Page 1

Vol. 12

Dr Bal Pawa: How to

de-stress for a healthy living Ravi Jain:

Reinventing story-telling


PM 40013094

| issue 1 | Apr-May 2021



Raj Chouhan Speaker of Legislative Assembly

Ayushi Chhabra:

The rising star

RITIKA DUTT Empowering women to fight for legal rights

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Features 10 Ritika Dutt: Empowering women to fight for legal rights 16 Dr Bal Pawa: The mantra for a healthy living 20 Ravi Jain: Reinventing story-telling 26 Ayushi Chhabra: The rising star 30 Balvir Boparai: The song writer 32 Keeping our communities safe 36 Sabhyasachi: The tiger of Indian fashion 40 Celebrating Punjabi Language 58 SACH community hub

Desi Today Politics 8 Q&A with Honourable speaker Raj Chouhan 48 Amin Dhillon: from Prairies to politics

Business & Careers 50 Top ways to keep learning from home 52 Who's hiring in Canada 53 Tips to work in a Gig economy

Health & Wellness 54 Stop worrying and love the science 64 How Weight loss changes people’s responsiveness to food marketing 66 Shilpa Shetty’s yoga tips 96 Top tips for teaching picky eaters 72 Music composer Armaan Malik on what threatens our mental health



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In 2017, the Harvey Weinstein scandal made media headlines. It triggered the #MeToo movement unleashing the concentrated power of millions of women to speak out against sexual harassment and genderbased violence. It inspired many women to talk about a serious social problem, but there were only a few who thought of a solution. Ritika Dutt, a Montreal based entrepreneur, who herself was a victim of sexual harassment, was one of them. Read our cover story to know how Ritika invented an artificial intelligence tool to empower women about their legal rights. Dr Bal Pawa, a strong and inspiring woman from the Lower Mainland, is offering solution to another serious problem ailing our society. Dr Pawa, is a uniquely qualified pharmacist and a medical doctor, who has recently launched her book The Mind Body Cure to spread more awareness about our the physical and mental health. Read her interview to know how you can become your own best doctor, once you understand the mechanics of the mind and body connection. In this issue, we also bring to you a very interesting story of Ravi Jain, a theatre artist, who is reinventing the way stories are told. In his play A Brimful of Asha, he brings a very unique way of talking about a very common issue of contention between Indian parents and their kids ie arranged marriage. Read his interview to know how he got inspired to tell this story. As a community magazine, it is always our intention to highlight the best of our community which is doing a wonderful job in these troubled times. Remember we are all in this together and we will get through this. Till then stay safe and follow public health orders. Happy Vaisakhi!

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Thank you so much for supporting Sikh Health Foundation and the work that we are doing around the COVID-19 Sikh Gurdwara Initiative. “The aim of this initiative is to bring about a collective change in how our population views and reacts against COVID-19. Initially, we have already started the initiative at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, BC.

sANDY LiON: FOsTeRiNG FeARLess FAsHiON thesandylion thank you for this cover story, SWIPE right to celebrate with me the best way I know how big love to @desi.today. magazine for the feature and for telling my story

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GURPReeT sABHARWAL: A PANDeMiC OF MeNTAL HeALTH International students from India have to go through a lot during these tough times. My sincere thanks to these brave young kids, who served us at restaurants, grocery stores and delivering food to our doors. When I drove in Surrey, I found that these young kids were running the economy. Hopefully we are able to support them to fight their mental health issues. - BALJIT www.desitoday.ca


TARUN NAYAR : TiMe TO sUPPORT LOCAL TALeNT, AND PUT sURReY ON WORLD sTAGe SIt was a great experience to get connected to 5x music fest through the app. I was able to challenge myself and do exercise. Great idea. Well done guys! - SAM APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


DESI TODAY POLITICS Columbians healthy and safe. I want the Legislature to be an efficient, productive, and friendly place for all MLAs, and all staff, so that they can bring their best selves to work each day.

DT BC's political scene

has been thriving with South Asian MLAs and MPs for decades, but it is only now that we have seen first person of the South Asian heritage serve as a speaker in any legislature in Canada. How do you feel? Why do you think it took so long for a South Asian to ascend this ladder?

DT How challenging it

would be to preside over the Legislature during the pandemic? What are some of the changes that are already in place on how debates work?

I am so proud to be part of a political party that has made great strides in electing and The first priority is always elevating people that reflect health and safety. From the diversity of our province. the very early days of the I think back to Emery Barnes, pandemic, adjustments who, along with Rosemary were made so that we could Brown were the first Black continue to conduct the MLAs elected to the BC business of the province safely. Legislature in 1972. Emery British Columbia was actually Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Barnes later made history a leader among legislatures in when he was elected as the Canada in adapting to hybrid first Black Speaker of any virtual/physical sittings. Legislature in Canada in 1994. In order to maintain I also think about Moe physical distancing when the Sihota who made history in Legislature is in session, a 1986 when he was elected limited number of MLAs can be as MLA for Esquimalt-Port in the chamber at any one time, MLA, Burnaby-Edmonds Renfrew. He was the first and the rest participate virtually person of South Asian heritage from their homes or offices via to be elected to any legislature rights are human rights. It was very important Zoom, broadcast onto large in Canada and went on to be the first person to make sure that every worker had safe screens in the chamber. Our technological of South Asian heritage to be a cabinet working conditions and adequate pay staff have worked incredibly hard to ensure minister when he was appointed by Premier regardless of their workplace or origin. By that the business of the Legislature can Mike Harcourt in 1991. organizing and bringing people together we continue during the pandemic, and I am very It is so important for everyone to see were able to have the government extend the grateful for their continued efforts. themselves reflected in their government protections of the Employment Standards Act DT What is your message to the and I think it sends a strong message to to farmworkers. It was also important to fight people of your riding Burnabythe next generation that they will continue racism and intolerance by building coalitions Edmonds that you have served for to have expanded opportunities to succeed across communities to foster a more inclusive more than a decade? in whatever path they choose. The future and equitable society. I want to thank the people of Burnabyis bright, and I have no doubt that we will What will be some of the major Edmonds for continuing to put their trust in DT continue to see many more ‘firsts’ in the focus areas for you as the me to represent them. Without their support years to come. Speaker? over the years, I would not be here in this You have been a champion of DT During these challenging times, it is more role today. While the role of Speaker comes farm workers, immigrants, and important than ever that MLAs from all parties with new duties and responsibilities, I remain labour rights, could you please share are able to work together constructively to committed to serving my constituents. My with us what motivated you to fight for support British Columbians. By ensuring staff and I will continue, as we always have, their rights? the rules and procedures of the house are to listen to and do our utmost to assist any For me it was about ensuring equality followed, I hope to allow MLAs to focus their community member who comes to us with an for all workers in British Columbia; worker time on discussions about keeping British issue, question or concern.

Honourable Raj Chouhan


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Ritika Dutt, who was once a victim of sexual harassment, has launched a free artificial intelligence tool to empower other victims of harassment, violence and misconduct to fight for their legal rights


APR / MAY 2020

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The AI entrepreneur shares workplace harassment story that inspired a new tool BY SURBHI GOGIA


October 2017, the #MeToo movement prompted women from across the globe to step forward and talk about sexual harassment. Some were shocked to see millions of women discussing these experiences, , but the conversation wasn't shocking for others, since almost every woman in every culture, country, or race has gone through the horrific experience of being sexually harassed in her lifetime. But the shame, guilt, and onus to prove that harassment took place is still with the victim, and this discourages many from talking about sexual harassment openly or seeking help. The lack of education and awareness around the legal rights of victims, and the aid available, are other reasons many still suffer in silence. Ritika Dutt, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Montreal, who was once a victim herself, has stepped forward and offered a groundbreaking solution for this serious problem. She is the CEO and co-founder of


Botler AI, an artificial intelligence-powered empowerment tool, that provides guidance and legal support for users. It confidentially analyzes users' experiences and guides them through their legal rights and the applicable laws in their situation in a step-by-step process. Ritika was listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 2020 Law & Policy List for launching the online tool that triages users and provides them with response and action guidance, based on the details of their case. Botler AI was initially launched as a tool to assist people with immigration applications by a Montreal-based software architect Amir Moravej in 2016. The company’s aim was to create tools that would make the law more accessible to the average person, and expandeded its focus to include sexual harassment response guidance once Ritika joined Amir in 2017. After the phenomenal response to Botler’s’s first version, 2020 became another milestone year for the duo, when they announced Botler for Citizens, in

partnership with the Department of Justice Canada and the Canadian Legal Aid System, under a coordinated $50 Million commitment to fight sexual harassment and other misconduct. A completely free web application, Botler for Citizens has expanded its role from just offering guidance for victims of sexual harassment to support individuals suffering from various forms of harassment, violence and misconduct. Anyone seeking legal guidance on a personal incident of misconduct can log onto https://botler.ai. To maintain confidentiality, users are not required to download any app and only require access to the Internet. In a recent announcement in March 2021, David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the Government of Canada’s support to Botler AI for the Pan-Canadian Triage System for Sexual Harassment, Misconduct & Violence. The Department of Justice Canada is APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


We’re often unaware of our rights, too scared to ever speak up for the fear of being blamed, ostracized, or even losing our jobs, and that’s before even trying to figure out how to navigate the legal system. providing $371,000 over five years in funding to Botler AI for this project. Once the user accesses the website, they can describe the incident to Botler, which will identify whether any acts of misconduct have occurred. Then, Botler will offer potential legal options and other related information in easy-to-understand language, including a list of legal and support organizations from Botler’s National Referral Partner Network that can assist the user with their next steps. “We’re often unaware of our rights, too scared to ever speak up for fear of being blamed, ostracized, or even losing our jobs, and that’s before even trying to figure out how to navigate the legal system,” says Ritika, CEO, and co-founder of Botler AI. Ritika was once a victim of a similar trauma, in the form of a stalker, which prompted her to develop a solution that could empower individuals to seek justice on their 12

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

terms. Born in Calcutta and raised in Hong Kong and Singapore, Ritika comes from a family of lawyers. She moved to Canada as a student to pursue a double major in Economics and Political Science at McGill University. After graduation, she followed her passion for entrepreneurship and joined an education technology start-up before taking on a role fostering the innovation and entrepreneurship community in Montreal. It was during this time that she was approached by an individual who eventually went on to become her stalker. "At the beginning, I thought this individual was just another person from the community and I was very professional in my responses. It started to get worse fast and spilled over from my work life to personal life," she says. Every day through her shifts, the man would come in and watch her. After finding out her phone number, he would bombard

her with texts and calls. One night, he showed up at a bar where Ritika's friends were waiting for her. All night, he stared at the door while leaving her voicemails. Ritika was young and a Permanent Resident at the time, unaware of her legal rights in Canada. She decided to take the matter up with her employer. "I brought this up to my employer so many times but it was never handled or addressed. And after a few months, I had to make the difficult decision to quit my job for my safety." She said during that time, she went through a spectrum of emotions from blaming herself for being over-emotional or somehow causing the problem, to hiding in her apartment for months at a time to feel safe. "I was destroyed. I quit public life, I did not go out for a year. I was terrified. I felt so trapped and had this burning shame that something like that could happen to me." It was during this time that she joined Amir at Botler AI. After a few months, the ghosts of the past reappeared in Ritika's life when the Harvey Weinstein scandal made headlines. It triggered the #MeToo movement, unleashing the concentrated power of millions of girls and women speaking out against sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Ritika was drawn towards it too. "I started doing research on the subject and it empowered me to understand that what happened to me was not my fault. It was a serious crime. I had protection under the law that I had zero idea about. It also taught me this was such a widespread problem. It wasn't something that was just happening to me." Ritika noticed that the media and society were focusing so much on the problem, but without offering any solution. "Having worked on legal literacy through AI, we realized this was such a concrete opportunity for us to provide a solution." The first version of Botler AI was launched in December 2017 and helped users understand if a situation they had www.desitoday.ca

Photo/Styling Kaashni Brar, Makeup : Rav B Beauty, Jewellery: Rav B Jewellery

Minister Bains Chief of Staff Tweet - Ritika Dutt @ G7

Minister Bains Tweet - Botler AI experienced was considered sexual harassment under the law. "We received an overwhelming response," she says. Former Minister of Industry, Science and Innovation, the Navdeep Bains learned about Botler AI and invited Ritika to discuss Botler’s work in front of the G7 leaders. "We discussed our unique approach applying high tech AI to solve a prevalent social problem. We also used this opportunity to present our vision for the future, in the form of the manifesto for Botler for Citizens," she says. In 2019 Botler partnered with the Department of Justice Canada and the Canadian Legal Aid system to create Botler for Citizens. 14

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

"It is a historic collaboration. Collectively, Botler AI and the country of Canada are setting global precedent for implementing a centralized citizen-facing AI-powered solution on a national scale. As part of this initiative, Botler’s National Referral Partner Network also becomes the largest human-in-loop and support follow-through network of its kind that's ever been implemented in the world" Ritika informs. She says Canada is a country where Human Rights are highly valued. "There are tons of support programs and resources available. And all you need is the right tool to that can help you access the appropriate resources." She specifically emphasises the

I have been there. I know how cold and lonely it can get. There is a tendency of shame. We need to remember women are at the foundation of society and because of this we are built strong, inherently. importance of using the right tool to search for the information because we all are habitually inclined to Google any information. "In case of a trauma, search engines can do more damage than the actual good." Botler for Citizens can be your first point of contact if you want to look for any information related to harassment. "Harassment refers to a series of repeated behaviours just over time that makes you feel uncomfortable. For the most part, it refers to a repeated behaviour but sometimes it can be so severe that one incident is enough to refer to it as harassment. It can refer to any form of misconduct, discrimination or unwelcome conduct with regards to an individual's sex, sexual orientation, gender, or other protected characteristics. It can be verbal, physical, sexual or online," she explains. The resources are available, help is there. You just have to step out and take that initial step. "The best thing about artificial intelligence is it will analyse your case objectively without being judgemental about your situation." Her message, to all those who suffer harassment in silence or are hesitant to seek help, is, "I have been there. I know how cold and lonely it can get. There can be a tendency to feel ashamed. We need to remember women are at the foundation of society and because of this we are inherently built to be strong. There is help available. We don't need anyone but ourselves to take that first step. With every small step, you will feel more empowered. There is no shame in getting the help we need to get over this stigma." www.desitoday.ca

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Baldev S. Sandhu* M.A. LL.B.

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DE-STRESS AND RELAX FOR A HEALTHY LIVING There is a very profound mind-body connection but most of us end up taking a different pill for every ill, rather than look at the root cause of sickness. Each of us has a reaction to stress but not all of us have realized this connection. 16

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



tress, anxiety, and uncertainty had become part of our busy lifestyles even before Covid-19 stormed our world. But the pandemic made it worst and elevated the levels of stress in our lives by multiple times. It has taken an unprecedented toll on our mental health. Numerous recent studies have shown a global increase in the prevalence and severity of depression and anxiety as well as

an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. These increases have likely stemmed from the changes to our daily lives due to job losses, social isolation, travel restrictions and uncertainty in general. There is no better time to get awareness about how stress and anxiety can affect our body, than now. Meet Dr Bal Pawa, a uniquely qualified pharmacist and a medical doctor, who www.desitoday.ca

Meet Dr Bal Pawa, a uniquely qualified pharmacist and a medical doctor, who has recently launched her book The Mind Body Cure to spread more awareness about our physical and mental health.

has recently launched her book The Mind Body Cure to spread more awareness about our physical and mental health. Dr Pawa believes that there is an "undeniable connection between our mind and body." She says numerous studies have proved that over 75 percent of our diseases can be traced back to chronic stress in our body. Our thoughts play a major role in keeping or not keeping the body healthy. According to www.desitoday.ca

Dr Pawa, we all still need doctors to cure our health related problems but de-stressing our body can cure and also help prevent many diseases. Dr. Pawa was one of the pioneers in Vancouver, BC in Integrative Medicine with her focus being on the profound mind/ body connection. She honed her skills with a primary interest in restoring health and wellness across a person’s lifespan. Dr Pawa stepped into mind body cure practice due to her own experience in life. She became a patient herself after a serious car accident. In her TED-talk she shared how this car accident took away 7 years of her life because the accident not only impacted her physical body but her emotional health too. She was in a state of anxiety and stress for so many years and even after trying all the cures, she could not get rid of her chronic

pain. She realized that we all need medical system to cure diseases but some pieces of treatment were missing. She started her journey to discover these missing pieces of the medical puzzle. She took a course and practised those techniques on herself to cure her body of the pain. She realized the importance of spreading awareness about mind and body connection. She is on a mission to empower people to become their own doctors. She wants us to treat ourselves from enduring endless pain and protect ourselves from many lifestyle diseases by stress-proofing our bodies. In an interview with Desi Today Magazine, Dr Pawa talks in detail about how stress leads to long-term problems and how we can become our own doctors to stressproof our bodies. APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


in a doctor's office can be linked back to excessive stress hormones circulating in the body. There is a very profound mind-body connection but most of us end up taking a different pill for every ill rather than look at the root cause of sickness. Each of us has a reaction to stress but not all of us have realized this connection. The faster you learn that you have a nervous system in your brain and that you can regulate it to turn off the stress hormones, the greater the benefits to your body and emotional well being.


What are some long-term effects of pandemic related stress?


What is stress and how does it affect our body?

Stress is our body's response to a perceived threat in the environment. It is extremely common and often shows up as physical symptoms in the body. It can be acute (short lived) or chronic ( long term). Acute stress can stem from obvious reasons like losing a job or a loved one, lack of money, toxic relations. These are overt stressors because they’re obvious stress producing circumstances. We are biologically hardwired to deal with acute stress so we could escape from a Saber-tooth tiger. In just seconds we react to the external danger and run away from the tiger. It is called fight-or-flight reaction. The hormones of stress, cortisol and adrenalin make that escape possible. The body then returns to a normal state of “rest and repair” and balance is maintained. But the stress hormones are not meant to be in our body all the time. If they are prolonged, these hormones can cause diseases. Chronic stress and anxiety are the most common reasons behind giving these 18

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

hormones a permanent place in our bodies. When our thoughts alone can produce stress in the body in the absence of any real threat it is called anxiety. It is a feeling when you have stress that has not been processed. Just the thought of stress alone or the memory or forecasting a situation can cause the same stress. The problem is when you do not deal with these feelings of anxiety, they can turn into many other things such as chronic sleep problems, depression or obsessive and panic attacks. If we don't learn to deal with anxiety and control it, the anxiety can control us. Controlling anxiety is a skill that we can all cultivate with an awareness of our thoughts.


How does stress manifest in our bodies?

Many are surprised to hear of the various manifestations of stress in the human body Muscle tension, headaches, heartburn, insomnia, irritability, poor memory, racing heart, and even dizziness can all be attributed to chronic excessive stress. Over 75% of the symptoms that show up

Stress is pervasive.It is not going away. There will always be something to be stressed about. More recently the Covid-19 has affected our entire society. I speak to patients every day and they are complaining of many different stressors. It is showing up differently in different age groups.


Can you explain how it has affected kids and adults?

Stress shows up differently in people depending on their age. For example, a young five-year-old might have terrifying nightmares because they heard their parents talk about this virus and they think that their parents are going to die. Or they might feel that if they touch somebody or somebody coughed on them they're going to die because they don't have the capacity to process the information in a context. It's very important for adults to gauge the information that children are listening to and also have open discussions with them. Create the time and space so that your children can ask the questions in a safe environment.You may not be aware what's going on in their world. Adults, on the other hand, are affected in many different ways. Women, especially, seem to be paying a higher price for some reason. They are now working from home, looking after the kids. They are cooking and cleaning more laundry than normal because everybody's at home. So the burden of care www.desitoday.ca

and responsibility has heightened. A lot of the male executives and females that work outside the home are complaining about the uncertain future. They do not know what the future holds for them. Adults are complaining that their sleep is affected, their skin conditions or inflammatory bowel disease is worse when they think about their future. The biggest stress is uncertainty. We are not certain whether this virus is going away, we are not certain when we will be able to return to our old normal. However, we have to learn to embrace uncertainty and reframe the situation so it's not based on fear but based on trust.


So how do we deal with the unknown, this uncertainty and fear? First of all I want to say that life is uncertain there is no absolute certainty except this very moment. So learning to be present in the moment is the key. To say -- right now in this moment, I am safe I'm whole and everything's going to be okay -- is the only guarantee you have. The first thing you need to learn is mindfulness of being in the present moment and embracing uncertainty with trust not fear. The next thing is to take charge of your nervous system. It’s possible! When we take responsibility for our thoughts to better control the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). By learning to regulate the ANS through conscious thought, it’s possible to turn off stress hormones and turn on healthy repair hormones that optimize our health.


Can you shed more light on this mind and body connection? In order to de-code stress we must realize the vital connection between our thoughts and how they continually regulate the ANS in our brains. Although the ANS is an automatic system for the most part, our mind has dominance over the brain and can regulate the ANS to a great degree. Know that your thoughts are the language of the mind and your feelings are the language of the body. If you want to change how you're feeling, it makes sense to change your thoughts. You can cultivate a mindset of resilience by being aware of your beliefs and internal thoughts about your health. By learning to challenge automatic thoughts, we will have thoughts rooted in consciousness and higher reasoning, which creates new neural www.desitoday.ca

us are the biggest healers of our health. And I am here to remind people to take back their power and take charge of their health. I have been a physician, a patient, a pharmacist. I've been on every dimension of the healthcare system. What I see missing is that people are not part of the healthcare team. A lot of the healing comes from your own mindset. So I've taken it upon myself to get the message out there by writing this book. I wanted to create a self-help book that people could use with safe, effective and affordable tools.


New thought patterns lead to different choices in behavior, which then become traits and eventually turn into habits that form the basis of what becomes our health conscious personality.

thought patterns. New thought patterns lead to different choices in behavior, which then become traits and eventually turn into habits that form the basis of what becomes our health conscious personality. It’s the fundamental foundation for long-term physical health, vitality and longevity.


Please tell us something about your book?

I've been in practice for over 30 years as a physician and I see what's happening with the medical system. It's a wonderful system for intervention when you're really sick. Sometimes you need surgery, or you need drugs , i.e you need all the intervention and diagnostic tests but many diseases can be prevented. My focus is to give people back the power and reclaim their health by taking charge of their bodies to prevent illness. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said that the most natural forces that are within

Can you give us an example of the these self-help tools that you have discusses in your book. First of all you have to be very aware of your breath. Deep, purposeful breathing is very important to put the brakes on your nervous system. Take a deep breath, hold for 5 seconds and then exhale fully while repeating a word silently in your head, you can pick a word (Om, Amen or peace). Secondly, you have to calm your mind down and relax all your muscles that are tensed. It is very important to focus your mind on your deep breathing, all of those things are ways to relieve the constant thoughts that occupy your headspace. I call this technique BMW meditation (Breath, Mind, Word), when you do all three things together it causes the brain waves to slow down and release chemicals that heal and repair your body. This relaxation response is the opposite of the stress reaction which causes illness if it is prolonged. Remember, when your mind is calm you will feel better, more empowered and in control to make the best choices. You will make better decisions for your health and navigate emotional issues with greater skill. Take charge of your health now, you are your best doctor and you hold the key to your health. Learn the REFRAME toolkit at the back of the book and begin your journey to optimal health.

To learn more about BMW meditation by Dr. Pawa, Ted Talk link: https://youtu.be/qq0DBeFdDlM Order your copy of The Mind-Body Cure at : Amazon, indigo Your Local Bookstore APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View




n arranged marriage has always been a point of contention between Indian parents and their kids. Many movies, books, documentaries, theatre performances have tried to explore this generational clash. But, undoubtedly this topic has been told from the point of view of the younger generation most of the time. In one of its kind production, an IndoCanadian has departed from the notion of stereo-typing Indian parents and their ideas about arranged marriage. Ravi Jain, a Toronto-based theatre artist and a son has given space to his mother in his play A Brimful of Asha to explain why she wants her son to have an arranged marriage. Featuring real-life mother and son, Asha, and Ravi Jain, the play tells the tale of how when Ravi took a trip to India, his parents decided that would be the perfect time to introduce him to potential brides. Ravi is not sold on the idea of getting married—at least not yet—but Asha fears that time is running out. Since its debut nine years ago, A Brimful of Asha has been a runaway success, selling out several runs in its home city of Toronto, Canada, and playing to sold-out crowds across Canada, as well as internationally including London,


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



Ravi Jain brings

a brimful of love BY SURBHI GOGIA

South Carolina, and New York. The audience of Surrey recently had their share of laughter when Surrey Civic Theatre presented recording of the show on its digital platform in January. The idea of bringing his mother on the stage was not something Ravi had ever planned. He said the play came about in a very organic way after he told friends the story of how his parents tried to arrange his marriage. He says because of the way www.desitoday.ca

people responded, he thought he should make a show about it. “I told my Mum ‘I’m going to make a show about what a terrible mother you are’ and she said, ‘You’re an idiot, because if I was on stage telling the story, people would see what a terrible son you are and they would side with me.’ So, I said OK, let’s try and do that.” He says working on a play with his mother was a surprisingly easy and natural process and that they built the show

through improvisation. “My Mum took to being on stage like a fish to water, which was interesting, because she is a very shy person. I think because she’s telling a true story and it’s her story it was easy for her. My Mom’s magic is to make audiences feel like they are hearing that story for the first time.” Written and performed by Ravi, the play is a Why Not Theatre production. Why Not Theatre was founded by Ravi in 2007, when he felt the need to recreate and reinvent APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


I think there will always be a clash between parents and children fighting over the future. More and more we are straddling traditions, cultures and what the best choices are for the future. story-telling. Ravi was later joined by Owais Lightwala and Kelly Read. Desi Today caught up with Ravi to talk about this play and his journey and his unique take on social issue.

Please tell our readers something about yourself and how did you get interested in the theatre? Q

I was born in Toronto. My parents are from New Delhi. They immigrated to Canada in 1974. I grew up watching a lot of Amitabh Bachchan movies. Every weekend, a lot of immigrant families would get together and there would be a lot of singing and performing at those parties. So I would lip sync to Amitabh's songs to make them laugh. It was all a slippery slope from there...

change in the world. With Why Not I can do that in a unique way that is on my own terms. When I was first starting out in Canada, building a company was the only way to make space for my voice. As I did that, I faced a lot of barriers. I also saw the barriers that so many others, faced. So when I built a company, I decided I was going to do it in a way that would change the system and and remove those barriers to the best of our ability.

Your group Why Not Theatre was an outcome of your rejection from "traditional" theatre companies. Could you please tell us more on what inspired you to form Why Not? Q

As an artist I want to make a positive 22

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How do you think this pandemic has further pushed the creative boundaries of performance groups? Is a digital experience equally satisfying as live theatre?

Parents and children have a divide that is rooted in the pursuit of the same goal, love


I think the most important thing it has done for the arts is to force us all to look at the inequity in the sector. That is the thing that I hope brings about the important change for everyone to be more actively engaged in the arts.

Please tell us something about your play A Brimful of Asha? How did you come up with it? Q

theatre groups and even stand-up comedians have made it a subject of their discussion. What is it that makes your story unique? Its unique because it happened to us. There are similarities to other people's stories, but ours is our own. The uniqueness in what we've done is that my mom gets to tell her side from her point of view.

Why do you think instead of being a very old and cultural subject it still appeals to a global audience? Q

It's a true story, and I thought it was relatable to a lot of people. I invited my mom on stage because I think her voice is important. I didn't agree with her, but I respected and understood where she was coming fromshe's also hilarious.

I think there will always be a clash between parents and children fighting over the future. More and more we are straddling traditions, cultures and what the best choices are for the future.

The story of South Asian parents forcing their kids to marry is not very new. Many films,

South Asian parents are usually stereo-typed. Does your play shatter this image?



APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


In our play my mom is my mom. She isn't performing "the idea of an Indian mom". She is my mom. She is her authentic self. In our play, you meet real people. For me our show is a way of humanizing that image, and really getting an audience to understand and empathize with both points of view.


What do you want audience to take away from this play?

That we can disagree with each other, but still love and understand each other. That parents and children have a divide that is rooted in the pursuit of the same goal, love.


What are some of your future projects?

Currently working on a new adaptation of the Mahabharata. I've been working on it for 6 years, it will premier in 2022. I am also working on a new play with David Suzuki and his wife Tara Cullis, which we will share with online audiences in may 2021. www.desitoday.ca


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View




My biggest advice is to invest in yourself, as you would be in a business. Be the CEO of your brand. Get good headshots, good experience, build a great team of agents and hustle every single day, even when you think you’ve made it.


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

Ayushi Chhabra is an Indian born actor who is currently pursuing her dreams of making it big in the entertainment industry. In 2020, Ayushi debuted on American Television, as the alien character 'Pel' on CBS's hit series - 'Star Trek : Picard. She also landed a US National Television commercial campaign for U.S. Census 2020. In addition to that, Ayushi was recently awarded 'Best Leading Performance' for her role as 'Parnita' in her 2019 film, 'Unborn', by Uptown Women's Film Festival of New York. She has also done national and international commercials for A-list brands like Google, Motorola, Samsung, GAP, Emirates, Hyatt, State Farm, Vitamix, Snapchat, Facebook, Target, Walmart, Apple and many more. In fall of 2020, Chhabra's much awaited feature film, '919', will be hitting theatres. Impressive and successful, Ayushi's journey may appear on the surface, but when you dig deep you will discover a long story of struggle, rejections and perseverance. Ayushi's story is extremely inspiring for all those who struggle for years to find a breakthrough in their career but face rejections at every step. This young actor has gone through many rejections before she made it big internationally. In an interview with Desi Today she talks about her work and offers tips to those who want to enter the show biz.



Please tell us something about yourself and your childhood. I am originally from a small town in India called Ghaziabad. It’s close to Delhi. That’s where I was born. I was two when my parents and I moved to Nigeria. We stayed there for 7 years and then moved to South Africa. My parents are very hard-working, humble and simple people. My dad has worked in the same job for over 15 years, just to able to afford us a good lifestyle and the best education. My brother and I owe everything we have, to him and my mom.

How and when did you decide to become part of the www.desitoday.ca

entertainment industry? Blame it on Bollywood! (lol) I decided I want to be an actress the day I saw my first movie in a theater. It was 11, the movie was Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and I just loved Kajol. After that day, my whole life has been committed to performing, whether on stage, in plays, in pageants, everywhere I could. Once I graduated from university in my early 20s, I moved to LA and there was no looking back.

Tell us something about your career trajectory and how did you land the role in Star Trek series?

I started acting professionally at the age of 24. I booked a lot of work commercially and even in print. I also did a couple short films to build experience. But I did not book anything big in terms of Film and TV, for six years. And when I did my first TV job, they cut me out of the final edit. But finally, in 2020, I got a co-star on Star Trek, a Telugu feature film, 2 national commercials and after so many years, it felt like things were looking up.

Did you have to struggle a lot to get a breakthrough? Yes, a lot. I did hundreds of auditions over the course of six years. I struggled with my American accent - I always sounded too APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


name of ‘Pel’. They gave me a large forehead and ears, trademark Romulan brows and a wig in addition to a very big belly. It was a very interesting process and the experience of it all was just phenomenal.

What advice do you have for the new South Asian origin actors who want to crack an audition for a role in a TV serial or a movie?

Indian or just different. I battled with anxiety and nerves. And many times, I would come so close to getting something huge and they would give it to someone else.

your life, it will require extraordinary effort and resilience, even when you are hurt deeply, even when you don't have much courage. We only fail, when we let ourselves fail.

How did you inspire yourself to struggle further and not to give up when things did not seem going in right direction?

Please tell us something more about your role in the movie. The Star Trek actors are always known for your unique make-up. How was the entire experience.

I looked at my parents and their relentless pursuit to give me and my brother everything we ever dreamed of. If they can do it, with a language and cultural barrier then I can do it. If you want to do something extraordinary in 28

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I booked the TV show Star Trek : Picard but yes would love to do the movie too! I had to sit in prosthetics for 4 to 5 hours as my character was that of a pregnant alien by the

My biggest advice is to invest in yourself, as you would be in a business. Be the CEO of your brand. Get good headshots, good experience, build a great team of agents and hustle every single day, even when you think you’ve made it.

As a 30-year-old Indian woman, are you pressured to get married? How do you handle it? Yes all the time. But I think it is important to take your time instead of feeling pressured to make the wrong decision and potentially ruining your life and someone else’s. I am completely open to dating, meeting new people but only I will know when I’ve met the one. No one can decide that for me and no one should decide that for anyone. www.desitoday.ca


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Yes, we fight those stigmas every single day. But I think we need to be the change that we wish to see in the world. We need to stop judging each other and support each other’s dreams and goals. Otherwise the 'log kya Kahenge' stigma will never go away. We need to ask ourselves what’s more important - people or a your own happiness?

What are your next projects? I am very excited that my film UNBORN will be out on Amazon Prime Video very soon. It tackles a very important subject of female feticide which is shockingly still very prevalent in the Indian culture and it was written and directed by an Indian woman so I am really looking forward to its release. And my Telugu feature film 919 will be out this summer. And it’s my Bollywood dream come true so can’t wait for everyone to watch it. - Compiled by Surbhi Gogia www.desitoday.ca





Do you think the stigma of being single at the age of 30 and pursuing a career in acting still remains with-in the South Asian communities? What is your message for the young South Asian working women?



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ts only words, and words that all he has to take your heart away. For decades Balvir Boparai, the famous name in the world of Punjabi music industry, has touched millions of hearts with his soulful songs. Be it foot-tapping party song like De De Ghera, or be it heart-touching song like Ve Shudaiya, Boparia has written and sung these hit songs. And there are many sung by famous singers like Jazzy B, Diljit Dosanj, Sukhwinder Shinda, Miss Puja, Mannat Noor etc, that have flown from Boparai’s pen. Aja Nach Lo, Hostel, Naag (Sung by Jazzy B) are some other famous songs of Boparai. Originally from Borparai Kalan near Ludhiana, the multi-talented singer has called Canada his second home for years. These


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days Boparai is in Surrey and working on many musical projects. Voice Media group caught up with him to share his inspiring journey with the readers. Bopari is a self-learned singer and song writer who came from a middle-class family of Punjab. But since childhood, he was attracted towards narration. He started his journey at a very young age with writing short stories. “I do not know when that passion turned into writing songs. Eventually, I started working with singers who sang my songs. I released my own albums. And my song De De Gheda is still played in functions and parties.” Boparai says. “I am so thankful to the listeners who have accepted my work and loved my songs till date. This inspires me to work harder and

capture more beautiful lyrics into my songs,” he adds. When asked where does he get his inspiration to write songs, he says, “My songs are inspired from common, everyday situations. I try to write songs that every one can relate to. They are full of love, romance and emotions be it happy or sad. For example Patiala suite is common amongst Punjabi women. I tried to bring it in one of my song and related it to Birthday gift. It was unique and Diljit sang that song Happy Birthday.” The song was part of the movie Disco Singh and was filmed on Diljit Dosanjh and Surveen Chawla. There are many famous songs written by Boparai that have been part of Punjabi movies. Apart from writing, Bopari has been also worked as actor in Punjabi films like Manje Bistre 2 with Gippy Grewal, Neeru Bajwa’s Atte di Chidi and Teri Meri Jodi. Someone, who is grown amongst farmers, Bopari is equally touched by the recent farmer’s protest. He has captured the recent plight of poor farmers in his lyrics too. “I recently wrote a song where farmer’s daughter sings the song when she sees her brother return from the field without any food. The songs says someone else has taken the seeds and the real crop and we are left with nothing.” While expressing his concerns over the recent farmer’s protest, he is spreading a message of love and humanity. He says the world is like family if one family member is sad, it is duty of others to take care and offer support. To his listeners he says keep loving music and encouraging good music. “We are all going through tough times, but with love and support, we shall overcome the adversities.” www.desitoday.ca



Communities Safe Gurinder Mann of Surrey and Baljinder Kandola of Richmond receive Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards

Gurinder Mann of Surrey, Executive Director at Communities Embracing Restorative Action (CERA) Society, and Richmond RCMP Constable Baljinder Kandola were among the five community leaders who received the 23rd annual Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards that were held by a virtual ceremony this year. The other recipients were Lianne Ritch of Vancouver, Dede Dacyk of Penticton and Sandra Bryce of Victoria, and the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre in Victoria. “These award recipients and nominees demonstrate that we can make a real

difference in the lives of those who have been impacted by crime, violence and victimization,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “On behalf of the government, I want to thank each recipient for their dedication and commitment in keeping our communities safe and helping survivors of crime.” The awards acknowledge individuals, non-profit organizations, police and other local partners for their work in advancing crime prevention, restorative justice and other approaches that keep our communities safer. These efforts support provincial initiatives


His knowledge and skills in a vast range of areas have enabled him to make an outstanding contribution to restorative justice, crime prevention and public safety. 32

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The citation for Mann reads: “Winner of the Restorative Justice Memorial Award, Mann has been involved in the restorative justice community since he was a teenager. Beginning as a volunteer as a facilitator at Communities Embracing Restorative Action (CERA) Society, Mann became a board member and worked his way up to executive director in 2010, a position he still holds. His passion, leadership and dedication to justice have earned CERA considerable accomplishments during his tenure. Mann is known for being a remarkable leader, educator, reformer, advocate and active volunteer. His knowledge and skills in a vast range of areas have enabled him to make an outstanding contribution to restorative justice, crime prevention and public safety. According to the CERA website: “Born and raised in England, Gurinder completed his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), followed by a Master’s degree in Applied Legal Studies at Simon Fraser University. His belief in restorative justice brought him to CERA in 2008, where he became a trained facilitator and later served on the Board of Directors, before becoming CERA’s Executive Director in 2010. “Gurinder spent six years in the field of www.desitoday.ca

in policing, community safety and victim services. “Each of the award recipients has shown an outstanding commitment to community, to care and to make our communities safer,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “Their work has made a difference in the lives of British Columbians impacted by crimes, including survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I want to express my sincere gratitude for their efforts, for their trauma-informed and community-centred work and for all they have done to change lives in our province.” intelligence for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC), formerly known as the Organized Crime Agency of BC. He is known for his excellence in the fields of justice, law, and crime prevention. His professional accomplishments have led to instructional assignments at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) and Douglas College. “In addition to his proficiency in the justice and law enforcement arena, Gurinder is a specialist in the area of South Asian Studies. He possesses a second Master’s degree in Asian Studies and also serves as faculty at UBC.”

BALJINDER KANDOLA The citation for Kandola reads: “Winner of the Youth Leadership Award, Cst. Kandola found her passion in crime prevention and community policing early in her 19-year policing career. As co-ordinator of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program for the RCMP within Richmond schools, she has been instrumental in providing youth the tools they need to make healthy choices, including resistance strategies on how to deal with peer pressure and stress in a positive way. Since joining the DARE Society’s board of directors in 2016, Kandola has expanded her passion for education beyond www.desitoday.ca

I speak to my students about having purpose and spirit in everything they do in life. I learned that lesson from one of my student’s years ago.

schools, developing and implementing DARE initiatives and events within the community.” Last year in May, The VOICE in an article titled “Why Richmond RCMP Constable Bal Kandola decided to go virtual with her DARE lessons,” wrote in part: Richmond RCMP have taught DARE – Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program – to all Grade 5 students in Richmond for 25 years. However, the pandemic almost brought that to a halt. Fortunately, thanks to the passion and commitment of DARE officer, Constable Bal Kandola, this tradition has continued. When the announcement to keep schools closed was first made, Kandola was disappointed at the prospect of not being able to teach the DARE program for the final term of the school year. As she says, however, where there’s a will there’s a way. Kandola reached out to the Richmond School District and offered to provide the program in a virtual format. Since then Kandola has set-up her classroom in the Detachment and started recording her lessons. … The Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program is an internationally recognized drug prevention program. The keepin’ it REAL program is for Grade 5 and 6 students and

consists of 10 weeks of lessons. The goal of the program is to guide youth towards making healthy choices, not only about drugs, but in all areas of their lives. While she has had to adapt to having an empty classroom, Kandola is extremely happy that she is able to continue to provide this valuable program. “It’s been an adjustment to go online but I am so thankful that I’m able to reach my students,” says Constable Kandola. “I love teaching them so many great life lessons and giving them the tools which they can utilize in life. As Kandola points out, however, the teaching is not a one-way street. “I have learned so much from my students. I speak to my students about having purpose and spirit in everything they do in life. I learned that lesson from one of my student’s years ago,” says Kandola. “In the DARE Program, we speak to students about believing in themselves and being confident. I had asked my students what confidence looked like. One student said that I was confident because I taught them with purpose and spirit. As a police officer, I took pride in that statement as it shows that you can still have passion, purpose and spirit in the job that you do even after 20 years as a police officer. What you put out there is received.” APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



His selflessness and commitment to save the trapped men’s lives exude genuine empathy at humanity’s highest level.

hARmAnJEET SinGh Gill:

Truck driver receives



armanjeet Singh Gill, a 20-yearold truck driver from Brampton, Ontario, is one of 17 people who were selected to receive the Carnegie Medal, the highest honor for civilian heroism in the U.S. and Canada for risking their lives for others in life-threatening peril. Carnegie Hero Fund Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 116 years since the Fund was established by industrialistphilanthropist Andrew Carnegie, more than $42 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance. A total of 10,202 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. According to the commission’s website, Gill “was driving Aug. 29, 2018, in Brampton when he saw a violent crash in which an SUV struck several vehicles and landed on


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

its driver’s side a few feet from a house. Large flames burned at the vehicle’s rear, and Gill responded to the scene. “Gill extended his head and arms through the car’s sunroof and pulled one of

the three men inside to safety. Gill returned to the vehicle and dragged a second man to safety. Returning to the car to remove the third man, Gill had difficulty. With the help of a teen who also responded to the scene, Gill broke the sunroof to create a larger opening. They then pulled the third man to safety. “The car was shortly engulfed in flames, which spread to another car and impinged on the house.” Peel Regional Police said: “Harmanjeet did not hesitate; His selflessness and commitment to save the trapped men’s lives exude genuine empathy at humanity’s highest level. Peel Regional Police would like to share our sincere gratitude to Mr. Harmanjeet Singh Gill, whose brave act demonstrates what A Safer Community Together truly means.”


May your Vaisakhi be blessed with the bounty of the season and a harvest of joy and prosperity!

H A P P Y VA I S A K H I #standwithfarmers



The Tiger of Indian Fashion

BY SUJATA ASSOMULL The Indian retail giant Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited acquired a 51 per cent stake in Sabyasachi brand for Rs 398 crore. Just over two decades old, this label's life has been full of milestone moments, this investment could position Sabyasachi as India's first global fashion house. 2020 was an unusually quiet year for fashion label Sabyasachi. It started with a bang, as he unveiled a 65-piece Haute Joaillerie (high jewellery) collection at New York's Bergdorf Goodman, considered one of the finest stores in the world. Hot on the 36

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heels of this launch came the news that the designer label had been chosen for a collaboration with global fast fashion brand H&M, for a limited edition collection called "Wanderlust" which was to include a sari, placing the Indian drape on every fashion high street in the world. The collection was expected to drop in April, a huge landmark for Indian fashion, hindered only by the pandemic. Whether it is bringing a new sense of modesty to Indian fashion, or taking necklines dangerously low, his clothes

are what Indian women want to wear. Sabyasachi Mukherjee is the designer who set the Indian fashion agenda for at least a decade -- and so the industry wondered what was next for him? We now know the answer to that question, with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited's acquisition in the Sabyasachi brand. While other Indian designers spoke to the media about the need to be ''vocal for local'', Sabyasachi kept it low-key low. Although he was the first in fashion to realise the impact of the pandemic, making a generous www.desitoday.ca

“Growing up, i spent hours rummaging through my mother and grandmothers’ jewelry cupboards. Their taste was simply exquisite. maybe this is why i feel disappointed. Where has all the art gone? Perhaps it was this question that pushed me to find the answer.”

donation to the Prime Minister Relief Fund as early as March 2020. Successful fashion designers are those who understand cultural shifts, grasp economic realities and navigate the media landscape. Creative talent is not enough to become a fashion label that matters. Sabyasachi Mukherjee began his label in 1999, one of the first Indian brands to retail at London's iconic boutique, Browns, and also to show at New York and Milan Fashion Week, making him the darling of fashion editors across the world. But critical acclaim www.desitoday.ca

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


is not enough to build a fashion house -- to really make a mark internationally, you must first be a success in your own home country. There was a high spending audience back in India in need of special attention from an Indian designer -- the bride. With the local wedding industry reported to be worth US $50 billion, the "Big Fat Indian Wedding" was the reason international luxury brands were making a bee-line for India. Sabyasachi knew, while the young bride was a global modern thinking woman, when it came to her wedding day, she dreamed of being an "Indian" bride. Sabyasachi has always stood for all things Indian -- and his fashion shows were staged with as much pageantry as the biggest and fattest of Indian weddings. A designer who knew how to stay exclusive yet harness the power of media, today his Instagram page is the most 38

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followed page in Indian fashion. Before social media it was television that put one in every Indian's living room -- he teamed up with a leading news channel for the hugely successful reality show 'Band Baja Bride' in 2012, while also working on select projects in Bollywood, whether it was dressing Vidya Balan for Cannes Film Festival or taking charge of Sridevi's costumes in her comeback film, 'English Vinglish'. Anyone who has interviewed him knows, he has the gift of the gab -- soft spoken, he is always concise but what he does say will be eloquent and impactful. In the early 2000s many Indian fashion designers were getting carried away with the glitz of the Indian fashion industry -- which was shiny and new, but Sabyasachi kept his eye on the prize. There were rumors that L Capital Asia, the private equity fund belonging to LVMH (luxury

I grew up in Calcutta. It was almost frightening; this city does that to you. Calcutta injects a sense of aesthetic into your soul, and things that are seen as unique in other cities are a way of life here. there is an unspoken pressure. Subconsciously, this way of life has shaped my design identity.



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giant Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) was interested in buying into the brand. While that did not materialise, collaborations with Christian Louboutin and Pottery Barn sealed Sabyasachi's position as India's most influential designer. It has been well known in the industry that Sabyasachi has always wanted a flagship store in New York. So far Anita Dongre, whose company received a sizable investment from a large US Private Equity Fund in 2013, is the only Indian designer with a retail presence in this city. She is also considered to have the largest turnover of any Indian fashion company with a range that goes from high street to high fashion. This investment could not be better timed for Sabyasachi Mukherjee. It is a real game-changer for a label that has done as much groundwork as it could have as an independent. Corporate backing should see his brand diversify in terms of reach and product range. Perhaps we'll see a beauty line too -- and who knows what else. Now more than ever the industry will have their eyes on 46-year-old Kolkata based Sabyasachi as the future of Indian fashion. (The writer Sujata Assomull is an IANSlife columnist. Assomull is the author "100 Iconic Bollywood Costumes" and was the Founding Editor In Chief of Harper's Bazaar, India)



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Bill Thind and family invite you to enjoy the finest Greek cuisine in the light and airy Mediterranean atmosphere of Greece, re-created here. Everyone enjoys this taverna for its great appetizers and lamb dishes. Located in the Heart of Surrey, Bozzini's Restaurant has been a prime Lunch and Dinner for business people, locals and visitors since 1982. Bozzini's exemplifies the simple style of traditional Authentic, Greek and Italian Dishes. With its high, beamed ceilings and warm hardwood floors, Traditional Athens Scenery of Greek Gods, guests will encounter a one of a kind entertainment outing. Reservations are recommended.


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Punjabi Language

THE Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) had a very successful virtual celebration of the 18th International Mother Language Day. In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it was a very different kind of celebration. It was great to have wellwishers of Punjabi language join us from various places including California, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Metro Vancouver. Businessman Barj Dhahan set the stage for the celebration by reciting a poem by prominent Punjabi writer/poet Dhani Ram Chatrak in Punjabi and English. PLEA’s MC Kamaljit Kambo began the celebration by welcoming everyone. She then introduced Harman Pandher who gave a brief overview of the program Deepak Binning Foundation (DBF) has been a strong supporter of PLEA all along. 40

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

It has provided a lot of funding for student scholarships not only to PLEA but also to UBC and Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). DBF President and Director of PLEA, Paul Binning, welcomed the guests and gave a brief overview of DBF. Binning then introduced Steven Lewarne from KPU, a partner with DBF and PLEA, to say a few words. I gave the attendees an update on PLEA’s activities during the past year and upcoming challenges. It is very encouraging to note that Punjabi classes are well under way in many elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions in Metro Vancouver. Also, a lot of work has been done in promoting Punjabi in the community. However, we still have a lot more to do. The upcoming census in May 2021 will provide all of us with an opportunity

to promote selection of Punjabi as our mother tongue. Every resident of Canada on that date is entitled to that and must do so. In addition to brief speeches by invited guests, including Surrey School Trustee Garry Thind, and Surrey School District’s Director of Instruction Shauna Ross, the students were the stars of the show. They included Mehakpreet Dhaliwal, Sehajpreet Dhaliwal, Sukhman Kambo, Prabhjeet Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur, Saffalsher Singh, Keeret Dhanoa, Gursimrat Dhanoa, Sahib Singh and Prabhroop Singh Mangat. All of them recited very inspiring poems and stories about the ongoing farmers’ campaign on the outskirts of New Delhi against the new Indian farm laws. PLEA Vice President Sadhu Binning also expressed strong support for the farmers’ cause. Speaking about the status of Punjabi in Canada, he mentioned that we need to continue our efforts in getting our mother tongue Punjabi its due place in Canada. He also assured the attendees that PLEA will continue its efforts in convincing Victoria to facilitate implementation of Punjabi language in BC schools. Special guest Navkiran Kaur Natt, student youth leader and editor of the Kisan Andolan’s newspaper Trolley News, gave a very inspirational account of the activities at the Singhu border headquarters of the Indian farmers’ protest. She emphasized that the farmers, labourers and their supporters are there for the long run. It is going to be a tough fight with the government but eventually the www.desitoday.ca



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Punjabi has become the main language of this historic Kisan protest. It has brought Punjabis closer to their mother tongue. This will leave a long-lasting impact on the Punjabis’ relationship with their mother tongue. - Navkiran Kaur Natt farmers will succeed in having these three farm laws repealed. Natt stressed that like so many other young people, she is also very proud to be a part of this campaign since its beginning. She mentioned that though the protest on the outskirts of Delhi is only three months old, actually, in the Punjab it has been going on since August 2020. Natt stated that she is very impressed and pleased with the widespread support for the farmers’ protest not only from all over India but also from abroad. She spoke fondly about the role that Punjabi language has been playing in this campaign. Navkiran stated that most of the songs, plays and newsletters in this struggle are in Punjabi. She emphasized that Punjabi has become the main language of this historic protest. It has brought Punjabis closer to their mother tongue. This will leave a long-lasting impact on the Punjabis’ relationship with their mother tongue. The celebration concluded with closing remarks from some of the PLEA Board members and invited guests. On behalf of PLEA, I would like to thank all of the participants in making the 18th International Mother Language Day a great success. Balwant Sanghera is President, Punjabi Language Education Association www.desitoday.ca


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raja Chari picked by NASA for Artemis moon missions

NASA has selected an initial team of 18 astronauts, including Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari, to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024. Vice President of the US Mike Pence introduced the members of the Artemis Team on Wednesday during the eighth National Space Council meeting at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. "I give you the heroes who will carry us to the Moon and beyond -- the Artemis Generation," said Vice President Mike Pence. "It is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read. The Artemis Team astronauts are the future of American space exploration -- and that future is bright." The astronauts on the Artemis Team come from a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise, and experience. The agency's modern lunar exploration programme will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 and establish





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a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade. NASA said it will announce flight assignments for astronauts later, pulling from the Artemis Team. The US space agency said that additional Artemis Team members, including international partner astronauts, will join this group, as needed. Chari joined the astronaut corps in 2017. A colonel in the US Air Force, he was raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He received a bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering and a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics. The US Naval Test Pilot School graduate worked on F-15E upgrades and then the F-35 development programme, before coming to NASA. His father Sreenivas V. Chari immigrated from Hyderabad. "We are incredibly grateful for the president and vice president's support of the Artemis programme, as well as the bipartisan support for all of NASA's science, aeronautics research, technology development, and human exploration goals," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "As a result, we're excited to share this next step in exploration -- naming the Artemis Team of astronauts who will lead the way, which includes the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface." The astronauts of the Artemis Team will help NASA prepare for the coming Artemis missions, which begin next year working with the agency's commercial partners as they develop human landing systems; assisting in the development of training; defining hardware requirements; and consulting on technical development. "There is so much exciting work ahead of us as we return to the moon, and it will take the entire astronaut corps to make that happen," Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester said. "Walking on the lunar surface would be a dream come true for any one of us, and any part we can play in making that happen is an honour." The Artemis Team members also include Joseph Acaba, Kayla Barron, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Warren Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Hammock Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole A. Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins and Stephanie Wilson. www.desitoday.ca

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View




Indian-American scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao became Time Magazine's first-ever "Kid of the Year." The 15-year-old was chosen from a list of thousands of other amazing kids who are working to change the world. The honor is in recognition of Rao's commitment to creating scientific solutions. At 10 years old, she created a lead detection tool after learning about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. According to Time magazine: “Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate.” That is what the brilliant young scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao told actor and activist Angelina Jolie about her process, over Zoom, from her home in Colorado, during a break in her virtual schooling. Just 15 years old, Rao has been selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees as TIME’s first ever Kid of the Year. She spoke about her astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying, and about her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems the world over. Even over video chat, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shone through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you. “If I can do it,” she said, “anybody can do it.”


Gitanjali Rao 44

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



ndian-American scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao became Time Magazine's first-ever "Kid of the Year." The 15-year-old was chosen from a list of thousands of other amazing kids who are working to change the world. The honor is in recognition of Rao's commitment to creating scientific solutions. At 10 years old, she created a lead detection tool after learning about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. According to Time magazine: “Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate.” That is what the brilliant young scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao told actor and activist Angelina Jolie about her process, over Zoom, from her home in Colorado, during a break in her virtual schooling. Just 15 years old, Rao has been selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees as TIME’s first ever Kid of the Year. She spoke about her astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying, and about her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems the world over. Even over video chat, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shone through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you. “If I can do it,” she said, “anybody can do it.” “The world belongs to those who shape it. And however uncertain that world may feel at a given moment, the reassuring reality seems to be that each new generation produces more of what these kids have already achieved: positive impact, in all sizes,” Time said. Ms. Rao, 15, was selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees as TIME’s firstever Kid of the Year. She was interviewed by actor and activist Angelina Jolie for the TIME special. “Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate,” Ms. Rao told about her process during a virtual talk with Ms. Jolie from her home in Colorado. She spoke about her astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging


Ms. Rao, 15, was selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees as TIME’s first-ever Kid of the Year. She was interviewed by actor and activist Angelina Jolie for the TIME special. from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying, and about her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems the world over. “Even over video chat, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shone through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you,” Time said. “If I can do it,” she said in the interview, “anybody can do it.” Ms. Rao said her generation is facing many problems that they have never seen before.

“But then at the same time, we’re facing old problems that still exist. Like, we’re sitting here in the middle of a new global pandemic, and we’re also like still facing human-rights issues. There are problems that we did not create but that we now have to solve, like climate change and cyberbullying with the introduction of technology,” she said. “I think more than anything right now, we just need to find that one thing we’re passionate about and solve it. Even if it’s something as small as, I want to find an easy way to pick up litter. Everything makes a difference. Don’t feel pressured to come up with something big,” she said. “When asked when she knew that science was her passion,” Ms. Rao said she always wanted to put a smile on someone’s face. “That was my everyday goal, just to make someone happy. And it soon turned into, How can we bring positivity and community to the place we live?” Ms. Rao added that she doesn’t look like “your typical scientist.” “Everything I see on TV is that it’s an older, usually white man as a scientist. It’s weird to me that it was almost like people had assigned roles, regarding like their gender, their age, the colour of their skin. My goal has really shifted not only from creating my own devices to solve the world’s problems, but inspiring others to do the same as well. Because, from personal experience, it’s not easy when you don’t see anyone else like you. So I really want to put out that message: If I can do it, you can do it, and anyone can do it,” she said. She said when she was in second or third grade, she started thinking about how she can use science and technology to create social change. She said she was 10 when she told her parents that she wanted to research carbon nanotube sensor technology at the Denver Water Quality Research Lab. When asked by Ms. Jolie if Ms. Rao does things that kids her age do, she said: “actually I spend more time doing 15-year-old things during the quarantine. I bake an ungodly amount. It’s not good, but it’s baking. And, like, it’s science too.”

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View




RANJITSINH DISALE The global teacher In his winning speech Disale made the extraordinary announcement that he will share half the prize money with his fellow Top 10 finalists, resulting in the other nine finalists receiving just over US$55,000 each. This is the first time in the Global Teacher Prize’s six year history that the overall winner has shared the prize money with other finalists. Disale was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world. The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one 46

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exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. For the first time, the Global Teacher Prize winning announcement was made at a virtual ceremony broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London, with comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry announcing the winner. The ceremony also included a special recognition for one teacher – a COVID hero – who has gone above and beyond to

Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, who transformed the life chances of young girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Solapur, Maharashtra, India, has been named the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO. keep young people learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The US$45,000 COVID Hero Award, supported by CVC Capital Partners, was given to UK Maths teacher Jamie Frost, whose free DrFrostMaths became a lifeline for students shut out of classrooms all around the world. At this year’s ceremony, the Varkey Foundation was also delighted to announce the launch of the new Chegg.org Global Student Prize, a US$50,000 sister prize to the Global Teacher Prize, which will open www.desitoday.ca

applications and nominations in the new year. The Global Student Prize will create a powerful new platform to highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond. Ranjitsinh initially wanted to be an IT engineer, but after engineering college did not work out as he anticipated, his father suggesting teacher training as an alternative. Initially hesitant, Ranjitsinh’s time in teacher training college was life-changing. He saw that teachers are the real change-makers in the world, and decided to become one. The first school he taught in was in a dilapidated building, sandwiched between a cattle shed and a storeroom. Most of the girls were from tribal communities that did not prioritise girls’ education, and the practice of teenage marriage was common. Additionally, the curriculum was not in the students’ primary language (Kannada), which meant that many students were unable to achieve expected learning outcomes. After putting in a great deal of effort, Ranjitsinh learned Kannada, and redesigned all the textbooks of grades 1-4 for better comprehension, along with unique QR codes that embedded audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments in Kannada. (These QR coded books also benefited many girls when schools were closed for two months due to a terror attack, as they were able to continue learning using the books – and BBC News featured a story about them on 5th September 2019 to celebrate Teachers’ Day.) Students now reflect on, discuss and showcase what they are learning to a far greater extent – developing communication, creativity and real-world problem-solving skills. As a result of these efforts, the school was awarded Best School for the district in 2016, and 98 per cent of students have achieved their expected learning outcomes before completing the school year. In terms of his wider impact, The CEO of Microsoft (Satya Nadella) has recognized Ranjitsinh’s work as one of three stories from India in his book Hit Refresh. The central government named Ranjitsinh 2016 Innovative Researcher of the Year, and he also won the National Innovation Foundation’s Innovator of the Year award in 2018. He has communicated his methods by writing more than 500 newspaper articles and blogs, as well as participating in television discussions on educational topics. www.desitoday.ca






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During the pandemic, each one of us has been affected in some way and it is clear that we need strong leadership to help us rebuild our country, economy and communities. This is why I am running.


Amin Dhillon

Prairies to Politics


Media Personality Amin Dhillon Seeks Liberal Nomination in Brampton Centre 48

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ommunity host and reporter Amin Dhillon recently announced that she will be seeking the federal Liberal nomination in Brampton Centre. Dhillon made the announcement in March 30 saying “I’ve always strived to be a voice for the community and use my platform to amplify voices that reflect our diversity. After a decade serving you in the media, today I am officially announcing I am seeking the federal Liberal nomination for Brampton Centre.” Dhillon was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and made history as the first woman from Manitoba to win the Miss India Worldwide Canada title. After representing Canada at the International Miss India Worldwide pageant, placing in the Top 10, Dhillon moved to Toronto to pursue a career in media. Over the last decade, Dhillon has been a national TV host, producer, and community ambassador in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion, known for reporting effortlessly on topics such as gender equality and racial discrimination to international entertainment and community events. www.desitoday.ca

I wanted to highlight stories of success in the ethnic community. So many amazing individual stories were not being covered by nonethnic media outlets or celebrated outside our community

“Brampton holds a special place in my heart. This is where I’ve built my career. From my very first TV shoot to covering some of my biggest interviews to date. I love this community, I love the people in the riding, and I’ve been connected to the city for so long. I normally spend my days being out in the community and hearing the issues they are facing. I’ve been working with the various community groups and leaders to address these issues and help promote Brampton’s vast cultural events and initiatives. The people of Brampton have always been so good to me and made me a part of their lives. This really motivates me to want to fight for this community and try to make their lives better. I think I could be the voice to really advocate for them.” Brampton is one of the most multicultural cities in Canada and home to one of the biggest South Asian populations outside of India. Working in ethnic media, Dhillon saw first hand the lack of South Asian voices in the news. “I wanted to highlight stories of success in the ethnic community. So many amazing individual stories were not being covered by non-ethnic media outlets or

celebrated outside our community.” To remedy this, Dhillon launched her own podcast and digital series ‘In Conversation with Amin Dhillon’. “I’ve been fortunate to interview trailblazers who have broken down barriers and achieved immense success in their respective fields. From Sikh fashion models and IndoCanadian YouTube stars to first generation immigrants who have become iconic artists of their generation. It’s time we celebrate them and inspire others to follow their dreams.” To date, Dhillon’s series has hit over 1 million views and she has 500K social media followers. She continues to have candid discussions with global newsmakers and is known to actively engage with her followers. “Over the last ten years I have been connecting with the community both in

person and online, listening to their concerns and helping to have their voices heard. During the pandemic, each one of us has been affected in some way and it is clear that we need strong leadership to help us rebuild our country, economy and communities. This is why I am running. The difference between being a media host and being a politician is that I can transition from talking about change and the issues facing Canadians to being in a position to take action. As someone who is already a familiar face within the community, I am confident that I can be a strong advocate for Brampton Centre in Ottawa.” The nomination date for Brampton Centre is not yet set. Eligible voters must register on the federal Liberal website in order to vote at the upcoming nomination meeting. The next federal Canadian election will take place on or before October 16, 2023. APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View




Learning from Home

As we adjust to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new normal, it can feel like time is on pause. But there are so many opportunities just a click or a tap away to keep learning. Turn selfisolation into self-improvement with these learning sources.

SiGn UP FoR An E-nEWSlETTER With so much negative news constantly bombarding our TV screens and social media feeds, it can be tempting to step away entirely from sources of information. But one way to keep learning while maintaining some control over what you’re consuming is by subscribing to an e-newsletter with curated content. For example, you can sign up for a daily digest of top stories from 50

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

your local newspaper. If you’re interested in agriculture, you can check out Agri-Info, an online newsletter about industry trends, science innovation and even gardening tips and tricks.

TAKE ConTinUinG EDUCATion Time in isolation can be an opportunity for self-improvement. Continuing education courses on a dizzying variety of topics and

skills are available online for you to take at your own pace. Many are available for free, but even paying into a program can be a valuable investment in yourself. Services offered through your local library can be a great jumping-off point. Mastering a new skill or area of expertise can provide an essential feeling of accomplishment at a time when we all need it.

GET CERTiFiED New technologies mean new skills, but that doesn’t mean you need a degree to understand them. Many new online tools and programs offer businesses major advantages, and knowing how to use them can give you a significant edge in the job market. Best of all, plenty of companies offer online, learn at your own page certification in their software completely free. All it takes is some time and dedication, and you can not only pick up a marketable new skill, but end with something to show for it.

PlAY A GREAT PoDCAST Not all material needs you to sit at a computer. It’s a great feeling to take an educational podcast for a walk or learn while you cook. It can open up new topics and provide new perspectives, hands-free. Take The First Sixteen, a new podcast all about the latest breakthroughs and innovations in agriculture and agri-food. Whether you’re a farmer, a foodie or just curious about the latest and greatest, check out this exciting podcast for a fresh helping of knowledge every other week. Find news and podcasts about agriculture at agr.gc.ca/agriinfo. www.desitoday.ca



hirinG IN CANADA? 5 TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED AS AN INVESTOR (NC) The impact of COvID-19 on Canada’s job market has left many of us reeling. Steady work can feel out of reach sometimes, but if you look in the right places, you’ll find employers eager to expand and meet the challenges facing Canadians.

STARTUPS With the 2010s behind us, Canada has proven itself as a hotbed of technical innovation. Startup companies in fields from smart home tech, to cybersecurity, to AI are all ramping up their hiring as the economy levels out. You don’t need to be a programmer or

technician, either. These growing businesses need marketers, project managers and sales forces just as urgently. Joining a start-up can be a great way to begin a career by getting in on the ground floor of a growing business.

Manufacturing Stores can’t keep many essential supplies on the shelves, and manufacturers are having to step up production to keep pace. Some businesses are even shifting their production to new products like PPe and sanitization supplies, and that means open positions. Roles from quality control to line workers, warehouse operators to manufacturing supervisors need filling, and the hiring surge shows no signs of abating soon.

AGRICULTURE Agriculture and agri-food may have reputations as purely seasonal, rural-only work, but nothing could be further from the truth. Businesses across Canada are looking to fill positions for a wide variety of roles and experience levels. Step up to the Plate is an initiative by the Government of Canada to connect Canadians looking for work with agri-food and agriculture businesses across the country. It provides links to multiple job boards at once, by region and job type. From farms, to food and beverage manufacturing, to distribution, you can find it there. Find out more about opportunities in agriculture at agr.gc.ca/agriculture-jobs. 52

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

If you’ve been thinking about investing on your own, but just can’t seem to push the “buy” button to make that first trade, you don’t have to do it alone. Many selfdirected investors have come before you and learned along the way. To help you get started, check out these tips for beginner investors at RBC Direct Investing: Don’t rush. Start slowly and learn from other people’s mistakes, rather than your own.


Ask a friend or family member to help you learn. Having someone you know by your side when you’re starting out can be a good confidencebuilder.


Do your research. Look into investing options that interest you and keep up to date with investing news and resources.


Don’t make emotional decisions when you’re investing. Understand why you’re making a choice, ensure it’s the right option for you and be confident – but leave emotions aside.


Know that there will always be some wins and some losses in investing. Keep your big-picture perspective and longer-term goals in mind and think of investing as a marathon, not a sprint. This can help you keep calm and carry on during the inevitable ups and downs of the market. Find more investing inspiration at rbc. com/inspiredinvestor.






REMEMBER THESE 3 THINGS Being an independent contractor is not a straightforward endeavour, but it can lead to more diversity in your work, better income, and greater flexibility. But, before you make the jump to launching your own freelance business, keep these three things in mind:

Do your homework Research your market to determine your customers’ needs, your competitors, and the range of pricing for your service. If you’re considering offering something that hasn’t been offered on a contract basis before, think about how you’ll actually do this. Then, take each client as a learning experience; for instance, see which type of work you enjoy and which jobs are the best paying.

Keep your taxes straight When you start out and before you incorporate you’re considered a “self-employed sole proprietor.” This means the CRA views your personal income and business income as the same —?both of which you file under your personal income taxes. But, this also means you’re responsible for self-employment taxes, such as employment Insurance and Canada Pension. Or, if you need Workers’ Compensation coverage, this again falls on you to provide for yourself.

the more you know even if you’re a sole proprietor, think of yourself as a business. Make sure you get paid by issuing invoices on time. And get a signed contract before you start work on a project. Above all, know the difference between an employee and contractor. One of the main differences being that freelancers pay their own employment taxes, also known as payroll taxes, while employers will manage an employee’s payroll taxes. As your buisness grows, you’ll also want to keep this in mind when you find yourself needing to hire. To learn more about the differences between employees and contractors, blogs like Wagepoint’s, a small business payroll provider, are an excellent resource. Check out blog.wagepoint.com to see for yourself.




learning TOOLS

(Many of us are looking for new things to do to feel entertained and engaged as we prepare for more pandemic closures. But from watching movies and tv shows to video-chatting with family, most activities these days requiring knowing how to use technology. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the latest tech and software but want to participate in the online world, why not spend time upgrading your digital literacy skills? A new program called Youth Teaching Adults can help you do just that. It offers free downloadable lesson plans on tools like Skype, GoogleDuo, FaceTime and more. These step-bystep lesson plans are written in clear language to make it easy for anyone to learn how to use these tools. In addition to offering free lesson plans to individuals, the program also encourages community organizations to sign up to host a virtual workshop. The program offers an honorarium for those who register to run a workshop. Within the workshops, youth act as volunteer tutors, providing coaching in a safe and supportive virtual workshop environment while also developing their leadership skills and earning community service hours. Adults can choose what they want to learn from over 50 different lesson plans and topics. These include browsing videos on YouTube, downloading new apps on their smartphone and video-chatting with family. Learn more information, access free lesson plans and book a virtual workshop in your community at youthteachingadults. ca. APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



Stop worrying and love the science

Health law and policy professor Timothy Caulfield takes readers through an average day to show how evidence can allay our fears and inform our decisions.

says U of A misinformation expert in new book BY GEOFF MCMASTER Timothy Caulfield suggests trying the following thought experiment. It’s far-fetched to be sure, but to test the “stranger danger” hypothesis—known to cause considerable anxiety among today’s parents—imagine placing your child alone on the street as bait for some shady character in a white van. How long would it take for that child to be abducted? According to one statistical analysis, 200,000 years. In other words, the odds of abduction are “so fantastically remote that, in terms of daily risks, it can be categorized as ‘simply not going to happen,’” writes the University of Alberta expert on misinformation, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and 54

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

Policy, and host of the Netflix series, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death. Driving kids to school is just one of perhaps hundreds of decisions we make every day about our health and well-being— many lacking solid evidence to back them up, said Caulfield. In his new book, Relax Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety , he takes the reader through an average hypothetical day, laying down what the science says about daily calculations we often take for granted— from when to get up in the morning and what to eat for breakfast, through a busy day of incessantly checking our phones, commuting, attending meetings, ranting on social media, chugging coffee, exercising

and binge-watching television.

Debunking the daily grind

True to form, Caulfield debunks popular but largely baseless wellness fads, such as gluten-free diets for those who don’t have celiac disease, raw milk products and even flossing. (Who knew the jury is still out on that one?) On vitamin supplements? Little evidence they’re effective. Standing desks? Not the solution many assume for sedentary office environments. Coffee? Probably good for you so go for it, even multiple cups per day. The daily decision provoking the most www.desitoday.ca

heated response in Caulfield’s social media surveys—toilet seat up or down? The efficiency perspective favours the “selfish position,” or fewest number of moves—that is, leave it up. But as Caulfield noted, not everybody is likely to side with that one. “I thought it’d be a fun way to explore the bigger questions, and the science around those decisions we make throughout the day—and there often is a lot of science,” said Caulfield. “I want people to recognize that there are forces shaping our decisions, and really to ignore the noise, or at least selectively observe the noise. Don’t let it distort your decision-making process and don’t let it stress you out. There is almost always a more science-informed path forward.” As a father of four, Caulfield understands the protective instinct and the parent-shaming that can result from allowing children independence, something he’s experienced first hand. “We let our own kids walk to school, and we let them just wander around the neighbourhood,” he said. “But once the neighbours found out, they wouldn’t let our kids play together.” The perception of abduction risk, Caulfield argues, has run amok in recent decades, hugely exaggerated by media accounts and grisly television dramas. But available evidence shows clearly that denying children some degree of freedom can have negative consequences, from heightened anxiety to poor orientation skills and hampered ability to safely navigate traffic. “Abduction by a stranger is such a horrific idea that it prejudices our thoughts,” he said. “But on the other side of the ledger, letting your kid walk to school promotes exercise, independence, socialization, even a quiet moment—20 minutes of just daydreaming. You’re robbing them of all of that in order to respond to this irrational fear.” One review of studies on the subject showed that moderately risky outdoor play— climbing trees, exploring nature and scouting the local neighbourhood—should be encouraged for healthy child development.

Exposing the repression myth

The false belief that expressing anger is good for you is one issue that whips Caulfield into, www.desitoday.ca

In his new book, “relax dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety,” Timothy Caulfield takes the reader through an average hypothetical day, laying down what the science says about the daily decisions we make about our health and wellness. (Photo: Supplied)

well, a frothy rant. There is no evidence—and really never has been—to suggest bottling up your feelings is bad for your mental health. The reality is quite the opposite. Raging on social media, for example (which Caulfield arbitrarily schedules for 1:15 p.m. on his hypothetical day), only makes things worse, stirring up a toxic soup of vitriolic anxiety. “I could have done a whole book on that, and the degree to which it is embedded in popular culture—this belief in catharsis, that venting is somehow therapeutic and that holding back anger causes cancer, for example, or is bad for your heart. “It’s never been supported by good empirical evidence. But despite that, it’s become conventional wisdom.” Then there’s the perception we’re all so damn busy. We complain about it, brag about it and let the myth rule our lives. Again, the evidence shows we’re nowhere near as busy as we think we are. “I’m not saying you don’t feel busy—

people do feel busy, but in reality they’re not that busy,” said Caulfield. “Our society is structured to make people feel busy. In part that’s because of the chaotic information environment, and because of our cellphones. We’re carrying our office in our pockets, so we always feel like we should be doing something.” According to Caulfield, we worry about all of these daily decisions far more than we need to. He recommends simply tuning out the distorting noise—celebrity advice, slick marketing, new high-tech devices and especially diets—and focusing on the fundamentals, which we’ve known for decades. “Don’t smoke. exercise. eat real food. Maintain a healthy weight. Drink alcohol not at all or in moderation. Sleep. And have good relationships,” he said. And finally—“Turn off your damn cellphone!” Courtesy: Folio.ca APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



5 tips to creAte

At-home spA eXperience by converting your shower into a mini steam room. Turn your shower on with high heat to steam up your bathroom, grab an exfoliating scrub or loofah to remove dead skin cells and finish with a shower.

DIY facial A visit to the spa might not be an option for many of us, so here are five quick tips to create a spa-like experience in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Atmosphere Lighting, scent and calming music are all key elements associated with a visit to the spa. Candles are quick and easy mood-enhancing

items that not only add softness to lighting, but can also be used to introduce aromatherapy. Lavender is a great aromatherapy option because it promotes a sense of wellness and calm.

Get steamy While a warm bath is a go-to ritual for many, you can also dial up your in-home spa game

Consider turning your bedroom into a treatment room. When trying a new or trusted facial mask, remember to choose one that targets your skin-care concerns — such as dry skin, clogged pores, or anti aging. You can also add a foot mask, hand mask, undereye mask or lip mask for an extra-targeted boost of hydration.

Try new tools explore adding a new and affordable skin tool to your at-home spa. Depending on your skin’s needs, choose from a variety of devices such as sonic cleansers to remove impurities and minimize pores, or microdermabrasion tools to reduce the appearance of acne scars and age spots. You can also try an online skin analysis tool, which uses new technology to provide a customized summary of your skin health. “The virtual skin tool from Shoppers Drug Mart is the next step in learning more about your skin and having personalized products recommended,” said Chanel Cruz, a Shoppers beauty pro.

Mani and Pedi time Complete your spa experience with a manicure or pedicure. After your skin is prepped and hydrated, finish by trimming and shaping your nails and pushing down your cuticles. Top with nail colour and topcoat if desired. www.newscanada.com 56

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


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Z Z Z V X Q U L V H N L W F K H Q V  F R P





“On a daily basis I see fellow members of society slip through the cracks. The wide range of services offered by SACH will make a real difference in our community.”

“everyone deserve supports and resources that are easily accessible, culturally sensitive, and centered in love and healing. SACH offers that hope.”




For the community, By the community “Programming provided through SACH will help reduce barriers to accessing health and social services and improve the overall well-being of our communities.”

ALLySHA rAm 58

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


local collective of community health advocates have come together to form the SACH Community Hub to support Surrey’s diverse communities impacted by acute and emerging health challenges. SACH will bring together support services for communities most impacted by socioeconomic factors, mental health challenges, and addiction, in the Newton region of Surrey. Fraser Health Authority’s recent Chief Medical Health Officer’s Report stated that South Asian men represented 77% of the overdose cases in 2017. Although South Asians have high proportions of representation in Surrey (33%), Abbotsford (25%), and Delta (20%), this statistic is shockingly high. “Many of the available supports lack a tailored response that meet the specific needs of every single member of our community,”

“With SACH we finally have a tailored response that meets the unique needs of every single member of our community.”

UPKAr SInGH TATLAy www.desitoday.ca

“I had started to see the emerging needs that were going unmet by existing services. I am proud of the work of the team at SACH and the impact our services have.”

“Cultural, linguistic and systemic barriers are preventing people from accessing lifechanging services. I see SACH being a place of healing and hope.”


HArmAn PAndHer

says SACH Director Upkar Singh Tatlay. “SACH follows a unique model aimed at reducing barriers faced by diverse communities in accessing health and social services. We envision that SACH will provide a one-stop solution with relevant services available in culturally and linguistically appropriate formats, while using client-centered and family-focused approaches,” says SACH Director Allysha Ram. Drug toxicity deaths in the South Asian population increased by 255% between 2015 and 2018 compared to 138% among other residents in the Fraser Health Region. The number increased from 20 fatalities a year to 80. “SACH plans to offer a variety of health and social supports, including connecting clients to services related to substance use treatment and harm reduction, counselling, medical


services, income assistance, employment, food security, housing, personal hygiene, immigration, recreation, and victim services; while also providing opportunities for social connection and volunteering,” says SACH Director Jassy Pandher. The services will be available to individuals as well as their families. “While there is no simple solution to these complex issues, this group has the experience, and most importantly the drive, to advocate for and support populations that all too often fall through the gaps,” says SACH Director Gary Thandi. For the past several months, SACH has been actively engaging with stakeholders in the community, including the various levels of government. “The need for a hub that can provide much needed meaningful support and recovery is there and has been there for years in our

community. I’m thankful and grateful that this diverse group of caring people have come together to offer a solution,” says Aman Singh, civil rights lawyer and MLA for RichmondQueensborough, who is also active in the recovery community. Other members of the SACH Board of Directors include Harman Singh Pandher, Anita Lal, and Larry Jhaj. SACH is raising funds for an outreach office that would be open to anyone who identifies a need, especially those who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, struggling with addiction, mental health or socioeconomic challenges. To learn more about SACH Community Hub, visit www.sachbc.ca and social media pages at @sach_bc. For general inquiries, to donate or to be a sponsor, contact info@ sachbc.ca.

“I joined this group as I believe the solutions to major social health and welfare issues lies in collaborative, cross-sectoral collaboration.”

“The need for a hub that can provide much needed meaningful support and recovery is there and has been there for years in our community.”



APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



Nav Bhatia:


Superfan TO super human

I stay away from politics to be honest. But I am a proud Sikh. And that is first and foremost. As a result, my heart cannot accept this award at this time. Not while my brothers and sisters across India are in pain. I stand with all of the farmers of India. I pray for a safe and peaceful resolve.


Toronto Raptors’ Superfan Nav Bhatia turned down Global Indian Award in support of Indian farmers 60

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

Bhatia, Toronto Raptors’ Superfan who is officially the Raptors’ South Asian Community Ambassador, turned down the $50,000 Global Indian Award a day after accepting it. The Canada India Foundation had conferred the award on Bhatia at its virtual gala. Accepting the award, Bhatia said in his pre-recorded speech that he was greatly honoured to join the company of previous awardees – Ratan Tata, Deepak Chopra, Narayana Murthy, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia. As each past honouree donated the award money to charities, Bhatia too www.desitoday.ca

pledged it to his ‘Daughters of India Initiative’ to build school washrooms for rural girls in Punjab and Rajasthan. The Canada India Foundation, the Toronto-based Indo-Canadian advocacy group, has honoured an outstanding Indian each year with its Global Indian Award since 2009. But a day later, Bhatia refused to accept the award, in support of the farmers’ agitation in India. The World Sikh Organization had tweeted: “superfan_nav, as someone we have recognized in the past as an advocate that raises awareness on the 1984 Sikh Genocide, we ask you decline the @Cif_Official1 award. The CIF have been steadfast Sikh Genocide deniers and have a history of being Indian state violence apologists.” Bhatia said, “I watched my pre-recorded acceptance speech and the show for the first time like many. The past 24 hours were supposed to be a celebration for all those little girls in Rajasthan but it has been far from that. I was made privy at this point to a lot of new information…I even visited the CIF (Canada India Foundation) offices to understand their exact stance on many issues.” www.desitoday.ca

He said, “I stay away from politics to be honest. But I am a proud Sikh. And that is first and foremost. As a result, my heart cannot accept this award at this time. Not while my brothers and sisters across India are in pain. I stand with all of the farmers of India. I pray for a safe and peaceful resolve.” Bhatia said if the Canada India Foundation “would like to continue with their donation then great, if not then I will personally donate the $50,000 needed to begin phase Iv,” of his project in Alwar. The WSO later tweeted: “@superfan_nav, by declining @Cif_Official1‘s Global Indian of the Year Award you have done the right thing. Attempts to marginalize Sikh Canadians, minimize #DelhiChalo, and deny the Sikh Genocide will never succeed.” The Canada India Foundation said in a statement: “CIF regrets the decision and circumstances under which Nav Bhatia chose to return the Global Indian of the Year Award. Canadians of all walks of life treasure his nonpolitical enthusiasm for sport and for Canada & India. “The true spirit of this Award is recognizing and celebrating the role, success and contribution of an outstanding global Indian

I am a proud Sikh. I made a promise to my mom I would not cut my hair, I would not remove my turban and I would not drink alcohol. May her soul rest in peace but every morning I wake up with that promise kept. every year. To be drawn into India’s current politics or to pronounce on historical debates is not in the spirit of the Award. “We will continue the hard and important work of pursuing genuine reconciliation between communities, and of strengthening ties between two great democracies.”

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


Nav Bhatia’s full statement on his ‘Superfan Page’ Facebook

I am Sikh. Actually. I am a proud Sikh. I came to Canada in 1984 after the Sikh genocide. Many Sikhs lost their lives. My own father was almost dragged out of a car and a burning tire was almost placed over his head. He was moments from death. He was lucky. We were lucky. Many were not as lucky. Canada is my haven. It is my heaven on earth. Many see the glamour of the cars, the celebrity friends, the expensive watch but very few witnessed me cleaning washrooms when I first arrived to put food on the table for my family. I am a proud Sikh. We do things with pride and passion; my washrooms were the cleanest washrooms in the city. I then became a car salesman. My story is well known from that point. The dealerships, the discrimination, the Raptors, adopting my beautiful little girl and now doing everything I can to give back to as many kids 62

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

as I can. I have but one mission. To bring people together. I am a proud Sikh. I made a promise to my mom I would not cut my hair, I would not remove my turban and I would not drink alcohol. May her soul rest in peace but every morning I wake up with that promise kept. I am a proud Sikh. Now currently in my life I want to give back to as many kids as possible. Over the years I have accepted many awards, including a few from well known Sikh organizations, each award was encouragement to keep working for our youth. each award inspired me to do more because to me an award is about a group of people who are acknowledging your service and showing their support for your cause. This award was to be that also. Pre-covid In March, I accepted this award from the Canada India Foundation. Coupled with it was a donation in the amount of $50,000 to my passion project – World

vision Canada’s Daughters of India Initiative. Building washrooms for girls in rural parts of India so they can safely continue their education. I am so proud of my entire team. We completed three phases in Faridkot, Punjab – over 180 washrooms were built or renovated across 36 schools. Over 4000 girls have been impacted. We are now beginning Phase Iv focusing on Alwar, in the state of Rajasthan. One hundred washrooms and 2 basketball courts will be built. I get goosebumps thinking about this initiative. This is everything to me. This is what the award meant to me. A step closer to finishing 100 washrooms. On Sunday evening I watched my prerecorded acceptance speech and the show for the first time like many. The past 24 hours were supposed to be a celebration for all those little girls in Rajasthan but it has been far from that. I was made privy at this point to a lot of new information. I have been quiet. Not because I did not know what to say. I wanted to do my own due diligence. I made countless phone calls. I spoke to many prominent figures. I even visited the CIF (Canada India Foundation) offices to understand their exact stance on many issue. See I am not a political person, I stay away from politics to be honest. But I am a proud Sikh. And that is first and foremost. As a result, my heart cannot accept this award at this time. Not while my brothers and sisters across India are in pain. I stand with all of the farmers of India. I pray for a safe and peaceful resolve. As for the girls of Rajasthan, If the Canada India Foundation would like to continue with their donation then great if not then I will personally donate the $50,000 needed to begin Phase Iv. My life has been about changing perceptions and prejudice. I hope we all come together and share in each others pain just as we celebrate in each others happiness. When one of us is hurting we are all hurting. All that matters to me is our youth and the examples we set for them. Keep me in your prayers. I am a proud Indian, I am a proud Canadian and I am a proud Sikh. Love, Superfan, Nav Bhatia www.desitoday.ca

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According to a new study by the UBC Sauder School of Business and French researchers, people with obesity tend to be more responsive to food marketing — but when their weight drops significantly, so does their responsiveness to marketing.


people’s responsiveness TO food marketing O

besity rates have increased dramatically in developed countries over the past 40 years — and many people have assumed that food marketing is at least in part to blame. But are people with obesity really more susceptible to food marketing? And if they are, is that a permanent predisposition, or can it change over time? According to a new study by UBC Sauder School of Business Assistant Professor Dr. Yann Cornil (he/him/his) and French researchers, people with obesity do tend to be more responsive to food marketing — but


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

when their weight drops significantly, so does their responsiveness to marketing. For the study, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the researchers followed three groups: patients with severe obesity before they had gastric bypass or other weight-loss surgeries (collectively known as bariatric surgery), as well as three and 12 months after; people with obesity who were not undergoing bariatric surgery; and people who were not obese. To measure their responsiveness to food marketing, the researchers evaluated what’s called framing effects — that is, how

branding, advertising, and labeling “frame,” and thus influence food evaluations and choices. In one study, participants were asked to estimate the calorie content in wellknown snacks and drinks including some, which marketers typically framed as healthy (i.e. apple juice, granola bars), and others, which are not framed as healthy (i.e. soft drinks, chocolate bars). The researchers found that everyone underestimated the calorie content of snacks that were framed as healthy but the effect was more pronounced in people with obesity. To further test the framing effect, the researchers had participants hypothetically choose a portion of french fries from a fast food restaurant, and gave them the nutritional information they would need to make an informed decision. The three options were always the same in quantity — 71g, 117g, and 154g — but in one instance they were labeled small, medium and large, and in another instance the same portions were labeled mini, small and medium: a marketing tactic aimed at making larger portions seem more reasonable. “We measured how likely people were sensitive to that framing, and whether it would change their choice of fries quantity depending on how the portions are labeled,” www.desitoday.ca

explains Dr. Cornil, who says the people with obesity were more likely to follow the labeling and not the actual information about quantity — so they would choose the portion labeled “medium” even though that’s quite large. Overall the researchers, who worked closely with the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, found that the people with obesity tended to be more responsive to food marketing — but when they lost a significant amount of weight because of bariatric surgery, their level of responsiveness to food marketing dropped substantially. “People with obesity going through bariatric surgery will become less responsive to marketing over time,” says Dr. Cornil. “And after 12 months, their responsiveness to marketing reaches the level of people with more medically-recommended weight.” Dr. Cornil says it’s not clear whether people with obesity become less responsive to marketing because of physiological changes following the surgery — hormonal, neurological shifts or changes to the gut microbiota — or because of people’s desire to change their lifestyles and habits. Another possible reason, he adds, is that people’s tastes tend to shift following bariatric surgery. “The results clearly suggest a bidirectional influence between people’s weight status, psychology and responsiveness to the environment — including marketing,” says Dr. Cornil. “So, it’s a complex relationship.” However, had the researchers found the responsiveness to marketing remained high even after weight loss, it would have pointed to a deeper-rooted predisposition. “That would mean people are endowed with unchangeable psychological characteristics that would always make them more responsive to marketing — which would make it very difficult to sustain a medicallyrecommended weight,” he explains. “But one of the positive things is that after significant weight loss, people become less responsive to marketing, such that it is more sustainable to remain at a lower body mass index.” Dr. Cornil says the findings are especially important because for years, researchers have assumed that marketing messages — especially for foods that are high-calorie and low in nutrition — are at least partly responsible for the obesity epidemic, but there wasn’t clear empirical evidence. “Our results provide important insights for policy-makers in charge of regulating food marketing in order to curb obesity,” says Dr. Cornil. www.desitoday.ca

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APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View




ctress Shilpa Shetty suggested a few yoga moves that can help one get back to the daily grind. Shilpa, also a yoga expert, suggested a deep breathing meditation that can help people fight stress and maintain balance between calm and chaos. The actress spent Christmas vacation in Goa with husband Raj Kundra, sister Shamita Shetty, mother Sunanda Shetty and her children viaan and Samisha. “Changing gears and shifting back to a daily routine after the holiday season is never going to be easy. But, maintaining a healthy balance between calm & chaos is inexplicably crucial. This is an excercise I do religiously when I want to center myself,” Shilpa tweeted in January. “Inhale and take a deep breath in, filled with positive thoughts and exhale all the negative thoughts/emotions into the universe as love and light. This meditation helps you focus on the things that need attention, centers and gives you the ammunition to tackle with the stress in your daily grind,” she added. “Do this for a few minutes but unhindered, connect with the universe; and align your mind, body, and soul to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Start with just five minutes of deep breathing today. Tag a friend who needs to keep calm today,” Shilpa further suggested. In 2021, the 45-year-old actress is all set to return to films after 13 years with two releases, “Hungama 2” and “Nikamma”.

SHILPA SHETTY’S Yoga Tips to get back to grind

Maintaining a healthy balance between calm & chaos is inexplicably crucial 66

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



Actor Rajit Kapur is elated to share screen space with Neena Gupta again. The two senior artistes come together for the third time in Goldfish, a film by Pushan Kriplani. The two actors, who are known for their distinctive style of acting and powerful performances, worked together for the first time in Rajit’s first feature film, Shyam Benegal’s Suraj Ka Saatvan Ghoda, in 1992. They came together after 23 years in 2015 film The Threshold. “The trust between Neena and I still remains. After so long, the need to create something together again was strong. The journey of ‘The Threshold’ brought us closer even though we may not speak to each for months together. We always pick up from where we had left, hoping to ignite each other on-screen again in ‘Goldfish’,” said Rajit. The film, also featuring Kalki Koechlin in a pivotal role, deals with different aspects of family relationships and is set to go on floors this year. “(I) Have been keenly watching Kalki on stage and on film. (She is) Always attempting to explore new territory, always stretching herself to expand her boundaries as an actor. (I am) waiting to share energies with her on Goldfish,” he said. Rajit is also looking forward to working with director Kriplani. “I can blindly trust Pushan as a director because l know he will make me explore something new and mould my energies into creating something unusual,” said the 60-year-old Kapur. 68

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

Rajit Kapur

elated to share

screen with Neena Gupta www.desitoday.ca


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Paani Ch Madhaani

‘Paani Ch Madhaani’ will be the first movie of Gippy Grewal that will be coming out this year. Releasing on February 12th, the movie stars Gippy and Neeru Bajwa in the main lead. Initially, the genre of the movie wasn’t made public, but when the look and poster came out, it hinted at a love story set in a period drama. We will know more about it once the trailer or teaser of the film comes out.

‘Manje Bistre 3’

The second movie of Gippy Grewal that will be getting all hooked is ‘Manje Bistre 3’. It is the third installment of the very famous rom-com franchise ‘Manje Bistre’. The first part had Sonam Bajwa opposite Gippy, the second had Simi Chahal, we wonder to will be the leading lady in the third. Also, though the concept of the movies throughout installments remains the same (highlighting the Punjabi wedding custom and rituals), the makers always bring something new by bringing a different subplot or change the backdrop of the story. On April 9th, you will know what new ‘Manje Bistre 3’ is bringing for you.


Gippy GrewAl’S


Gippy Grewal recently turned a year older, and it seems with each year passing is turning into a more professional entertainer. In the lockdown alone he gave a number of songs that kept us all in a groovy mood, and later without wasting a single day he shot back-to-back movies. As a result of the same in 2021 our birthday boy will be hitting the big screens not once or twice but five times. Yes, he simply has an array of movies lined up for the year.


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

‘Maa’ is one of the Punjabi movies of Gippy Grewal which got postponed in 2020. Nevertheless, the actor and filmmaker didn’t lose hope and has complete intension of releasing the same this year as Mothers’ Day treat - on May 7th, 2020. Starring him, Divya Dutta, Babbal Rai, and Aarushi Sharma in the lead, the movie is expected to be high on emotional drama and substantial content.

‘Phatte Dinde Chakk Punjabi’

Gippy Grewal in his initial days of acting worked with Neeru Bajwa, and now after almost a decade, both these stars are doing not one but two movies together. First, they will entertain all with ‘Paani Ch Madhaani’ and then with ‘Phatte Dinde Chakk Punjabi’. It is a light-hearted movie that will be hitting the big screens on July 16th. It will feature both Gippy and Neeru in a very chic avatar, and the audience can’t wait to see the same.


In 2020 Gippy Grewal was seen in an action hero avatar in the movie ‘Ik Sandhu Hunda Si’, and his work was highly lauded in the same. Thus, in 2021, he will again be seen entertaining his audience with a rough-edged character in his movie ‘Warning’. Gippy earlier released web series with the same name and after getting a massive response on the same, he decided to get the movie rolling. www.desitoday.ca



Diljit Dosanjh and Nimrat Khaira will be hitting the big screens this year with their highly awaited movie ‘Jodi’. Set in a particular period, the movie will be bringing a tale of love. This is the first time that these two will be seen paired together in the lead, and thus, they have got the audience really excited. Initially, the movie was supposed to release in 2020, but you know how plans changed in the last year.

After the song and the movie ‘Qismat’, the audiences were eagerly waiting for Ammy and Sargun’s next. And in order to live up to the expectations of their fans, Ammy virk and Sargun Mehta will be seen in not just one but two movies together - ‘Saunkan Saunkane’ and ‘Qismat 2’. The former will feature this duo with Nimrat Khaira and the latter with Tania. Though both the movies come from the genre of romcom, the storyline of these movies is polls apart.

DEV KHAROUD AND JAPJHI KHAIRA In 2019, Dev Kharoud and Japjhi Khaira were seen giving a special song appearance in the movie ‘Naukar vahuti Da’. Their chemistry in the song alone was so amazing that the audience couldn’t get enough of them. Therefore the two are coming with a complete movie this year - ‘Daakaun Da Munda 2’. The shoot of the movie just got completed recently.

AMMY VIRK AND SONAM BAJWA ‘Paani Ch Madhaani’ is not the only movie that will be coming out as a valentines’ surprise. Ammy virk and Sonam Bajwa’s ‘Puadaa’ is also on the list of Punjabi movies releasing in valentines’ week. Bringing one of the most loved Pollywood jodies who are famous for their work in the ‘Nikka Zaildar’ franchise, the movie is from the genre of rom-com.


The year 2021 will be bringing a big dose of entertainment. There are several movies lined up to hit the big screens this year. But more than the movies, the audience is excited to catch some of their loved stars on the silver screen. And here are the top 5 Punjabi jodies that are all set to entertain us in 2021.

GIPPY GREWAL & NEERU BAJWA Another on-screen Punjabi jodi that is doing not one but two movies together is Gippy Grewal-Neeru Bajwa. Gippy Grewal worked with Neeru Bajwa in the initial days of his career, then after almost a decade the two collaborated for the song ‘Nach Nach’. Least did the audience knew that post the song, they will be getting on board for two movies - ‘Paani Ch Madhaani’ and ‘Phatte Dinde Chakk Punjabi’. The former will be released on valentines’, and the latter on July 16th.


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



What threatens our mental health Singer Armaan Malik has opened up on the factors that he feels are responsible for threatening our mental health.


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


rmaan feels that we as a society have a habit of constantly judging others, which makes people afraid of expressing their feelings, which in turn leads to stress and anxiety. This poses a serious threat to our mental health. “We live in a society where most of us refrain from voicing our thoughts or expressing our truest feelings about anything because other people will just judge, say something ugly and try to make your life miserable. Is this how we intend to go forward as humans?” Armaan tweeted from his verified account. “And because some of us can’t voice our innermost feelings, these thoughts get bottled up and cause stress, anxiety and pose a serious threat to our mental health,” he added. To do away with this problem, the singer suggested that we should lend a ear to others, which will help them to speak their heart out. “Tbh some of us are part of the problem. Start by lending an ear to someone you know & allow them to speak their heart out. Initially they will hesitate because they are so used to being judged for having spoken their truth in the past, but with careful persuasion they will speak!” he wrote. Reacting to his tweets, a fan of the singer asked if he is facing any problem personally. To this, Armaan replied: “Nothing at all. I’m just speaking the truth. every time I share something like this does not mean I am personally going through something. I just know that a lot of people resonate with this feeling and wanna help them feel better. That’s why better out there than in my head.”





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VIDYUT JAMMWAL No one quite gave him a chance, no one believed he could ‘act’ beyond flaunting biceps and engaging in insane action. Which is precisely what he did in 2020, in the digitally-released film “Khuda Haafiz”. The action-driven film had enough scope for drama, and vidyut in turn managed to impress with his act. The film is all set to get a sequel now. Faruk Kabir, director of “Khuda Haafiz” told IANS: “Vidyut’s breakthrough performance this year in Khuda Haafiz and him metamorphosing from just an action star to a well-received actor this year is commendable. He has put in an enormous amount of effort into his performance. It’s great that vidyut is being spoken about as one of the breakthrough performances of the year, because he has truly surprised the audience.”

The OTT underdogs Bollywood will always run high on big names and surnames but things have become slightly different due ott. you could help but notice that past year and this year has been great for many who don’t come from an illustrious background. far removed from the dazzle of bloodline, the underdog has made news in the world of showbiz. A big reason for this trend is the advent of ott, a domain that creates a level playing ground for all. we list names that stole the show, coming out of nowhere.

ISHWAK SINGH He has featured in films such as “Veere Di Wedding” and “Tum Bin II”, but it is only in 2020 that he became a familiar name among the Hindi audience. It was his act as the earnest rookie cop Imran Ansari in the web series “Paatal Lok”, which helped him become a known face. Ishwak told IANS: “I have to say it has been very challenging, at times hurtful and at times very difficult, but at the same time it’s all been extremely remarkable. I can’t deny it. It’s unfortunate that I had to use the word for a year like this but then it did bring me on the map. I am now known for the skill set I represent, the work and acting I represent. Clearly, after 2020 people get a sense of that. Some people get me and some people are aware of me -- which is immensely satisfying.” 74

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SIDDHANT CHATURVEDI If playing MC Sher in “Gully Boy” last year made him famous, he has been relishing the success of the act this year. He signed a starring role opposite Deepika Padukone and Ananya Panday in an untitled film, has the horror comedy “Phone Bhoot” opposite Katrina Kaif, stars in “Bunty Aur Babli 2” with Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan. This year, he turned singer, too, with his first single “Dhoop” released during lockdown. “Dhoop”, a song relevant to the pandemic, got him big views, love and followers from all age groups. Siddhant’s track dropped on June 4 and currently it has over 2,82,263 views on YouTube.


He has to be one of the best additions to the Hindi entertainment space after his performance in Hansal Mehta’s biographical drama, “Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story”. The show has made his career graph soar. Pratik was making his mark on the Gujarati screen and stage when the Harshad Mehta bio-series happened. He tells IANS that he believes that 2020 has definitely been a gamechanger for him in every way. “It (the series) changed my year upside down and I would like to call this year ‘Scamdamic’ for myself! Scam 1992 gave me a lot of things and I am trying to digest the fact that everything is really happening around me after the show. This entire year 2020 has taught me a lot of things on a personal level, too,” he said. Pratik added that 2020 will always be in his memories as one of the “biggest milestones” of his life.



She was loved for her portrayal of the affable Goggle in “Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan”, but it was her performance as Siddhi in season two of “Four More Shots Please!” that helped her gain a massive fandom and spotlighted her acting skills. “The year had already started on a good note with my character, Goggle, from Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan getting so much love. It really has been somewhat of a gamechanger. Season two of Four More Shots Please came right at the beginning of the lockdown, in April, when people were still trying to make sense of the ‘new normal,” Maanvi told IANS.


He always had a niche fan base thanks to his viral Fever sketches, but 2020 proved to be the gamechanger. He courted fame with his portrayal of Ayushmann Khurrana’s on-screen gay lover in starrer “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan”, which released in February. But the show that made him a household name was “Panchayat”, a satirical web series where he played a big city boy who ends up as secretary in the gram panchayat of a remote village. He was also seen in the digitally released film, “Chaman Bahaar”. Jitendra told IANS that he has been a part of a change in the film world. “This year has given me a lot. I have been able to experiment with such diverse scripts. I have enjoyed delivering content to the audience that they or I never thought would be such a hit. Be it Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, or OTT projects like Panchayat and Chaman Bahaar, I thoroughly cherished everything and also got so much love and appreciation from everyone. So, in all I can safely say that I have been part of a change in the film world, which will be remembered,” he said.

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



VIJAY VARMA Actor vijay varma gained fandom playing Moeen in “Gully Boy” last year. In 2020, he proved the act was no flash in the pan. He made quite an entry into the world of “Mirzapur” as the twins Shatrughan and Bharat Tyagi in the second season of the show. In the next season, he is very much here to stay. vijay also garnered praise for his roles in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s OTT-released film “Yaara”, and the Imtiaz Ali-created web series “She”. Talking to IANS previously, vijay had said: “I think I got content as soon as I found the recognition that I was so craving for, which I feel I was rightfully deserving. It’s been nice. Over the years I have evolved as a person and I figured out I cannot be at unrest all the time. Now it is a lot easier.”


She started the year with “Marzi”, which navigates the fading line between power, deception, and trust. She then turned into a zombie for “Betaal”. She will be ending the year on a hilarious note, in Rohan Sippy’s thoroughly enjoyable sitcom “Sandwiched Forever”. Ahana agrees that 2020 has been a “roller coaster ride”. “Although it was lockdown and we didn’t get to be a part of any of the events or the madness that comes with each release, I think there have been so many wonderful releases this year. Also, because everything had to be released on OTT, I am still trying to find my voice, I am still trying to see what other roles I can play. But yes, this instils confidence and faith in me to just keep experimenting. I am glad that as a woman, as a female actor, I am getting to do this,” Ahana told IANS.


He has undoubtedly created a buzz with his performance as Munna bhaiya in “Mirzapur 2” and Akhil in “Bichoo Ka Khel”. Divyenndu told IANS that he is thankful that he received unparalleled response for his characters. “While I know that this year has been challenging because of the pandemic, I also feel grateful that I was a part of such incredible stories. It’s an amazing feeling how three of the characters that I played this year were acknowledged well by the audience and the critics. Right now, as the year wraps up, I’m just relishing every moment. 2020 was definitely a year of good and exciting content,” he said. 76

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It’s interesting how Sharad Kelkar stole some of Akshay Kumar’s thunder in the film “Laxmii”. It was his character as the original transgender, or “kinnar”, that was more talked about. Sharad also delivered his best as Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the film “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior”. “It’s a privilege for any actor to play Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj and I am thankful that people loved my portrayal of him. Since the film was a huge success, the year started on a high note. Then came Special Ops and Laxmii, both extremely special projects and I’m grateful that my performances in both were lauded. I’m happy to end the year with Black Widows. I believe that it’s not just about one year; it’s the hard work and journey of the last 18 years that’s bearing fruit for me now,” he said.

KUNAL KEMMU Kunal Kemmu has forever been around, always an underdog despite being universally applauded as a talented actor since the days when he entered Bollywood as a child artiste. This year Kunal outdid himself playing a bad guy -- a psycho cop -- in “Malang”. The role in the Mohit Suri film resonated for the deceptively quiet quality with which Kunal blended the character’s inherent and gruesome violent streak. He was also loved in the comedy film “Lootcase”, a role that had Amitabh Bachchan sending him a note of appreciation. Then there was his gritty act in the second season of the web-series “Abhay”. Kunal told IANS that when it comes to work, 2020 has been exciting and humbling for him. “It’s given me a chance to portray some interesting roles in different genres and I’ve been very lucky to get so much love for each one of my projects, be it Malang, Lootcase or Abhay. It’s too early to say if the year has been a gamechanger but it’s definitely made the game much more interesting,” he said. www.desitoday.ca


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Best Combined Fuel Economy


he Ford F-Series – Canada’s bestselling pickup for 54 years – has once again advanced the state of the art in truck engineering with the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 – which is also a fuel economy leader among gas-powered light duty trucks. The 3.5-litre PowerBoost™ v6 – the only full hybrid available in a pickup – has the best combined fuel economy rating for gaspowered full-size light-duty pickups with an estimated fuel consumption of 9.3 L per 100 km on 4x2 models. The 4x2 PowerBoost, with estimated fuel consumption ratings of 9.5 L per 100 km city and 9.1 L per 100 km highway, has an estimated range of 1,200 km on a single tank of gas*. The 4x4 PowerBoost has an estimated 9.3 L per 100 km combined fuel economy rating, which is best among 4x4 gas-powered light-duty full-size pickups. The 4x4 PowerBoost-equipped truck has an ePAestimated range of 1,100 km on a single tank of gas**. “Our team spent months living with and


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

observing truck customers at their homes, on job sites and on the weekends,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product platform and operations officer. “Using electrification, we realized we could now give customers something they had long wanted but didn’t think was possible – tremendous power, great fuel economy and all-new capabilities to make their F-150 even more productive.” Delivering 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque ever for F-150 – the 4x2 PowerBoost truck is rated at a maximum 12,700 pounds of conventional towing with Max Trailer Tow Package and a maximum payload of 2,120 pounds. Pro Power Onboard™ is standard on PowerBoost-equipped F-150 with 2.4 kilowatts of exportable power on tap at outlets in the cabin and cargo box. The optional 7.2-kilowatt output provides up to 18 times more exportable power than the nearest competitor – enough to power everything from a tailgate event to a construction site.

With six engine options, F-150 offers customers the choice to create their own optimal balance of power, capability, fuel economy and affordability. In addition to the 3.5-litre PowerBoost v6 full hybrid, available engines include the 3.3-litre Ti-vCT v6, 2.7-litre ecoBoost v6, 5.0-litre v8, 3.5-litre ecoBoost v6 and 3.0-litre Power Stroke® diesel v6. * Range calculation based on 115 litre tank and -estimated rating of 9.5 L 100 km combined based on the Government of Canada approved test methods. Actual range will vary. ** Range calculation based on 115 litre tank and-estimated rating of 9.8 L 100 km combined. Based on the Government of Canada approved test methods. Actual range will vary. www.desitoday.ca

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cheVrolet spArK 1lt

stylish and well-equipped compact hatchback • Interior quality transcends price point • Surprisingly good ride and handling • Popular standard infotainment features.


he 2021 Chevrolet Spark is an affordable, stylish and well- equipped compact car that offers more than you would think. It is a neat, good looking car with nice styling; for example, the rear set of doors have hidden door handles that cleverly

• Highway passes require premeditation • Tight back seat • Unwieldy folding rear seats. integrate into the rear of the window frame, giving the Spark a cool 2-door look. It is not all curvy and weird looking - like some of its competition, and instead offers a handsome straight edged looks that only the American’s seem to do so well. For 2021, there are not

a lot of changes: apart from new paint colors, the 2021 Chevrolet Spark carries over mostly unchanged, aside from alternative wheel designs. Motivation is courtesy of the Spark’s 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine producing 98 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. There is a standard 5-speed manual transmission or an 80

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optional CvT automatic. The 2021 Chevrolet Spark has an impressive list of standard and available safety features: 10 airbags, traction control, hill-start assist, StabiliTrak stability control with Brake Assist, LATCH connectors for the two rear seats, anti-lock braking and a rear-vision camera. Lane-departure warning, forward automatic braking and forwardcollision warning are available on the upper scale models along with rear park assist is standard and other features. The Spark is available in four variants: the base LS with: a manual transmission 15inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a 4G LTe hotspot, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The Spark LS CvT adds: electric windows AC and a few other bits and pieces. . Fuel economy at an estimated 7.1L per 100km in the City and 6.2 on the highway is impressive. Downsides are few, the Spark takes a while to come up to cruising speed on the highway. Overall being very well- equipped and nicely packaged, the Spark’s affordability, tiny size and high fuel efficiency make it very attractive to those on a strict budget, or families looking for a commuter car, and younger drivers looking for a first ride. With its fun to drive quotient, it is also a great everyday urban driver. Highly recommended. More info at Chevrolet.ca. www.desitoday.ca



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AlfA romeo stelVio QUADrifoGlio AwD

Italian Passion! Italian Flair


he Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a luxury SUv from the famed Italian company, and like all Alfa’s it a looker with its sinuous side profile, a curvy rear, flanks, scoops and muscular bulges But it is not all looks, in the luxury 2.0L performance SUv class the Stelvio is among the fastest, most powerful and drives amazingly well with 280hp and 306 pound-feet of torque – the least to be expected from an auto company renowned for its racing heritage. The Stelvio, gets a few interior upgrades for 2020/21 and is available in base, base Sport, Ti, Ti Sport and Luxury Ti Lusso trims, plus the high-performance Quadrifoglio as road tested. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is pretty much the ultimate Italian performance SUv – the Quadrifoglio model arrives with a Ferrari derived v6, 505 horsepower, that can lash out with 434 pound-feet of torque and has a top speed of and a o-600 kph time of .3.9 seconds. The as tested Quadrifoglio, adds the upgraded engine, a2.9L v6 PDI twin–turbo engine with Stop/Start Transmission: 8– speed automatic transmission, Alfa DNA Pro drive mode selector with Race mode, Torque vectoring twin clutch rear differential Active suspension and Anti–Slip Regulation/Torque Control. exterior details add: Nero edizione


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– Quadrifoglio Dark Miron exterior mirror caps Dark Miron v Scudetto grille Dark Miron badging 20x9 & 20x10–inch dark 5–hole wheels and Dynamic dual–mode exhaust. It just looks fabulous! Upgraded interior extras included: wonderful looking Interior red and black Leather and Alcantara seats with red seat stitching Dual–pane sunroof, Connectivity (bridge solution) Leather dash and upper doors, and generous, genuine carbon fibre interior trim on the doors, console and dash. The huge Ferrari style paddle shifters behind the steering wheel look and feel awesome. The base price for this top level Stelvio was $96,200. extras and options raised the price of our tester to a heady $112,045. The Stelvio has that certain flair with its exhilarating performance, engine noise and exhaust note that enchants. It looks better than a Porsche Macan and just as fast. Just looking at the Alfa grille brings a thrill to any owner! The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a one piece of Italian Automobilia that comes highly recommended. More info at www. alfaromeo.ca




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honDA clArity

peace of mind to go farther plUG in hyBriD offers GreAt fUel economy


onda have now made a pledge that two-thirds of all their vehicle line up will be electric powered in some form by 2030. And to end is the 2021 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (PHev). This is a fourdoor sedan with five passenger seating. It is also offered with a hydrogen fuel cell power source in California. A tad larger inside than the Honda Accord, the Clarity comes in two trim levels for Canada with the base Clarity starting at $46,290;with the top line Touring Trim starting at $50,290 It may sound expensive, but there are some great federal and provincial

government rebates to be had from Canadian provinces if you purchase a hybrid or electric car. No significant upgrades for 2021. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment interface is standard and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. There are two USB ports: a 1.5-amp input for use with smartphone integration and a regular 1.0amp input for audio playback and charging. every Clarity comes with a suite of driver-assistance technologies, called Honda Sensing, along with Honda excellent LaneWatch system that displays a camera image of what’s in your blind spot when you

• Comfortable, well-appointed cabin • PHEV’s long electric driving range • Near-silent ride with little noise intrusion • Limited availability of Clarity Fuel Cell • Touchscreen infotainment system can be cumbersome to use • Polarizing styling


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$50,290 PLUS ReBATeS

indicate Power for the Clarity is via a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle inline four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a combined 212 horsepower and 232 lb/ft of torque. The 181hp electric motor is powered by a 17.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Charging the battery pack takes just 2.5 hours when connected to a 220 volt charging station, but will take 12 hours when trickle charging on a normal 110 volt outlet. A full charge will give the Clarity an electric driving range of 76 km with a total drive range with the gasoline engine of 547 km. Fuel economy for the Clarity is rated at: 5.3/5.9/L/100 km (city/highway gas only), 2.1L/100 km (combined electric/gas). In addition, the Clarity’s regenerative brakes also supply power to the battery to be stored for later use. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is a serial hybrid, so range anxiety is not an issue. Thus a decent sized sedan that ride and drives like a much larger luxury sedan. This is very attractive car to buy. B.C. residents of course also qualify for provincial rebates so check government website for details or contact your local Honda dealer. Highly recommended if a roomy, reliable, ecofriendly sedan is in your future. More info at www.honda.ca www.desitoday.ca

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More ultimate driving experience!


ecently presented the all-new, second generation 4 Series Coupe, which first launched in 2014. The vehicle’s design and engineering teams wanted to deliver the ultimate driving experience in a beautiful and low-slung package that ensures the 2021 4 Series Coupe stays at the top of its segment. The striking front end of the 4 Series features a new BMW kidney grille design which provides adequate cooling for the more powerful engines. The grille is angled forward and extends to the bottom of the front bumper cover. The M Sport Package includes a uniquely styled front bumper with larger air intake openings and a restyled rear bumper with Shadowline inlays. The rear diffuser panel, front air intake trim, side window moldings and lower exterior mirror housings are all finished in high-gloss black. A premium driver-focused cockpit is the


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

focus of the new 4 Series Coupe’s interior design. Newly designed front power Sport seats and leather Sport steering wheel are standard. The upswept center console creates individual space for the front seat passengers. The M Sport Package and M440i xDrive Coupe models offer additional soft knee padding on the sides of the center console as well as an M Sport steering wheel and door sill plates with the M logo. Open Pore Fine Wood Oak Grain trim is standard on the 430i and 430i xDrive Coupes. Aluminum Tetragon trim is standard on the M440i xDrive Coupe. Optional on all models is Fine Wood trim with Ash Grey-Brown high gloss, Aluminum trim with mesh effect, Open All models of the new 4 Series enjoy a boost in horsepower and torque over the models they replace. Powering the new 430i and 430i xDrive coupe is an updated B46 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BMW TwinPower turbocharged engine delivering 255 hp @

5,000 – 6,500 rpm (an increase of 7 hp) and 294 ft-lbs. of torque @ 1,550 – 4,400 rpm (an increase of 36 ft-lbs.). The 430i Coupe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds (5.3 Seconds for 430i xDrive Coupe) and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph or 130 mph depending on the selected wheel and tire combination. The new BMW 430i Coupe is available in a choice of either traditional rear-wheel drive or with BMW’s latest intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system offering additional traction during both performance driving and in varied weather conditions. MSRP pricing for the Canadian market is to be announced www.desitoday.ca

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How to make achievable resolutions All of us think about setting a goal or resolution for our lives. It will come as no surprise that keeping a resolution can be tricky for most people. Fortunately, there are scientifically proven strategies that can be used to help people better realize their goals. Here are some simple, evidence-based tips to help you stay on track:


These are gentle reminders that work to influence the choices available to a person at the point of decision-making, so as to make it easier to comply with the desired behaviour. Try connecting with a friend or family member, telling each other your goals and committing to giving each other nudges to stick to them. 88

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


electronic messages such as emails, texts and phone notifications will provide you with a series of prompts or reminders until the completed task is done. Set these up to get you started on your goal, and if it’s something ongoing like exercising twice a week, make sure these reminders occur regularly to prompt you.


Who says your resolution has to be sticking to just one thing. As they say, “variety is the spice of life.” Well, spice up your new year by setting a goal to try something new each month. If you are a foodie, it could be a new restaurant, recipe, or ingredient. If you tend to get stuck in a rut, maybe changing up your route to work or changing up your

hairstyle could be one of the new things you try. Again, start small, and work up to signing up for that pottery class or Barre class (unless that’s what you’ve been hankering to try). Get creative and don’t forget to get your friends and family involved. For 2021, as the pandemic continues, a great goal to set is developing a plan for if you develop a serious illness. Plan Well Guide is a free online tool that focuses on helping people make an advance medical care plan and uses these evidence-based practices to help people realize their goals. The benefits of making your medical care plan in advance are that you are more likely to get the medical care that is right for you if you develop a serious illness, like COvID pneumonia, and you and your family will have greater peace of mind. Find more information at planwellguide.com. www.desitoday.ca

The importance of sticking to your resolutions during a pandemic In a recent research shows us that people who set goals and make resolutions regarding sustainable better lifestyle habits are more likely to achieve success than those that don’t make such resolutions. While there is still a pandemic going on, a great resolution to set for 2021 is to make a goal around planning for future medical care. One way to do this is with Plan Well Guide, an accessible free online tool focused on helping Canadians think ahead and make a plan should serious illness occur. When it comes to planning during a pandemic, it may be helpful to be aware of recent evidence regarding advance care planning interventions. Research shows how thinking ahead and preparing in advance regarding serious illness will significantly improve people’s mental well-being, as well as improve the mental well-being of a substitute decision-maker. Imagine how helpful it would be to both you and your family if you already have plans in place for life-anddeath decisions. As the pandemic continues, some of us may need help to stay on track with our plans or resolutions. Here are some strategies to help stay motivated: • Set small goals each day • Prioritize time each day, not just for work, but also for self-care • Give yourself a break; it’s alright to not always be productive and you don’t have to be perfect To help you stick with your resolution to plan regarding serious illness, there are additional tools available at planwellguide.com, including nudges and email reminders. Your future self and your family will thank you for taking the time to prepare in advance. www.desitoday.ca

Your resolution checklist for coping with a serious illness With a global pandemic continuing to impact our lives, it can be a period for reflection. This time of year is also when many people start thinking about their goals for the year ahead, which may look a little different as COvID-19 has shifted many priorities. One resolution to consider this year is making an advance medical care plan, to ensure you’re prepared should serious illness, like COvID-19 pneumonia, happen. Below are some steps you can take to achieve your 2021 goal of developing this plan:

Think ahead

What might happen if you were to get really sick? Who would speak for you and make decisions with the doctors? By preparing and planning for serious illness you can help improve your overall mental well-being and that of your loved ones.

What’s important to you?

Future medical decisions should be made based on your values. Is quality of life more important than quantity of life, for example? Put the time into documenting your values so others can best represent you if they are called upon to make decisions for you.

Learn more

People are put in the position of making life-and-death medical decisions, but they do not know anything about “life-sustaining treatments.” What are their risks, benefits and possible outcomes? The more informed you are, the more likely you are to get the medical care that’s right for you.

Share your plans with others

Talking to your family and loved ones about your plan should serious illness happen ensures that others are aware of your values and preferences, while also being able to offer guidance when you may need additional support. Talk to your doctor. They can help you finalize your thoughts and plans about a possible future serious illness. Need more help? Plan Well Guide is a free, accessible online tool focused on helping Canadians. Complete your serious illness planning at planwellguide.com. www.newscanada.com APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



Blueberries are for all seasons

Recipes by

Pic: megdejong

Ingredients • 1 sheet (225g) Puff Pastry, thawed (keep cold) • 2 tbsp (15g) All-purpose unbleached flour • 2 tbsp (30ml) Roasted garlic, cooled and mashed into a paste (optional) • 6 slices (75g) Prosciutto or Serrano ham- thin slices • 1 cup (70g) Asiago cheese, grated • ¾ cup (110g) Frozen BC Blueberries (do not thaw) • 1 tbsp (15ml) Lemon zest, finely grated • 2 tsp (10ml) Fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or substitute for 1 tsp. dry)

Directions 1. Once the roasted garlic is prepared, pre-heat oven to 400°F/200°C with oven rack positioned in the centre. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Dust 2 tbsp of flour on a clean surface, roll out cold puff pastry, turning over to coat in flour, into a 14” x 14” sheet. 3. Spread the roasted garlic evenly on the cold puff pastry, arrange a single layer of Prosciutto slices, sprinkle evenly with grated cheese, blueberries, rosemary and lemon zest. 4. Roll the pastry up into a cylinder and cut into twelve 1” discs. 5. Carefully transfer each disc to the lined sheet pan, lay them on their sides and gently press down to flatten. 6. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. For more ways on how to cook with this pantrystaple, visit bcblueberry.com and follow @bcblueberries on social. 90

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

Savoury Blueberry Scroll Biscuits MAKES 12 SCROLLS


Blueberry Butternut Squash Bread MAKES 1 LOAF OF BREAD

DRY • 1 cup Oats ground into flour • 1 cup White flour • 2 tsp Baking powder • 1 tsp Baking soda • 1 tsp Salt • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Additional • 1 cup Frozen BC Blueberries • 1/4 cup oats

1. Preheat oven to 350°F 2. Add all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir until well incorporated. 3. If using flax egg, allow flax and water soak for 10 min in a small separate bowl. 4. Place banana and cooked butternut squash in a blender or vitamix. 5. Blend until well incorporated. Add honey, eggs (or flax eggs), cane sugar and melted coconut oil to blender and mix on low until well incorporated. 6. Add wet to dry ingredients and lightly mix until just combined. 7. Fold in Frozen BC Blueberries. 8. Place in a prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with oats 9. Bake for 45-50 minutes. You will know the loaf is finished when you put a fork in the center, and it comes out clean. 10. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan. For more ways on how to cook with this pantry-staple, visit bcblueberry. com and follow @bcblueberries on social.

Pic: BC Blueberry Council

WET • 2 Ripe bananas (frozen then defrosted works well) • 1 cup Cooked and mashed butternut squash (flesh only, no skin). Note: you cut squash into pieces and boil it in a pot with water or bake it in the oven. Alternatively, you can use canned butternut squash) • 2 Pasture raised eggs (or use flax eggs for a vegan option by letting 2 Tbsp. ground flax soak in • 4 Tbsp. Water for 10 minutes) • 1/3 cup Raw honey • 1/3 cup Raw cane sugar • 1/3 cup Melted coconut oil

MAKES 14-16


Pic: BC Blueberry Council


No Bake Blueberry Cocoa Snowballs

Ingredients • 1 cup (150 g) Frozen BC Blueberries • ½ cup (75 g) Shredded unsweetened coconut, plus extra ¾ cup for coating • ½ cup (75 g) Pitted dates, chopped • ½ cup (30 g) Unsalted raw sunflower seeds • 1/3 cup (25 g) Dried blueberries • 1/3 cup (80 ml) Sunflower or nut butter • ¼ cup (25 g) Cocoa powder • 2 tbsp (25 g) Flax seeds • 2 tbsp (25 g) Hemp hearts • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Coconut oil or softened butter • 2 tsp (10 ml) Lemon juice • 1 tsp (5 ml) Cinnamon • ¼ tsp (pinch) Salt

Directions 1. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, pulse all the ingredients (scrape down the sides every few pulses) until combined into a crumbly mixture, but not pureed. 2. Remove blade and refrigerate for 15 minutes if mixture seems too moist. 3. Moisten fingers with water and form into 1½ ” bite size balls. 4. Roll in shredded unsweetened coconut to coat. For more ways on how to cook with this pantry-staple, visit bcblueberry.com and follow @bcblueberries on social.


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View



A wholesome recipe the whole fAmily cAn enjoy

Herbed Popcorn Cornbread

Try this easy recipe and add a little variety to your family’s life (and tastebuds). This is the best savoury recipe for those with less of a sweet tooth and used best as a bread side for chili and other dishes. This cornbread is made with cheese, chives, popcorn and a mix of the perfect blend of herbs. It’s also quick and easy to make. PReP TIMe: 15 MINUTeS COOK TIMe: 15 MINUTeS SeRveS: 8

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • • • • 92

1 1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour 3/4 cup (175 mL) cornmeal 1/4 cup (60 mL) sugar 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt, pepper and garlic powder 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 cup (250 mL) milk, at room temperature 1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded cheddar cheese 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped 2 green onions, thinly sliced 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

• 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh chives • 1/2 bag (220 g bag) Orville Redenbacher ready-to-eat sweet and salty kettlecorn popcorn with no artificial colours or flavours

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). In large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well combined.

2. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and butter until blended; stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in cheese, bacon, green onions, parsley and chives; fold in popcorn. 3. Scrape into greased 9-inch (23 cm) square baking pan; smooth top. 4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and cornbread springs back when touched lightly in centre. Transfer to rack; let cool completely or serve warm. Find more recipes at orville.ca. www.newscanada.com www.desitoday.ca






#16B-7823-132ND ST., SURREY OFF: 604.503.0988 • FAX: 604.503.0989 EMAIL: INFO@BLACKANDWHITEAUTOBODY.CA




Golden Milk wArm Up this winter with A coZy BeVerAGe

Need something exciting to sip when you come out of the cold? Swap out the hot chocolate for this sweet treat with heat instead. Golden milk is a traditional Indian hot beverage considered by many to have soothing properties. Simple ingredients combined with ultrafiltered Canadian milk makes for a creamy and delicious version of this traditional drink at home. This easy and nutritious version was created by food expert and blogger vijaya 94

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

Selvaraju and it’s perfect for the colder months. Using Fairlife milk only adds to the nutritional benefits of the other ingredients because it has 50 per cent less sugar and 50 per cent more protein than regular milk and is made from 100 per cent Canadian milk. PReP TIMe: 5 MINUTeS SeRveS: 2

Ingredients: • 2 cups Fairlife 2 per cent ultrafiltered milk

• 1/2 tsp turmeric • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper • 3 tbsp honey


1. In a medium saucepan, add milk and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. 2. Remove from heat and stir in turmeric, black pepper and honey. Pour into glasses and enjoy.


(NC) Get festive with a wholesome gingerbread milkshake that is a perfect dessert for the entire family. No ice cream needed here, just a few simple ingredients paired with ultrafiltered whole milk for a rich and creamy treat. This easy and decadent milkshake was created by food expert and blogger vijaya Selvaraju and was inspired by her love of gingersnaps. For the perfect texture, use frozen sweet potato and bananas along with Fairlife, which is made from 100 per cent Canadian milk and has 50 per cent less sugar and 50 per cent more protein than regular milk. PReP TIMe: 5 MINUTeS; SeRveS: 1-2

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •

1 cup Fairlife ultrafiltered whole milk 1/2 cup frozen cooked sweet potato 1/2 cup frozen banana 1/4 cup ginger snap cookies 1/2 cup ice 1 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1 tbsp maple syrup Whipped cream (for garnish, optional) Crushed gingersnap cookies (for garnish, optional)


1. To a blender, add milk, sweet potato, banana, gingersnap cookies, ice, ginger, cinnamon and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. 2. Pour into a glass and garnish with whipped cream and crushed gingersnap cookies before serving.


gingerbread milkshake

sweet tooths will love this decadent italian dessert

Chocolate Panna Cotta (NC) Chocolate and raspberry – need we say more? This easy chocolate panna cotta recipe will surely wow your family. Using Fairlife two per cent chocolate milk as the base makes this recipe not only creamy and delicious but more nutritious, as it has 50 per cent less sugar and 50 per cent more protein than regular milk, along with being made from 100 per cent Canadian milk. SeRveS: 4

Ingredients: • • • • • • • •

1/4 cup cold water 2 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin, unflavoured 2 cups Fairlife 2 per cent chocolate ultrafiltered partly skimmed milk 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen, plus more for garnish 1/4 cup water 2 tbsp honey 8 chocolate wafer cookies, coarsely crumbled

Directions: 1. Place cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top while whisking with a fork. Set aside for 5 minutes until mixture is spongy. 2. Place ultrafiltered milk in a small saucepan and heat over medium to medium-high heat until lightly boiling. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and plumped gelatin mixture. Whisk until completely dissolved. Divide evenly among serving dishes, cool to room temperature, cover, place in refrigerator to set at least four hours or overnight. 3. Meanwhile, add raspberries, water and honey to a blender and blend until smooth, adding more water as necessary. If desired, strain through a fine mesh sieve to extract raspberry seeds. Cover and refrigerate until serving. 4. To serve panna cotta, dress each portion with a quarter of the raspberry puree, chocolate cookie crumbles and a few fresh raspberries, and serve cold. www.desitoday.ca

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View





teaching picky eaters

healthy and adventurous food habits

We all know that raising a picky eater is anything but a cakewalk, but there are small steps that can be taken early on to ensure your little one grows up to enjoy all of the flavours life has to offer. These top tips will help instill healthy and adventurous eating habits in your child from the very first bite:

parents have one less worry on their plate.



Don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t immediately love something. Remember that “no” often means “not right now” and it can take up to 10 tries before a child will accept a new food. Hint: try the same food in a different form. For example, if they don’t like steamed broccoli, try a green broccoli oat muffin instead.


Planning to have snacks at specific times of the day can contribute to a nutritious diet, without leading to overeating or spoiling of appetites. Lentil Lovies from Love Child Organics are the perfect snack, as these delicious heart-shaped crackers are packed with flavour, protein and fibre goodness. The baby food brand was founded by parents, for parents and uses the most nutritious, whole ingredients, so 96

APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View


To ensure your child’s food is truly healthy and nutritious, check the ingredients list for simple, whole foods. Hint: anything you can’t pronounce is a red flag. While your baby’s taste buds are still developing and maturing, offer a variety of foods and flavour combinations from the start, including spices and herbs, to get them used to different profiles. Love Child Organics’ range of nutritious Superblends contain delicious and unique ingredients like quinoa and acerola fruit, which are both nutrientrich and gentle on little tummies.


Having your toddler choose from various healthy snacks or meals will make them feel independent while still getting all the nutrients they need. Following these simple steps will help encourage babies and toddlers to eat and enjoy a variety of foods from a young age. Find more information at lovechildorganics.com www.newscanada.com www.desitoday.ca


For entertainment purpose only

Know what your star says


Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) Aries people will have a favorable month. Singles may fall for a person, and that person will acknowledge their love, and the relationship can proceed smoothly. Married people may feel somewhat uncomfortable due to some family problem, but the love will remain intact. When it comes to finances, things could be favorable, and the inflow of money may increase. On the business front, there may be a few obstacles, but one may do well if they organize things and have patience. Students may be attentive in their studies and may not have much distraction. They may be able to learn things effectively. This month, planetary movements may cause some minor health issues. Take all precautions to be healthy.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) This month will be mixed for Taurus people. People in committed relationships might be worried about career prospects, thus reducing the time spent with their partner. Married people may also get somewhat busy with household chores, so this can affect their marriage. Try to heed the views of elders and spend time with your spouse to maintain peace and harmony in your family. Your income might be better than the previous months, and you might benefit from someone’s monetary help. Some good returns from an earlier investment may make you happy. Businessmen may be worried about the competition this month. But they will push their sales and try to march ahead in their business. Health may be good with minimal issues. Students, as well as those in salaried jobs, may learn things and do well. They may make encouraging progress.

Gemini (May 21-June 21) Gemini natives will witness many ups and downs this month. While people with jobs may get lucky to some extent, they will have to face challenges s well. The time after mid-month may be slightly favorable. Looking at their finances, this month seems to be taking an unfavorable turn since chances of monetary loss are higher. The month is bringing a lot of new plans for Gemini students. The month may be beneficial for students who want to study abroad. Family life will remain good as long as you can spend time with your family members and spend some money on home renovation and necessary expenses. Remain a bit cautious in your married and/or love life since some arguments are likely to arise due to your lover/spouse due to your previous mistakes. Your good health can make you perform well and deal with the various adversities in life.

Cancer (June 22-July 22) This month will be like a breath of fresh air for Cancer Moon sign natives. Those who are expecting good news on the relationship front might get it, as you might fall in love with someone and get a positive response from your family, who may approve of your relationship. A good time with loved ones may be on the cards, including marriage possibility. Married people might need to show more affection towards each other. You may have to make a greater effort to increase your income, and you need to put some money in some savings and fixed deposits. From around mid-month, the inflow of money might be slightly better. Businessmen may come across new challenges in terms of selling their products, but an old customer may get them a good deal, which they will be pleased about. Working individuals may remain stressed, but their diligence and hard work can earn praise from their boss, and they can make slow yet steady growth at work. Students may get carried away by distraction, but they can do well if they do not pay heed to family problems and just focus on


APR / MAY 2021 News With A Desi View

their studies. When it comes to health, some issues can affect your health, and joint pain is also possible during this month. See the doctor if the pain becomes unbearable or uncomfortable.

Leo (July 23-Aug 22) This month is a mixed bag of fortunes for Leo natives. On the relationship front, singles may have a hard time attracting their partner or lover. You may need some sort of relationship counseling this month to make things work between you and your partner. When it comes to financial matters, things might be in favor, but still, you may have to pay back an old loan, which might need some efforts. Try to plan your budget and control your expenses. On the business front, you may run into some obstacles. If you hire new staff, you may be able to manage the work pressure. This may not be a favorable time for new deals. Those who are into jobs can shine now, but they need to talk to their boss to clarify any issues at work. Students may do well, but they can do even better in the coming months. Health issues like mild seasonal flu and body pain, which need some attention if you want to stay fit and healthy.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22) This is a month full of some distractions and unique events for Virgo natives. On the whole, you may have a stressful time when it comes to relationships, as your family may take some time to approve of your relationship with your lover. On the finance front, you may get a good income, but you may spend some money on charity. There may be some competition at work, and someone may be trying to steal your ideas and take credit for your good actions. People at work may be committed to improving their performance and may get a promotion too. Business can be expanded to other cities now, and that may fetch you some profits. According to planetary placements, students may be under pressure to perform and may have some relationship issues this month. They may need to put in more effort to do well in exams. There can be no health issue to you, but someone in your family may be ill, and you must take care of this, which might take a toll on your health.

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22) This month seems to bring you some good news. Your love life, family life, and happiness will increase, and you will get love from your spouse and children. You will achieve success at work, and your boss may recognize you for your hard work. Any problems at home or at work will go in your favor and will be resolved quickly. You will be praised by your boss. You will be able to get a good name in your career with the help of your communication skills. If you are unmarried, then you may find someone this month, and those in a relationship may get married this month. You will get financial gains from multiple sources. Do not become greedy. You will enjoy good health. Some travel opportunities may come. You will get all support from your family to pursue your dreams regarding business. You will get a respectable position among customers due to your business growth. Your comfort and luxuries will increase. You will try hard to keep family members happy, and health can be good now.

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) This month, major changes can be expected. Some changes will be good, and some may be in the form of challenges as well. Challenges could either be in financial matters or at work. Do not be stressed, and keep your mind peaceful, for it shall help you fight through the harsh waves of change. You can manage your expenses. You need to accept your limitations and

improve yourself. Some property-related issues may come up now. For those who would like to get married or wish to propose to their lover, this is a good time. Increase your savings and investments, but also buy things that your family wants, essential things. You will be praised for your innovative ideas at work. But to convert your ideas into reality, discussions, and brainstorming will be required with your boss and seniors. If you are into business with a partner, it would be advisable to get to know their intentions and then proceed. Communication is very important to avoid major problems later. Health needs some care now; also, students must stay focused on their studies if they want to succeed.

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) This month will be a month full of positive developments and minor setbacks. You are likely to see an increase in the inflow of cash and shall be able to save more money than usual. You must pay attention to your family matters. Spending more time on your relationships will make them successful. Do not indulge in any arguments, for this is not the right time to get into a verbal miscommunication. There are good prospects of happiness on the job front. You shall witness growth and opportunities this month. Businessmen are likely to make a profitable deal with a big company. Your health will be better this month. Come what may, do not give up. Keep yourself motivated and study honestly. Patience is the key to success.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) Capricorn people will find this month very transformative. You will excel in your education, family, love life, or money matters. You will be highly energetic, and if you use the planetary energy in a good way, you can succeed. You can become successful because of your sheer dedication and passion. You will not tolerate anger from your lover. If he or she gets angry with you this month, then you will retaliate. Finances will give you some headache this month as you try to sort out your debts and liabilities. You will succeed as long as you listen to your elders/teachers. Faith in oneself is the key to success. You can get help from siblings this month. Your career can keep you busy and motivated this month. You will be so engrossed in work that you may forget sorrow. Students will do well, and health can be on the average side.

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) This month, the positioning of the planets is in your favor, for they indicate good growth. Your patience will be enormous, and you are likely to expand your friend’s circle by meeting some smart and wise people. It is an ideal time to go after your goals at work as well as on the business front. If you want a promotion, approach your boss. If you want good business growth, expand your business scope. If you wish to invest, now is the time. You are likely to receive a good profit if you work hard. Changing your job is not advisable this month. Take care of your well-being this month by pampering yourself. Your family, children, and friends need attention from you, so give them time. Your expenses may increase, but you can manage. Those who are married are advised to proceed with caution this month. You may be under pressure for some personal reason, but the month brings enormous warmth and love in relationships that you will forget any sorrow.

Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) Your success this month depends on your hard work. But luck will also be at play this month, and you can receive greater monetary gains. And, you need to promptly respond to opportunities that come your way. If you delay too much, then these opportunities will be gone. You may enter a new relationship this month. You are likely to save money for the future despite incurring some expenses. It is advisable to plan your expenses well in advance to avoid any problems in the future. Buying a property or a vehicle is on the cards. You may face issues with your family. It is advised to tackle each situation with utmost patience. Students may get a good mentor who will help them succeed in their exams by making them motivated and positive. Health can be good now, but there can be some small issues that require you to undergo a medical regimen. You may want to get back to your healthy/ideal weight.


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