muslim Community of diverse people who become a family even if they do not know anyone [from before].”MYNA-
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For more information, contact info@StanfordAcademy.com or Text/Call (512)-537-8868 or visit www.StanfordAcademy.com
Austin is a youth organization for Muslim teens geared towards empowering them and training them in leadership roles to become positive and effective citizens in their adult life. For donations, please call Zafar Choudhry at 512-913-1811. One can also contact parent volunteers, Kaamileh Hamid and Rehana Ahmed (treasurer). Please also visit: http://mynaaustin.org
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Bani Abidi Stirs Up Hidden Emotions And Unheard Voices In Austin
By Sumaiya Malik
On March 29 and 30, contemporary Pakistani artist, Bani Abidi, exhibited videos of her experimen-
mixed audience of students and Austinites from the community.
first audience is the one I share my history with.”
She shared, her thoughts and reasons for making the videos and
She is clearly drawn towards short documentary style films that are a slice of the real plight of a common man. She approaches the situation of choice with humor, her point being to make people smile at first and then realize a slow sadness upon reflection of the situation from far. Take, for example, her short film, Mangoes, which talks about women having the fruit and sharing lives in Pakistan and India.
tal work and photographic art at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a guest of the South Asia Institute and also spoke at the School of Communication.
remained honest about the genius and fluke that went on behind the scenes to put her work together. Abidi’s work is a reflection of her surroundings and draws emotion from history.
Abidi explained her work to a
The maestro acknowledges, “My
The beloved fruit, the taste of which cannot be replicated in a mango grown in any other country, becomes a part of the history and culture as Abidi creates an observation from far, touching the Pakistani diaspora abroad. Abidi moved on to Reserved, a video, which shows how, a city comes to a halt when a state dignitary is about to arrive.
Using humor, she focuses her camera on the resigned expressions of those waiting patiently in the traffic for the ‘chief guest’ to pass.
no statues, but sounds of two different sets of voices “bearing poignant testament to the tragedy of the First World War.”
She shows kids running off for ice cream and their teacher pleading with them to come back.
Time flew by as Abidi left the audience spellbound by her genius. One could not help but wonder about the history of South Asia and the emotion attached to past experiences.
We, as audience, smile and the innocence of the children, and then slowly feel saddened by the shear disregard of precious time. That in combination with a video showing 150K empty chairs being stacked in a Pakistani stadium after the government abandoned the idea of setting a world record to gather the largest crowd to sing the country’s national anthem while a single man tries to set another by breaking walnuts with his forehead. Abidi’s genius continued to flow with A Memorial to Lost Words, an installation in Edinburgh Art Festival 2016. This is a work housed in the Old Royal High School where there are
Abidi hails from Pakistan, but is currently divides her time between Berlin and Pakistan. She has lived in India and also has spent time in countries where she has remained artist in residence. She received her MFA from the University of Chicago. UT Austin is known to not only be a leader in South Asian studies in the world of academia, it has also reached out to the community by inviting Austinites to listen in and learn about a different point of view. The talks were free and open to the public. http://www.baniabidi.com/
Childlife Foundation Holds Annual Fundraiser At Maggianos For Children’s Hospital In Pakistan
By Sumaiya Malik
ChildLife Foundation is a nonprofit, which aims to tackle the health problems that are prevalent
The CLF modeltakes a preexisting government run facility and converts it into modern hospitals for children.
donations, zakat funds collected through fundraisers and direct deposit. CLF has held annual fundraisers for the past four years in Austin and has built a clinic in Karachi with the funds collected from previous donations from Austin.
The current fundraiser on April 1 at the Maggianos, an Italian Eatery in Domain aimed at continuing the plan of building and sustaining emergency rooms, primary care and similar needs for the poor children.
in the slum neighborhoods of Karachi through a complete healthcare system: emergency care, primary care, and preventive care.
One example of such a transformation is the pediatrics wing of the Civil Hospital Karachi. The foundation functions with
A group of volunteers including Omer and Kiran Dossani, Zeba and Zahid Maniya, Farah and Sameer Kamal, and Atif Syed, worked together to make this event a success. Omer Dossani invited Dr. Ahson Rabbani, the Chief Executive Officer of CLF to give an update about the past year’s progress.
Dossani and Rabbani, spoke to an audience of 83 Austinites. They urged the Austin Community to open their pockets and give Zakat to CLF.
Dr. Rabbani informed the attendees that Karachi is the largest congregation of Muslim population in the world where CLF has 3 centers. The city needs two more. Before CLF stepped in 5 years ago to transform government run facilities to state of art modern pediatrics hospitals, the state of government hospitals was deplorable. Dr. Rabbani showed slides of the
dire conditions and then more of how CLF has transformed into modern hospitals with top of the line medicines. Omer Dossani has consistently raised funds for CLF. He said that we are here today as people of privileges who need to those who are in need who we have left behind in Pakistan through Zakat and donations. The foundation raised $77K at the fundraiser. ChildLife will continue to expand its network of clinics and emergency rooms catering to lowincome families seeking quality and affordable healthcare.
To Advertise In ASA Call 512-828-6709
Austin South Asian | May 2017
TajMahal - One Of The Seven Wonders Of The World The Taj Mahal means “Crown of the Palace”. It is an ivory-white marble mau-
were inlaid into the white marble. The moods of the Tajmahal vary from dawn to dusk.
Panchatantra Tales - The Bird With Two Heads
Once upon a time, there lived a great bird named Bharunda, on the banks of a lake.
avenge your insult”.
The first head pleaded, “Please
Knowing what would happen, the first head began to cry.
It was strange because he had two necks with two heads, but shared the common body. One day, as the bird was wandering, it found a delicious looking red-golden fruit. One of the heads mumbled, “Oh, what a delicious looking fruit. I am lucky to have found it. I am sure the fruit is sent from heavens only for me”. On saying so, it started eating the fruit with utmost pleasure. soleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house. The construction of this world wonder employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia. It is believed over 1,000 elephants were used to transport the building materials. The translucent white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, twenty-eight types of precious and semi-precious stones
It looks milky white in the soft light that characterizes early morning, while the afternoon sun makes it glisten bright and dazzling in the overhead sunlight, almost looking like a jewel against the opaque blue of the skyline and then comes a moonlit Taj breaking into the night sky, majestic and simply beautiful in a sense that cannot be put into words. The sensuous appeal can never be more heightened as on a full moon night when it shines like a pearl.
While eating, it kept on praising how it was the most delicious fruit he had ever eaten.
don’t eat this fruit, it is a poisonous one. We share the same stomach. If you eat it, we will both suffer”
The second head ate the poisonous fruit without bothering the first head’s requests.
Hearing and seeing all this, the other head requested, “Oh dear, please also allow me to taste the fruit that you are praising with all your heart”.
Mocking at the first head, the second head replied, “Shut up! Since I am the one who found this fruit in the first place, I have the right to eat it myself”.
As a consequence of this action, as soon as the poison reached the stomach, the bird severely suffered.
The first head did not want to share it, so it laughed and said, “We share the same stomach. Whoever amongst us eats the fruit, it goes to the same stomach.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.
It makes no difference on who eats the fruit.
Tajmahal is described by Rabindranath Tagore as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time”.
This selfishness of the first head hurt him very much, and he went silent with disappointment on hearing the first head’s reply.
It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year.
Moreover, since I am the one who found this fruit in the first place, I have the right to eat it myself.”
Few days later, as they were wandering the second head found some fruits. The fruits were from a poisonous tree. He declared to the first head, “You are a deceitful person. The other day you had insulted me by not sharing the delicious fruit. Now I am going to eat this fruit and
Moral: Union is strength.
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Austin South Asian | May 2017
EAST AUSTIN GARDEN FAIR
By Venkappa Gani
East Austin Garden Fair was initiated from Travis county Master
Gardeners Association (TCMGA) ten years ago to educate and promote gardening to east Austin Community. We started participating at this fair from inception with having booth with various gardening activities. During last few years focusing on growing fruit trees including the citrus in central Texas area. It became very popular to have separate booth for Citrus growing. I was involved in project started during 2003-04 by TCMGA to demonstrate feasibility study of growing citrus in Austin area. The selection of Grapefruit, Satsuma orange, Kumquat, Mexican lime, Kaffir lime was made and Land prepared behind the Tcmga greenhouse divided into three sections 1) open area 2) partially protected 3) fully protected for winter cold weather protection. Added Meyer lemon to the selection previously made based on the input from local area experience. Same selected 5 citrus family planted in my backyard without any protection for winter cold weather. First year they all made it through whether protection or not because it is very hard to airtight protection in the area due to heavy wind. During very cold weather below freezing for extended period can damage these trees. They may look like dead but if they are well established after few years outdoor weather with strong root system they will come back.
I have these citrus trees having lived through last 15 years Last two years plenty of rains done well specially Meyer lemon, Grapefruit thrived well and produced hundreds of fruits and with tree size 10 ft tall and 10 ft diameter.
I was so happy this year as all my citrus trees produced abundant fruits but come november that deep freeze almost killed my trees with fruits hanging during the winter. Luckily my patient prevailed come spring new healthy shoots showing up. I pruned all dead limbs and they are all doing well hoping they will produce this year. I was requested by TCMGA Garden Fair committee to have special citrus booth based on the public interest. Booth was titled as Can you grow citrus in Austin? See my full poster depicting current and past pictures of citrus trees and articles published. Eleventh Annual East Austin Garden Fair was scheduled on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center, 2608 Gonzales Street Austin, TX 78702 Indoor Activities, 9 am - 2 pm Free Admission and Free Plants Prior to the Fair we were requested to Radio Talk Show on Tuesday April 4, 2017 from 8 AM - 8 :30 AM on KAZI 88.7 FM station. I talked about organic growing of edibles and health benefits. Ratna spoke about rainbow color food for balanced food for health. Agrilife Extension office requested me to plant a tree at the Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center. Looked at the location to plant front of the building visible to the public and next to the raised vegetable beds my suggestion wa approved. I decided to donate the and
plant it during garden fair. I choose cold hardy Improved Meyer Lemon tree. On Thursday April 6 dug the hole for tree planting on Saturday with all other arrangements ready with two Lemon trees and other tools
too small to display all fresh fruits but it was very attractive eye catching meyer lemon trees with fruits hanging made very lively. Lot of visitors surprised to see all the various citrus fruits. Lemon pickle recipe was posted on the poster board attracted some people to know about various lemon uses.
The continuous flow of people including kids of all ages were curious for these fruits asking many questions. left inside the building. On Saturday morning brought all materials for Citrus booth. Placed two large live Meyer lemon trees one on each end of the table and two small citrus trees On top of the table placed poster board with pictures and news magazine article depicting growth cycle of citrus trees. At center fresh citrus fruits with labels arranged visible to the visitors. The literature and handouts made available to visitors. The following fruits displayed: 1) Meyer lemons 2) Texas Grapefruit large size and cut view 3) Gold Nugget Tangerines 4) Key Limes 5) Small Limes 6) Organic Lemons 7) Mandarin Oranges 8) Cara Cara Navel Oranges 9) Blood Oranges 10) Big Pummelo The table was
The time to plant the tree around 11 AM outside the building took one of the Improved Meyer Lemon tree on display and gathered people to attend planting ceremony by Travis County Agrilife Extension Agent Daphne Richards. Mixed some compost and soil with
amendment with coco coir for easy drainage and water conservation. First filled the hole with water before added some soil as hole was deeper. Watered the tree in the pot and removed the tree from the pot and loosened the roots and removed some of soil. Placed the tree in the center of the hole filled the hole with amended soil and original soil from the hole fellow Master gardener Mark and Daphne helped during the process watered enough to soak. At end end placed moulded plastic in place of mulch around tree trunk protecting the trunk at bottom. See series of pictures taken during planting. We all enjoyed the process with nice weather and everything went smoothly without any hitch. Spent rest of the time until closing with enjoyable event inside the building.
Austin South Asian | May 2017
3 Financial Must-Do’s For College-Bound High School Families
One challenge looms large for many American families as students approach high school graduation: how to pay for college.
eryone planning to attend college should take these concrete measures during senior year of high school.
Financial planning should ideally
• Seek Federal Aid. Complete the
curing financial aid for college, including federal student loans, and most state and institutional aid. Unfortunately, many students don’t realize they are eligible for such aid, leaving tons of money (and potential educational opportunities) on the table. To complete the FAFSA, visit fafsa.ed.gov. • Search for Scholarships. Because scholarship money typically does not have to be repaid, it’s important to secure as much of it as possible. Begin your search using online scholarship databases, such as TuitionFundingSources.com, and meet with your school counselor to discuss other available scholarship opportunities.
begin several years before college applications are even due. But no matter what financial preparation your family has done, ev-
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. The FAFSA is your first step to se-
Micro-scholarships are another option to consider. Check out sites like raise.me to learn more about how you can earn
scholarship money for your high school achievements. • Understand Family Finances. Now is the time to have some important family discussions. Parents should set expectations about money with their students, letting them know what, if any, portion of college expenses they plan to pay. Students should find out if any funds have been set aside for their education, as well as what their responsibilities will entail -- whether that involves holding down a parttime job or maintaining a particular grade point average. • Consider Private Loans. After exhausting grants, scholarships and other aid options that don’t require paying interest, private loans may be worth some consideration and can, in some cases expand your educational opportunities as a college-bound student.
“It’s important to keep in mind that there are often many unanticipated expenses associated with the college years -- from taking an extra course to paying for materials and technology to spending a term studying abroad,” says John Rasmussen, head of Wells Fargo’s private student lending business, who cautions against a cavalier attitude where loans are concerned. “Whether you take out a private student loan or leverage other financial products to pay for miscellaneous expenses, it’s important to understand the terms of repayment.” More tips, as well as free college planning resources, can be found at blogs.wf.com/collegeplanning. Don’t leave the future uncertain. If you are college-bound, plan ahead to ensure that you can meet the costs of your education. (Statepoint)
Why Experts Say High-Speed Internet Access Matters To Families And Businesses Nationwide In the same way the telephone brought new opportunities for business development and economic prosperity to America’s
heartland decades ago, experts say that today, expanding broadband to every part of the country will have positive impacts on all communities nationwide.
In short: no matter where you live it’s important that all Americans -including those in more remote areas -- have broadband access, too.
“Broadband has replaced the telephone, and represents the infrastructure opportunity of the 21st century,” says Shirley Bloomfield, chief executive officer of NTCA–
The Rural Broadband Association.
In 2015, the rural broadband industry supported nearly 70,000 jobs, over $100 billion in e-commerce, and rural broadband companies contributed $24.1 billion to the U.S. economy through investments and operations, with 66 percent of that economic activity benefitting urban, rather than rural, communities.
Yet millions of rural Americans have limited or even no access to robust broadband,” says Bloomfield. “It is critical to deliver this service affordably to the unserved, and to ensure those already receiving broadband remain served.”
While small, hometown broadband providers are leading the way in building advanced networks that support the Internet’s fastest speeds across large portions of rural America, a digital divide of availability and affordability still exists between the urban and rural parts of the country. “To not have access to high-speed Internet today should be unimaginable -- as it is needed for education, commerce, health care and
Advocates at NTCA–The Rural
Broadband Association say that the future economic health of the country depends on broadband, and it should be included in any broader infrastructure initiatives, with an emphasis on programs that have worked in the past and a focus on addressing obstacles that can cause delays on projects moving forward. (StatePoint)
APPEAL TO NON PROFITS Please help us in updating the contact information. Please email correct information if you think the published information needs update. We appreciate if you can also provide a contact number so that your members / community can reach you. We will also carry this on our website and keep it updated for the benefit of community. email: email@example.com 512-828-6709
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Protect Your Money: There’s An App For That
Since the credit card made its debut as an alternative to cash over 50 years ago, more Americans are using debit or credit cards as a primary payment method than ever before.
This can lead to other problems, like overdrafts and bounced checks. For all these reasons, consumers
To understand how you are protected, it’s a good idea to check with your bank to understand their policy on customer liability and to inquire if they offer solutions you
In addition to the convenience and simplicity of using a card, another reason they have become increasingly popular is because they offer certain protections for consumers.
For example, Ally Bank’s Card Controls app -- available at no cost to both checking and money market customers with active debit cards and Android or Apple phones -- was designed to give customers more control at their fingertips.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, your maximum liability for fraudulent credit card transactions is $50 and many credit cards promise zero liability for all fraudulent transactions. While similar protections apply to fraudulent debit card transactions under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, it’s important to remember that a stolen debit card, however, impacts your bank account balance as soon as the fraudulent transaction occurs.
chips, as well as have created phone apps to protect against unauthorized charges and monitor purchase activity in real time, some banks are taking extra steps to make debit card usage more secure by putting even more technology in the hands of their customers.
should pay careful attention to their statements to ensure all the transactions taking place are legitimate, advise experts.
can use to protect your card if it’s lost or stolen.
By using a secure mobile app associated with their bank accounts, users have the ability to turn their debit card on and off, enable only certain types of transactions, set maximum single transaction amounts and create alerts to be notified when transactions occur.
While some card issuers have evolved cards to offer security
Customers can even set location awareness controls so that the card
can only be used within a certain proximity of their phones or within a specified geographic region. “The ability to proactively control, monitor and manage card usage from a mobile phone provides greater peace of mind,” says Diane Morais, president of Consumer & Commercial Banking Products at Ally Bank, Member FDIC. Fortunately, technology advancements are resulting in new tools that banks can offer their customers to make it easier to control and monitor how and when your card is used, but the services vary from institution to institution. To ensure you are using all the resources available to protect your money, find out what your bank offers to make debit card usage more secure. (StatePoint)
4 New Technologies To Help You Protect And Appreciate Nature The possibilities of new technology to improve the world are seemingly boundless.
many appliances via one platform.
And these days, the state-of-the-art can help you protect and appreciate nature in your daily life.
Get outside to hike, cycle, fish, walk and appreciate the earth’s beauty.
Here are a few new eco-conscious technologies helping people go green and get outdoors.
Whether you’re on a nature walk with your family in a local park, or biking to work instead of driving, free up your hands with a smart outdoor watch designed to help guide you on your path.
Smart Home From thermostats that can be controlled remotely to water heaters that alert your smartphone or tablet when a leak is detected, smart home technology can help you get a handle on your carbon footprint. Today, consumers are using this technology to program lights to dim, window treatments to open and close, and more -- in an effort to save energy. For simplicity and ease, consider a system allowing you to control
Smart Outdoor Watch
eter, barometer, weather radar and water-resistance, can give outdoor enthusiasts an extra edge on their next adventure. Nature at Your Fingertips
Other apps, such as iNaturalist allow you to log your journey, uploading photos and information about flora and fauna sightings seen on the trail.
Features like a compass, altim-
For instance, the lineup of LampFree projectors from Casio lessens the hazardous waste from the hundreds of thousands of mercury lamps that get deposited into landfills annually. Plus, its hybrid light source uses both a laser and a LED, and has a lifespan of approximately 20,000 hours, using about half the electricity consumption of a mercury lamp projector.
One example, the new WSD-F20 from Casio, has a rugged build and is equipped with GPS and new color map functionality that can be used offline. With its Location Memory app, customize maps with markers and text, so you can revisit otherwise unmarked spots, such as a great viewpoint on a hike or the perfect fishing spot.
sider going green when shopping for a projector.
From improving your energy efficiency at home to exploring the great outdoors, new technology can improve your relationship with the natural world around you. (StatePoint)
Leave the field guides and journals at home.
Green Your Data Projection
New mobile apps, such as Birds Pro can help you identify species.
Whether it’s in the classroom, the boardroom or the living room, con-
Austin South Asian | May 2017
May 2017 Community Calendar We have compiled this event listing based on the information available on the web site (where ever possible) of the community/organization as of third Friday. Please check with the organizers to confirm its accuracy. We request all South Asian organizations to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) their community calendar on or before 20th of every month, for the events happening next month. We will carry listing of all South Asian non-profit organizations in Austin. If the Name, Contact info is not correct or has changed email us (info@ austinsouthasian.com) the changes you want to see. E&OE.
May 06, Saturday, 05:00 PM,
Admission per person is $30.
Care-A-Child presents100 Years Of Bollywood at ST. Michael’s Catholic Academy, 3000 Barton Creek Blvd, Austin, TX 78735. For more information, contact
May 13, Saturday, 05:00 PM, Ekal Sur Ekal Taal is at Texas school for the Deaf, 1102 South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX
78704. For more information, contact Kishore Gagrani at 512-6088495. Tickets: Student - $10 ; General - $20; Premium - $30 May 20, Saturday,
06:00 PM, Marathi Light Vocal Concert 2017 is at Round Rock Library (Room A), 216 E Main St, Round Rock, TX 78664. May 21, Sunday, 04:00 PM,
Nrityopahara - SPARC Austin is at Alma Thomas Theater, 1001 East University Avenue, Georgetown, TX 78626. For more information, contact Suja Pillai at 518-2212283. For information on sponsorship or tickets please contact: email@example.com.
Why Trump’s Plan To ‘Hire American’ Must Start With More Rights For Immigrant Workers (Continued From Page 01) It will benefit large corporations and immigration lawyers and do little for the American worker — and the technology startups that need the skilled talent the most. The right solution isn’t for government to set minimum wages or pick winners; it is to let the free markets do their magic. The H-1B visa is indeed problematic: It puts both American and foreign workers at a disadvantage. It ties the foreign workers to the employer and allows the employer to pay them less than they could be earning. The simple fix is to allow H-1B visa holders to work for any employer that pays them the highest wage or for the startup that offers the most rewarding work. In other words, give immigrants the same rights as American workers and cause companies to pay employees their market value. Technically, any H-1B worker can change jobs by filing a petition with the government, and some do take advantage of this rule. But there is a catch. The H-1B visa allows a path to permanent residency when an employer sponsors a worker. And this is the carrot that employers offer, one that most people coming to the United States want. Once they accept this carrot, however, they are trapped in limbo. Here is the problem: For decades, the United States has been bringing in large numbers of workers on temporary visas such as the H-1B, but it never increased the numbers of permanent resident visas, or green cards, available for those who want to stay. There are
140,000 green cards issued per year to employment-based visa holders, and the law stipulates that each nationality may receive no more than 7 percent of the total number of employment-based green cards. Considering that Indian recipients make up 71 percent and Chinese recipients nearly 10 percent of the total H-1B visa holder pool, their green-card wait times stretch as long as 15 years. Once H-1Bs have started the process of filing for a green card, they cannot change employers or even take new jobs within their existing companies without getting pushed to the back of the queue. Therefore, visa holders are shackled to their sponsoring employer while their careers stagnate and they receive salaries that are lower than they could otherwise make. This is why opponents of the H-1B visa rightfully claim that American workers are disadvantaged, because they are effectively competing with bonded labor. The problem could be fixed if the number of permanent resident visas available for skilled workers was increased and the wait times decreased dramatically. But this is not going to happen in this political climate. The most realistic solution is to untether the visa holder from the hiring company. In other words, if a company hires someone on an H-1B visa, and the employee gets an offer of a higher salary, they can leave the company regardless of the status of their green-card application. This way there’s no cheap labor anymore, and market
forces take over. Technology companies won’t support such a measure because it causes them to lose leverage over the employee. Politicians won’t propose such a simple fix because it is not what lobbyists want. Instead, we get a series of convoluted proposals that increase the role of government and disadvantage all workers. Sadly, there is unemployment in the tech industry, and there are many heartbreaking cases of Americans being displaced by cheap foreign labor. This is not an acceptable situation, and it is why we must fix the salary disadvantage. But there is another problem that needs to be recognized. Very often, the unemployed workers are not in the tech centers where the skills are needed or their skills are not up to date. This can be remedied by providing job training and relocation assistance. That is what the government should focus on. Let there not be any doubt, though, that Silicon Valley is starved for talent and needs the best and brightest from all over the world to be working for it. It thrives on competition of every form, including technology and skill. Attacking immigrants and demanding that companies hire Americans over people who are more skilled, as the president is doing, is the fastest way to destroy America’s competitive advantage. It will block the flow of the very lifeblood that built the economic bone structure of this great country and deaden the nerve endings that create the next great thing. The best way to make America great again is to restore this flow. (Vivek
Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley; Director of Research, CERC, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University;
and syndicated columnist. This article first appeared in The Washington Post and is reproduced here with special permission of the author.) (Courtesy: IndiaWest)
Jaitley Raises H-1B Visa Issue With U.S. Commerce Secretary (Continued From Page 05) As mandated by the Congress, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services every year issues 65,000 H-1B visas and another 20,000 to those applicants having masters and higher degrees from a US educational institution. Jaitley, leading an Indian delegation, arrived here April 20 to attend the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. During a two-day visit, the finance minister is scheduled to hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the U.S., Australia, France, Indonesia and Sweden. He is also likely to meet finance ministers from neighboring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Stressing that the India-U.S. relationship has bipartisan support in both the countries, the finance minister during his meeting with the U.S. commerce secretary said the two largest democratic countries of the world over the years have developed strong strategic, economic and defense ties. The three phone conversations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump had, along with the officials meeting, has shown that the two governments are going to build on this
momentum in the years to come, the officials said. Briefing Ross on India’s growth story, Jaitley is believed to have given him an insight into a series of “far reaching reforms” being undertaken by the Modi government post-demonetization including the Goods and Services Tax. Ross congratulated Jaitley on making the GST a reality, an official statement said in New Delhi. Jaitley said the two countries should be able to move towards achieving the goal of $500 billion per annum in bilateral trade in the next few years. The finance minister was accompanied by India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarna and Secretary Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das. In addition to his meetings and presentations at the annual spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, Jaitley is also scheduled to attend meetings of other multilateral forums including that of the G-20 finance ministers. Before leaving Washington, D.C., for New York April 23, he is expected to interact with thinktanks and eminent Indian Americans. (Courtesy: IndiaWest)
Austin South Asian | May 2017 THEME: ALL ABOUT WEATHER
ACROSS 1. Request to Geico, e.g. 6. Short for oftentimes 9. Plague carrier 13. *Like a plant in Zone 2 14. Column’s counterpart 15. Exclude 16. *More bitterly cold 17. Computer-generated imagery 18. One of Florida Keys 19. *Fahrenheit alternative 21. Nanking cotton 23. Make weblike fabric 24. Giant Himalayan 25. Geological time period 28. Russian parliament 30. Join the military 35. 100-meter ____ 37. One in a million 39. Crude commodity transporter 40. Icelandic epic 41. Rock bottom 43. Aquarium scum 44. Sends 46. Foal’s mother 47. Tear violently 48. *A blast from the North Pole 50. Belgian port, in Dutch 52. Fish eggs 53. T on a test 55. “____ we there yet?” 57. *End-of-summer 61. *Average weather pattern 65. Theater guide 66. ET’s craft 68. Capital of Ghana 69. Large numbers 70. Have a cold 71. Audition tapes 72. Little piggies? 73. Bulb type 74. Like a disreputable neighborhood
DOWN 1. Swanky 2. Fabric related to #23 Across 3. Seed covering 4. “That is,” to an Ancient Roman 5. Indefinitely large number 6. Tolkien villains 7. *Cause of low visibility 8. Strong string 9. “Don’t give me any ____!” 10. Plural of lira 11. U2 guitarist 12. Longest division of time 15. *a.k.a. The Little Boy 20. Driver’s 180 22. Had a meal 24. Distance to a golfer 25. Swelling 26. *Meteorologist’s tool 27. Echo sounder 29. Madam, to a cowboy 31. Baron Munchhausen, e.g. 32. Sicker 33. Repeat, in music 34. *____ winds 36. “Stop!” to marchers 38. De Valera’s land 42. Kidney-related 45. Hindustani guitar, pl. 49. “____, the Beloved Country” 51. “The Three Stooges” and “Peter, Paul and Mary,” e.g. 54. “The ____” to a bartender 56. Wedding singer, e.g. 57. *____ Bowl 58. Nobel Peace Prize capital 59. Clarified butter 60. *What grass does in the morning 61. *Kind of front 62. Crowning point 63. Trampled 64. Not difficult 67. Exclamation of disgust
Please email your sudoku answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Name and photo of the inviduvidual with first correct answer will be published in May 2017 issue.
To Advertise In ASA Call 512-828-6709
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Clean And Clutter-Free Home
Conquer a Clutter-free Kitchen. With a wealth of gadgets, it’s no wonder the kitchen is a clutter culprit. To start your cleanse, remove everything from drawers and cupboards. If you haven’t used an item in the last month (unless it’s a holiday necessity) – purge it! Next up, clean and line drawer and shelf surfaces with a quality shelf liner, such as Easy Liner brand shelf liners by Duck brand. Not only will it protect them from dirt and grime, but it also offers a good gauge: if you can’t see the shelf liner, it’s time to purge again! Get a New Spin on the Laundry Room. Sometimes the laundry room needs a bit of cleaning itself. Detergents and other build-up can cause washing machine odors. Run white vinegar through a cycle to sanitize it with ease. Next, improve efficiency and reduce fire hazards by thoroughly cleaning lint from dryer vents -both inside and out. Finally, use labeled baskets to ensure everything has its place. And, since the laundry room is often a catch-all location, label one
as a “put away” basket and be sure to empty it daily, putting its contents back in their proper places. Control Bathroom Chaos. From towels to toiletries, bathrooms hold a lot of “stuff,” which can make organizing feel like a losing battle. Create a de-cluttering schedule. Since many toiletries, such as toothbrushes and make-up, should be replaced quarterly, this is the perfect time to purge. Empty drawers and linen cabinets and toss out items that are old or aren’t being used. Shelf liner can once again be a useful addition before putting items back, since products like Easy Liner brand products with Clorox antimicrobial protection can add an extra level of clean by helping prevent the growth of odor-causing mold and mildew on the liner. Plus, you can toss it in the wash for easy cleaning. Gear-Up Garage Organization. From toys to tools to seasonal gear, the garage has it all. Unfortunately, 25 percent of two-car garages are so cluttered that there isn’t room to park a car, reports the U.S. Department of Energy. Annually, remove everything and categorize items into “keep,” “sell/donate,” and “trash” piles. Next, designate sections of the garage for “work” (hardware and gardening tools) and “play” (toys, bikes and balls). Create vertical storage by adding hooks and floor-to-ceiling shelves. Finally, label bins, boxes and shelves to encourage everyone to maintain the new-found organization. (State Point)
we want to hear about ways to improve the quality of life in east austin. The Spirit of East Austin team will be out in the community listening to you through the end of May.
For dates and places visit SpiritofEastAustin.org or call 512-974-7950 For more information call 3-1-1
April 2017 Sudoku Answer Mr. Yudhveer Bagga
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Tips To Make Math Your Child’s Favorite Subject For many students, math can seem like a chore. Not only are the concepts sometimes tough at first, but teachers are required to keep their lessons moving at a particular pace, making it easy for any student to get lost in the classroom shuffle. Parents however, can help make math more fun and engaging at home, helping students excel in
life by using real pies. First, bake together, assigning your child all the tasks that use numbers and math: measuring, counting and setting the timer on the oven. After the pie has cooled, it’s time to demonstrate the visual concept of halves, quarters and thirds.
• Gear Up: Math is no fun when one is not equipped to succeed. Ensure your child has a high-quality calculator that’s appropriate for his or her grade level.
concepts and the equations behind them.
The K-12 line from Casio includes basic calculators, scientific calculators and graphing calculators that contain up-to-date functions that help distill math concepts.
If your child has a love of sports, make a game of assessing team and player statistics.
• Play Shop: Teach kids how money works, while reinforcing adding, subtracting, and how tax is calculated.
• Pie Graph: Bring pie graphs to
Ask your child to convert these fractions into percentages and decimals. Correct answers get a sweet reward!
If your child loves music, evaluate favorite songs for patterns, rhythms and intervals. Literature buffs may find that poetry can be mathematical.
Math is not only essential to academic success; its mastery is useful in all facets of life -- from understanding one’s finances to landing a job in an emerging technology sector. Help students get a leg up in their math classes by encouraging a love for the subject. (Statepoint)
Pretend you are running a “store.” Take turns being the customer and the shopkeeper.
This is also a great opportunity to learn about budgeting and saving.
Children Email Us Your
• Use Free Fun Resources: Online math games can reinforce classroom concepts in a way that is fun and allows students to set their own pace. school and enjoy themselves in the process. Here are a few ideas and tips for doing so.
• Play Ball: Cater to your student’s extracurricular interests.
Those who like to work with their hands will find the need for math in crafting, sewing and model kit building.
Check out free online resources like the Lesson Library at casioeducation.com. Their collection of graphing games can be used with a graphing calculator to help students better understand graphic
Bombay Express Authenitic Indian Cafe 100% Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 am - 9:00 pm 1300 N IH35 Building #12, Unit # 216 Austin, Texas - 78753
(Take-Away is possible on all items on the menu)
Articles To See It In Print
Austin South Asian | May 2017
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
By Bharathi Ranganatha
Chicken Burger Ingredients : Ground chicken - 1 pound Onion - 1 small Red capsicum - 1/2 Green capsicum - 1 small
Jalapeño pepper - 1 Bread crumbs 1 to 2 tablespoons Chili powder 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder - 1 pinch Egg - 1 Salt to taste Oil - 2 to 3 tablespoons
4 - hamburger buns 4 slice jalapeño jack cheese Lettuce Tomato sliced Onion sliced Mayonnaise
Finely chop onion, jalapeño, green and red capsicum. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. sauté onions,
Mahabharata - India’s Most Expensive Films
Filmmaking is a very expensive business now more than ever. In India, a major portion of the budget of a film is spent on roping in a leading actor, who can guarantee the producers a minimum suc-
Heat thick non stick or cast iron pan, smear/ spray some oil. Make a ball of chicken mixture and pat it on your palms for patty shape (or use burger mould).
To assemble the burger
We were still not done with which is the most expensive Indian film ever — Baahubali 2 or 2.0 — and south industry has dropped another bomb. Mohanlal has announced that he will be a part of
jalapeño and capsicum. Add salt,
sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Switch off the stove and let it cool. In a bowl add ground chicken, turmeric, chili powder, egg and salt. Mix nicely, add onion capsicum mixture, mix it again using fork, add sufficient amount of bread crumbs to make semi-solid mixture (you may also add crushed pepper
cess at the box office. Instead, the filmmakers should be spending their money on special effects and technologies that enhance the film viewing experience of the audiences. Like Hollywood studios’ focus on making the film an astonishing viewing experience. Some of the Indian filmmakers like SS Rajamouli, Shankar and Malayalam superstar Mohanlal are rewriting the rules of producing a film.
Spread mayonnaise on bun, assemble the burger your way and enjoy! It is easy, healthy and cheap
Put patty on pan, close the lid. Cook 3 to 4 minutes in medium heat and flip the patty. Continue cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes (PS: while cooking keep adding little cold water in the pan to avoid overheating and burning patty. It also keeps patty moist)
Indian American Astrophotographer’s Film To Screen At Green Film Fest 2017 “Lost in Light,” a film by Sriram Murali, an Indian American astrophotographer and Google analyst, who is passionate about astronomy and the night skies, and tries to
ing San Francisco Green Film Festival 2017. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Murali’s short film is among 70 acclaimed environmental films that will be showcased through April 26 at various venues across San Francisco and Berkeley. “Lost in Light” is a short film on how light pollution affects the view of the night skies.
a film based on MT Vasudevan Nair’s Randamoozham, called The Mahabharata, which will be made on a mammoth budget of Rs 1000 crore. While we are a long way off from Hollywood — quick perspective, Avengers: Infinity Wars 1 and 2 is said to have a budget of over Rs 6000 crore — a bigger budget is ensuring that Indian films look and feel world-class.
Add a slice of cheese.. wait for cheese to melt. Meantime, toast the bun on hot pan for firmness
Shot mostly in California, the movie shows how the view gets progressively better as you move away from the lights. tell the beauty of the night skies through photography and short films, will be screened at the ongo-
Finding locations to shoot at every level of light pollution was a challenge and getting to the darkest
skies with no light pollution was a journey in itself, Murali writes in the description on the vimeo page. “In reality, most of us live under heavily light polluted skies and some have never even seen the Milky Way. We take the skies for granted and are rather lost in our busy lives without much care for the view of the stars,” he notes. The 3-minute film will be screened April 22 at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. The festival brings audiences independent films on the most pressing environmental issues for the week of Earth Day. Along with the films, over 90 visiting filmmakers and guest speakers will discuss on topics, including energy, water, food, cities, trash, and wildlife. (Courtesy: IndiaWest)
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt 2017
By Rama Tiru Photo Credits, Rama Tiru, Tiru Galleries
1000 homeless and economically disadvantaged children of Austin, Del Valley and Manor school dis-
ly appreciate your presence with family and your continued support. We hope to raise $20,000 through this event, to achieve our goals. About Hindu Charities for America Most people when they hear the name Hindu Charities for America, assume that the organization is a religious one or it is involved with charitable works in India. However, Hindu Charities of America (HC4A) is founded on the principle “We give where we live!”.
Hindu Charities for America is celebrating the 5th annual event, “Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt 2017” on Sunday May 28th, 4pm7pm at Dell Jewish Campus, 7300 Hart Ln, Austin, TX 78731
tricts. This event is family friendly. We thank all the local Indian restaurants for providing vegetarian meals for the event. We also thank the Jewish community for donating Desserts and Chai.
We are thrilled to be partnering with the Austin Jewish Community for the 5th time to raise funds to buy school supplies to more than
You will be entertained this year with a unique” Musical”- a fusion theatrical production of Indian and Jewish dance and music. We great-
HC4A was founded in 2010 with the goal of creating a vehicle for Indian Communities across the United States to give back to the communities that have embraced them and provided opportunities for success. Its mission is to Bridge Income Disparity through Education! Education, Education and Education! – This is the driving goal of Mr. Harish Kotecha, the founder of the Hindu Charities for America. He always states that Indians
started coming to the USA in big numbers because of their education, technical knowledge and ease with English language. Because of this, they are a successful minority group in America. From its inception in 2010, Hindu Charities for America, explored various ways to raise funds to help economically weak and homeless children with their school supply needs. Taking advantage of the cultural diversity of Austin, every year the Hindu Charities for America and the Jewish Community of Austin have created a fund-raising event called “Bollywood meets Borscht Belt” at the Dell Community Center. In the past 4 years, volunteer participation from both communities enabled to raise money to provide backpacks, Library books and school supplies to more than 2100 children in the Austin and Manor ISDs. Hindu Charities of America has also successfully hosted Annual
fund-raising Galas in Austin. The Hindu Charities for America is a success, because of selfless service-oriented group of volunteers. It is important to note that all the performing and visual artist of American of Indian origin give their creative time freely every year. The simple but important mission of Hindu Charities for America “Imparting knowledge to all American youth”, brings people together and gives them a sense of pride and purpose. Distinct reality is, Hindu Charities for America will soon become a national movement for all Americans of Indian origin to participate and build a strong, successful and educated community of diverse cultures! We sincerely thank the Austin community for participating and supporting us with their generous donations.
Austin South Asian | May 2017
Experience India From the Winds of the Himalayas To the Waters of Kanyakumari
EKAL VIDYALAYA PRESENTS
EKAL SUR EKAL TAAL SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2017 at 5:00 PM
Keynote by 2016 Texas Teacher of the Year, Ms. Revathi Balakrishnan TX SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF AUDITORIUM 1102 S CONGRESS AVE AUSTIN, TX 78704
Milan Patel: Kishore Gagrani: Satyajeet Dodia: Varsha Grogan:
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Austin South Asian | May 2017