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Vol. 12

DR. NAVDEEP GREWAL: Fighting vaccine hesitancy

Coping with life after lockdown

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| Issue 3 | Nov-Dec 2021

Know all about advance care planning The untold story of Dalits in North America


Arjan Singh Bhullar 200-10203 152A St., Surrey, BC 201-19978 72nd Ave., Langley, BC

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what’s inside

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Features 8 20 28 32 40 44

Coping with life after lockdown The Untold Story of Dalits in North America Helping your children navigate the restart plan Planning in advance for your loved one’s Sikh Studies Program at University of Calgary Virgin Galactic’s flight to space: The Indian connection 48 What made Singapore PM emotional during Gurudwara visit





Life & Etc.

12 Arjan Singh Bhullar: The Sultan of Mixed Martial Arts 16 Dr Navdeep Grewal: Fighting vaccine hesitancy 37 Kushal Mujral : A STEM success story

52 53 54 60 63

health & Wellness 56 Sleeping Beauty: 5 dermatologist recommendations for nighttime body care 58 New program makes planning a birth after C-section simpler

Beauty & Entertainment 28 Rock your Lehnga look 68 Bloody Romeo : A Canadian thriller is on the way 88 Praneet Akilla stars in "Motherland: Fort Salem" 66 Movie Review: Shehnaaz & Diljit take Punjabi cinema to a new height in ‘Honsla Rakh’

Make working from home so much better Workin’ moms’ tips for Returning to Work Where should our digital data go after we die? Easy ways to transform your kitchen 5 fun Ideas for Kids and Parents

Auto 84 Infiniti QX60 Stepping Up Its Game 86 Mitsubishi Outlander : SUV with Rogue Bones 88 Lexuss IS 500 F Sport : Performance with a Touch of Distinction

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The past few months have been heart-wrenching due to discovery of unmarked graves of First Nations’ children. It again put a spotlight on racism and how humans throughout history had discriminated other humans. Discrimination still exists in various forms across the world based on caste, gender, color or race. Indian caste system is one sad example. In this issue, we bring to you a very touching but inspiring story of an Indo-Canadian girl Meera Estrada, who in her teens discovered that she was born a Dalit. Meera shares how that word changed her life and how she realized the presence of caste based discrimination in the North American society. She wants to send a bold message to all those kids who find it hard to deal with the complexities of their identities and caste. In our cover story we bring to you the journey of Indo-Canadian community’s hero wrestler Arjan Singh Bhullar. He needs no introduction, but recently he added a feather in his cap by being the first ever South Asian to become a mixed martial arts world champion. It was a dream come true not only for the community in Canada but also for millions for MMA fans who have been waiting for decades to see the title go to an Apna guy. Desi Today wants to be at the forefront of our community’s need. We also bring to you a very informative interview of Dr Navdeep Grewal. Dr Grewal has been leading nation-wide campaign to inform people about COVID vaccines’ safety and fight vaccine hesitancy. Read her interview where she answers many questions on vaccines and their safety. We have lots of latest information on Bollywood and fashion in this issue. Do not miss out. The season of festivals is here. Desi Today team wishes its readers a very Happy Diwali! Happy reading! Sanjeev Katyal Rakesh Gupta

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A very relevant interview in today's circumstances!! When all of us are going through mental stress it is important to spread awareness. Dr Pawa’s information helped me realize how much stress we put on our minds and how it leads to other diseases. Thank you Desi Today magazine for sharing this.

We are eager to hear from you about our magazine. Send us your thoughts on or leave us a comment on our Facebook page Desi Today Magazine.



Violence and sexual misconduct against women is a very common problem. But not many come out in open to talk about it. Well said by Ritika that women are held responsible for the atrocities conducted on them. I am happy that someone stepped up to raise the issue.

My mom died few years ago. And something had changed about me after that. For all those years I was living in the state of stress and anxiety. I got into panic mode about small things. My body became weak. I never knew what was happening to me. After reading Dr Pawa’s article, I realized why all those things happening to me were happening to me. Now that I know the reason, I can cure them. It was a very inspiring article. And kudos to Dr Pawa for coming out strong after all those years of suffering.



BALViR BOPARAi: THE MAN OF WORDs Balvir ji is a great song writer and great singer. His songs and lyrics have always touched my heart. My most favourite one is Ve Shudaiya. His song on farmers was also very meaningful. I hope we can all support our farmers during this tough period and help them get what they deserve. Farmers give us food and life. Every one says no farmers no food. I want to add to this and say no farmers, no food, no life. - BARINDER

AYUsHi CHHABRA : THE RisiNG sTAR Thank you Surbhi Gogia and Desi Today Magazine for featuring me. We talked about the ups & downs of my actor life, the ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ stigma & pressures of being a single Indian woman, and of course my film Unborn - the movie Hope everyone enjoyed the read. - AYUSHI CHHABRA NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


With over 20 years of experience from healthcare, the education system and the counselling room; Aruna Masih (RPC) offers help to individuals, couples and families seeking support to improve in all areas of life including relationships, addictions, eating disorders, anxiety related disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. she also has expertise working with teenagers, foster children and caregivers facing challenges with disabilities. her experience and training has enabled her to provide effective strategies to help facilitate positive change and growth. she believes in using evidence-based treatments and her goal is to work collaboratively with you to achieve your desired goals. she offers services in English, hindi and Punjabi. You can look up, or feel free to book an appointment by emailing: or call Aruna Masih at (778) 837-5049

Coping with lifeafter lockdown Covid restrictions in most of the countries have been lifted. It is normal to feel anxious about stepping out. Registered Professional Counsellor Aruna Masih has some tips to guide you through this new phase of life. 8

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


he coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been hard for all of us and we have all gone through the effects in our own way. As COVID restrictions are starting to lift, and although it would be great to get back to seeing people again and do the things we love, you may be feeling anxious. Your expectations, limitations, and level of comfort may have moved or stayed the same as we have gone through the pandemic. Even positive change can lead to anxiousness, and it can take time to readjust to things we have not done for a while. If you think you are an introvert, the pandemic may have made it difficult to determine whether you were isolating due to the pandemic or keeping to yourself because of your personality. If you are an extrovert, you may feel like you can hardly wait to socialize with others safely again.

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prioritize self care.


Focus on the present, make plans but don’t get caught with negative events that can happen. Relax, be mindful and get outside in nature, this will help you focus on the present and on yourself. - ARunA MAsih

Regardless, there is going to be a change and an adjustment period in our lives. This pandemic has impacted our mental health leading to more anxiety disorders, social anxiety, stress, depression, and fear of safety. You may feel more anxiety as the regulations are lifting. This is normal, and you are not alone. This may be an uncomfortable period, mistakes will probably be made, and you may not do this perfectly. However, change doesn’t have to be impossible. Whether you have received your vaccination or not, reflecting on what is comfortable for you and those around you can help you prepare as the COVID restrictions lift. The following are tips that can help you manage these feelings and make it easier to adjust. Here are the tips for taking care of your mental health as things change.:


Take your time and move according to your own stride

Social anxiety makes people overthink and put unwanted pressure on themselves. Do 10

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

not feel obligated to make a lot of plans and be forced to say yes to things you do not feel ready to do. Take one step at a time and build your confidence; only do things you feel safe and comfortable to do.


Get your information from the reliable sources

There is much information available online regarding COVID-19. Check and reference back to BC Covid-19 updates for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Set manageable targets

Sometimes it seems easier to avoid things that we are not comfortable with. The discomfort makes it harder to face our fears, so instead set manageable goals. This can be like meeting 1 person (friend/ family) for coffee.


Time to Relax

It's exciting to meet people that we haven’t seen in a while, but it’s important to

Challenging negative thoughts

It is normal to be worried and get anxious at times, try to identify the unhelpful thoughts. Then challenge yourself by replacing it with a helpful thought.


Talk to someone about your feelings

It is easy to get caught in isolation, and at times it may feel comfortable. There is a good chance that others feel the same way. Talk to a family member, friend, helpline or a even counsellor to express those hard feelings.


Find a routine

Find a realistic routine in your daily activities. Try a routine that may feel easier to stick with, so you don’t feel overwhelmed with everything new.


Discuss with others before socializing

Before socializing with people, make sure everyone feels comfortable meeting inperson, even with the gestures of shaking hands or hugging. Be aware of others' expectations for you as well.


Try to make plans ahead of time

Planning ahead of time will help any uncertainties and cause less anxiety of the unknown. Being prepared can help you feel comfortable and confident.


Focus on the present and write your thoughts down

When change happens we start to get worried about what can happen. Focus on the present, make plans but don’t get caught with negative events that can happen. Relax, be mindful and get outside in nature, this will help you focus on the present and on yourself. Also, keeping a journal of your thoughts will help you become aware of your mood. Journaling can help you focus on the good and give you confidence. Covid has only added to our regular stress and struggle. You don't have to suffer and struggle alone. Please reach out to a family member, friend, or hotline if you need help.


i always wanted to do this. i have lived my dream. i love competing, i love high-level danger, and one on one competition.



NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

Picture Courtesy: One Championship





The interview Donned with a mace and an armour, Canada’s famous wrestler Arjan Singh Bhullar, looked nothing less than a king who had walked straight out of the history books to take on his enemies. In reality, Bhullar was walking towards ONE Championship arena, to write a new chapter in history of mixed martial arts (MMA). An Olympian, and a Commonwealth Games wrestling champion, Bhullar that day became the first-ever MMA heavyweight champion of Indian origin. The Richmond, BC resident defeated Brandon Vera, at ONE: Dangal held in Singapore recently to be crowned as the new world champion. This accomplishment was a dreamcome-true moment not only for Bhullar and his family but also for millions of Indian MMA fans across the world who have waited for decades to see a wrestler of Indian-Origin popularize Indian wrestling skills on the MMA platform. Born and brought up in Lower Mainland, 35-year-old Bhullar’s life has been inspirational for the community and young South Asian kids. With his hard work and dedication, Bhullar has taken wrestling to a new level in Canada. He comes from a family of wrestlers that came and settled in Canada in the 1970s. With limited resources but an abundance of hard work and perseverance, his father Avtar became a legend by being the first to excel in both the traditional Indian style of wrestling (Kushti) and Olympic style wrestling. He helped establish the Bhullar Wrestling Club decades ago, which still runs as a non-profit today providing free coaching to dozens of community kids.

Carrying on his family tradition, young Bhullar started getting training when he was in his diapers. He won multiple provincial and national high school championships. Building upon his success at the university level, Bhullar was able to have some early success while competing for Canada. He won a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in the freestyle 120 kg category. He was named Wrestler of the Year in 2009 and followed that up with the gold medal performance in Delhi at the 2010 Commonwealth Games over the hometown hero from India. He also became the first Punjabi descent Canadian to qualify for Olympics in 2012. He turned to mixed martial arts in 2014. He made his UFC debut at UFC 215 in September 2017. After that, he was approached by ONE championship. And now Bhullar has defeated long-time divisional king Brandon Vera to bring home the champions’ big belt. Celebrities across the world including the Canadian Prime Minister congratulated him for his success at MMA championship. Being a true competitor and a champion is one part of Bhullar’s story, living every aspect of his life as a champion, is something he continues to work towards. Knowing the world needs more than just athletes to help make it a better place, Bhullar continues to be extremely passionate and devoted to the community. He has continually donated his time, energy, and money towards various causes and non-profit organizations. In an interview with Desi Today magazine, Bhullar reflects on his career trajectory, decision to enter MMA, and his future plans:

dt how do you feel to be

crowned as the first-ever person of indian origin as OnE MMA heavyweight champion? I feel amazing. I feel grateful to be able to live up to my dreams and being the first from our community makes it extra special. Something that will stay in the history books forever.

dt how was the reaction from

your family and the local community?

Fantastic reaction! Family first and foremost was always concerned about my health safety and wellness, then after everybody was ecstatic, proud, relieved, and excited. It was similar with the community and kids. Everyone is very proud that one of their members has reached the top of the mount for the sport.

dt Could you please share with

our readers a little bit about your journey as a wrestler?

I have been wrestling since I was in my diapers. My dad wrestled before me. The whole family supported him in his dreams. Then the next generation of 10 boys everybody wrestled and I was able to go furthest with it. Everybody supported me for that. It was just a family dream and a family lineage that carried me through to the Olympics and even beyond where I am today.

dt You have made Canada proud

by winning so many international wrestling championships. how and when did you decide to make the transition to MMA? I decided to make the transition to MMA heading into the Olympics. My mind was already made up. On the back end, I felt I had done everything with the sports of wrestling NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


and have been doing it since I was a kid. So wanted to do something different where I could use my skill set. I saw the opportunity in MMA.

dt is the training of an MMA

fighter very different from that of a wrestler? Was the transition difficult for you? The training is very different. When you train in wrestling or any other form of martial arts you are specializing in one form. For example, boxers are specialists with their two hands. MMA as the name suggests involves various forms of martial arts where you have to know how to use your hands, kicks, your knees, your elbows, your submissions. There are so many different ways to win. If one guy is better in one area, you can beat him in another and still win the fight. The transition from a wrestler to an MMA fighter was difficult but at the same time exciting for me. I learned new skill sets with new coaches in a new training environment.

dt Where does MMA stand in

terms of popularity in Canada?

I think it hit its peak with Georges St-Pierre (GSP) when he was a champion. I think he created many future champions -- a whole generation of kids who wanted to fight because of him. But Canadians still love this sport. Close proximity to the US and Vegas really helps.

dt Tell us something about your look as an MMA fighter. You


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

are donning an armor and a mace (bhala). I opted to hold a mace of Hanuman because that was gifted to me as a trophy by the great Dara Singh Ji at one of my victories. He was a special guest of honour. I took that as passing of the torch. He was a legend. I carry that with me to my fights to represent my culture and my wrestling lineage from India.

dt When the MMA commentator

announced your victory, he said “it is a proud moment for india” and “an indian has won MMA”. Why is that?

Obviously, I'm born and raised as a Canadian. I'm proud of who I am. I've represented the Maple Leaf proudly for many years on the world stage. My parents came here for a better future and opportunity. And I'm a product of that. And I'll always be thankful for Canada for that. But at the same time my lineage is from Punjab and I am proud of my roots. And there was an opportunity to represent my Indian lineage in MMA. Canada has had GSP while there was no one from India. So, I thought it was a great opportunity.

dt how do you think your victory

will revolutionize the future of the sport in india? And how do you plan to promote it further in india?

People in India can now see that someone who talks like them, walks like them, speaks similar language has the same family values, is able to do this. Once you ignite the hope,

people will come up. We are going to make sure to create that training environment. We are working on that now and there will be a path for many others to follow.

dt You were down with COViD.

Did it affect your dream of participating in OnE championship?

Yes, we all got Covid. A few rough days definitely but we made it through. I counted my blessings. It never hammered my dreams to participate in ONE Championship. This was my lifelong goal and Covid wasn’t going to stop me. I had been waiting for this for my life nothing would have stopped me from winning this gold.

dt What are your future plans?

My next step is to defend the title. And also, before that, I want to enter Pro Wrestling. It has been on my wish list for my entire life.

dt What is your message to all

those who want to follow your footsteps? It is very rewarding for me. Always do what is rewarding to you and chase it down. I always wanted to do this. I have lived my dream. I love competing, I love high-level danger, and one on one competition.

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Fighting vaccine Hesitancy BY SURBHI GOGIA 16

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

he month of festivities is here. But 2020 festival season brought a brutal wave of Covid 19 infections. It hit the South Asian community disproportionately across Canada. Regions with visible South Asian minority became hot zones of virus transmission. Some blamed it on events like Diwali celebrations others debated that the positivity rate was higher amongst South Asians due to “cultural reasons” like living in multigenerational households or simply being more social. But the moment the message went out that the South Asian community was hard hit, there were fears of the community getting stereotyped. It was important at that time to have a balancing act of spreading the public health guidelines to the South Asian community along with demystifying false information and educating the public on reasons why the South Asian community was hit hardest. A group of physicians, lawyers, healthcare professionals, business leaders, and volunteers from all backgrounds and faiths come together across Canada to launch the Canadian South Asian COVID-19 Taskforce to help address the disproportionate number of Covid cases in the South Asian Community. It was a big initiative, but with the help of Instagram, TikTok, and WhatsApp, the group spread the public health messages in culturally appropriate communications in multiple South Asian languages. The positivity rate started declining within few weeks of the Task Force coming into action. After social distancing, masking, and stay at home messages, the big task was to spread the right message about vaccines and encourage the South Asian community to get vaccinated. Even after repeated messaging about vaccines and making vaccine passports mandatory, some people are hesitant to take the shots. Many myths are surrounding the mRNA vaccines and their long-term effect. Meet Dr. Navdeep Grewal, an emergency room physician, practicing at Delta Hospital and Mt St Joseph’s Hospital for over 20 years. One of the cofounders of BC South Asian Covid Task Force, Dr. Grewal has played a very important role in Canada’s vaccine campaign. She is

also the co-founder, national 'This Is Our Shot' vaccination campaign. The movement is aimed to rally Canadians and encourage each other to replace vaccine hesitancy with confidence so that we can end the pandemic in Canada. In an interview with Desi Today, Dr. Grewal talked about the Task force, its vision, and dispels some common myths and rumours surrounding the vaccines..

How and when did you and other co-founders feel the need to create such a task force? What was the biggest driving force?


We came together as a group of physicians and community leaders in November 2020 after seeing that Diwali celebrations within the South Asian community across Canada were catching the attention of media and the public negatively, with scenes of gatherings and celebrations being seen as a potential vector for the virus transmission. We started to see numbers rise at the beginning of the second wave. As a result, we formed a task force to educate our communities about Covid-19 in Canada through culturally appropriate multilanguage communications via various readily accessible mediums and advocate for our community, knowing the unique challenges and barriers faced by our community. We wanted to represent all South Asian faith and cultural groups in addressing Covid-19 and vaccines.

were often only broadcast in English and thus not accessible to people who spoke primarily other languages b. multi-generational households and multioccupancy dwelling, where physical distancing, self-isolation, and quarantining were difficult, if not impossible c. South Asians making a big part of frontline essential work (who were unable to work safely from home) d. need for the use of public transport to go to work/school, thus leading to further exposure /risk of covid transmission and fear within the international student community of getting tested for Covid if symptomatic or contact of a known case, because of concerns that they risked losing student visa status if tested and diagnosed with Covid.

Were there any unique challenges and barriers that the South Asian community faced regarding Covid 19?


In addition to the above factors (frontline essential work, multi-generational/multioccupancy households), there was a distinct lack of culturally appropriate information available to the South Asian community that was relevant to them. There was also a lack of information delivery through media that they frequently used, including ethnic radio/ TV, Facebook, and Whatsapp channels. As a result, misinformation was spread easily

through these channels. This is what we set out to address with our task force.

How did the creation of the task force make difference in curbing the spread of the virus? Tell us about some of your major efforts.


As South Asians ourselves, we lived and worked within the community and thus had a unique perspective as to the effectiveness of Covid messaging in this community. Our initial focus was to educate our communities about COVID-19 in Canada and the recommended measures to keep safe and reduce its spread and to develop and disseminate nuanced, culturally appropriate communications in multiple South Asian languages through readily accessible mediums (ethnic radio/TV, video skits, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp channels). We were able to successfully do this by tailoring our approach to reflect different cultural beliefs, age groups, literacy, and educational levels, to help bring down Covid transmission rates in the South Asian population of both the Peel region in ON and Fraser Health Authority in BC during the second wave ahead of widespread vaccination efforts, and again during the third wave. Through our advocacy, we opened the largest Covid-testing facility in the Peel region in ON, in one of the hardest-hit postal codes in Canada. This has since been turned into

Is the Task force part of a larger initiative by the government or was it an independent effort?


The South Asian COVID Task force is an independent grassroots volunteer organization, created to support the Canadian COVID-19 pandemic response. While we are not affiliated with the government, we do align ourselves with Public Health directives and guidance. We are not financially or otherwise supported by the government. Once the Task force was in action what came out to be the top drivers of COVID-19 transmission in the South Asian community? We determined the following as the biggest drivers: a. general misunderstanding /confusion about Public Health guidance, and changes in Public Health orders, which (From left) Dr Madhu Jawanda, Dr Navdeep Grewal, Dr Raj Grewal & Dr Anju Anand, Dr Birinder Narang, Dr Taj Kaura,, Dr Dash Sehdev, Dr Amrit Sehdev, Dr Baldev Sanghera, Dr Sonia Sidhu, Dr Simerpreet Sandhanwalia, Dr Gurjit Bajwa

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


Some of the wonderful members of the BC chapter of the South Asian Covid task force (all volunteers). Some are healthcare workers; others are local community leaders. a vaccination site, where staff can speak the languages of, and help support, the people who attend there for vaccination. We have also provided vaccination-clinic volunteers in the hardest-hit neighbourhoods of the Fraser Health Authority in BC for similar support to the community. The national 'This is Our Shot' campaign came into being after the South Asian Covid Task Force saw that vaccine hesitancy was an issue that needed to be addressed for Canadians from all walks of life. We asked other Canadian communities that we knew to be vaccine-hesitant to join forces with us, and thus began a campaign of vaccine confidence involving educational townhalls, catchy T-shirt slogans and social media hashtags. Through science-backed education provided directly by nonpartisan health care providers, we highlighted that we are all in this together as Canadians and that getting vaccinated is the only way out of this pandemic.

What would you like to tell our community about the safety of the vaccine?


Our education efforts to reduce vaccine hesitancy and build vaccine confidence began in December 2020, even before the first vaccines arrived in Canada. Since then, we have advocated for the safety profile of all 18

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

available Covid vaccines, both at a national level and using a targeted community approach. We can confidently say that all vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada are safe for Canadians, as they have been approved after a rigorous scientific process, using information from the initial studies and from ongoing real-world data.

How do you think the community has responded to vaccination and are the numbers looking good?


At the start of the pandemic, there was much vaccine hesitancy in many ethnic communities, including the South Asian community. Since then, due to efforts of volunteer organizations like ours, as well as public health and government messaging, we have seen the hesitancy shift and more people in the community are getting vaccinated, with numbers approximating that of the general Canadian population.

One of the major concerns is the vaccine might affect fertility? What do you want to tell our readers about that?


There is no scientific evidence to suggest that any of the Covid vaccines have any impact on female fertility whatsoever. In the studies of women who were either vaccinated

or developed a Covid infection, it had no impact on their ability to get pregnant or stay pregnant (ie, they didn’t suffer miscarriages as a result). Since then, many women have received the vaccine and gotten pregnant without any issues at all. There’s also no data linking the vaccines to changes in menstruation. Even if there is a connection, one unusual period is no cause for alarm. There is a long list of triggers that can cause changes to the menstrual cycle, including stress, illness, and changes in diet and physical activity. While some women may anecdotally note a temporary change in their period, there is no evidence that it has any long-term effect on your menstruation or affect menstrual cycles in people around you. There is no scientific evidence that vaccines have any negative impact on male fertility. In fact, men who get infected with Covid-19 have a higher chance of problems with erectile dysfunction, producing less sperm, or getting testicular infections.

Another big one is that it’s been developed too quickly and the mRNA technology is too new to be trusted. What would you tell our readers?


The mRNA technology has been around for well over a decade. It’s already been used

in gene therapy and cancer treatment. The viral vector vaccine technology (AZ, J&J) has been around since the 1970s and is already used to make the Ebola vaccines and is being used in studies to make vaccines against Zika and HIV. The reason the Covid vaccines were developed quickly was that so many researchers and scientists around the world put all their efforts into creating safe and effective vaccines based on this existing technology, because of the global crisis created by the pandemic.

Many are scared about mixing dt their vaccines. What assurance do they have? Studies using real-world data from around the globe have been done, testing the benefits of mixing different types of vaccine to see if this provided better protection against variants & to jolt the immune system into producing many more antibodies with a mixed schedule, even with the possibility of increased shortterm systemic side effects. It is because of these studies, the results of which have been made available in the past few weeks, that Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) have recommended mixing 1st and 2nd doses of vaccines when you cannot receive the same as you got for your 1st dose, due to either safety profile (eg risk of rare but severe blood clots in some with AZ) or vaccine supply issues (recent temporary reduction in Pfizer supply in Canada at the same time as increased Moderna supply).



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604-600-3677 #204-7928 128 St., Surrey, B.C. V3W 4E8 Fax: 604-593-3678 • Email:

Last but not the least, what is your message to the community members once they are fully vaccinated.


As a Canadian, I consider myself fortunate that we live in a country where vaccinations are easily and freely available to us, while recognizing that the pandemic will not truly be over until we have vaccinated everyone across the world; we are not safe until we are all safe. Having said that, I feel that we will be well-protected against Covid variants once we are all fully vaccinated (eg 2 weeks after your 2nd dose of vaccine). I look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel as we continue to vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. This is our shot Canada, to be together again! (The interview is time-sensitive. Some of the data and information might have changed by the time magazine was published).

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View




The Untold Story of

Dalits in



f someone asked Meera Estrada at the age of 15 to describe herself, it would be simply put in one line – that she was a South Asian Canadian teenager aspiring to be a journalist in the land of opportunities. Never did she realize that one single word about her family had the power to shatter what she had gained in 15 years of her life. The encounter with that one word was a watershed moment in her life which created many layers of complexities in her personality. That one word was “untouchable”. That one single word has made her contribute a whole new chapter about her identity in a book Untold: Defining Moments of the Uprooted. The book is a collection of real stories that explores the South Asian experience in the U.S., U.K., and Canada through the lens of identity, being, and relationships. Thirty emerging voices share deeply personal moments of immigration, infertility, divorce, mental health, suicide, racism, colorism, L G B T Q I A + 20

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

issues, and more all while balancing the push and pull of belonging to two cultural hemispheres. Meera’s story is titled ‘Born Untouchable’. It is the true story of her family and her life that describes how being born as an untouchable has played a role in shaping her identity. As Meera described it, the Indian society in ancient times was divided into 4 groups known as castes according to the work profiles of people. Those who were at the top of the groups were Brahmins who were priests, then came Kshatriyas who were the warriors, Vaishyas the businessmen and last in the line were Shudras who did the labour jobs. The untouchables or the Dalits were not even part of the caste system and they were the people who did jobs that no one ever wanted to do like cleaning toilets, clearing dead bodies etc. A person’s worth and place in the society was decided by the caste he/she was born in. It was hard to break out of this system. Although the caste system was officially abolished in 1950, most people of South Asian heritage, even the ones living in Canada

right now, would still be able to tell you which caste they belong to. And it remains embedded in India's psyche. Meera’s grandparents and parents were born into this system in the state of Gujarat. “For my grandparents and parents specifically being untouchable meant not being able to go into school buildings. My grandfather had to sit outside the school building if he wanted to learn. They were not permitted in the homes of upper caste people, in temples or public buildings. In my father’s era of segregation he could go to school, but had to sit at the back of the. He could not drink from the school well because he was deemed filthy, his shadow was even deemed filthy and he had to kneel to the ground if an upper caste person walked by. Basically animals were treated with more dignity than Dalits or untouchables like my family,” she said. Meera’s father knew it was hard to attain liberation from the caste system in his own country. He got education and went to London and then arrived in Canada to give his family a better life. Although his parents left their identity behind, but those born in ‘higher castes’ brought it with them to North America. Meera’s parents never passed the burden of their past to their kids. But when they grew up, his parents decided it was time to tell them about their caste. One evening Meera and her brother sat for a family meeting with their father who told them about their family history. “That was the first time they told us that we belonged to ‘untouchables’ caste of India. Me and my brother had no clue what that meant. We had never ever talked about anything to do with castes. They didn’t get into the details at that time, but they did tell us because of what we were born as, things were going to be harder,” Meera said. Meera who thought she was living a perfect life of equal opportunities started realizing the presence of the caste system around her. “Since that time I started becoming hyper sensitive to the caste system and how much I heard about it even in North America.” Meera explained that this social inequality of Indian caste system exists in South Asian community of North America in different forms. While she did not experience the violence, humiliation, and segregation that her father and grandfather faced in India she experienced caste discrimination of another kind. “My 'worth' has always been put into question, with remarks from elderlies and

Never let a social construct such as caste limit you. You define your identity. You create your destiny and do not let society ever tell you differently. - MEERA ESTRADA

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


During my father’s growing up days in India, he could not drink from the school well because he was deemed filthy, his shadow was even deemed filthy and he had to kneel to the ground if an upper caste person walked by.

peers alike (that are born and raised in North America) questioning fellow South Asians being from a "good family", a "good fit" with "good values" and questioning the intelligence of lower caste people like myself.” Meera added that she was never open about her caste until very recently. “These comments were not meant to insult me, as the assumption was that I was also of an upper caste, but it has damaged my psyche and caused deep trauma, which I am coming to terms with. It took me an exceptionally long time to reconcile that I perhaps chose a partner outside of my culture because I always feared I would not be 'enough' -- that I had to be so much better because of the taint of my caste. And the erasure of my caste and the stories of people that were not born in places of privilege were particularly difficult, because you have to understand as an immigrant, yes, we face discrimination from outside our community, but then it’s a whole other layer of complexity when you feel like an outsider and ‘othered’ within your community as well.” Apart from affecting mental health, the caste system Meera said, “The caste system also affects our working environments in 22

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

North America. There is currently a lawsuit involving tech giant Cisco, in which an Indian immigrant engineer at the company’s San Jose, California headquarters claimed that colleagues – also Indian immigrants – were denigrating him due to caste. The “highercaste supervisors and co-workers imported the discriminatory system’s practices into their team and Cisco’s workplace,” the lawsuit said. It is the first time in US history that caste is at the center of a discrimination case, the case is still pending. In December 2019, Brandeis University in Massachusetts added caste to its non-discrimination policy along with race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and other categories. The move came after Laurence Simon, a professor of


wanted to speak on that were often seen as taboo in the South Asian community. In 2010, she took a leap of faith and launched FUSIA MEDIA, a media company engaged in digital lifestyle publishing and experiential events geared to the modern Canadian South Asian Woman. Most recently, she added author to her resumé after contributing to the highly anticipated book entitled Untold: Defining Moments Of The Uprooted. Meera’s story focuses on her experience being born an Untouchable or Dalit, and how her personal experiences with casteism in Canada have played a role in shaping her identity. Meera wants to spread awareness about this discriminatory practice in this part of the world. “I hope by sharing my story, people will stop turning a blind eye, that this is not their problem or allow the false narrative that this is something that doesn’t exist,” she said. She said there are many Dalit people in North America who go through the same mental trauma every day like her. “If I can help just one person, for me that is worth it. I was speaking about the book on a podcast, and my baby cousin in England messaged me that she listened and she couldn’t stop crying – so I called her – and now her in her mid 20s is going through what I was in mine, and she said, Meera I don’t know how to tell my best friend who I am…and she couldn’t stop crying.” Meera’s message to the everyone and especially those who suffer in silence is: “We need to stop ignoring this reality because it is convenient and comfortable to do so. We need to feel uncomfortable, have uncomfortable conversations, just at people have had issues with facing their white privilege and white fragility in certain cases, there are parallels with caste privilege and fragility, and we can keep silent to appease that discomfort. It is time to change course. Never let a social construct such as caste limit you. You define your identity. You create your destiny and do not let society ever tell you differently.”

That was the first time they told us that we belonged to ‘untouchables’ caste of India. Me and my brother had no clue what that meant. We had never ever talked about anything to do with castes. They didn’t get into the details at that time, but they did tell us because of what we were born as, things were going to be harder

international development who has studied social exclusion, said some Dalit students confided in him that they felt shunned by other Indian students they encountered on campus.” According to Meera’s father education is the only key to break those chains. Born in England and brought up in Toronto, Meera wanted to be a journalist since childhood. But to fulfill her parents’ wish for a university education, she went to do a business degree from the Schulich School of Business at York. She eventually went back to school to pursue 24

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

a post-graduate in radio and television broadcast journalism. Shortly afterwards, she became the editor-in-chief of the South Asian bridal magazine Suhaag. After working for the publication for ten years, Meera knew there were many other topics and stories she

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NEW SOCIAL SITUATIONS: Helping your children navigate




ith B.C. easing its pandemic restrictions, many families are turning their attention to social gatherings. Now that playdates and large parties are once again allowed, some parents and caregivers are expressing concerns with the impact of physical distancing on their children’s development. Luckily, experts say you already have the tools it takes to support your child’s social and emotional health. 28

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


Let big emotions flow Whether it’s visiting a friend’s home or attending a birthday bash out in the park, these fun experiences may feel overwhelming for young children, especially those under six years of age. For some, these gatherings will be their first in over a year. Experts say it’s important to pay closer attention to your little

Not all stress is bad stress. Small challenges help children cope with bigger ones. There are numerous opportunities in every child’s life to experience manageable stress – and with the help of supportive adults, this “positive stress” can be growthpromoting

ones during these times. “Caregivers can observe how their children are interacting with others in these new social settings,” says Dr. Anamaria Richardson, a Vancouver-based pediatrician. “It’s important to let children express their emotions and listen in a non-judgmental way. During this time, it’s most important for parents and caregivers to be present, not perfect. You know your child best, and you can trust your gut.” While being in these new situations may be stressful for some children, Dr. Richardson notes it’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Not all stress is bad stress. Small challenges help children cope with bigger ones. There are numerous opportunities in every child’s life to experience manageable

stress – and with the help of supportive adults, this “positive stress” can be growthpromoting.” Children learn from making mistakes and trying again. Your positive response to those mistakes reinforces this process. Praise your child not only for their successes, but also for their willingness to try different things.



Encourage healthy social and emotional development In the early years, your child’s social and emotional health is every bit as important as their physical health. It impacts how they express emotions, deal with stress, develop friendships, and helps to determine their connections to the world around them through stories, conversations and play. Michelle Horn is a mother of two young kids, and a program manager with BC Children's Hospital Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre. In a few weeks, she’s planning the first visit with her kids’ grandparents in over a year – a big moment after a long time apart. Michelle says if your child is feeling stressed or anxious in new situations, physical touch like holding, hugging or cuddling your little one can help. “Healthy touch is an essential part of healthy child development. From birth, physical contact between caregiver and child promotes brain development, creates attachment, and helps children feel more secure and connected to you. It also supports their development and helps to build their brain.” Paying attention to your child’s feelings in new social situations, and talking about them, is also important. It can ease their anxieties in the moment, and also help them learn how

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Quick Facts: • More than 260,000 children in B.C. are under six years old (aged 0-5), and in a crucial time for healthy social and emotional development. • Infant and early childhood mental health impacts how children express emotions, deal with stress, build friendships, and develop responsibility, self-confidence, and helping behaviours. • Research shows us that fostering social and emotional development in the early years leads to healthy brain development, success in school, increased community involvement, and even success in future employment. 30

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

to express and process feelings, which helps children grow into emotionally healthy adults. “Social and emotional development starts early. From recognizing emotions to just talking and hugging, small things make a big difference,” says Michelle. “Research shows that long-term, fostering early social and emotional development in the early years leads to healthy brain development, success in school, increased community involvement, and even success in future employment.”

Provincial campaign aimed at helping caregivers The need to foster healthy social and emotional development in young kids became more evident when the COVID-19 pandemic

first kicked off in the spring of 2020. Based on evidence from early childhood development, a provincial group of B.C. organizations and experts got to work to develop resources for parents and caregivers. The result: the Feelings First social media campaign. “Families told us they needed more information about ways to better support their children in the early years, especially during the challenging time of COVID-19,” says Sana Fakih, provincial lead of early years health & wellness at Child Health BC. “The Feelings First campaign was created based on research and feedback from parents and caregivers. It’s had great results so far, with more than 60 organizations involved.” With short, simple messages like “It feels good to talk about feelings” and “Routines relieve stress,” the campaign has reached thousands of parents and caregivers with hundreds of thousands of impressions online. “This is just a first step in what we hope to do in B.C.,” says Sana. “We hope families can use these messages to help their young children enjoy visiting with friends and relatives this summer and beyond.” For more information on the campaign, go to or follow @ on social media. (Article submitted by Provincial Health Services Authority)

The Feelings First campaign was created based on research and feedback from parents and caregivers. It’s had great results so far, with more than 60 organizations involved.


Good Day Tomorrow StartS with a Good Talk Today! a

Planning in advance for your health helps make sure you get the care that’s right for you now and in the future 32

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


dvance care planning is the process of thinking about and writing down your wishes or instructions for present or future health care treatment in the event you become incapable of deciding for yourself. Even if you're doing well now, it's a good idea to prepare for a time when you might not be able to care for yourself. It's also a good idea to plan for the end of your life. It gives you control over the health care you get now and in the future. It makes sure you have a say about the health care you get if you cannot speak for yourself. It means thinking about and sharing what matters to you, and what a good day looks like. Knowing and sharing what matters to you regarding your care will help your family and friends make the decisions you would make for yourself if you were not able. Here are the 5 steps: Think, Learn, Decide, Talk, & Record.

Planning ahead before a health crisis is something all of us should do. Yet less than 50% of Canadians have had conversations with their family and friends and even less have spoken with their doctor. DIVERSEcity’s Newcomer Family and Friend caregiver support Program recently organized workshop on Advance Care Planning. The workshop aimed to discuss the concept of Advance Care Planning, substitute decision making for healthcare decisions, and provide insight and resources to start and continue the Advance Care Planning process. It was presented by Nav Prihar, RN, BSN, MN – Fraser Health.



about what matters most to you. Reflect on what brings your life meaning, purpose, and joy. Think about how these things might influence your future health care.



about your health, 2 treatment options, and what decisions you might face in the future. Learn about what is required by law in British Columbia to have others speak for you. Learn how to talk to others

meaning (including cultural practices), and how you would like to live. You might think that those close to you will know what matters most to you — but if you don’t tell them, they won’t know.

about what you prefer and how you would like to make health care decisions.



who would speak for you if you become too sick and cannot speak for yourself. Consider who knows you best and who is willing and able to speak for you.


to the people who matter to you about your wishes, what brings your life



your thoughts, goals, worries, and priorities in any form. This could be in writing or as an audio or video recording. You might also wish to complete legal documents. Share copies with the people who matter to you, with NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View



• It tells your family, your substitute decision-maker, and your doctor what kinds of treatment you do or don't want to receive as you near the end of your life and if you can no longer make these decisions for yourself. Depending on where you live, this part of an advance care plan may be called an advance directive or a personal directive. But many people also refer to it generally as a "living will." • An advance care plan may also let you name a person to make treatment decisions for you if a time comes when you can't make these decisions for yourself. This person is called a substitute decision-maker, or a health care representative, agent, or proxy. As long as you can still make your own decisions, your advance care plan won't be used. You can say "yes" or "no" to treatment at any time.


How to start the conversation, and with who?

Talk to people who matter to you. Tell them what brings your life meaning, what a good day looks like for you, who would be your substitute decision maker if you were unable to speak for yourself and what decisions you would want them to make. your substitute decision maker(s), and healthcare providers.


What is an advance care plan?

An advance care plan is a summary of the kinds of health care you do or don't want to have if something happens to you and you can't make health care decisions for yourself. It tells your family and your doctor what to do if you're badly hurt or have a serious illness that keeps you from deciding what you want. An advance care plan also lets you appoint somebody (such as a family 34

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

member or friend) to make health care decisions for you if you can't make them for yourself. This designated person is called a substitute decision-maker, or a health care representative, agent, or proxy. An advance care plan also involves talking with your family, your substitute decision-maker, and your doctor about the kinds of care you do or don't want to have.


What does an advance care plan do?

An advance care plan has two main functions:

Talk to people who matter to you. Tell them what brings your life meaning, what a good day looks like for you, who would be your substitute decision maker if you were unable to speak for yourself and what decisions you would want them to make. Sometimes these talks are not easy. Here are some tips: • Be straightforward: “I want to talk with you about what is important to me.” • Find an example from the news: “That story about the family fighting about their mom’s care made me realize that we should talk about these things so the same thing doesn’t happen to our family.”


Where can I find more resources?

For more information, go to our Fraser Health website or call 1-877-TALK-034 (1-877-825-5034) or email Article submitted Original Authors: Fraser Health Regional Advance Care Planning Team.

the interview Congratulations Kushal on your achievement. How did you and your family react when you heard about your scholarship?


ushal Mujral is a graduate of Burnsview Secondary school in Delta. He was recently selected to receive a $100,000 Schulic Leader Scholarship to study software engineering at the University of Waterloo. Mujral is one of the 100 outstanding high school graduates who were selected under the Scholarships’ premier STEM (science, technology, engineering and Math) program in Canada. Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100+ million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage Canada’s best and brightest students to become Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial minded, technology innovators. The media release from the Schulic Leadership Scholarships made a special mention that Kushal was selected “for his outstanding academic and community extra-curricular achievements.” Desi Today caught up with him to share his success mantra with the future budding scholars and their parents. Kushal explains that you don’t need to be a scholar to get a scholarship. Students with 80% academic score to have a good chance, if they work towards their holistic development and participate in extra-curricular activities. He shares what kind of academic score and extracurricular activities he pursued during his school years that helped him get selected for this coveted scholarship. Born in Toronto and raise in Delta, BC, Kushal went to 4 different elementary schools including Cougar Creek, Khalsa, Pinewood and Chalmers. He lives in Surrey with his family.


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

I was in the car driving to school in the morning when I was checking emails on my phone. I read that I received a message from the Schulich Leader Scholarship Team. The notification preview included the words “Thank you,” and I assumed it meant they were thanking me for applying, but unfortunately, I was not chosen. But when I opened the email, I saw that it said that I had won the scholarship. At first, I didn’t believe it, but after rereading the offer letter, I was screaming on the inside. My brother and father were also in the car, and I told them very directly that “I won a $100,000” to see their reactions. They didn’t believe me at first either, but then I explained from where and who, and they were startled in surprise and joy for me. I then proceeded to call my mom. I told her that I received $100,000, but she asked me to hold on a second because she needed to attend to the stove. After she came back, she asked me to repeat myself and then the words hit her. When she understood what I had said, she could not believe it either!

How do you think the scholarship will help you? First it will take away the burden of funding my education, as I have a brother who will also be starting university in the fall, the financial burden on my family was extremely large. This will open much more opportunities for me to explore what university has to offer. This scholarship will also assist me to reach my goals because it takes away the financial burden of worry of how much to fund university while studying. This provides me more time to think, focus and succeed through my education.

How confident were you about getting the scholarship? At the start, I wasn’t very confident about this scholarship because I read about the amazing achievements of some of the previous Schulich Leaders. I was doubting whether my own accomplishments could compete. But once my school nominated me out of a pool of over 140 students, I became more confident that the time and effort I dedicated to my STEM achievements would impress the board of judges.

I became more confident that the time and effort I dedicated to my STEM achievements would impress the board of judges.



NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


they have involvement in other things such as extracurriculars and community involvement. Most scholarships look at you as a whole and want to know if you are well rounded. Some look at extracurriculars, some look at specific opportunities that you’ve pursued, some just ask for a paragraph or essay.

Were you a brilliant student throughout your school years or you developed academic excellence gradually?

What according to you were some important things that contributed to your success?

What would you tell the kids and their parents who really want to get into STEM studies?

Focus on not only studying, but extracurriculars. I always allocated some time to spend helping out in the community. Additionally, don’t work yourself out to exhaustion. You will always need some free time to just relax, be it reading a book, playing video games, or going out for a bike ride.

Try everything that your school offers, then look for opportunities that interest you outside of school. You won’t know what you like without trying it. And once you find something you like, be committed to it. Make sure that it’s something you enjoy so you don’t decide to let go of it later on. Eventually you will achieve great things with it.

What do you want to pursue in your career? I see myself working as a software developer at a large tech firm, developing the next revolutionary technology that will make a difference in society. To achieve this, I will work hard at university, create significant professional connections at co-op positions, and perfect the required skills for my field. 38

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

What kind of academic score kids should maintain if they want to get a scholarship? There are many different types of scholarships with different requirements. Even a student with an 80% average has a good chance for many awards so long as

Getting good marks didn’t come naturally to me. I’ve had to work really hard to maintain the academic average that I have. I began building good study habits in Grade 8, where I would set aside time to completely focus on work without any distractions. I continued these habits into Grade 12, which I attribute hugely to my success.

What other activities you were involved in that helped you secure the scholarship? My biggest involvement is Robotics, of which I’ve been a part of since Grade 9. I’ve spent hundreds of hours each year outside of school perfecting our robot to compete in competitions around the province and internationally. I’m the team’s programmer, and the head programmer of the club who people come to for help solving programming problems. Our robots have won many awards, including the Judge’s Award and Inspire Award, and some competitions, including the VEX International Remote Midwest Competition.

I’ve also created an online coding tutorial series to help people learn Scratch, an online programming software. The videos delve into the making of some basic games and scripts to accomplish tasks. The course has helped over 3500 people. As a part of One Blood for Life, I help conduct blood drives and stem cell events. In my time, we've signed up over 3,000 blood donors and added over 1600 people to the stem cell registry. In the Core Team, we plan where and when to conduct events. I've also set up blood drives at my school, signing up over 40 students and staff to donate. As a gallery attendant for the Museum of Surrey, I guide people throughout the various sections of the museum, educating them about our city's diverse history. When the museum hosts events, I am there to make sure the kids have a good time when leading the arts and crafts station.

Please tell our readers the importance of volunteering and sports in pursuing any career. Participating in community service activities will help you develop skills that will be useful in life and a career setting, such as communication, problem solving and teamworking. It also helps give you a worklife balance to prevent you from burnout and keep your mental health in check.

What is your message for those who are looking forward to applying for scholarships next year? Don’t skip over applying for scholarships you think you might not win. I thought I had no chance to win the biggest scholarship to one of the top engineering universities in North America but look what happened. Additionally, there are many small and local scholarships that don’t end up with many applicants, so it's worth the time to try to find them and apply.


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Any tips on writing an application? Don’t try to write as many things that you can into one scholarship essay. Choose a couple that you are most proud of, and use those in your applications. Scholarship committees want to see your dedication to what you do, not that you’ve done a lot.

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View



Sikh Studies Program

Pic: Dollar Gill and Unsplash


Students from diverse backgrounds and faculties welcome to participate and increase their understanding and knowledge of the Sikh tradition


s a member of UCalgary’s Sikh Students’ Association, Gurbir Parmar has seen first-hand her community’s great desire and drive to push for a Sikh Studies program at the University of Calgary. Parmar’s focus is not within the Faculty of Arts, rather she’s a fourth-year business student. And yet she was drawn to the two classes on Sikhism offered within the Department of Classics and Religion. The same goes for many of her friends in the Sikh Students’ Association, coming from a wide 40

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

array of fields, including social work, law, education, and others. “Pretty much all of us are in support of a Sikh Studies program and not just humanities and religious studies students either,” says Parmar. “We’ve come from various faculties. I think, more than anything else, it has to do with representation.” Parmar points out that UCalgary has a large population of Sikh students, as does Calgary itself. “To have an academic program where we’re represented – one that

By Heath McCoy Author, veteran journalist, and senior communications specialist for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary

builds a deeper understanding of our culture – this is important to us,” she says. Therefore, it means a lot to Parmar that UCalgary is collaborating with the Sikh community in Alberta towards building a longterm Sikh Studies program at the university. The plan is to create a three-year full-time appointment in Sikh Studies, expand current course selection, strengthen research, and facilitate community engagement. The long-term plan is to establish a Chair of Sikh Studies. If realized, this would be the only Chair in Canada with an exclusive focus on Sikh Studies, making UCalgary a leader in the field. Dr. Harjeet Grewal, PhD, is the sessional instructor teaching UCalgary’s current Sikh Studies classes. Grewal notes that Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion and that between 600,000 and 1 million Sikhs currently live in Canada, making Canada the world’s largest Sikh community outside of India. This Canadian Sikh community has made a significant contribution to developing multicultural values and being leaders in areas of economics and politics both local and nationally. “But despite these consistent contributions, Sikh traditions remain poorly understood,” says Grewal. “Increasing the presence of Sikh Studies at the university level is an important way to increase exposure, understanding, and knowledge of the Sikh tradition.”

UCalgary's Sikh Students' Association has been a main driver in a push to start a Sikh Studies program at the University of Calgary. Pic: Trevor Alberts and the Sikh Students' Association

Grewal feels that Sikhs in Canada have suffered from a “perception gap.” “This is where racism can enter into the picture, along with bullying and pressures to conform,” he says. “With its rigorous objective ethos, the University of Calgary is the best place to create a broader and deeper understanding that this culture is not threatening to Canada. In many ways, Sikh values and traditional Canadian values really square up with one another.” A Sikh Studies program is not only for Sikh students. “My classes have been attended by students from many diverse backgrounds and they’ve really enjoyed them,” says Grewal. Remneek Kaur, a UCalgary alumna (BA, Political Science ’15), practicing lawyer and a member of the board of Guru Ram Das Darbar, a Sikh temple in Calgary, is excited by the prospect of a Sikh Studies program at UCalgary. She feels such a program is important not only for the university but also for the Sikh community at large. “We’ve seen so many hate crimes and so many biased, inaccurate articles in the media,” says Kaur. “Sikhs can be loud when it comes to being misrepresented. We’ll push back and say: ‘This is not the correct narrative.’ So, to have an academic platform, with the input of the community, where we can clear up misconceptions and provide an accurate background as to what Sikhism is and who Sikhs are – to be able to control the narrative a bit – I think it’s very valuable.” During UCalgary’s 5th Annual Giving Day, held on April 22nd, 2021, and in conjunction with Sikh Heritage Month, the Sikh community rallied together to raise

more than $510,000 with University matching funds towards Sikh Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary. Thanks to this generous support, recruitment for a full-time term position in Sikh Studies is currently underway. To learn more about how you can help build Sikh Studies at UCalgary and make UCalgary the place to learn about and take courses in Sikh Studies, contact :

Concetta Sonnenberg Director of Development, Faculty of Arts Together, we can ensure that our youth, our neighbours, and a new generation of scholars engage with the Sikh tradition’s culture, thought, and practices. Together, we will continue to change lives and shape the future — for our community and beyond.

Sikh dancers put on a show for onlookers at a Sikh Students' Association event. Pic: Trevor Alberts and the Sikh Students' Association

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View





ndian-American chemist Sumita Mitra has won the European Inventor Award 2021, one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes, in the "Non-European Patent Office countries" category for her application of nanotechnology in dentistry. Mitra was the first to successfully integrate nanoparticles into dental materials to produce stronger, durable and more aesthetically pleasing fillings. Her innovation has been successfully commercialised and used in more than 1 billion tooth restorations by dentists around the world. "Sumita Mitra took an entirely new path in her field, and demonstrated how technological innovation, protected by patents, can transform a sector, and in this case bring benefits to millions of dental patients," said Antonio Campinos, President at the European Patent Office (EPO). "Her invention remains commercially successful nearly 20 years after its launch -- another reason why she is an inspiration to the next generation of scientists," he added.

The use of nanotechnology allowed me to make a new material. It restores peoples smiles and improves the quality of their lives 42

NOV / DEC 2020 News With A DEsi View



"Curiosity and exploration are the essential points of starting an innovation. It is something that we really need to cultivate in our children," Mitra said. "The use of nanotechnology allowed me to make a new material," says Mitra. "It restores peoples smiles and improves the quality of their lives". Mitra worked closely with 3M’s patent attorneys to draft the patents to protect her ground-breaking research. Although several new generations of the material have been developed since its launch in 2002 as FiltekTM Supreme Universal Restorative, the current line of products is still based on Mitra’s European patents. Sumita Mitra is a partner at Mitra Chemical Consulting, LLC, which advises companies on new technology development, product design, commercialisation, mergers and acquisitions. She was named the American Chemical Society Hero of Chemistry in 2009, inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2018 and elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2021 for her work related to inventions in nanotechnology for use in dental materials.

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View




Sirisha Bandla Sky is Not the Limit


s UN celebrated “Women in Space” during World Space Week (October 4-10), Indian American astronaut Sirisha Bandla joined board of advisers of the Kalpana Chawla Project for Innovation, Entrepreneurism and Space Studies. The Kalpana Chawla project at the International Space University has been established to honor the Karnal, India, born Dr. Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian descent to go to space, who died in Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. The project is focused on developing strong technical and leadership qualities with talented Indian women. Bandla was also part of the team that touched the edge of the space with Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. “I am honored to join the Board of Advisors of the The Kalpana Chawla Project. Dr. Kalpana Chawla was not only a great inspiration for me, but also for millions of other young Indian women and girls,” stated Bandla in an ISU press release. “This year’s UN World Space Week is particularly relevant because it celebrates the importance of women in space,” added


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

Bandla who flew on the Virgin Galactic Unity 22 mission to become the second India-born woman to go to space. Born in Guntur, India, Bandla moved to the US, where she eventually attended university and graduated with a BS in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from George Washington University. She’s the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations for Virgin

Galactic, where she has worked since 2015. Bandla also announced the graduation of five top scholars from 2021 Space Studies Program (SSP) at the ISU. They are: Bandla vaulted into space VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. "I am kind of still up there but it's so glad to be here. I was trying to think about a better word than incredible but that is the only word that can come to my mind... Seeing the view of Earth is so life-changing but also the boost the rocket motor kicking in. The whole trip to space and back is just amazing," Bandla was quoted as saying to NBC News. Astronaut 004 Bandla, accompanied by Branson and two other crewmates and two pilots touched the edge of the space in the 90 minute trip. During the space flight, Bandla was scheduled to conduct experiments designed by the US government's pioneer space agency, NASA involving plants in microgravity.


Indian Origin CEO Satya Nadella steps in and

Microsoft makes macro profits

icrosoft had elected Indian Origin Satya Nadella as Chairman and CEO of the tech giant, a first in two decades. Bill Gates was the only other Chairman and CEO of Microsoft who stepped down as CEO in 2000. Nadella lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches. In Nadella's leadership Microsoft saw $168.1 billion in sales for fiscal year 2021 as it hailed the results of “another year of historic financial performance.” Microsoft CEO and Chairman Satya Nadella’s total compensation for fiscal year 2021 grew to nearly $50 million as the tech behemoth‘s revenue ballooned in the face of the pandemic, according to a recent filing from the tech giant with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. But Nadella isn’t the only Microsoft executive to get a pay bump. The company;’s

graph sore too. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently released his annual report to shareholders, colleagues, customers, and partners. In the report, Nadella detailed the gains that Microsoft has made in security, modern work, and gaming. He summarized how Microsoft delivered $168 billion in revenue, as well as the fact that Microsoft's operating income grew 32 percent to $70 billion. The Microsoft SEO even detailed that the company is "built for this moment" when it comes to Digital Transformation. Nadella pointed to examples of how Microsoft's technologies drove change during the pandemic. That includes GitHub code used in the NASA Mars Mission, mixed reality being used for surgeries in Mt. Sinai Health Systems in New York, and how Team Rubicon used Dynamics 365 to manage the deployment of thousands of volunteers to set up 169 COVID-19 response sites. You can check out Nadella's full post on his LinkedIn for more.





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Megha Rajagopalan


Pulitzer for

exposing China's Muslim detention camps


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

Indian-origin journalist Megha Rajagopalan has won the US' top journalism award, the Pulitzer Prize, for innovative investigative reports harnessing satellite technology that exposed China's mass detention camps for Muslim Uighurs and other minority ethnicites. The award in the international reporting category that she shared with two colleagues from an internet media, BuzzFeed News, was announced on Friday by the Pulitzer Board. Another journalist of Indian-origin, Neil Bedi, won a Pulitzer in the local reporting category for investigative stories he wrote with an editor at the Tampa Bay Times exposing the misuse of authority by a law enforcement official in Florida to track children. This is the 105th year of the Pulitzer Prizes awarded by a board at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York recognising the outstanding work. In recognition of the proliferation of citizen journalism in the internet age, teenaged nonjournalist, Darnella Frazier, was awarded a Pulitzer Special Citation for her courage in filming the killing of George Floyd, the African-American who died in police custody in Minneapolis last year. The video clip made on her smartphone went viral and set off prolonged nationwide protests against police brutality and led to measures in many states and cities to reform policing. The sight of a policeman kneeling on the neck of dying Floyd as he repeated, "I can't breathe", appealed to America's conscience and led to a broader consideration of the problems faced by AfricanAmericans. The Board said her that her video "spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice".



Throughout her reporting, Rajagopalan had to endure harassment from the Chinese government Rajagopalan and her colleagues used satellite imagery and 3D architectural simulations to buttress her interviews with two dozen former prisoners from the detention camps where as many as a million Muslims from Uighur and other minority ethnicites were interned. "I'm in complete shock, I did not expect this," she said. According to the publication, she and her colleagues, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek, identified 260 detention camps after building a voluminous database of about 50,000 possible sites comparing censored Chinese images with uncensored mapping software. Rajagopalan, who had previously reported from China but was barred from there for the story, travelled to neighbouring Kazhakstan to interview former detainees who had fled there, BuzzFeed said. "Throughout her reporting, Rajagopalan had to endure harassment from the Chinese government," the publication said. The series of stories provided proof of Beijing's violation of Uighurs' human rights, which some US and other Western officials have called a "genocide". Bedi and Kathleen McGrory were given their award for exposing "how a powerful and politically connected sheriff built a secretive intelligence operation that harassed residents and used grades and child welfare records to profile schoolchildren", the Pulitzer Board said. Bedi, who has a degree in computer science, is now a Washington-based reporter for ProPublica.




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nd out the businesses in community speaks your language @ INDO-CANADIAN BUSINESS PAGES

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


What made Singapore

emotional during historic AMIN DHILLON gurdwara visit PM

I have been even more encouraged to see the gurdwaras rally the Sikh community to pitch in and help out during this difficult period. They organised charity drives, provided rations and lent a helping hand through various assistance programmes like offering langars to anyone in need – SINGAPORE PM BY ATEET SHARMA


he Sikh community in Singapore was all praise for the local government after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attended the inauguration ceremony of the newly renovated Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road, one of the most popular gurdwaras in the country. "Delighted to attend the inauguration of Silat Road Sikh Temple today after a prolonged renovation during the pandemic. Congratulations to the Sikh community on this momentous occasion!" tweeted Lee. As the video of Singaporean PM wearing a white turban and addressing the Sangat (assembly) later went viral on social media, Baljit Singh, President of the Central Sikh


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

Gurdwara Board (CSGB), which oversees the running of two gurdwaras in Singapore - Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road and Central Sikh Temple - besides a Sikh Centre, told that it was a proud and emotional moment for many, including the current PM. His father, Lee Kuan Yew, the former PM of the country who is widely regarded as the 'father of modern Singapore', had inaugurated a different section of the same gurdwara, exactly 11 years ago. "The former PM opening the memorial gurudwara 11 years ago was a pure coincidence. However, this time around, the honourable PM definitely wanted to be here

with us on the occasion last week. He felt that the inauguration was a very important event as Singapore supports all religions. Very nobly, he agreed to put a turban, appreciating its importance to Sikh identity. He also paid homage to the Guru Granth Sahib and we offered him a Siropa and also gifted a Kirpan," Singh told over phone from Singapore today. The CSGB President said that the one thing which had always amazed the Singapore PM is how meticulously thousands of langars are served in the gurdwara every day. "Even during this Covid period, we are distributing about 1000-1500 packets during the langar on the weekdays and around

2500 on the weekend. It goes to anywhere around 5000 during Gurpurab. This temple, so rich in history, has never failed to serve meals. The PM is always struck by the fact and also to find that all this work is done voluntarily by the Sangat members, Sikhs as well as non-Sikhs who have also funded the renovation work," says Singh. Built in 1924 and declared as a historic site by Singapore's National Heritage Board (NHB) in 1999, Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road was the first gurdwara in Singapore to be built in traditional Sikh style architecture with domes and arches in accordance with the gurdwaras found in Punjab. According to the Singh, initially it used to handle the needs of the Sikh Police community and also house the new Sikh arrivals in transit to other parts of Asia. The old timers recall that the gurdwara provided accommodation and looked after the welfare of widows and children of many Sikh soldiers who died fighting for British military and police forces while defending Singapore during the Japanese Occupation (1942-45). On 12 October 1966, the memorial for Bhai Maharaj Singh, the first Sikh identified to arrive in Singapore, was relocated from the Singapore General Hospital compound to the front of Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road. It resulted in a massive increase in the congregation as people believed that an Akhand Path service performed at this gurdwara, next to the Bhai Maharaj Singh shrine, will earn the devotees great merit. Extensive renovation to the gurdwara was completed in October 1995 and the memorial too was expanded and officially opened by former PM Lee Kuan Yew in July 2010. It was also the first gurdwara in Singapore to have regular Akhand Paths and langar on

all days of the week. The marble Prakash Palki in the Darbar Hall is also said to be the largest of its kind in the world. During his visit to the gurdwara last week, Singapore PM Hsien Loong appreciated the introduction of live-streaming services during the Covid-19 pandemic so that devotees can attend the congregation virtually, especially during when all places of worship in the country had to close. "I have been even more encouraged to see the gurdwaras rally the Sikh community to pitch in and help out during this difficult period. They organised charity drives, provided rations and lent a helping hand through various assistance programmes like offering langars to anyone in need," he said adding that it reflects the Sikh tradition of Chardi Kala, the ability to maintain a positive state of mind in the face of adversity. It was also the first gurdwara in Singapore to have regular Akhand Paths and langar on all days of the week. The marble Prakash

Palki in the Darbar Hall is also said to be the largest of its kind in the world. During his visit to the gurdwara last week, Singapore PM Hsien Loong appreciated the introduction of live-streaming services during the Covid-19 pandemic so that devotees can attend the congregation virtually, especially during when all places of worship in the country had to close. "I have been even more encouraged to see the gurdwaras rally the Sikh community to pitch in and help out during this difficult period. They organised charity drives, provided rations and lent a helping hand through various assistance programmes like offering langars to anyone in need," he said adding that it reflects the Sikh tradition of Chardi Kala, the ability to maintain a positive state of mind in the face of adversity. (This content is being carried under an arrangement with NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View


HeAltH & WellNeSS

Gucci kaftan I for over uS$3k had Indian

Twitterati trolling


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

talian luxury fashion brand Gucci has been on a role over the past few years, being in the top five list of most valuable luxury brands globally in 2020. It is only fourth to fashion houses Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes. It is said that the brand has been valued at about 27.2 billion US dollars in 2020 and has become the largest brand owned by parent company, Kering Group. An ensemble available by the brand on its international website described as a “floral embroidery organic linen kaftan” labelled at 3500 US dollars (Rupees 2,52,000) has caught the attention of Indians on Twitter. Whether it was the price or the design, many desis had something to say about the ensemble, who started trolling the global fashion house on Twitter. One user wrote, “You’ll literally get fifty kurtas like this in wholesale for less than 1.5k”, while another said, “Sarojini Nagar se 250rs Mai milega dost (you can buy it in Sarojini Nagar for Rs 250 apprxo 4 US dollars)”. The price of the kaftans from the brand range from USD $2,100 -$3,500, which converts to Rs 1.5 to 2.5 lakh in Indian currency. This kaftan on its website, has been described as, “Crafted from organic linen, this kaftan is enriched with floral embroidery and self-tile tassels. First introduced as part of Gucci’s 1996 collection, the kaftan continues to be an integral part of the House aesthetic while evolving in new materials and modern details. Unexpected layering with tracksuit pieces define a whole new way to interpret the garment, giving it a surprising twist.” Indians who were trolling the brand on Twitter believe the fashion house has been inspired by Indian sensibilities and this range of kaftans have a striking resemblance with traditional Indian embroidered kurtas that are commonplace through out the country and the exorbitant price didn’t sit well with its Indian audience. The outfit made of linen and silk fabric with floral embroidery, prints and tassels as per Gucci was originally part of its 1996 collection. The haute fashion label is been known for its innovation and popularity, its designs appeal to a global audience and as such is is only inevitable that elements from various cultures feature in its repertoire. The fashion house offers everything from accessories, handbags, footwear and clothes to make-up and fragrances that are high-quality and timeless to markets that span continents. Whether its a case of cultural appropriation or commonplace inspiration which is but natural in design, the Indian tweeple are making it a point to air their views on the social media platform.



fter a year of working from home for many of us, it’s only natural to be hitting a rut. No matter how great your at-home work setup is, you might need a refresh. Here are few tips to make working from home so much better:


Declutter your workspace

A lot of work-related clutter can build up over time. Take a few minutes to collect any office items lying around the house, such as your video call headphones or your loose papers and sticky notes. Then recycle anything you don’t need and store the rest in a dedicated location. You’ll feel fresher and ready to take on what’s next.


Upgrade your workwear

Just because you aren’t going into the office doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to feel your best and look sharp. If you’re keen on business wear, try easing into a new pair of pants or a simple summer dress to find 52

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

working fromsohome much better

a more relaxed summertime vibe. If you’ve defaulted to pyjamas and sweats every day, consider finding the happy medium with a new pair of sleek joggers, just for a change.


Get outdoors

Take advantage of the season and head outside while you can. A quick walk in a local park is a great way to take a break or end your workday. If you have a backyard or balcony, set up a simple internet extender to move the office outside on warm days. The fresh air will lift up your spirits and do wonders for your productivity.

Boost online security for your personal devices 4

According to a recent survey, only 18 per cent of Canadians are using online identity theft protection tools, and most of us just

don’t know where to start. With so much online activity taking place, including a high volume of info sharing, we’ve become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks and identity theft, so it’s worthwhile to update your security measures for your personal devices as best as you can. While no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, using an all-in-one solution like Telus Online Security Powered by NortonLifeLock can help protect your personal devices, online privacy and information. Made for consumers, the comprehensive coverage is available across Canada (excluding Quebec residents) and includes multiple layers of protection that can help protect your identity and provide restoration if your personal information is ever stolen. Overall, changes like these can help bring peace of mind to your work-from-home life going forward. Find more information at (NC)


COOPED-UP GRADUATE Most parents of teens and young adults are having a tough time seeing their kids in limbo during the pandemic. But this is a great time for them to work on their education and career goals, and to do some research on exciting jobs that will also pay the bills. If your child is struggling with their major, postsecondary path or next steps in the workforce, here are some careers to consider:

Marine careers Perfect for those who love the water and want to help protect our environment, the Canadian Coast Guard is a great place to start looking. Offering plenty of adventure, some in-demand jobs include rescue specialist and roles with marine communications and traffic services. The organization is especially looking to hire people from various groups to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

Healthcare careers We’ve all seen the growing importance of healthcare in recent months. While nurses and doctors are always needed, new aspects of care like virtual appointments are opening up opportunities for those without medical or science degrees. Think jobs in administration, technology and digital.

Inclusion careers We’re currently seeing a much-needed realization that everything from workplaces to entertainment sources should be accessible to everyone and represent the diversity of our population. This means many companies are transforming hiring and everyday practices – and they’re looking for people in human resources to support this shift. You can help create a more equitable future by joining this growing field, with job titles like diversity and inclusion specialist and equity officer. Find more information on marine careers at (NC)

Workin’ moms’ TIPS FOR

Returning to Work (NC) Many of us have spent the past year working remotely or waiting for our workplaces to open up again. But with the kids doing virtual schooling or in-person classes with new protocols, it can be hard to stay focused. Here are some expert tips for keeping everyone on track:

towards saving you stress and increasing your productivity. If the kids are learning online and you’re working from home, make sure they have everything they need laid out the night before so they don’t have to interrupt you as much. Pre-portion snacks and drinks, and leave them in an accessible location so they can reach them on their own as needed.

Swap screen time for a podcast Use the latest Lots of parents are wary about too tools for moms much screen time, as TV and tablets take over school and play. But they’re helpful for keeping the kids entertained so you can work, cook or drive safely. Instead of another show or game, try introducing them to a podcast. An educational podcast or one that reads stories will encourage them to use their imaginations while giving their eyes a rest.

Get organized well in advance Organization can go a long way

If you’re returning to work after having a baby, you have some extra challenges to consider. Whether you’re working remotely or going in person, a breast pump is a great way to manage feeding times so everyone can stick to a schedule and share the responsibility with a partner. Try the Pump in Style breast pump from Medela, which has pre-programmed speed and vacuum settings based on extensive research to take the guesswork out for more effective pumping. Find more information at NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View



Where should our


BA, Computer Science & Economics

digital data go after we die? P

DR. JOANNA MCGRENERE Professor, Computer Science 54

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

eople want control over what personal digital data is passed along after they die, along with tools to make it easier to do so, according to a new case study by computer science researchers at the University of British Columbia. On the other hand, people found the idea of creating AI-powered replicas of a deceased person “creepy.” The study’s full findings — among the first to look at ways of preparing personal digital data for death – will be presented next week at the 2021 Human Computer

Interaction Conference (CHI.) “As someone growing up completely in the digital revolution, all the memories captured of my life are stored digitally. It struck me that many of the platforms I use don’t have great tools to support that data after I’m gone,” said lead author Janet Chen (she/her), who was an undergraduate student in the department of computer science at the time of the study. “We wanted to look at how to curate this data both while living, and after death.” Using a method called ‘research

through design,’ Chen and her co-authors, Francesco Vitale and Dr. Joanna McGrenere, created 12 rough design concepts for data management. The concepts were then presented to study participants, aged 18 to 81. The researchers also explored different levels of user-control by presenting humanselected, computer-selected and AI-powered alternatives. These employed techniques such as nudging the user to complete tasks, collaborating with family and friends and gamifying the process. Some of the concepts leveraged design elements from existing tools, such as videos that are auto-generated from iPhone photos. One entirely new concept was ‘Generation Cloud,’ whereby a family could upload meaningful data to something like Google Drive, then access it, or even contribute more, in the future.

the Past and Future Stories. “Users were receptive to the autogenerated video tool, because they could easily pass a pre-made video along to family and friends, as well as really liking Generation Cloud,” said Chen. “One concept people clearly did not like at all was an AIpowered replica of the deceased person, which would interact with future generations. They said it was scary and creepy.” Overall, the researchers found that participants had not really thought about their digital data, but when presented with concepts, preferred ideas that allowed them to preserve their sense of agency and control over what was passed along, with tools to make that process easier. At the moment, there are only a few tools available that consider data after death, such as Facebook’s Legacy Contact or Google’s Inactive Account manager, but the

researchers say these are platform-specific and limited in range. “Ten years from now it will likely be quite commonplace for people to be thinking about the reams of data they have online, and there is a huge opportunity for research with larger populations and new interfaces to support people who care about what happens to their data,” said Dr. McGrenere (she/her), a professor in the department of computer science. “Tools need to be lightweight to use, and designed so that they support the range of individual differences that we saw in our participants in terms of how they want to manage their data.” The paper “What Happens After Death? Using a Design Workbook to Understand User Expectations for Preparing their Data,” will be presented on May 11 and 12 at the 2021 Human Computer Interaction Conference (CHI.)

Other tools included: • CHECKLIST CRUSHER: An interactive tracker to tackle data, with target areas such as bank statements and certificates suggested by the system. Over time, users gained enough points to share trophies and unlock free storage space in the cloud. • FUTURE STORIES: A way to post data in the future by allowing users to upload photos, messages, or songs — and then pick a date at least 50 years into the future. The contacts chosen would be able to see the story on that date. • MEMORY SWIPE: A game in which user-selected photos, recipes, games and certificates show on a screen as the audience votes on which ones to keep. Three of the concepts presented to study participants: Checklist Crusher, Blast from

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View



She recommends Olay Body Wash with Retinol. Supercharged with Retinol and Vitamin B3 Complex, this body wash supports your skin's natural pH and deeply hydrates to replenish skin's moisture barrier. It moisturizes to improve skin 3X better than the leading body wash to transform skin from dry and dull to bright and smooth!

Elevate your nighttime body care routine with a rinse-off body conditioner 3



id you know your body repairs itself while you sleep? This is just as true for your body's skin as it is for your brain and your muscles. How much quality sleep you get each night, and how you prepare yourself for sleep, can make a difference in the look and feel of your body's skin. "While many people have developed healthy routines to care for the skin on their face, it's just as important to develop a nighttime body care routine too," says boardcertified dermatologist Dr. Sheila Farhang. "And it doesn't have to be complicated. There are simple steps you can follow that will have you covered, from head to toe." Farhang offers tips on how you can help your skin be at its best - while you're getting your beauty sleep.


Practice good sleep hygiene

To give your skin's cells optimal renewal time each night, make sure you get the best quality sleep you can - and enough of it. Want 56

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

to be sure you're getting the seven to eight hours minimum zzz's most adults need each night? Try the following: - Be consistent about sleep and wake times, even on weekends and days off. Your body gets used to a rhythm, and it can be thrown off by changes - even just springing that clock forward. - Sleep in a dark, cool room to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep. - Minimize noise with a white noise machine or fan if you wake frequently during the night. - Practice a soothing bedtime routine, like turning off gadgets early and enjoying a warm, relaxing shower.


Use products that work overnight

Choose products that work overnight to moisturize to revitalize skin, renew your skin's surface, and restore dry skin while you sleep. "If your skin sounds squeaky or feels tight after a shower, it has likely been stripped of its natural moisture," said Farhang.

Simply applying lotion after you shower may provide only temporary relief, leaving you reapplying frequently. Instead, Farhang recommends a proactive approach. "You condition your hair, so why not condition your skin?" asked Farhang. "Consider adding an in-shower moisturizer such as Olay's Rinse-Off Body Conditioner with Retinol for an added dose of moisture to help stop dry skin before it starts." Like the companion body wash, this body conditioner is made with Retinol and Vitamin B3 Complex. Using it every night can help you wake up to renewed and radiant skin.


Moisturize inside and out

"Hydration is key!" added Farhang. "In addition to using products with formulas supercharged with high quality skincare ingredients like Retinol, it's also important to make sure you're drinking enough water throughout the day." Most health care professionals recommend drinking at least eight glasses (eight ounces each) of water per day.


Moisturize your environment

Especially if you live in a dry climate, or if you are heating your home with dry air while the outside temps are still chilly, consider an inhome humidifier to help keep the air in your home more skin-friendly. Humidifiers are available in many different sizes, including portable units that can be moved from room to room. Using a humidifier will help keep the air from drying out whether you're just relaxing, working from home - or sleeping. Following these dermatologist recommendations will contribute to a good night's sleep and help your body's skin stay healthy year round.


New program makes

planning a birth

after C-section


UBC researchers have created a new interactive online program to support people who have had a previous C-section make better-informed decisions about navigating their next pregnancy and birth. There’s minimal support for people between pregnancies, says Dr. Sarah Munro,

an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynaecology, who developed the program, My Next Birth, with her team at UBC, to help bridge this gap in care. The UBC team partnered with Perinatal Services BC, provincial health authorities, the Ministry of Health, as well as patient

Our hope is the My Next Birth program can be a support for families to be active participants in their care. - DR SARAH MUNRO

Assistant professor in obstetrics and gynaecology


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

partners to develop the My Next Birth program, now being used throughout British Columbia. We spoke to Dr. Munro about the project.

Why can planning a birth after a previous C-section be challenging for families? People want to learn about the options for their next birth after a C-section sooner. We conducted a series of qualitative studies and surveys here in B.C. and found that families and care teams needed more support when exchanging information. Families wanted to know, what were the reasons for their first C-section? Was it from something unexpected that happened during labor? Is this something that might happen again in the future? What are the options for their next birth? Over 75 per cent of people in B.C. who have had a C-section before are good candidates for a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). The choice is up to them, but families often have to wait until the next pregnancy to start discussing options with

their care team. Families want information sooner, and our program aims to build dialogue and support families that desire social support and connection with their care teams.

Tell us a bit more about My Next Birth and how it fits into this? My Next Birth is a personalized online interactive patient decision aid. Simply put, it’s an interactive website that helps people who have previously had a C-section review their options. It helps them think about their preferences and jot down their questions, and it provides tailored information that’s specific to their values and needs. It also factors in where they live geographically in B.C., so that they can consider what resources are available locally. After they go through the website, they get a personalized summary printout to guide conversations and questions with their health care team.




How does the program improve patient care? Shared decision-making is at the core of patient-centred care. It shifts the dialogue so that families’ questions and preferences are at the centre of conversations. To support this, My Next Birth has tools for health care teams including a decision support algorithm that walks the care provider through the patient’s journey and a list of conversation prompts to guide discussions after the C-section—in the early postpartum period, at their six-week postpartum checkup, and then into the next pregnancy. Shared decision-making is a two-way street, and the My Next Birth program aims to support both sides of the conversation— the patient and the care team.

What impact do you hope this will have for patients? Having this long-term dialogue can not only help families make informed decisions that match their values, it can enhance the relationship with their care team. In this time of social isolation and virtual care, families want more support and connection. Our hope is the My Next Birth program can be a support for families to be active participants in their care.

For anyone living with a chronic condition, medication can make a world of difference to ease your symptoms. But according to the Arthritis Society, there’s also a lot you can do to manage pain without drugs.



Regular physical activity can help relieve arthritis symptoms, reduce pain, and improve your overall health. Exercise can also strengthen your muscles, which is crucial to supporting your joints. Stay as active as your health allows. Some physical activity is always better than none.



While meditation can’t take away pain, research shows it can help you approach and manage it in a healthy way.



The use of gentle heat may help relax muscles and stimulate circulation, thereby decreasing pain. Cold therapy – in the form

of frozen gel packs or ice – can reduce inflammation and swelling during a flareup. After using heat or cold, gently move the arthritic joint to reduce stiffness.



While physical activity can be beneficial, listening to your body and resting when you notice pain, swelling or increased heat around an affected joint can reduce the length of a flareup.


These treatments are helpful for some people. Consult your physician before trying them for yourself and use a registered practitioner if you do. Find more ideas at NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View





hether you’re into flipping houses or embarking on small DIY projects, there are many ways to transform your kitchen on budget and on time. Getting started can seem overwhelming, but lifestyle and DIY expert Erin Trafford shares her best advice on how to tackle a kitchen reno.

Set goals and priorities Renovating can be a daunting task and preparing for demolition day can be equally as overwhelming. Before you start, create a list of projects big and small, and set goals and timelines for each task. Creating a todo list will help you focus on priorities, such as choosing finishes and organizing trade assistance, while managing your personal tasks at the same time.

Choose your layout wisely A small kitchen is a reality in many homes. If you’re struggling to decide on the best layout, consider drawing multiple options. Once you have your favourite, tape it out on the kitchen floor to test the functionality of the new design. 60

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

TRANSFORM YOUR KITCHEN Consider one-stop shopping

Select a timeless paint

To simplify the renovation process, consider a one-stop shop for products and expertise. Home Hardware Building Centres offer design advice, tools and quality materials to complete your renovation project — big or small — from start to finish.

Bold looks are great, but they don’t stand the test of time. When selecting the theme for your kitchen, choose classic colours that will last more than one season. Match the paint to the overall décor and the mood you want to set. For a cozy, coastal retreat, try hues of green with greyish undertones. If you want a look that will last for years to come, choose neutrals for a brighter and more modern space.

Save where you can The cost of a kitchen reno can add up quickly, so consider splurging on a few investment pieces and finding ways to save on the rest. Establishing your must-have upgrades, such as appliances, countertops and backsplashes, will help you identify where you want to spend money and where you can cut back. If you’re looking for ways to work with what you’ve got, try painting cabinets or changing out hardware. Refinishing rather than replacing original hardwood flooring can also save you thousands.

Illuminate your kitchen If your current kitchen isn’t already brimming with natural light, try an upgrade. Brighten your home with warm lighting such as LED recessed lights or an accent pendant over the sink to mimic the feel of natural sunlight. Find more information on everything you need to complete your reno at

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The New Road Trips Rules: HOW TO PLAN

Now that most of the Covid restrictions are gone, many of us are planning to take road trips. This means exploring places in province, within driving distance. Whether you’re driving with your partner, a friend or the whole family, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Make sure to plan ahead

public health authorities. Stay current on the recommendations and bring hand sanitizer, extra face masks and sanitizing wipes.

Some places are opening back up, while others are tightening restrictions. The same goes for attractions, camping spots and other things to do. So be sure to plan early, and continue double checking what’s open, hours of operation and reservation deadlines.

Take care of your vehicle

Practice safety precautions Although many of us have been vaccinated, it’s still important to follow the latest pandemic prevention measures recommended by 62

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

You’ll want to avoid any hiccups that need roadside assistance, so make sure your vehicle maintenance is up-to-date. It’s also a smart idea to fuel up wisely to minimize wear and tear on your engine and make gas top ups last longer. Try Esso Synergy Supreme premium fuel, which helps keep your engine three times cleaner for more kilometres per tank compared to gasoline meeting minimum

Canadian government standards in port-fuel injected engines. Actual benefits are based on continuous use and may vary depending on vehicle type, driving style and gasoline previously used.

Beware of bathroom breaks Many businesses have closed off public access to their washrooms. Don’t panic, but keep in mind that finding an open bathroom may be harder these days. Take any opportunity for a bathroom that presents itself, especially if you’re with the kids.

Have a meal plan Depending on where you live and where you’re going, there may be restrictions on indoor or even outdoor dining. Look into what’s allowed ahead of time and plan accordingly. You may want to avoid buying food altogether and pack some sandwiches and snacks from home. Or you can consider grabbing some takeout and finding a local park to enjoy a picnic. Find your nearest gas station with Synergy Supreme at (NC)

Take a neighbourhood tour 1

Try rediscovering an area in your city or town and experiencing it with new eyes. Look for self-guided walking tours online where you can learn about its history and neat facts. Or make a scavenger hunt game out of it, getting everyone to try to be the first to spot some graffiti art, a purple car or a special landmark. Whoever wins can get an extra scoop of ice cream when you visit the local parlour at the end of the day.

Check out a drive-in attraction 2

Who says drive-ins are old school? They’re making a comeback as a safer way to enjoy activities that typically involve crowds in closed spaces. Look for a theatre near you screening the latest Hollywood release or an old classic. Other drive-in options now available include comedy shows and concerts. Pack some cozy blankets and your favourite snacks for a budget-friendly family evening.


Camp under the stars near or far

Camping is super popular this summer, but there should still be a few openings left at a national or provincial park that’s a bit further afield or less in demand. Or save yourself the trip and camp out in your own backyard — the kids will have just as much fun and it’ll be less work for parents. Plan fun activities, like camping charades, crafts with nature and glow-in-the-dark bowling.


Enjoy the journey on a road trip

See new places in a safer way with an inprovince day trip that’s all about the journey.

5IDEAS fun


The warmer weather means it’s time for exploring and adventures, especially after spending so much time cooped up indoors. Here are a few creative ways to do family favourites this summer.

Schedule stops at outdoor landmarks or attractions and plan to stop at fun local takeout spots that you pick together as a family. Save money by getting more out of your gas with a high-efficiency fuel like Synergy Supreme. Available at Esso stations, the premium fuel helps keep your engine three times cleaner for more kilometres per tank compared to gasoline meeting minimum Canadian government standards in port-fuel injected engines. Actual benefits are based on continuous use and may vary depending on vehicle type,

driving style and gasoline previously used.


Visit a new community park

Spend an afternoon at a park you don’t normally go to, pointing out any new trees, plants and birds to your kids. You’ll be surprised how exciting a different playground or sport facility can feel. You can even bring activities for the kids and your laptop to get some work done on a weekday afternoon for a break in your usual routine. . (NC) NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View



Best Traditional

Diwali Recipes

Samosa A crispy and spicy samosa is something which nobody can say no to! It can be the perfect snack for you for this festive occasion. So, if you are having a small Diwali party at your place then, you must serve ‘chai-samosa’ to your guests! Don’t wait anymore, just go and make this delectable recipe by following the easy steps which are mentioned here

Onion Bhaji Onion bhaji, also known as ‘pyaz ke pakode’, are made with onions, gram flour and a melange of spices! These deep-fried crispy and spicy bhajis will surely impress everyone if served with hot tea or coffee!

Gulab Jamun Time to feature the first sweet on this list, which is obviously gulab jamun! You just can’t imagine celebrating Diwali without having these delicious khoya balls dipped in thick sugar syrup. The rich texture and yummy taste of this sweet dish can instantly impress everyone!


s the exuberance of the festivity can be felt every where, it’s that time of the year when the festive fervour engulfs the soul with the hope of happiness and prosperity. From beautifully lit up streets to little fairy lights winning our hearts to the encapsulating aroma of desi ghee ladoos and mithai, the preparations for the biggest festival has begun and it is impossible to think of this festival of happiness and harmony without mentioning of some indulgent delicacies that have been a quintessential part of our culinary culture. Diwali, the ‘festival of lights’, can also be called ‘the festival of flavours’! Diwali marks the day on which Lord Rama came back home after spending 14 years in the forest, away from his family. But, apart from that reason, the day is celebrated with joy because he won the battle over the demon king Ravana and brought sita back. For his arrival, every corner of Ayodhya was decorated with diyas which were lit with ghee. in addition to the Ramayana factor, people also celebrate Diwali as ‘Lakshmi puja’. it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi graces those homes with wealth and prosperity which are brightly illuminated on the big day! Talking about the food, there are many items which are specially prepared for Diwali. The festival of Diwali is incomplete without sweets, but except them, there exists a diversity of snacks which are traditionally prepared during this festive season. so, here, in this article, we are sharing the 20 best traditional Diwali recipes which you can enjoy with your near and dear ones! 64

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Masala Peanuts Back to the savoury snacks, masala peanuts are a crunchy little piece of happiness! Every bit of it will take your food experience up by a notch! So, if you want to munch onto something which is absolutely delightful then, you must try this recipe!

Sooji Halwa Sooji halwa is something which is very commonly prepared in every Indian household on special occasions. From birthdays to festivals, it is generally found on the dinner table because everyone likes the way it tastes! So, why miss making it on Diwali? Try it now!

Soan Papdi Soan papdi is a cube-shaped Indian dessert which has a flaky texture. It is generally made with desi ghee, which is very good for health. So, just go and grab the ingredients; gram flour, sugar, desi ghee and milk, and make this scrumptious dessert to enjoy with your close friends. And, you can also pack it as a Diwali gift for the relatives!

Murukku Murukku, which is a popular South Indian snack, is made with the goodness of rice flour. It is commonly known as ‘chakli’ in Northern regions of India. You can easily make this recipe at home with simple ingredients and minimum efforts. This snack has a good shelf life and it can be stored for about 3-4 months. So, try it with your loved ones at tea time!

Aloo Bonda This streetside snack from South India will surely woo your taste buds! The delicious potato stuffing inside the golden crispy coating of gram flour makes this recipe a must-try for everyone! From a small gettogether to a large party, don’t forget to include this recipe on the menu!


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Namakpare are the best pair for a cup of hot tea! If you are done with sweet things during this festive season then, this crunchy and savoury snack is perfect for balancing your taste! You can easily make this recipe at home with simple ingredients and your guests will love it for sure!


Paneer Tikka Everyone likes paneer tikka because they are the perfect appetizer for all occasions! The spicy flavours on top of the soft paneer cubes will surely treat your taste buds! So, try this delectable snack recipe on Diwali with your near and dear ones!

Rice Kheer How can we miss including this quintessential dish on our list? Yes, that’s right, Rice kheer is something without which any Indian festival is incomplete! Not just festivals, it can also be prepared on other occasions like kitty party, game night or potluck. So, what are you waiting for? Go and make this delicious dessert easily at home and enjoy!


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Shehnaaz & Diljit take Punjabi cinema to a new height in


‘Honsla Rakh’


he much-awaited movie of Shehnaaz Gill, Diljit Dosanjh, and Sonam Bajwa ‘Honsla Rakh’ has finally arrived at the big screens. It has taken a bumper opening in Punjab and around the world and it’s expected to shatter previous records. And if the public reviews are anything to go by, it already seems to be a blockbuster. The movie made for one of the biggest releases in India as well with over 375 theatres screening the film. With theatres having re-opened in north India after the pandemic induced lockdowns, Shehnaaz’s fans have thronged to watch their favourite on the big screen. This is Shehnaaz’s first release after the sudden death of her reported beau Sidharth Shukla in September. The movie has also earned main producer Daljit Thind, a prominent Vancouver businessman, accolades. One prestigious Indian newspaper wrote: “Thind continues to bring quality Punjabi cinema to the masses and is also actively involved with a number of upcoming projects including Sher Bagga, Jodi and Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua 2.” The Punjabi rom-com stars Diljit Dosanjh, Shenaaz Gill, Sonam Bajwa and Shinda Grewal.


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

The romantic comedy narrates story of a single father played by Diljit who is gets a divorce from his wife even before their son is born. The single father then goes around looking for a mother for his son and a companion for himself. What follows is a sublime exhibit of emotions through various equations, that of a father and his son, between a man and a woman and

eventually between a woman and her son. Set in Canada, ‘Honsla Rakh’ starts in flashback as Yenkey Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) has a chance encounter with his ex-wife, Sweety (Shehnaaz Gill). As Sweety is curious to know why Yenkey did not remarry, the story goes back to the beginning of their marriage and sequences leading to their divorce, even though Sweety was carrying Yenkey’s child. Shehnaaz, who plays an ambitious young woman. The central character in the film is Honsla, Diljit’s son, played by Shinda Grewal. Son of actor Gippy Grewal, while this is not Shinda’s first outing as a child actor, in this film Shinda is winning hearts with his effortless acting, without losing the innocence of a child of seven. As he goes about helping his dad in pursuing Jasmine, even while remaining hidden from her sight, Shinda is the other lead hero in ‘Honsla Rakh’. All the eyes were also on Shehnaaz Gill! As soon as she enters, a personal connection was felt because we know (the audience had come for her). A back story is shown when Diljit and Shehnaaz were a couple. Shehnaaz’s character Sweety was not happy with her life and their unplanned child. Also, what she aimed in her life is again a funny story. Now, when we have Shehnaaz and Diljit sharing screen space, you expect the film to be romantic. The director doesn’t disappoint you on this count. He takes you back to the old days when Yanky and Sweety were a happy married couple. The we are introduced to a yoga instructor, Sonam Bajwa (Jasmine). As Yanky was finding for a partner to get settle with, he couldn’t control himself to get in touch with a hot and gorgeous girl. In the starting, Diljit’s character jokes ‘lasagna ke ander mooli wale paranthe’ as he wants to find a ‘foreigner mummy’ for Honsla. Director Amarjit Singh Saron has used Diljit’s comic timing to the hilt. Diljit is a natural actor. He is also one of the producers of Honsla Rakh.

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Bloody Romeo is the most recent project of film director Mukesh Asopa (DGC). Its official trailer was premiered via Film Threat, a renowned Hollywood film publication known for its diverse content concerning the film industry. The trailer for Bloody Romeo was released recently. Directed by Asopa, Bloody Romeo was 68

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

shot across Ontario, including locations across the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, and Kingston. A result of five years’ work, the film was made under the banner of Asopa Films Inc. and was shot on the camera known as Red Epic. Bloody Romeo stars Asopa himself as the titular protagonist, Romeo Quadros (Asopa’s

son, Akshay, also portrays the younger version of Quadros). The film also boasts a variety of star cast including Sayla De Goede, Richard Cole, Natalie DP, Emanuel Prince, Gurbir Bal Gogo, Alexia Antonia, and Hico Oshiro to name a few. The movie continues the trend in Asopa’s work by ambitiously creating a melting pot of genre, combining thriller, mystery, romance, and crime elements within a story that is also imbibed with social commentary on current issues. The film’s screen play was written by Anushree Deshpande and is based on a story written by Asopa. In another mark of Asopa’s work, the film’s cast and crew include several returning faces from his previous projects. These include actress Gurbir Bal Gogo, project manager Kevin Tracy, assistant director Alina Lapteva, and producer Twinkle Asopa. The film is currently in the process of being submitted to over fortyfilm festivals around the world. Twenty of these festivals are also known as Oscars Submissions Qualifying Film Festivals. Asopa has also announced his intention to give Bloody Romeo a premiere at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) in 2021. This is the sixthfeature film for which Asopa has assumed multiple responsibilities both behind and before the camera. Known for pursuing stories which stand apart from the mainstream film industry, Asopa is also known for his critically acclaimed features Depth of Pyaar, Chambers Gate, Zombie Beach and The Taste of Relation.


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GURLAINE KAUR GARCHA OPENS ON RACIST ATTACK Punjab-origin British actress Gurlaine Kaur Garcha, widely known for her role of Ash Panesar in the popular series “EastEnders”, has opened up on feeling “angry, sad and embarrassed” on being the target of racism. The 27-year-old actress, born in Luton, England, said the incident “came from nowhere” and left her in tears and feeling “ashamed” because she was unable to “brush off” the unnamed woman’s tirade, reports on Tuesday. Garcha made the revelation in a long post she shared on Instagram the day before. In the post, she categorically talks of being a “victim to verbal racial abuse” that she described as “a completely unprovoked attack”. Adding that she was proud of her British, Punjabi, Kenyan and Sikh roots, Garcha questioned in her post: “When will racism end?” She shared her post with a picture of a pink and a brown hand clasping each other. “Say no to racism”, goes the slogan beneath the visual in the image. Garcha wrote on Instagram: “Yesterday I was a victim to verbal racial abuse. It came from nowhere, I wasn’t expecting it, and even though I know racism exists and I could always be victim to it, it was still deeply deeply shocking. In a completely unprovoked attack, I was told by a woman to go back home, to return to wherever I’ve come from, and to stay there. The initial shock was that someone was


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

so comfortable to say this to me in public, not once but several times. It made me feel angry, sad, and embarrassed. It upset me, and as a result of being upset I felt weak. I was ashamed that I wasn’t able to just brush it off and continue with my day as normal. Instead, what followed were tears of sadness and frustration. how can someone be allowed to say something so racially driven and then walk away? Why do I then have to deal with all the feelings that come with it? Why do I have to tell myself to stay calm and not to retaliate? And why do I have to be the one left crying? It seems so unfair that I am judged by the colour of skin. My thoughts and feelings of fear weren’t just about that moment, but about a future where my children, nieces and nephews will have to face the same discrimination and hate. My heart sinks that deep down I know this won’t be the last time I experience something like this. “Initially I wasn’t going to say anything, but waking up this morning and feeling burdened with the same sadness from the day before, I realised that by speaking out it may help someone who has experienced the same, and make them realise they’re not alone. “When will racism end? “I am proud to be British. I am proud that my grandparents were born in Punjab. I am proud that my parents were born in Kenya. And I am proud to be Sikh. I celebrate all these things. I wish others did too,” she concluded.




ABHISHEK ON DAD AMITABH BACHCHAN Actor Abhishek Bachchan has called his father, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, good company to have, sharing that when the father-son duo was hospitalised due to Covid last year, it was wonderful to wake up and go see his father, a 78-year-old back then with severe comorbidities, have the fighting spirit to battle the virus. “Everybody has their own unique experience with Covid, I think people react to it differently. It was not a nice experience for me because you know I had a family that was inflicted by this as well. If you are in a situation where you are under medical supervision, you are very powerless,” said Abhishek, during a social media live motivational podcast. “Your life is being run by the medical teams so you are not really in control of your faculties in that sense and you don’t really have any power over what you do. You are not too sure what is going on as there is a lot of uncertainty about how things are going to pan out. The initial nights when I was in hospital, it was tough to sleep because I didn’t know really what awaited me on the other side,” Abhishek added. He stressed that keeping a positive mindset is the only thing that is in one’s control and it could get challenging at times. He said his father got him though his sleepless nights in the: “Initially, my father and I were in the hospital together. A week later my wife and daughter were hospitalised. Thankfully, they only had to be there for about a week then they came out, and my dad and I stayed on for a bit longer 72

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

because we hadn’t tested negative.” “Well, he is good company to have, so it was wonderful to wake up and go see my father who last year was 78 years old, a man with severe comorbidities but him being positive and having that fighting spirit to get through this.” Abhishek added: “At that point of time my energies were obviously directed towards him and him becoming better because you fear for your parents, it’s actually of a sensitive age group.” Seeing Big B’s fighting spirit was inspirational to Abhishek. “I mean he is also a great friend of mine, so it was good to shoot the breeze with him and you know when you are a COVID patient although you can interact with other patients, there is nothing else to do, you just have to wait around. So, there was some good banter that went on, I mean he is a good roomy in that sense,” he said. Reflecting on how Covid has shaped his life, he said he is the same person and he would like to believe that even in times like these he always stays positive. “The one thing that the last one year has taught me is you got to value your relationship and value the fact that you have a happy and healthy family around you. There was a point in time I was frustrated during the lockdown but then my wife put things into perspective for me and told me how for the first time in many years I could sit back, not be working round the clock and enjoy the company of my family in the safety of my home. That by itself, is a blessing,” he added.

On World Environment Day on Saturday, actor Ayushmann Khurrana reminisced about his trip to the Northeast to shoot for Anubhav Sinha’s “Anek”, directed by Anubhav Sinha. “I will never ever forget the beauty of nature in its full glory that I witnessed at the Kaziranga National Park and Shillong when I was shooting for ‘Anek’. As a lover of nature, I was bewildered to see the beauty that exists in our country. It was breathtakingly beautiful,” Ayushmann said. The star added: “My trip to Northeast was an eye-opener of what can be achieved by being in harmony with nature, and as a wildlife enthusiast it was a dream come true for me,” he added. Ayushmann urged everyone to be conscious about protecting the environment and the planet. “I have always believed that we will have to find solutions to live in harmony with nature. The future of humankind depends on co-existing with nature and preserving it. Look all around us, things that have never happened before are happening now because we have pushed nature to a tipping point,” he says. The actor added: “We aren’t realising that we won’t survive if we continue on this path. We have to protect and nurture what we have for the future generations. This planet has provided abundantly for all of us and we should take care of it.”

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Samantha Akkineni just gave a fabulous performance in “The Family Man 2”, if you choose to overlook the make-up slip about her antagonist, the Tamil terrorist Raji. On the show, Samantha’s face was ‘browned up’ more than necessary, to pass her off as the Sri Lankan Tamil character she plays. The outcome was not quite what one would have hoped for. The brownface syndrome had struck in Bollywood again, this time on the OTT screen. The term brownface generally refers to lighter-skinned actors getting drastic darkening makeup to pass off as darker-skinned

characters. We have seen it happen in Indian showbiz many times, and more often than not, like Samantha, the outcome has come across as a gaffe on screen. Several actors have gone a shade too many deeper while browning up for a role. In the past, you could think of Shreeram Lagoo’s face being almost painted black in “Souten”, or Radhika Sarathkumar’s character Chando in “Naseeb Apna Apna” starting off as an overtly madeup dark woman because it was a tale of a rustic ugly duckling metamorphosing into the pristine swan.

SAMANTHA AKKINENI in THE FAMILY MAN 2 South star Samantha made her debut in the digital space with a brilliant performance in season two of the series. She portrays the antagonist Raji, a Sri Lankan Tamil terrorist. To make her look the role, she is made to wear a dark skin shade that would seem twice her actual skin colour. It’s the only unbelievable thing about her otherwise authentic portrayal.

B’wood continues getting into the

skin of roles a tad too darkly


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

Rajendra Kumar had a double role as twins in “Gora Aur Kala”, where one brother, born with a blood disorder, has dark skin -reason enough for the make-up department to unleash bootpolish therapy on his face. Sunil Dutt played the brownfaced farmerturned-bandit Birju in “Mother India”. Dharmendra had shades of the black-brown daubed on himself that hardly seemed authentic, while essaying the Abyssinian slave Yakut Jamaluddin in “Razia Sultan”. Quality of everything including make-up has become more sophisticated in our film industry -- so they say. Yet, when it comes to browning or blackening of actors, we still tend to go over the top. IANS looks at a few recent examples.

HRITHIK ROSHAN in SUPER 30 Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan came under the scanner during “Super 30” where he played the role of Anand Kumar, the math whiz from Bihar who revolutionised preparation for entrance exams by crafting an affordable but effective education model. Kumar is far from Hrithik’s Greek God looks, and while the actor couldn’t do anything about the glaring disparity in physical built, he liberally had his face bronzed to get his ultra-fair complexion a few shades closer to Kumar’s darker heartland hue.

BHUMI PEDNEKAR in BALA Bhumi Pednekar went brown with vehemence for the Ayushmann Khurana starrer “Bala”, to essay a dark-skinned girl. The film dealt with several issues, one being about dark-skinned women getting a raw deal in the marriage scene owing to skin colour. Bhumi was natural as ever playing the role, her made-up skin was not.

RANVEER SINGH in GULLY BOY Ranveer Singh was loved as Murad, an aspiring rapper in the slums of Mumbai. “Gully Boy” raked in crores at the box-office, but critics and fans alike were quick to notice that Ranveer had gone a few shades darker. The makeover had absolutely no connection with the storyline or his character in the film.

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View




'Seven Happy Women' list

An indispensable voice, she (Deepika) speaks of the fragility and strength of the human mind, which she describes with great intelligence


ollywood actress Deepika Padukone has featured in the ‘Seven Happy Women’ list by Chopard under its ‘Happy Diamond’ campaign. The other names in the list include Aja Naomi King, Jung RyeoWon, Sadie Sink, Anne Nakamura, Dorra Zarrouk and Yang Zi. Chopard’s Co-President and Artistic Director, Caroline Scheufele, has chosen the names with unparalleled influence to embody Happy Diamonds. “Seven Friends of the Maison who represent, each through in their own way, a strong, free, joyful way of living in the world and of owning the spirit of the era. Deepika Padukone, Aja Naomi King, Jung Ryeo-Won, Sadie Sink, Anne Nakamura, Dorra Zarrouk and Yang Zi have all grasped the codes of their time to blaze their trail in a manner that is both singular and generous.” Theirs are powerful voices that resonate with that of Karin Scheufele -Caroline Scheufele’s mother -- who once exclaimed, faced with the first sketches of the future Happy Diamonds: “diamonds are happier when they are free”. The brand quotes: “An indispensable voice, she (Deepika) speaks of the fragility and strength of the human mind, which she describes with great intelligence: ‘To accept the highs and the lows. To embrace the various emotions that we are challenged with every single day. And to live a life that is fuelled by authenticity and purpose.’ A strong mantra for a free spirit that bears witness to a deep humanity, making her a true global icon.” 76

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Rajkummar Rao narrates series on local Covid heroes

Stories of good Samaritans have emerged as rays of hope and positivity in these grim times. Spotlighting a number of these real-life superheroes through his narration is Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao, who has recited a moving Hindi poem written by lyricist Swanand Kirkire as part of an eightepisode Spotify series. Titled ‘Ruk Jaana Nahi’, the limited edition original audio and video series highlights the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things - from frontline workers to doctors. It launched the first episode’s teaser last week, and will be followed by an original podcast on similar lines. “Of course, there are some great organisations that are doing some brilliant work towards COVID relief, but I was so touched by the strong will and the kindness of a common man. Having noticed stories of people helping others in need without any motive and from the sheer kindness of their heart 78

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on an almost daily basis on social media, I knew that these were stories that had to be told so that we remember their strength and sacrifices and that we are not alone in this fight against the pandemic. Spotify reached out to me to help share these stories of hope with a larger audience and I was very impressed with the initiative,” Rao told. Asked about his favourite line from the two-minute-long recital of Kirkire’s poem, Rao says candidly: “You know honestly, I can’t pick one line, when I first read Swanand sir’s poem, I was so moved by the words, every line resonated with me, I knew I just had to be on board. Swanand Sir’s words are so beautiful, I feel honoured to recite them on screen for everyone.” The series puts the spotlight on young India and the sacrifices they are making to help other people in need. Heart-warming videos and audio features will give listeners a glimpse into the lives of local heroes, including doctors who chose duty over their personal losses; Stories of those who have cooked meals for those in need; Individuals who are going out of their way to distribute masks (and smiles); Those with limited resources, but still delivering aid at their personal expense; and young Indians who’ve used their technology to connect patients with medical facilities. According to Spotify, there has been loss, despair, and heartbreaking scenes at our own homes, and across the country. But amidst the chaos, if there is one thing that has grown faster than the pandemic, it is humanity. We’ve been faceless strangers who’ve tried to help those who needed resources; we’ve also been at the receiving end of that kindness when our own loved ones were suffering. The audio streaming giant says these selfless acts of kindness will be shared through this limited video and audio series. Finally, asked about his thoughts on empathy during the pandemic, Rao shares: “It’s important to help and support those around us and coming together as a community is the best way to deal with our shared difficult situation. The smallest act of kindness becomes the biggest hope for humanity. “It’s testing times like these that require us all to stand together in solidarity. These are difficult times we are in, but it’s only through hope, resilience and perseverance that we can overcome this.”

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stars in season two of the hit thriller drama series "Motherland: Fort Salem"


outh Asian actor Praneet Akilla is currently starring in the second season of the hit thriller drama series Motherland: Fort Salem airing now on Freeform. Motherland: Fort Salem follows Raelle Collar, Abigail Bellweather and Tally Craven, three witches who are enlisted in the U.S. Army. They train in combat magic and use their vocal cords to enact "seeds" or "seed sounds" layering vocal sounds to create powerful spells. The series takes place in a women-dominated world in which the U.S. ended persecution of witches 300 years ago during the Salem witch trials after an agreement known as the Salem Accord.


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While describing his experience on the sets of Motherland, he says: "Being on the set of Motherland: Fort Salem was the experience of a lifetime. So often you don't see south Asian actors getting to use superpowers in a rich, fantastical sci-fi/ supernatural worlds. I got to do that by playing Gregorio, a male witch at war college. It's a dark season and stakes have never been higher as the witch army is facing multiple enemies at once." Praneet plays Gregorio, a male witch from the upper echelons of military witch society (like Abigail). He has huge opinions about how male witches are treated in a female dominant witch army, and makes them known. While describing his experience on the sets of Motherland, he says: "Being on the set of Motherland: Fort Salem was the experience of a lifetime. So often you don't see south Asian actors getting to use superpowers in a rich, fantastical sci-fi/supernatural worlds. I got to do that by playing Gregorio, a male witch at war college. It's a dark season and stakes have never been higher as the witch army is facing multiple enemies at once." Praneet is a rising star who was born in Mumbai, India and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Praneet discovered his love for storytelling and performance art at a young age after years of training in Indian classical music, watching movies, and making short films with his neighborhood friends. He got started by getting cast as Aladdin in his middle school musical and then continued to star in musical theater shows and plays throughout high school. Although, Praneet would go on to pursue a Chemical Engineering degree at McGill University, he always had one foot in the arts. While working as an engineering intern in the summers, he would act in community theatre productions or be the lead actor in features from local producers. One of those films, Jewel Fools (Rendering Glint Films), premiered at the 2014 at the Calgary International Film Festival with screenings in Toronto/Vancouver to rave reviews. Praneet then decided to follow his passion and pursue acting full-time. Since then, Praneet has amassed a significant body of work in film and television

Being on the set of Motherland: Fort Salem was the experience of a lifetime. So often you don't see south Asian actors getting to use superpowers in a rich, fantastical sci-fi/ supernatural worlds.

productions- with his breakout role as Philip Mishra in the 2020 Netflix Original fantasy/ horror series October Faction following the adventures of a retired monster hunter and his family. For his role, he was named a 2020 Rising Star by the Calgary Herald. He is also starring as Theo in the critically acclaimed short film Freya which is currently on the festival circuit with an upcoming screening at the Vancouver Short Film Festival from January 22nd to 24th. Other selected credits include Narcoleap (Youtube), Arrow (The CW), and Lux Me (Telus Storyhive Web Series). Most recently Praneet starred as Gil Bobbsey on the hit CW series Nancy Drew, as one of the Bobbsey Twins from the Nancy Drew canons. In addition to his film and television credits, Praneet is an accomplished theatre actor and Calgary Theatre Critics Choice Award nominee with leading roles in Cipher (Arts Club Theatre Company), Iceland

(Theatre Calgary), Coriolanus (Bard On The Beach), The Orchard (Arts Club), The Penelopiad (Grand Theatre), and King Lear (The Shakespeare Company). Coming up next, Praneet can be seen starring as Gregorio in the highly anticipated second season of the hit Freeform series Motherland: Fort Salem set to premiere on June 22nd, 2021. He will also be performing in the ancient Indian mythology epic Mahabharata at the Shaw Theatre Festival in 2022. Praneet is also a writer/producer currently developing two television series along with fellow writer/producer Tesh Guttikonda of Kalpana Films. Their mandate is to create dark comedies with BIPOC protagonists and a humanistic perspective with sometimes a supernatural or sci-fi twist in the mold of HBO's Barry to CBC'S Schitt's Creek. Praneet will be producing and starring in their upcoming short film Mom vs Machine about an Indian mother who has to battle a sentient food making machine to compete for the affection of her son. It is set to premiere at the highly competitive Crazy8s Film Festival in Vancouver later this year. Outside of acting, Praneet enjoys recreational sports such as ice/ball hockey, is an avid reader and writer and has a love for musical theatre and singing. NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View







he all-new 2022 INFINITI QX60, which is expected to arrive in Canada before the end of this year, will be the first model in the automaker’s lineup to feature the latest iteration of its innovative ProPILOT Assist system. The updated technology delivers smoother driver-support features and offers enhanced features that seamlessly connect to the vehicle’s navigation system to support the driver proactively in situations such as highway off-ramps. The latest ProPILOT Assist system combines information gathered from the QX60’s array of sensors and cameras with navigation information to assist its driver better. The data analyzed from the navigation system could include upcoming curves that require the QX60 to slow or exiting on an offramp. An extended automatic restart system now supports stopping for up to 30 seconds in stop-and-go traffic situations. “For the all-new QX60, we really wanted to up the ante to improve the confidence that customers will have in ProPILOT Assist,” said Melissa Tellez, autonomous drive testing and development engineer for INFINITI. “I like to think of it as a wetsuit. When you put one on and you jump in a lake, the wetsuit will not swim you to the other end of the lake. But


NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

while you’re swimming, it’ll help keep you comfortable, and it reduces the amount of energy you have to spend because it helps you float. It’s the same with ProPILOT Assist — it doesn’t drive you from point A to point B, but while you’re driving, you’re more comfortable and confident.” Since its introduction on the 2019 INFINITI QX50, ProPILOT Assist has been further refined to more smoothly assist drivers. In the all-new 2022 QX60, the system can proactively brake sooner and more softly, and its steering assistance is more natural. The three-row crossover can better maintain speeds on a downhill grade as well using the advanced Intelligent Cruise Control system. When ProPILOT Assist is engaged and customized to follow posted speeds, information gathered from the onboard system can help the driver quickly match speeds in changing speed-limit zones. When entering a new speed-limit zone, the system can prompt the driver to accept a change in set speed to match, or the system can automatically change set speeds. Those advanced systems combine with the all-new 2022 INFINITI QX60’s construction and suite of onboard active safety features to offer confidence and comfort to its driver

• Generous cargo space • New nine-speed automatic transmission • Standard digital instrument cluster • Wired Android Auto compatibility • No hybrid model (yet) and passengers that each journey can be completed more easily. More information about the all-new 2022 INFINITI QX60 will be released closer to market launch later this year. Stay tuned.




SUV with Rogue Bones and loaded with features • Roomy first- and second-row seats • Premium cabin materials • Many standard tech and safety features • Poised ride and handling • Leisurely acceleration • Cramped third row


itsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc. recently announced pricing and packaging for the all-new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, the best-equipped, most connected vehicle the company has ever sold in Canada starting at just $31,998¹ MSRP with an upgraded, reengineered version of the brand’s signature Super Allwheel Control (S-AWC)2 all-wheel drive system. There are seven price lines to choose from base ES to GT Premium. With more than 50+ new technologies and vehicle features, Outlander delivers more standard driver connectivity and driver assistance features, and passenger comforts. The Outlander offers unique features right from base including class-leading 11 airbags, S-AWC, and 3-row, 7 passenger seating and advanced safety features like rear automatic emergency braking. However,


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it is Outlander’s most popular LE volume price line that takes packaging to another level including the addition of telematics for the first time in Canada. Mitsubishi Connect can start the car remotely, connects you with

a call centre at a touch of a button in case of emergency and automatically reports when an airbag has been deployed. It can even help find a stolen vehicle, or a vehicle just lost in a parking lot. Mitsubishi Connect is

Big Enough To SERVE You, Small Enough To CARE Proudly Serving Fraser Valley for Over 40 years with the Most Modern Government Approved Equipment

MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER RANGE FROM $31,998 TO $42,178 offered for the first time in Canada and comes with Safeguard and Remote Services and a 24-month trial included. Powering the all-new Outlander is a newly developed 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an eight-step continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy for this all-new vehicle is 9.7 (City) /7.9 (Highway) /8.9 (Combined). 6 Mitsubishi’s rally-derived Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC)2 all-wheel drive system is standard from base. This system provides drivers with six drive modes to adjust the electronically controlled 4WD system, allowing drivers to feel more confident in all road conditions. Families can be assured that a wide array of driver assistance and safety features are standard right from base including Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) 8, Rear Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning (BSW) 10, Lane departure Warning,9 Driver Attention Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Automatic High Beam (AHB), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), and a class-leading 11 air bags. Depending on trim level, the all-new Outlander also offers: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), MI-PILOT Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist (ABSA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), and a Multiview Camera system.11. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP)1 for the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander range from $31,998 to $42,178 Every 2022 Outlander comes with one of the industry’s leading warranties12: a 10-year/160,000-km powertrain limited warranty; 5-year/100,000-km new vehicle limited warranty; and 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.


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Performance with a Touch of Distinction


ot on the heels of last month’s IS 500 F SPORT Performance world premiere, Lexus is proud to unveil the 2022 IS 500 F SPORT Performance Launch Edition. Only 500 serialized vehicles will be produced (50 for Canada), and it will be sold exclusively in North America. The IS 500 Launch Edition will be powered by the same naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine introduced in the standard IS 500. Generating 472 hp at 7,100 rpm and 395 lb.-ft of peak torque at 4,800 rpm, this engine offers the linear acceleration and V8 muscle that driving enthusiasts crave. However, buyers that desire additional distinction will find numerous interior and exterior enhancements in the IS 500 Launch Edition. Standing apart from the standard IS 500, the 2022 IS 500 Launch Edition interior builds upon Takumi craftsmanship with elevated interior materials, including sporty two-tone Black & Gray Ultrasuede® trimmed front and rear seats, door accents, and center console. Additionally, the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel receives unique silver ash wood treatment with black F SPORT Performance badging, and the interior will be appointed with a serialized Launch Edition badge to further highlight the 88

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vehicle’s exclusivity. Moreover, the F SPORT combination instrumentation meter has been updated with an exclusive Launch Edition startup animation to further set this model apart from the standard IS 500. Outside, the IS 500 Launch Edition is sure to turn heads with standard 19inch split-seven-spoke forged alloy Matte Black BBS® wheels from the IS F SPORT Dynamic Handling Package. Not only are they impressive looking, the 19-inch BBS® wheels are approximately 4 pounds lighter per wheel compared to the standard 19-inch IS F SPORT wheel. The vehicle will be sold exclusively in Incognito, an all-new colour for the Lexus lineup. More information regarding MSRP and available options will be made available

closer to launch. The 2022 IS 500 F SPORT Performance and IS 500 F SPORT Performance Launch Edition are expected to arrive in dealerships later this Fall.







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Smoothie bowls are the ultimate upgrade to a traditional smoothie — a creamy smoothie that is so thick you can eat it with a spoon. Top with fresh fruit, granola or any other healthy toppings for a quick and easy vegan breakfast or snack. The trick to a photo-worthy smoothie bowl is nailing the perfect texture; the smoothie needs to be thick enough to keep the toppings from sinking. Chilling the blender jar and serving bowls is key to keeping the smoothie cold and thick — it’s also why we recommend pulsing the smoothie instead of blending to keep the motor from heating up too much.


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Tropical Smoothie Bowls PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES CHILL TIME: 20 MINUTES

Ingredients • 2 cups (500 mL) frozen PC tropical fruit blend — pineapple, dragon fruit and passionfruit • ¾ cup (188 mL) plain Greek yogurt • 1 kiwi, peeled and cut into ¼-inch (5 mm) thick rounds • Half banana, peeled and cut into ¼-inch (5 mm) thick rounds • ¼ cup (60 mL) granola • 1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted coconut chips or shredded coconut • 1 tsp (5 mL) shelled hemp seeds

Directions 1. Chill blender jar and two serving bowls in freezer for 20 minutes.

2. Pulse frozen fruit in blender into small, coarse pieces. Scrape down sides. Add yogurt and 6 tbsp (90 mL) cold water; stir well before replacing lid. Pulse again, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. 3. Divide among chilled serving bowls. Top with kiwi, banana, granola, coconut chips and hemp seeds, dividing evenly. Serve immediately. TIP: Feel free to switch up the toppings depending on what you have in your fridge or cupboard. Fresh or dried mango, berries, hazelnuts, chia seeds, cacao nibs and fresh mint leaves are all great options. Nutritional information per ½ of recipe: calories 290, fat 3 g, sodium 80 mg, carbohydrates 44 g, dietary fibre 6 g, sugars 23 g, protein 14 g.


SAVOUR THE MIDDLE EAST WITH Ingredients • 1 1/3 lb (600 g) chicken breast, diced • 1 jar (156 mL) Al’Fez Shish Taouk Marinade • 5 tbsp (87.5 g) Greek yogurt • 8 skewers • 4 flat breads • Mixed salad, for the base • Black olives, for garnish • Garlic and lemon mayonnaise, to drizzle • Salt, to taste • Pickled chilies, for garnish

Directions 1. In a mixing bowl, add diced chicken breast, marinade, yogurt and salt to taste. Mix well and keep in fridge for at least 20 minutes. 2. Soak wooden skewers in water to avoid burning while cooking. 3. Thread marinated chicken breast equally on all the skewers. 4. Cook chicken shish in a preheated oven at 190°C for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. You can also cook chicken on a grill pan or on barbecue until the chicken is cooked. 5. On flat bread, make a bed of mixed salad and place two chicken skewers on it. Garnish with some black olives, pickled chillies and a drizzle of garlic and lemon mayonnaise. Serve hot.

Chicken Shish Taouk

Travel may be put on hold for the time being, but that doesn’t mean that you and your kids can’t experience the world through food. Sampling global fare, whether on a trip or at your very own dinner table, teaches children about other cultures and traditions. Fortunately, you won’t need a passport to take a trip to the Middle East with this chicken shish taouk recipe, served on a flat bread with garlic and lemon mayo. This classic Lebanese recipe serves up an exciting array of flavours, colours and textures, so have fun and get creative with your toppings, and encourage your little ones to lend a helping hand in the kitchen.

Explore more kid-friendly recipes inspired by cuisines from around the world at

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Lately, we have all found ourselves daydreaming about our next vacation. So why not add international flavours to your favourite dishes and bring vacation vibes to your home. A simple, flavourrich sauce can add something a little more exciting, fun and exotic. VH sauces are proudly prepared in Boisbriand, Quebec and their delicious marinades, dips and stir-fry sauces can help add an international flair to any of your homecooked meals. Take your taste buds to the tropics with this delicious recipe.



• 1/3 cup diced sweet red pepper • Lime wedges • Sprigs of fresh thyme



• 3 lb (1.5 kg) chicken drumsticks and thighs • 1 jar VH Pineapple Jerk Sauce, divided • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth • 1 cup short grain rice • 4 tsp minced fresh ginger • ½ cup red kidney beans, rinsed

1. In a large bowl, toss chicken with 1 cup (250 mL) sauce; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight. 2. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Arrange chicken on parchment-paper-lined baking sheet; cook for 35 to 45 minutes


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or until golden brown and cooked through. Brush with remaining sauce. 3. Meanwhile, bring broth to boil in small saucepan; stir in rice and ginger. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in beans and red pepper. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. 4. Serve chicken with rice and beans. Garnish as desired.



A great catch to include in your Tacos




4. Tacos are always a win, but lobster tacos with a crunchy potato-chip topping? Now that’s just genius. Look for lobster tail skewers that are prepped for you and ready to grill, so you don’t have to worry about the messy business. Whip up the pickled red onion ahead of time to get these tacos in your belly even faster. PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES COOK TIME: 25 MINUTES

Ingredients: PICKLED RED ONION: • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced • ¼ cup (60 mL) cider vinegar • 1 ½ tsp (7 mL) granulated sugar • ¾ tsp (4 mL) each coarse salt, black peppercorns and mustard seeds 94

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TACOS: • Half fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced • 3 tbsp (45 mL) mayonnaise • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest • 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice • ¼ tsp (1 mL) granulated sugar • Pinch (0.5 mL) each salt and black pepper • 3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh chives, divided • 1 pkg (200 g) PC lemon and butter grilling lobster tail skewers • 4 corn tortillas • 4 to 6 plain thick-cut or kettle-cooked potato chips, lightly crushed


1. Pickled red onion: Pack red onion snugly into 1-cup (250 mL) canning jar


with tight-fitting lid. Bring vinegar, sugar, coarse salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds and ½ cup (125 mL) water to a boil in small saucepan. Carefully pour mixture over red onion; cover with lid and screw on band to seal. Let stand at least 20 minutes. You can make this ahead and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Slaw: Stir together fennel, mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt and pepper in bowl. Stir in 2 tbsp (30 mL) chives. Set aside. Preheat grill to medium. Oil grill. Arrange lobster skewers, shell side down, on grill. Cook, lid down, 22 to 24 minutes, turning once, until opaque throughout. Remove lobster meat from shells and skewers. Cut each tail into four pieces; keep warm. Grill or pan-fry tortillas over medium-high heat, turning once, until slightly puffed and lightly toasted; 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to serving plates. Tacos: Top tortillas with fennel mixture and lobster, dividing evenly. Top each with 1 tbsp (15 mL) drained pickled red onions. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) chives and the potato chips, dividing evenly.

TIP: The leftover pickled red onion will keep in your fridge for up to two weeks. Use in salads and sandwiches – you can even use the pickling liquid in salad dressings and savoury cocktails. Nutritional information per two tacos: calories 380, fat 24 g, sodium 720 mg, carbohydrates 28 g, dietary fibre 3 g, sugars 8 g, protein 13 g.


Plant-based recipes vegetarians and meat-lovers will adore

Pizza Penne Skillet Many of us are now looking to incorporate plant-based eating into our meals. But this can be a daunting task, especially for meatlovers looking to reduce their meat intake or for vegetarians living in a world of meat-eaters. To help spruce things up in the kitchen when it comes to going plantbased, try some new recipes that everyone will love, like this delicious fusion of two of the best types of food — pizza and pasta.


Ingredients: • 2 cans crushed tomatoes • 12 oz (375 g) penne • 2 tbsp olive oil • ¼ lb mushrooms, sliced • 1 onion, sliced • 1 red pepper, sliced • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1/2 tsp dried oregano • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper • 1 pkg Gardein Meatless Meatballs • 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella • 2 tbsp torn basil leaves


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking liquid. 2. While pasta cooks, preheat broiler. Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms for 5 to 8 minutes or until they start to brown. 3. Stir in onion, red pepper, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; cook for 2 to 3 minutes

or until starting to soften. Stir in tomatoes and Meatless Meatballs; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low; cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened. 4. Add pasta and reserved cooking liquid to skillet; cook, tossing well, until pasta is well coated. Sprinkle with cheese. 5. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with basil. Find more plant-based recipes and inspiration at NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View



Ways to spruce up your snacking game Snack time is a coveted part of the day, so instead of sticking to the same old classics, why not transform your favourite noshes into something a little more adventurous? Whether it’s a sweet or savoury treat you crave, here are a few tips to elevate your snacking experience:

4 ways to use

local strawberries Summer is finally here and so is the best of our growing season. Local produce not only tastes better, it also supports Canadian growers, as well as reduces our carbon footprint. While there are many stars of our local growing season, strawberries are the favourite of many. The small, unique and deliciously red berries from fields across the country are available for a short window, but pack a punch that keeps us coming back for more each year. If you find yourself purchasing more strawberries than you know what to do with this summer, here are a few ways to enjoy them:

Take it outdoors. Strawberry skewers on the barbecue will be your new party trick. Lightly oil and grill strawberries to top a salad. Or soak them in rum or bourbon or a touch of vanilla extract or balsamic for a non-alcoholic option before skewering and barbecuing for a few minutes, flipping once for a deliciously warm topping for your favourite ice cream or cheesecake.

S’mores the way. For a sweet and tart twist on the summer classic simply add sliced strawberries to your usual s’mores combo or take it to the next level with chocolate hazelnut spread and a few slices of banana, instead of the traditional chocolate combo. Marshmallow96

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dipped strawberries also make a great fireside companion. Melt marshmallows on the stovetop or use marshmallow fluff and dip a skewered strawberry in the melted marshmallow, roasting to perfection over the fire.

Jazz up your jam. Making jam with local berries is a tradition, and while your standard strawberry jam is delicious on its own, why not make a few new variations? Try adding a cup of prosecco to your standard jam recipe for a sparkling surprise or some fresh-chopped basil for a savoury spin on the classic favourite. Spread on a scone or add to a charcuterie board for an extra taste of summer.

Savoury is the new sweet. A summer salad with strawberries — like a spinach salad with pecans and a poppy seed or balsamic vinaigrette — may already be in your repertoire, but there are many more ways to use strawberries in a salad. Mix strawberries and fresh basil, drizzle with a mixture of olive oil, honey and lime juice and serve with grilled President’s Choice Halloumi. Strawberries, feta and mint is also a delicious combination and can be used like a salsa with fresh naan.

Smoothie bowl

Smoothie bowls aren’t meant to be gulped down in seconds. Owing to their thick texture, smoothie bowls are meant to be enjoyed with toppings. Decorating your bowl with fresh berries, chopped nuts and granola will take the traditional smoothie to the next level.

Mix up your trail mix

The beauty of trail mix is that it is completely customizable. Switch out your usual peanuts and almonds with honey-salted macadamia nuts or candied pistachios. Toss in some crystallized ginger, toasted coconut flakes and dark chocolate chips for added flavour and crunch.

Flower power

The quickest way to make anything fancy is with edible flowers. They can easily be used as a garnish or inside a recipe for a striking presentation. Consider topping your next cookie or cupcake with viola petals. For those hot summer days, place lilac and rose into your ice or popsicle tray.

Charcuterie boards

All snack enthusiasts love the endless food selection possibilities here. Creating the perfect board starts with using locally sourced products. Head to your nearest grocery store and stock up on locally prepared meats, cheeses, fruits and snacks such as Angie’s Boomchickapop Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn, prepared in Ontario for an added local touch. Find more snacking and meal inspiration at readyseteat. com.

Local strawberries are now available at Loblaws stores across Canada.


For entertainment purpose only

Know what your star says


Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) People of the first sign, Aries, may enjoy cordial family relationships this November. You might, however, be required to shoulder more family responsibilities. You could also develop a good rapport with friends. Further, this month can well turn out to be the period when you make handsome profits from stock and share trading operations. However, students taking competitive examinations may need to work very hard to succeed in them.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) It is better for the Taurus-born not to enter into any new business agreements this November. However, those engaged in joint ventures can expect marked progress in their businesses. Merchants can also witness an increase in their sales; so, they, too, can expect to make handsome profits in their trades. But the employed may have to carry more workload; so, be prepared!

Gemini (May 21-June 21) For the Gemini sign people, money flow could be less in November. They may not also be able to hope for any significant gains. Besides, there are also chances for expenses on house maintenance; so, it is better that you keep aside some funds to take care of this expenditure. While this could be the scenario on the financial front, better luck may smile on students in the last year of their graduation. For, there are chances for them to get employment as soon as they complete their course of study. However, you may have some differences of opinion with family members, by the month-end.

Cancer (June 22-July 22) Those born in the Cancer sign are likely to perform well in work in November. Though your job responsibilities might increase, you may also improve your rapport with higher authorities. This also appears to be a suitable period for you to take on your business competitors and overcome 98

NOV / DEC 2021 News With A DEsi View

their challenges comfortably. This could also be the ideal month for you to pay back your debts if any. You can also make some new friends now, and this could widen your friends’ circle.

Leo (July 23-Aug 22) For the Leo people waiting to get married, this November looks to be the right month to look for suitable life partners. Besides, if you are facing any legal issues related to the property or documents, those may get resolved in your favor. However, school students could feel anxious or tense; so, they may have to put more effort and dedication into their lessons.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22) The Virgos could have a strong inclination towards spirituality in November. On the other hand, lovers, too, may find this month favorable to them. Besides, your earlier investments might also yield you substantial profits. Further, the employed may succeed in their endeavors at work and earn a good name and reputation in the process. Those engaged in businesses that deal with government sectors can hope for marked progress. However, some health issues can trouble you, but you may overcome those and go ahead with your tasks.

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22) The respect and regard the Libran employees enjoy are likely to go up in November. But heavy workload can create tension in your mind. As this could affect your health, you may have to pay particular attention to your fitness now. However, husband and wife may enjoy a more intimate relationship. Besides, this might also be a good month for the school students, who may study with complete attention and focus.

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) People of the Scorpio sign might enjoy wonderful family life this

November. There are also good possibilities for you to acquire landed properties or vehicles. Chances are also there for some auspicious events or celebrations to take place at home. However, students may be required to study with total concentration for long hours; hence, they may have to pay particular attention to their health.

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) The employed Sagittarians may excel in their work in November and come under the favorable notice of their superiors. This also appears to be the ideal month for those of marriageable age to get suitable life partners. Try to adjust and be accommodative of your spouse, and this can bring the husband and wife much closer to each other. Besides, you are likely to enjoy stable finances. On the other hand, you may also be more inclined towards spirituality this month, with some of you going on pilgrimages.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) The Capricorn-born may maintain a cordial and loving relationship with everyone in the family in September. While the family atmosphere is likely to be pleasant, the bonds with the relatives might also be generally good. But the school students could feel tense now. However, students, in general, might succeed in their studies if they focus fully on their lessons. There seems to be little chance for you to suffer from any major health disorders now.

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) People of the Aquarius sign may enjoy a promising economic status in November. Those engaged in businesses dealing with foreign lands can make significant gains. Further, you may also receive more respect and regard at the workplace. On the personal front, your rapport with children could become much better. However, you may be required to incur medical expenses, so it makes sense for you to earmark some funds towards it.

Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) The Employed Pisces people can get promoted in their jobs in November, and this could help improve their finances. You should be working very hard now and might also get recognition for your performance. On the other hand, you may also develop an interest in music and arts. Besides, this month could prove to be an excellent one for the lovers. Students taking competitive examinations, too, may come out successful.

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