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Crunch Time for Delhi’s New T3 Terminal

By Samar Halarnkar NEW DELHI (Live Mint): When you leave for work at 7.30am and return by 11.30pm every day, survive on adrenalin, a dab of rice and vegetable for lunch, sleep for 4 hours and have a mission to complete India’s biggest airport terminal in a world-record time of 37 months, that’s an unsurprising dream. But mechanical engineer I. Prabhakara Rao, 50, can think of no rest until he meets his July deadline to open T3 (Terminal 3), Delhi’s new international and domestic terminal—and the world’s sixth largest—three months before the Commonwealth Games. Larger than the new terminals of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore combined, T3 cannot afford the just-in-time approach that much of Delhi is taking, with some infrastructure projects unlikely to meet the Games deadline of October. In a country notorious for eternally scrambling to catch up, T3 is the biggest Indian example of the build-and-they-will-come infrastructure philosophy that China has used to spur growth. The original annual traffic projections of 20 million for 2010 were revised to 30 million after Rao, chief executive officer (Airport Development) of Delhi airport developer GMR Group, held at least 120 meetings with various agencies in the travel trade. Just as well: Delhi already handles 25 million people today, despite 9/11 and the slowdown. Mindful of an opening week fiasco when employees didn’t know how to run the baggagehandling system and flights were finally turned away at Heathrow’s state-of-the-art T5 in 2008, Rao has started detailed tests before commercial flights start landing in July. “I don’t want a (Heathrow-style) T5 fiasco,” says Rao emphatically. “In three months we want everyone to know, be absolutely clear, what needs to be done.” Lugging at least 1,000 pieces of luggage, they start the first major trial of India’s most advanced baggage-handling system. It even has a CT Scan, like those used in hospitals, to check every inch of suspicious luggage. The check-in displays are up and running, announcing PanAm flights—complete with the logo of the defunct American airline—to Paris, Kathmandu and New York. “Things are going well,” shouts Yvonne Kuger, above the din and amid the dust and frenzy around her. A cheerful, calm woman, she’s head of Operations Readiness Airport Transfer, a consulting team from Munich that’s already helped Rao’s GMR group activate the

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There was the small matter of a village in the middle of the project area, and it could not be moved. So, a new master plan had to be drawn up— skirting the village. When work finally did start by September 2006, typically Indian challenges emerged. Like the new runway that had to be extended by 800m, thanks to an immovable Shiva statue in the flight path. Incoming aircraft must clear 1.4km of runway before they can touch down. With construction in the final, frenetic phases, the results of using the best in the business are evident. With a skill honed on the world’s highest building, the Burj Khalifa, Chinese workers are fixing the last of the 1 sq. km of glass that will be wrapped around T3. A Singapore company is handling the steel, an American company the aerobridges. The chief contractor is Indian engineering firm Larsen and Toubro Ltd, global veteran of highways, nuclear plants and more. Work now goes on 24/7 as Rao and a multinational team of nearly 25,000 workers, 300 engineers and other specialists race towards the official opening in July. For now, Rao—whose son, an engineer and an MBA (master’s in business administration), does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps—must manage with half the sleep a man his age needs. “There is no choice,” he says. “It just has to be done.”

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Bankrupt Lyondell Rejects Reliance $14.5 Rescue Bid HOUSTON: The board of bankrupt LyondellBasell Industries AF rejected a $14.5 billion (Rs66,700 crore) bid from Reliance Industries Ltd, an oil refiner and explorer controlled by India’s richest man, two people briefed on the matter said. The offer pitted billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance against creditors including Apollo Management Lp, a New York-based private-equity firm led by Leon Black, which had backed an earlier reorganization plan that would give them an equity stake in the chemicals maker. Lyondell spokesman David Harpole and Reliance’s Manoj Warrier declined to comment. “It doesn’t mean this is the end. There’s an opportunity to counteroffer, but the upside value for shareholders is rapidly reduced,” said Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C Bernstein Ltd. “LyondellBasell was an opportunistic move to buy a distressed asset at an attractive price. Bidding higher removes the rationale for doing this.” The Rotterdam-based chemicals maker had earlier rejected a revised Reliance bid that valued it at $13.5 billion, The Wall Street Journal said on 8 January. India’s largest firm by market value had raised its offer for a controlling stake to $14.5 billion, two people with knowledge of the offer said 22 February. The Mumbaibased company initially offered an undisclosed amount on 21 November and has yet to make public the value of its bid. Reliance shares rose 0.57% to close at Rs983.86. The shares have dropped 9.7% this year, outpacing the 3.96% decline in the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensitive Index. The cost of protecting Reliance’s bonds from default fell. Credit-default swaps on the company declined 7 basis points (bps) to 165 bps as of 4.48pm in Singapore, according to Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. The swap continued on page 28

Hyderabad airport and Delhi’s new domestic terminal 1-D. “It’s a tight deadline, but we’ll make it.” Singapore’s gleaming Changi terminal took 70 months to build, Heathrow’s new terminal T5 took at least 65, so wasn’t this seemingly impossible deadline for Delhi a gamble? “I don’t gamble,” says Rao, a lean, intense man who has spent 26 years building everything from power to steel plants. “I am a hardcore project manager.” He says the secret has been intense “planning, planning, planning” of men, materials and machinery. Take materials: At its peak, construction needed 1,000 trucks of stone and mud, driven in silently every night through back roads to the airport, avoiding the main highways. Take men: When construction was at its most frenetic, 37,000 workers were used. To be motivated and productive, they were housed by GMR (20,000 houses are still in use) on the airport premises, with power, food, sewage lines, a village-like Sunday market, even a Sunday movie (motivational films such as Chak De! India). The speed of construction at T3 has attracted international attention. Streams of visitors file in and out every day of the sprawling construction site. To take lessons for their own future expansions, officials from Beijing and Singapore come to study INDIVIDUAL & how Delhi is throwing up GROUP a terminal this fast. Today, TERM & French business students WHOLE LIFE are trawling the international and departure terminals, DENTAL each 1.2km in length with a DISABILITY total of 78 shiny, glass-andsteel aerobridges. LONG TERM CARE When GMR took charge of Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL), to use its official name, on 4 May 2006, the first thing they had Sam Merchant to do was revise their careReliance Business Solutions 3300 S.Gessner Rd, Ste 176, Houston, TX-77063 fully drafted master plan.

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India Needs to Think Big and Act Bigger The finance minister says he requires a minimum 10% growth over the next 10 years; his three basic objectives are a higher growth trajectory, a move towards fiscal consolidation, and inclusive growth By Raghav Bahl New Delhi: In his first interview after presenting the Budget for 2010-11, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee explained his agenda for the economy. The time has come “for India to think big and act bigger on the global stage”, Mukherjee said. Edited excerpts: If I was to use adjectives such as resilient, safe, predictable— would those be acceptable to you as a definition of today’s Budget? You know it’s very difficult for me to define the Budget from others’ point of view, but surely I wanted to convey a message and if somebody asks me to define the Budget, I would like to say that, yes, it conveys a message because my fiscal policies, my developmental allocations, they go hand in hand. While I have enhanced the allocation considering that it is (a) priority sector, for example agriculture, I have also tried to give fiscal concessions in the form of either exemption of customs duty or excise duty to ensure that agriculture develops. But three basic objectives I had: One was that we must come back to the path of higher growth trajectory; second, we must move on the path

of fiscal consolidation; and, third the inclusive growth, which is the article of faith so far as United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is concerned.... You opened this Budget speech

by saying that it shouldn’t just be a statement of income and expenditure but you wanted to dwell on the vision statement as well. Was this learning from the last time where there was some criticism of the fact that you dwelt too much on the minutiae of the Budget and the vision thing was lacking? You are correct to some extent... I could have become just a pedestrian

looking at the concerns in hand, completely ignoring the broad approach each one would like to have to reach the goal... (But) I thought that... the time has come when India must not only think big but act in a bigger manner, so that it can take its rightful place in the comity of nations. On petroleum pricing, you hiked the tax, which is fine— that is one way of increasing petrol prices. Would it not have been possible for you to articulate how you intend to deregulate oil prices? It is true. But as far as deregulation is concerned, it is an act. Frankly speaking, it is not the policy matter. In our context it has assumed a policy dimension. But frankly speaking, economically it is an action of the government. Before 2004 actually deregulation was there and that is why I have mentioned it. It is your government which actually regulated a deregulated practice.

P J Nayak is Business Standard Banker of the Year MUMBAI (BS): A five-member jury selects him for Axis Bank’s sterling performance in 2008-09. P J Nayak, former chairman and CEO of Axis Bank, is the Business Standard Banker of the Year for 2009. Nayak was the unanimous choice of a five-member jury led by H N Sinor, former CEO of the Indian Banks’ Association. Though it’s almost nine months now that Nayak has stepped down from Axis, the jury felt he richly deserved the award for the bank’s stupendous performance in 200809 when he was in charge. The jury also said one of the key factors for judging the success of a CEO should be how the organisation fared even after he left. During his nine-year stint atAxis, the bank outperformed its peers by posting a 48.75 per cent compounded annual growth rate for net profit. Return on assets, too, improved significantly from 0.77 per cent in March 2000 to 1.44 per cent in March 2009. Apart from Sinor, the other members of the jury were Aditya Birla Financial Services CEO Ajay

Srinivasan, J P Morgan India Chief Economist Jahangir Aziz, Mahindra & Mahindra Chief Financial Officer Bharat Doshi and Tata Consultancy Services CFO S Mahalingam. What is the key to the success of this bureaucrat-turned banker who holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and a Doctorate from Cambridge? Nayak himself provides the answer. In an interview with Business Standard, the details of which has been published in the Banking Annual being distributed with today’s edition, Nayak said, “Banking is not rocket science. You need customer-empathetic people with a commonsensical head on their shoulders”.

That’s the reason Nayak stuck to the basics of banking even when others were lending aggressively. He followed a system of scoring sheets to assess credit-worthiness instead of granting credit cards and personal loans in large numbers. The bank also stayed away from businesses such as two-wheeler loans and small-ticket personal loans, fearing defaults. The Banking Annual also covers a round-table discussion involving the CEOs of seven leading banks on the topic: “Life after the Crisis”. The panelists were State Bank of India Chairman O P Bhatt, ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar, Axis Bank MD & CEO Shikha Sharma, Union Bank of India Chairman M V Nair, HSBC India CEO Stuart Davis, Standard Chartered CEO Neeraj Swarup and Citibank India CEO Mark Robinson. The consensus was that 2010 will be a challenging year when managing liquidity is going to be a big issue in a volatile market. But the opportunities are also limitless because this year is expected to see growth in investment as well as consumption.

...if you look at a paragraph which I have mentioned in my Budget speech.., my colleague, the minister of petroleum and natural gas, will address this issue (of deregulation). I had mentioned that issue, the government appointed a committee. Kirit

Parikh committee’s recommendations are available with the government and they will do this. I think that is where a little bit of a disappointment comes in because you sort of kicked the ball away. I could have.

Tata Motors to Launch Nano Electric in Europe GENEVA: Tata Motors on Tuesday, March 2 said it will launch the electric version of the world’s cheapest car Nano in Europe within the next two-anda-half years, although no timeline has been fixed for its rollout at home. “The electric Nano will be launched in Europe in two-and- a-half years

The Tata Nano EV car is displayed on the exhibition stand of Tata during the first media day of the 80th Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo in Geneva.

and it will be launched in select markets like Britain and the Scandinavian countries first, and gradually in other nations,” Tata Motors vice-chairman Ravi Kant told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show here today. The company, which unveiled the electric version of the small car – Tata Nano EV – would also launch the version in the domestic market. However, no possible timeframe has been fixed for its launch in the home market. “We have not decided the time line for launch of the electric Nano in India, but we are looking at it,” Kant said. Asked about the pricing of the Nano EV, he said it would be decided at the time of launch. - ET

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Lyondell Rejects Reliance Rescue Bid 25 contracts pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities if a borrower fails to meet its debt agreements. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. “The market seems to think this is a positive because the valuation for LyondellBasell seemed a bit too high for a company coming out of bankruptcy,” said Vinay Nair, Mumbai-based analyst with Khandwala Securities Ltd, who has a “reduce” rating on the stock. “The cash outflow it meant for Reliance was a concern.” Buying LyondellBasell would create a company with at least $80 billion in revenue and give Reliance chemical plants and two oil refineries in the

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US and Europe. The Indian company is seeking assets abroad to reduce the risk of investing mostly in India, where it is battling a lawsuit over natural gas supplies with a company owned by Mukesh Ambani’s estranged brother, Anil Ambani. Reliance may focus on the possible acquisition of Canada’s Value Creation Inc. should its bid for LyondellBasell fail, The Economic Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, without citing anyone. The company had bid $2 billion to acquire 65% of the Canada-based company with oil sands assets, CNBC-TV18 reported on 9 February without saying where it got the information.

New-Look Rupee Gets NID Touch

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AHMEDABAD: With the global standing of the rupee likely to get stronger, the first thing to be done is to change the face of the Indian rupee to match world-class aspiration. NID ( National Institute of Design) may have a role in what the new rupee would look like. The Union finance ministry has reached very close to selecting a symbol for the Indian currency just like the US dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling, Japanese Yen, and others. The eight-member jury appointed by the ministry, which also has an NID faculty member, has short listed five of the 3,331 eligible entries that were received. Anil Sinha from NID, who is in the jury, has also designed coins of

several denominations that are in use right now, including the Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins, but he refused to say whether NID’s design was also among the shortlisted ones. “It was an open competition organised by the Union finance ministry, which was launched early last year. There have been three meetings of jury members since and has shortlisted five symbols and submitted to the ministry,” said a source from the institute. Sinha said the ministry will soon announce the results. It being an open competition, the winner of the competition will be awarded Rs 2.5 lakhs and the remaining four short listed symbols will be given a cash prise of Rs 25,000.

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India Will Step Up Security at Commonwealth Games By Heather Timmons NEW DELHI: India’s plans for the 2010 Commonwealth Games include roof-top snipers, food tasters for the athletes and their families, and the closing of schools and courts to cut traffic, officials said Monday. “We’re quite determined to provide a safe and secure games,” Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said at a press conference in New Delhi. A bomb blast that killed 15 people in Pune this month has heightened concerns about security in India, which is scheduled to host several international sporting events, including the Commonwealth Games in October, in the coming months. Mr. Pillai dismissed recent reports that the Commonwealth Games were being targeted particularly by terrorists. “We are aware” of these alleged threats, Mr. Pillai said, adding that they were “not credible.” New Delhi is scheduled to host the

field hockey World Cup, which will start Sunday, and an Indian Premier League cricket tournament in mid-

March. But it is the Commonwealth Games that are the greatest source of anxiety.

The games will be by far the largest international sporting event ever in India, and officials want to prove that the country is capable of putting on a worldclass show. About 100,000 spectators and thousands of athletes from 52 countries are expected. The Commonwealth Games bring together teams in countries from Britain’s once-sprawling empire. So far, the runup to the 2010 games has been marked by controversy, discord and missed construction deadlines. On Monday, Mr. Pillai and several officials from the Home Ministry, the Ministry of Sports and Delhi’s police department detailed the stepped up security that they have planned for the Commonwealth Games. New Delhi’s plans include a 4.3-meter, or 14-foot, fence and grill around the main stadium, closed-circuit camera surveillance and a heavy presence of armed guards. In addition to a food taster, athletes and their families will protected by helicopter surveillance and snipers. Officials have made “elaborate plans for the entire city,” the Delhi police commissioner, Y.S. Dadwal, said Monday, and they include vehicle checkpoints and stepped-up patrolling by the police. Indian officials are working with security and intelligence experts from Australia, Britain and Canada to track terror threats ahead of the sporting events. The biggest challenge, Mr. Pillai said, is the “real lone wolf,” an unknown terrorist who acts without the support of a group. -WP

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Aviation on Recovery Path New Delhi, Feb. 25 (PTI): The civil aviation industry, which was hit hard by the global meltdown and high fuel cost, showed signs of recovery in 2009, with the domestic passenger traffic rising 6 per cent to 43.3 million, the economic survey said on February 25. “Signs of recovery became visible in the second half of 2009. The scheduled domestic passenger traffic has increased from 40.8 million in 2008 to 43.3 million in 2009,” said the Economic Survey 2009-10. Taking note of the overall expansion work at airports across the country, it said of the 35 nonmetro airports planned, 24 had been identified for city-side development through public-private partnership. On the Rs 20,000-crore modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports, the survey said work was in progress. While the Delhi airport project was likely to be completed by 2010, work at the Mumbai airport would be over by 2012. Besides plans to construct greenfield airports in the Northeast, costing Rs 309.46 crore, the Airports Authority of India has also taken

up development of the Calcutta and Chennai airports at a cost of Rs 3,750 crore. On the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, the survey said it had helped to ach-ieve economies of scale and cut overlaps in routes. It also said the combined procurement had ensured volume discounts in areas such as fuel, inflight service items and insurance. On bringing transparency in airfare advertising, the survey stated that the government had amended rules, “wherein airlines shall display tariff in a conspicuous manner to show the total amount payable by a passenger and the complete break-up of the total amount”. While the directorate general of civil aviation has started monitoring tariffs of scheduled domestic airlines, a group has been constituted comprising tariff analysis experts to carry out the analysis of fares on major routes on a daily basis. The survey noted that the first phase of the India-USA Aviation Cooperation Programme, signed in 2007, was completed in 2008 and its second phase was under way.

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India, Pakistan Vow to ‘Stay in Touch’ in First Formal Talks Since Mumbai Siege By Emily Wax NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan met Thursday for their first formal talks since the deadly siege of Mumbai in 2008. Officials described the U.S.-backed session as a cautious step toward restoring trust between the two nucleararmed rivals, though both sides conceded that much mutual suspicion remains and promised only to “keep in touch.” Neither country gave a date for follow-up talks after Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir for more than three hours in a former palace in the Indian capital. India said Pakistan has not done enough to dismantle terrorist networks on its soil and bring those responsible for the Mumbai siege to justice. India blames the attacks on a Pakistanbased militant group, Lashkar-i-Taiba, which remains intact. Rao also said the “time is not right” for a resumption of the wide-ranging discussions that Pakistan wants. Bashir told reporters that Pakistan “welcomed India’s focus on terrorism” during the talks, but stressed that both countries have been victims of such violence. He also said Pakistan had raised the emotional issue of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which has been the cause of two of the three wars between the nations and lies at the heart of their decades-old dispute. “It is unfair and unrealistic and, in our view, counterproductive to . . . keep the focus” only on Mumbai, Bashir said, stressing his sympathy for the victims of the attacks. “Otherwise, we get caught in a time warp. . . . One cannot be dismissive of the Kashmir issue, and any effort to be dismissive of this issue will not be healthy.” Pakistani officials also wanted to discuss growing tensions over water from Himalayan rivers flowing down from Indian Kashmir into

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, left, shakes hand with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir before the start of a delegation level meeting, in New Delhi, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. India and Pakistan held high-level peace talks Thursday for the first time since the 2008 Mumbai attacks in an effort to rebuild confidence and reduce tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

the Indus River basin in Pakistan. Pakistan says India is diverting water with the construction of dams, an allegation India denies. The talks come at a pivotal moment in the troubled region. India and Pakistan are struggling for influence in Afghanistan and, some experts say, jeopardizing regional security. The Obama administration hopes that if tensions between the neighboring countries decrease, Pakistan will focus more on eliminating the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups based in its western border region. India handed Pakistan three dossiers of information Thursday on more than a dozen suspect-

the trust deficit between the two countries,” Rao said. Before the Mumbai attacks, the two nations were making historic progress on trade issues and narrowly missed achieving a historic breakthrough on Kashmir. But the process started to unravel in August 2008, when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf fell from power. Some experts say Pakistan is in a strong position because

ed militants, including those linked to the Mumbai attacks, an al-Qaedaaffiliated suspect who has issued threats against India, and Indian insurgents believed to be hiding in Pakistan. “We went into today’s talks with an open mind, but firmly conscious of

Washington needs its help to fight the Taliban. “This is undoubtedly Pakistan’s best moment in Afghanistan since 9/11. They are therefore going into these talks from a position of strength, unlike any time in recent past,” said Harsh V. Pant, a defense studies expert who teaches at King’s College London. Few experts expected a breakthrough during Thursday’s meeting, which India’s home minister had termed “talks about talks.” But the session was seen as a first step, and expectations were so low that even the meeting itself was seen as progress. “Even in the worst of times, you have to talk to your neighbor,” said retired Gen. Ashok K. Mehta, a security analyst in New Delhi. “But internally, Pakistan has never looked weaker. Until there is real action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, all talking will seem futile.”

India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao speaks during a news conference in New Delhi February 25, 2010. India and Pakistan held their first official talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks on Thursday, a meeting that is unlikely to lead to an immediate breakthrough but may help thaw relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

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Disaster from the Air Residential building where a Navy aircraft crash landed during an air show at India Aviation 2010 in Hyderabad.

M.F. Hussain: “I Love India, but India Doesn’t Need Me.”

NEW DELHI: Political leaders, intellectuals and artists in India kept silent when right-wing outfits targeted him, legendary painter M F Husain says “with deep pain” in his heart. “I still love India. But India doesn’t need me. I am saying this with deep pain in heart,” Husain told Gulf Madhyamam, Kerala-based Malayalam daily Madhyamam’s Doha edition, in an interview. “India is my motherland. I can’t hate my motherland. But India rejected me. Then why should I stay in India?” the 95-year-old painter said in his first interview after accepting Qatar citizenship. “When Sangh Parivar outfits targeted me, all kept silent. No one, including political leadership, artists or intellectuals came forward to speak for me. But I know the fact that 90 percent of the people of India love me. They are with me,” he said. “Only 10 percent of people, including some politicians, are against me,” Husain said. Husain has dozens of lawsuits

against him him went against across the counan artist’s selftry for his paintexpression, and ings of goddesses maintained that that some Hinhe did not want dus find sacrileto hurt anyone’s gous. The artist sentiments. has been living “It is a move abroad as a fugiagainst art and tive since 2006. the artist’s selfHe said he was expression. I not worried as never intended people across the to hurt anyworld love him. one’s sentiments “India’s continuthrough the art,” ing governments he said. could not protect “I only exme. So, it is very pressed my difficult for me The Indian government wants artist M.F. Hussain to return after the soul’s creativity to stay in such a country of his exile, Qatar, offered him citizenship. through art. Art’s country. Politilanguage is unicitizenship. How can I trust a politicians are eyeing versal language. cal leadership that refused to protect People who love it beyond all naronly votes.” “Now, they are asking me to come me?” he said. row viewpoints are my strength,” “Is there any surety that I would be he said. back. I was in exile...There was no one to speak for me. No governments given protection in India?” Husain “I enjoy complete freedom in Qatar. recalled me. Now they are asking me asked. Now Qatar is my place. Here no one He stressed that the cases against controls my freedom of expression. I to return after one country offered me

am very happy here,” he said. Husain added that he would visit India, if he gets the opportunity. The Qatar citizenship offered to Hussain seems to have jolted various sections of India that were fairly peaceful and quite about Hussain after he fled from the country. The fact that the Veteran painter will no more be Indian has troubled many and even Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has stated that he is free to come back to his homeland and will be provided complete security. The message has even been conveyed to his family according to him. Chidambaram said, “Cases in the lower courts should not deter Mr Husain from returning to the country of his birth. We would be happy to receive Mr Husain in India.”He said, “There were a couple of cases pending in the lower courts. The judgement of the high court and Supreme Court in the six cases makes it clear that there is no basis for a case against Husain. Our system is such that courts take time to grind cases.”

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Manmohan Singh, King Abdullah Sign Riyadh Declaration

RIYADH: India and Saudi Arabia today finalised 10 pacts, including an Extradition Treaty and agreements in the economic sphere for signing during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ongoing visit to this oil-rich country. Saudi Arabia today said it will double the supply of crude oil to India to around 40 million metric tonnes (MMT) per annum, a move that will help India meet the growing needs of its refineries. The assurance came at a meeting between Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi here today. Deora is part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a visit to Saudi Arabia. He pointed out that India looks for doubling of crude oil supply from Saudi Arabia as its three grass-root refinery projects at Bhatinda, Bina and Paradip near completion. Naimi assured Deora that his country will increase allocation of crude oil for supply to India from about 25.5 Million Metric Tons (MMT) per annum to about 40 MMT, according to an official statement. The Petroleum Minister also referred to a greater possibility of cooperation and asked the Indian oil Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) led by Engineers India Ltd (EIL) to jointly open an office in Riyadh. Besides, India also evinced interest in sourcing heavier crude from Saudi Arabia and carry out an exchange of technical personnel between the two countries and cooperate on training in skill development in the oil and gas sector. Singh, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Saudi Arabia in 28 years, will meet King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud later in the evening and hold wide-ranging talks on issues ranging from cooperation in various areas, situation inAfghanistan and the threat of terrorism. Singh has expressed keenness to impart “strategic character” to IndiaSaudi Arabia ties and the agreements are expected to give a major fillip to the relations. Giving a new dynamism to bilateral ties, Singh today said India sees Saudi Arabia as a strategic partner for promoting peace, stability and economic

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hand with Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Ali Al Naimi at King Saud Palace during his 3 day visit to Saudi Arabia. It is after a gap of 28 years that any Indian Prime Minister is visiting Saudi Arabia.

development and that the conditions were ripe for the two countries to enter into a comprehensive energy partnership. Addressing the influential Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Singh invited entrepreneurs from the oil-rich Kingdom to explore investment opportunities in India in construction, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, health, agriculture, energy, telecommunications, tourism and other sectors. Saudi ministers for oil and mineral resources, commerce and industry and foreign affairs called on Singh during his day’s hectic schedule. “We deeply value Saudi Arabia’s role as a reliable partner in meeting our energy needs. We believe that conditions are ripe for moving beyond a traditional buyer-seller relationship to a comprehensive energy partnership,” he said. “India sees Saudi Arabia as a strategic partner for promoting peace, stability and economic development. Such a partnership will bring benefits not only to our two countries but to the region we both belong to, and to the world at large,” the Prime Minister said. The Saudi industry captains said India should grant multi-entry visa to ease movement of businessmen and clear hurdles in investment funds. They said there was tremendous

scope for cooperation in the oil, power and IT sectors. Singh said Indian companies are well-equipped to participate in upstream and downstream oil and gas sector projects in Saudi Arabia. “We should also establish new partnerships in the area of new and renewable energy through sharing of clean technologies and joint collaborations,” he said. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner with two-way commerce being to the tune of about USD 25 billion. Energy cooperation between the two countries has witnessed a massive increase since King Abdullah’s Delhi visit in 2006, with Saudi exports jumping from USD 500 million that year to USD 23 billion in 2008, surpassing Iran as the largest supplier of crude oil to India. Singh said India views its economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the wider context of its interactions with the entire Gulf region with which the country shares deep and historical ties. “The Gulf countries are our natural partners in every sense of the term. Indians are the largest expatriate community in every country of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Our businesses should work together across the region, develop cross-country linkages continued on page

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I have Zero Friends in Govt: Minister Jairam Ramesh NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has cast himself as a lonely crusader for the environmental cause within the government, with no support from any quarter except the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson. In an interaction with journalists on Wednesday, hours before a meeting called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to iron out differences within the Cabinet over Bt brinjal, Mr. Ramesh said he had “zero” friends in the government. “I have no friends, only the Prime Minister supports me in the Cabinet… At times I feel I am fighting a lonely battle. The odds are tremendous against anyone trying to do anything right and rational when it comes to the environment and forests,” he said, using the words ‘thankless’ and ‘friendless’ to describe his job. Mr. Ramesh has come under fire for a number of issues during his nine-month tenure. Most recently, his controversial decision to slap a moratorium on Bt brinjal, and speculation that his differences with the Prime Minister’s special envoy for climate change, Shyam Saran, caused the latter to quit. Ministry of ‘No’ “If you take this job seriously, controversy is bound to follow you. This Ministry is a Ministry of ‘No.’ You have to say ‘no’ at some point of time… If the Minister for Environment is popular, he’s not doing his

India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh

job,” Mr. Ramesh said, alleging that he was being shunned for taking hard decisions rather than delaying them or lobbing it to a group of Ministers or the courts. Asked whether the moratorium was actually a way of delaying a decision, he said it was a hard “political decision.” As Environment Minister, he had to take on those within and outside his own party, he added. However, Mr. Ramesh stressed that he had the support of Dr. Singh and the party high command. “Nobody in the current UPA is will-

ing to take a stand on issues relating to the environment and forests except the UPA chairperson,” he said. On Bt brinjal, he quoted from Dr. Singh’s speech on biotechnology, adding that he was “only implementing what the Prime Minister said…I have not deviated from the middle path he set.” On climate change, Mr. Ramesh conceded that he had some differences with Mr. Saran, but insisted he had nothing to do with Mr. Saran’s decision to quit. However, he made it clear that he would take responsi-

bility for climate change policies, not Mr. Saran, as he was the one answerable to Parliament. “It is my job to set the policy. Bureaucracy cannot dictate policies. We consult them, they are partners,” Mr. Ramesh said, adding, “I am not a rubber stamp for the bureaucracy.” He is, however, nominating the senior-most bureaucrat from his Ministry to take over the top spot at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Environment Secretary Vijai Sharma’s name has been proposed, and while China has already expressed formal support, the other BASIC countries are expected to follow suit. Mr. Ramesh urged the revival of the National Advisory Council (NAC), which he called “the conscience of UPA I” from which all the flagship schemes of the government emanated. “There is a crying need to revive NAC II, with similar leadership,” he said. The Minister has no intention of shying away from controversy. The next thorny issue on his agenda: the hydel projects on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, which threaten the flow of the Ganga. - The Hindu

Manmohan Singh Signs Riyadh Declaration continued from page

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and leverage economies of scale,” he said. Both sides agreed that there were immense investment prospects in healthcare, petrochemicals, fertilisers and knowledge-based industries. The Saudi ministers who called on the Prime Minister said they saw substantial increase in investments from the oil-rich Kingdom to India in the coming years since it is a safe and secure investment centre, Vijaya Latha Reddy, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters. The two sides favoured early conclusion of the free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to boost trade. India’s commitment to the Middle East Peace Process was reinforced by the Prime Minister during his talks with Saudi leaders.Other regional and global issues also figured during the parleys.The two sides took note of each other’s security concerns, Reddy said. India has serious concerns of AlQaeda and Taliban elements having safe havens on the Af-Pak border while Saudi Arabia is worried about the extremists operating with impunity against it from Yemen. There was a special word of praise from the Saudi dignitaries about the 1.80 million Indian community in the Kingdom.They were the largest and the most dependable, they told Singh. The Prime Minister’s long overdue visit to the Kingdom comes four years after King Abdullah visited India.

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Chandrayaan-1 Finds Ice on the Moon MUMBAI:Firstwater,thenvapour, now ice. India’s Chandrayaan-1, in its most recent lunar mark, has discovered ice in the Moon’s craters -- a finding that indicates the presence of as much as 600 million metric tonnes of water ice on the Moon’s north pole. The announcement on the breakthrough, with far-reaching consequences for space travel, was made late Monday at the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Congress organized by the Houston-based Lunar and Planetary Institute. The discovery was made by a Nasa payload on board Chandrayaan-1 called Mini-Sar (miniature synthetic aperture radar), a lightweight instrument that weighs 10 kg. It found more than 40 craters with water ice, the size of the craters ranging between two and 15 kilometres in diameter. Scientists say the discovery of water ice anywhere on the Moon is extremely important because it can serve as a natural resource for astronauts on future lunar landing missions. The ice could be melted into drinking water or be separated into its components of oxygen and hydrogen to provide breathing air and rocket fuel for launching interplanetary missions from the moon. In September 2009, Isro’s moon impact probe and the hyper spectral imaging camera (Hysi) along with Nasa’s moon minerology mapper announced the discovery of water molecules on the moon. But these were not large deposits. In contrast,

the Mini-Sar is stated to found huge quantities of water ice. “These results certainly open new vistas towards establishing human colonies on the moon. More interesting results are awaited which will throw fresh light on geological features of the moon,” said S Satish, Isro’s chief spokesperson. Mini-Sar collected strips of data while flying over the lunar poles. Each strip is eight kilometres wide and 150-300km long. By June 23, 2009, it had completed its first polar imaging campaign and mapped more than 90% of both the moon’s poles. The results are to be published in a US journal called Geophysical Research Letters. The ice was was found in the permanently shadowed crater of the moon’s north pole. Similar conditions of perpetual night exist at the lunar south pole too. Although the total amount of ice depends upon the thickness in each lunar crater, it is estimated that there could be at least 1.3 trillion pounds of water ice on the moon. Nasa’s lunar crater observation and sensing satellite (LCross) detected water vapour when its slammed into the moon surface at 5pm (IST) on October 9 last year. Speaking to TOI from Houston on Tuesday, director of the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Labarotory (PRL) J N Goswami, who is attending the lunar meet, said a number of craters were thoroughly studied before a formal Continued from Page 36

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Pravin Mahajan Dies of Brain Haemorrhage

MUMBAI: Pravin Mahajan, 50, convicted for the murder of his brother and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pramod Mahajan died on Wednesday, March 3 at a hospital in Thane where he was undergoing treatment for brain haemorrhage. Mr. Mahajan had been in coma for about two and a half months, since he was hospitalised on December 11 in an unconscious state and diagnosed with a clot in the brain. He is survived by his wife, Sarangi Mahajan, and children, Vrushali and Kapil. He had been out of the Nashik Central Jail, since November 27, 2009, on a 14-day furlough. However on the last day of the parole period, he suddenly took ill. Dr. Ravindra Ghawat, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

in-charge, told a press conference in Thane that Pravin Mahajan was “declared dead” at 5.40 p.m. The cause of death was “extensive pontine haemorrhage [brain haemorrhage] with sepsis and multi-organ failure.” “During his course of hospitalisation, he developed sepsis and multi-organ failure. For the last 48 hours, his condition was continuously deteriorating, his blood pressure was falling and he needed more and more life support measures. He became extremely critical this afternoon and could not be revived in spite of all the resuscitative measures,” Dr. Ghawat said. Pravin Mahajan’s death puts an end to a murky political chapter for the State BJP. Pramod Mahajan, who wielded considerable influence in his party, was shot at thrice by Pravin Mahajan on April 22, 2006 at the former’s Worli residence in Mumbai, following a dispute. Pramod Mahajan succumbed to the bullet injuries on May 3, 2006. It was Pramod Mahajan who supported Pravin Mahajan in his early years and even provided him with an education. The latter was a small time contractor while the former was making it big in the BJP.

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Chandrayaan-1 Finds Ice on the Moon Continued from Page 35

announcement was made on Monday. “This is definitely an important discovery; it took us five months to evaluate the findings since we had to convince the scientific community,” he said. Goswami is the principal scientific investigator of the Chandrayaan-1 mission. He explained that Indian scientists were a part of the team which examined the findings. “We had access to the data. After it was analysed by Nasa, the details were sent to us for further analysis. We had to make sure that everything was okay.” The announcement was finally made at 4pm (Houston time) on Monday, the first day of the conference. M Chakraborty of the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad was the other Indian scientist who analysed data from Mini-Sar. Jason Crusan, programme executive of Nasa’s Space Operations Missions Directorate in Washington, observed: “After analyzing the data, our science team determined a strong indication of water ice, a finding which will give future missions a new target to further explore and exploit.” Paul Spudis, principal investigator of Mini-Sar, has stated that the “emerging picture from the multiple measurements and resulting data of the instruments on lunar missions indicates that water creation, migration, deposition, and retention are occurring on the Moon”.

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Hai Holi ! Delhiites Hide Behind Closed Doors By Jawahar Malhotra NEW DELHI,: The last weekend in February came with a triple whammy for those who wanted to do any office work at all. Saturday ushered in Eid al Adha, the culmination of the Muslim period of penance. Then came Sunday, the normal weekend, also the eve of Holi which came with the full Moon and brought in the festival of Colors on Monday, another holiday. All financial, government and post offices effectively closed down for the long weekend and all you could do was wait patiently for Tuesday morning to come. But for many across North India, Holi was a day to dread and stay indoors. “It’s really become a dirty business,” said Rajesh Jaggi, my nephew in Gurgoan, as he eyed the powdered bright vegetable dye colors or gulal that his daughters had collected in small dishes. “We just stay inside and don’t go out.” Holi marks a story from Hindu mythology about the Raja Narsim Rai who had two wives. With his first wife he had a son called Dhruv and with the second one he had another son called Parlad whose mother wanted him to gain the throne and not her stepson. After his stepmother asked the demon Harnakash to kidnap Dhruv, Narsim Rai asked his sister Holika to hold Dhruv in her lap while in the demon’s grip. Both the demon and Holika were burnt in a flash fire, but Dhruv was saved as he chanted the name of Krishna. This victory of good over evil is celebrated across India, but mostly in

On the eve of Holi, the residents of the Sunny valley Apartments in Dwarka in west Delhi gathered to celebrate by holding a big bonfire.

a young boy in New Rajender Nagar, I would crouch by the roof edge, my steeltubed piston called a pitchcari at the ready full of colored water, along with a plastic black pistol made in Hong Kong and a few color-water filled balloons bombs on the side. Anyone walking by was a The sounds of the dholuk reverberated through ready victim of a the four towers of the apartment complex before well aimed spray or the residents ate a meal of cholle and bathure pitched bomb. These made on the spot. days, stronger waterthe North, by flinging colors in the air guns do the drenching. and at one another much to the delight Those venturing out on Holi from of children and the young at heart. As morning to the time-honored truce

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signify the New India of backoffice workers and call centers, Rajsthani village women dressed in bright orches, reds and yellows with golden filigree dupattas or scarves carry brass thalis with offerings to Kids played with colors and waterguns during the 10 the temple am to 2pm period that is normally accepted for throwing and break colors, though this window is often flaunted. their fasts after the bontime of 2pm are fair targets of the fire later at night. “It really is filthy,” said my cousin color-drenching and do so at their own peril! Those who hold Holi par- Bharat Talwar with a scowl in the ties get color sprinkled all over, hair to west Delhi suburb of Shivnagar with toe, wet powder slapped across their its narrow lanes and four-story townface and in the hair. Cars driving by home flats. “I don’t like it at all.” He can be stopped and splashed in color apparently had forgotten his childwhile the passengers are treated to hood years of tormenting pedestrians a color bath. The more malicious from his fourth floor balcony in goons use oil paints instead that Daryagunj. He was going to avoid doesn’t come off easily and some- the outdoors at all costs, even his own times demand money to let their grandson. And my plans to go across town victims go. to visit relatives had to be cancelled. For some, the festival starts the night before as they sit besides huge The rental car and driver refused to bonfires, walk around it five times go out. “Too dangerous, Sirji!” he making a prayerful salutation and muttered, vexed that he would be share a meal. In Old Gurgaon, in the losing money. shadows of the gleaming towers that

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Smell of Spring Barbeque in the Air Top 3 Indian Restaurants in Philadelphia By Jacob David Spring is back. Now is the time to roll out your outdoor grill from your garage, slip off the covers and brush it clean for another 6 months of delicious grilling. If you are a vegetarian don’t lose heart, grill your veggies and tofu on a skewer with the best marinade rubs you possibly can find. Then dig into your own grill creations with zest. Before you go outdoors, remember it does you a lot of good to breathe fresh air outdoors and also feed your family some delicious skewered food. Just remember, vegetables and seafood do not require too much heat on the grill or time either. Keeping your veggies half raw will also help to retain those vitamins plus give you that extra crunch you so love. Soft and soggy or burnt veggies does no one any good. Red meats are not to be burned as that increases the Carcinogenic levels which can cause cancer. To help you become a master at grilling, you can do well to buy and read this book.

Price: $24.95 US / $27.95 CAN www.creativehomeowner.com First Impression: Heavy book to the feel, quite a plus, large photographs, easy color index to find your hot on the grill subjects quickly.

Editor: Lisa Kahn Vice-President & Publisher: Timothy O. Bakke Features: 200 Prize worthy Grill Recipes. Writing Style: Lucid, clear writCharbroil Everybody Grills by Creing style. Complete introduction to ative Homeowner Books 200 Prize-worthy Recipes to put the grilling basics and definitions to different aspects of grilling. InformaSizzle on your Grill tive. Publisher: Creative Homeowner Content: The book starts off with Introduction by Barry “CB” Marthe differences on Grilling, Barbecutin ing, Smoking and Rotisserie CookTotal pages: 304

ing. It explains how to care for your grill, talks about the essentials to proper grilling. Tips on seasoning, marinades and rubs, searing, roasting and resting the meat are explained in a concise fashion. This book reveals how to handle different meats, including poultry, seafood, vegetables and fruits. The content covers Appetizers & Snacks, Beef, Lamb & Veal, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Vegetables, Sides & Salads, Desserts, and Marinades Sauces & Rubs. The photos seem to leap off the page – Glenn Moores surely has an eye for food photography. The intense close up reveals the food texture, moistness, juicy succulence, and you can even feel the heat of these grilled foods. The food photography is excellent, the food presentation, setting and placements are imaginative and thoughtful. Each recipe is clear with the directions, gives preparation and marinating times. Excerpt from Barry “CB” Martin’s Foreword: “One of the best parts of my work is getting “invited” to thousands of backyard barbecues through the stories and recipes folks pass on to me. It’s as if we’re all sitting at one big table, enjoying each other’s company as we reach for seconds. …… I expect that there are many people who are better cooks than I – and you may be one of them. The goal of this book is simply to inspire you to prepare food on your grill that pleases your palate and is adapted to your skills and taste.” Extra features: Over 35 unique rubs, sauces and marinades are presented with the quickest recipes on how to make them. The resources page is valuable giving you more insight into the world of grilling. There is a brief basic guide to beef cuts and continued on page

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Home to the Indian director, M. Night Shyamalan who first made it big in Hollywood with his “The Sixth Sense,” Philadelphia houses many restaurants. For frequent flyers / visitors to Philadelphia, these three Indian restaurants are the best Indian

thanks to the great service. Ekta 250 E Girard Ave Philadelphia, PA 19125 (215) 426-2277 www.ektaindianrestaurant.com

The interior of Palace at the Ben laid out in palatial style

restaurants in Philadelphia. Palace at the Ben 834 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (267) 232-5600 www.thepalaceattheben.com Wheelchair Accessible: Yes / Outdoor Seating: Yes / Alcohol: Full Bar / Price Range: $$$ This has to be the best Indian restaurant in Philadelphia. The place is done up just right considering it is an Indian restaurant. There are marble pillars, linen table cloths and crystal chandeliers all just right. The food is truly great with a lot of amazing options for the vegetarians also. I love the Panir Kulcha , Navratan Korma, Murg Makhani and Fish Maharani. Did I mention the service? The service is great with the wait staff always attentive and ready to make sure that you are having a good time. One time, I was in and out all within one hour

Price Range: $$ / Wheelchair Accessible: No / Outdoor Seating: No / Alcohol: None I love spicy food and Ekta has always ensured that I have the spiciest and the best of Indian food every time the craving hits me. This place used to be really tiny-with just about two booths for you to sit in. but now that the place has been remodeled it is a serious contender or the spot of the best Indian restaurant in Philadelphia. This BYOB (I pick up the wine from the deli next door) place has some of the best saag paneer, chicken tikka, samosas and masaladar chola I have ever eaten.

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straight up food talk

A Step by Step Guide to Ordering a Traditional Indian Meal By Chitrani Indian food is meant to be eaten as a group. It is often served on a large silver platter with several smaller bowls on it. A typical Indian meal includes at least one starch, (bread or rice), one or two main dishes, a vegetable and a dahl, or at least two vegetables for non -vegetarians, and a chutney, sometimes as many as five chutneys. Because these meals are meant to be shared, certain rules of etiquette have evolved. The general rule of thumb to remember is : If it doesn’t make a mess, eat it with your hands. There is NO “Double dipping”. If a piece of food touches your mouth or your plate, eat it, do not offer it to anyone else, except your closet family member. Indian Menus generally list Dishes as two word options, the first word telling you what is cooked, the second word describing how it is cooked. If you are at a very traditional place the first words may not be in English. Here are some of the more common ones : Palak - Spinach Aloo - Potato Murgh - Chicken Mutter - Peas Paneer - cheese So Mutter Paneer = Peas with cheese, and Murgh Khorma is chicken in korma sauce. With all that in mind, here’s how we order ; Starches : Rice - A bowl of plain rice will cleanse the palate and also put out the fire. It is especially useful if you are ordering more than one dish and sharing. Order rice. Bread - Indian bread comes in a variety of forms and serves a variety of purposes. It’s often served with several sauces and should be ordered with every meal, here are some breads you are likely to find on the menu. Pick one bread. 1. Naan -unleavened white bread backed in a tandoor oven. Perfect for smothering with chutneys. 2. Roti -Whole wheat bread baked in a tandoor oven 3. Poori - Deep fried puffed whole wheat bread. Poori’s often perfectly golden colour and puffiness, make it an excellent and impressive choice. 4. Paratha -layered whole wheat bread Appetizers - Traditionally, there are no appetizers, and all

the food arrives at once. If you are hungry, most places offer the following while you are waiting for your meal. Samosa’s - savory pastries stuffed with either potato’s and peas, or spiced lamb filing, excellent appetizers of snacks. Pakora - usually crunchy fritters stuffed with Cauliflower, Spinach and potato, often confused with Samosas. Main Dish - Pick one or Two. It is usually best to pick a mild

dish, such as a khorma or a biryani, and a spicier dish for varities sake. 1. Tikka - A marinade made with spices and yogurt, often used on chicken, Tikka is often mild due to the yogurt. 2. Kebab - Grilled or broiled meat, the meat is usually grilled on a rotating stick and served on a stick cut into cubes. Kebabs are usually made of lamb, or beef, but vegetable kebabs are becoming increasingly popular. 3. Biryani - An excellent rice dish, prepared with a large mixture of spices, Basmati rice, vegetables, potatoes and occasionally meat. Biryani is generally mild and an excellent choice for vegetarians. 4. Khorma - A creamy mild sauce, usually made with yogurt, cream and Ocassionally nuts and coconut milk. 5. Saag - creamed spinach dish, most often eaten with Paneer or Indian cheese and roti. It ranges from very mild to very hot. 6. Masala - a term used to mean “many spices”, masala can be mild or extremely hot depending on the cook and usually includes : 7. Vindaloo - tangy curry sauce, usually including wine vinegar and lots of garlic, some of the spiciest stuff around. Dahl - a stable in Indian cooking, the main source of protein in Indian vegetarians diets, it is a mixture of dried peas, or lentils, split peas beans, or other legumes. Chances are you will either love it

or hate it. If you are having meat, you can substitute a vegetable dish Raita -cooling cucumbers and yogurt, sometimes with tomatoes. Raita is one of those dishes that changes drastically from place to place. One thing remains the same however, it will almost instantly douse any fire created by the spices in the food. Can be a real life saver ! If you are going to order very spicy food, don’t forget to order this ! Chutney - relish made with fruits or vegetables and spices. Mango chutney is probably the most famous. Some chutneys can be very hot. If you are lucky, and you should be, chutneys will come automatically with the bread. Drinks - Lassi is a yogurt drink that comes in several different forms. Sweet, Rose, Salt, and very often Mango. Unlike water, Lassi calms the tongue and can be very helpful in putting out the fire that the spiciness of Indian food can often cause. This is highly recommended for first timers and old hands alike. Dessert- Indians are big on sweets. There are a variety of desserts, including Rasgullaballs made of milk, cooked in a light sugar syrup, and Kheer - a sort of rice pudding and then there is Kulfi - a delicious aromatic Indian ice cream. After the meal : You are very likely stuffed at this point and wondering how you are going to digest all this food, not to worry, either when your check is brought or on your way out the door, you will notice a tray or bowl with what looks like shiny colored grains of rice. These are candy coated fennel seeds, possibly with some squares of rock sugar candy added. You want to eat a small amount of this, fennel not only aids in digestion but keeps you from having “Dragon Breath”, a well known side effect of good Indian cooking. Once you eat the fennel you are done ! And hopefully ready to order you next traditional Indian meal like a native ! Photo: Lori Baltazar, Dessert Comes First. Credit: Associated Content

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safe cooking temperatures to make sure you grill right and eat healthy. The index is detailed and provides easy access to any meat, poultry or seafood item. This book has dozens of prize winning entries straight from the top country barbecue competitions. Chapters are divided by color tabs for easy reference. Why you should buy this book? I believe that Grilling is one of the oldest methods of cooking. This book has gone to great lengths to collect recipes from different regions of the country that include an influence of a myriad of cultures from across the world – Europe, Asian and other nations, brought in by the immigrants

to the United States. Each recipe starts directly and clearly, getting to the nitty-gritty in no time flat. There are over 250 mouth-watering color photographs that will well be worth your purchase. ILGR8 Food says: Overall, we loved this book. Creative Homeowner publishing has done a marvelous job covering all aspects that Grilling requires. This book is a must for all grill enthusiasts. For environmentalists, this is a green edition book made out of recycled paper and right here in the United States. Plus point: The glossy feel is superb, it does not have the feel of a recycled paper book. Credit: ILoveGr8Food.com

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Price Range: $$ / Wheelchair Accessible: Yes / Outdoor Seating: No / Alcohol: Full Bar The New Delhi is a great place to head to if you are looking for cheap,

good and filling Indian food. Their buffet is great and is priced less than $ 10 including dessert. The great thing is that you can access their menu online and even order online. Their minimum order in amount is quite low and their delivery charge is just $1! The buffet is always fresh in fact I have

often seen them change the dishes while I ate my meal. They do not even wait for the dishes to get over; their focus is on keeping the food fresh. Definitely a must visit for any Indian food lover in Philadelphia. Credit: Associated Content

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straight up food talk

Indian Food Curries Favor

By Ann Levin NEW YORK — Indian food in America is having its “Slumdog Millionaire” moment. Supermarket shelves are lined with chutneys, pickles and sauces, and all manner of boxed heat-andserve Indian meals. The quality and number of Indian restaurants has soared, offering an alternative to cheap all-you-can-eat buffets. And a flurry of new cookbooks is introducing home cooks to subtle regional differences in Indian cuisine shaped by climate, geography, religion and caste. In Chicago, Indian businessman Vijay Puniani is betting Indian food will be the next big thing. After studying the success of Chipotle, Puniani opened the first in what he says will be a chain of “fast-casual” Indian restaurants modeled after the popular Mexican eatery. Chutney Joe’s, which opened in downtown Chicago in February, features the sleek, minimalist decor of Chipotle – warmed up with orange walls – and a similarly simple menu. For $5.99, diners choose one of four meat or four vegetarian entrees accompanied by rice or the thin flatbread naan. Condiments to spice up or cool down the dishes are free. Puniani says the Indian-Pakistani population of Chicago makes up just 15 percent to 20 percent of the store’s customers. “We look at Main Street, America, as our customer base,” he says, adding that menu items were adapted after focus groups revealed that many people in the U.S. consider Indian food too spicy and heavy. For instance, the popular dumplings known as samosas are baked instead of deep-fried, and cream and butter, staples of Indian cooking, have been banished from the menu. The growing awareness of Indian culture and cuisine is due to the big influx of immigrants from South Asia since 1965, when na-

tional-origin quotas favoring Europeans were abolished. Since then, the United States has witnessed a remarkable flowering of Indian talent, energy and drive as well as a seemingly insatiable appetite for all things Indian, including bhangra music, Bollywood films and yoga. Perhaps nothing expresses America’s fascination with that giant emerging economy more than the runaway success of the Brit-

ish film “Slumdog Millionaire,” a rags-to-riches tale based in the Mumbai slums that won eight Academy Awards in 2009. The growing Indian presence also comes at a time when the popularity of cooking shows – including Bravo’s “Top Chef,” hosted by Indian actress and model Padma Lakshmi – and an increase in foreign travel have made Americans more adventurous eaters. “The American palate is no longer bland,” says Andrew F. Smith, editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink of America, who predicts that Indian food will take off in the next decade the way sushi bars did in the 1980s and Thai food did in the ‘90s. A September survey of ethnic food by the market research group Mintel found that the fastest growing segment was Indian food, with sales increasing nearly 35 percent from 2006 to 2008. While Indian food’s overall share of the $2.2 billion ethnic food market still is tiny – $40 million in 2009, compared with $1.4 billion in Mexican/Hispanic foods – Mintel says the Asian (mostly Chinese) and Indian food segments are driving the growth.

New York, the dining capital of the nation, has seen an explosion in the number of Indian restaurants in recent years. New York University sociologist and food studies scholar Krishnendu Ray counts some 350 Indian restaurants today, compared with the 19 listed in the 1978 edition of a restaurant guide. Fancy Indian food has made inroads in other cities, too. Raghavan Iyer, author of the well-received Indian cookbook “660 Curries,” recently helped open the upscale restaurant Om in Minneapolis, which features traditional Indian dishes like pork vindaloo and roghan josh (lamb curry) interpreted for an American audience. While Iyer is amazed at how much more available Indian products have become since he emigrated here in 1982, he says America still has a way to go in terms of really understanding Indian food. “People associate hot with spicy, and to me they’re two different things,” he says. “It’s a question of educating the American audience.” Part of the allure is the supposed health benefits of Indian food, especially spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. Research into the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric has landed it on lists of cancer-fighting foods in recent years. Across the pond, Camellia Punjabi’s cookbook “50 Great Curries of India” has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. It was recently reissued in the United States with a DVD “to take the intimidation out of cooking Indian food,” says Anja Schmidt, the New York publisher of Kyle Books, a division of London-based Kyle Cathie Ltd. Not everyone believes the South Indian crepes called dosas will become as ubiquitous as burritos. David Browne, a senior analyst at Mintel, says Indian food will remain an acquired taste because “the flavor profile is still a limiting factor.” Credit: (AP) News-Sentinel

Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

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Heinz India Launches Isotonic Energy Drink Heinz India (P) Ltd (HIPL), a market leader in nutrition and wellness, has launched Glucon-D Isotonik –an isotonic energy drink. According to N. Thiruambalam, chairman and managing director, HIPL, the product is a result of the endeavour to not only satisfy unmet consumer needs but also to delight the consumer by innovation in packaging and product form. It will be initially available in a carton containing eight single serve powder sachets and a unique c a r r y a l o n g sipper containing three powder sachets, in two refreshing flavours – Lime Burst and Orange Rush. Priced at Rs 40 for a carton of eight sachets and Rs 49 for a sipper with three sachets, it will be available in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, he added.

Fruit Fly Threatens Australian Produce Australia has been threatened with another fruit fly outbreak in South Brighton, a suburb of Adelaide, which could affect the $480 million fresh fruit and vegetable industry. The fruit fly larvae were found in home grown peaches and reported to the authorities by the home owner. Leaflets have been handed out by Pirsa (Primary Industries and Resources SA.) Residents are being warned not to remove fruit, vegetables or garden waste from their properties during the removal of the pests. A 1.5 kilometre isolation area has been declared around the outbreak. Fruit fly is a constant threat in Australia which could destroy the lucrative fruit and vegetable industry. Several areas are subject to fruit fly exclusion zones, into which travellers must not take restricted produce. Those who disobey the regulations can be fined up to A$100,000.

New FICCI Chief to Push for FDI Reforms in India’s Retail Industry The country’s apex industry lobby, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has a new man in charge. The vice chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises has taken over as the president of FICCI and one of the top agenda for Rajan Mittal, younger brother of Sunil Mittal, during his term would be to see through the opening of the retail sector. Rajan Mittal, president of FICCI, said, “It’s an important area of concern for us, and we will push for necessary policy reforms on this front.” It’s all the more important for Rajan, as he is directly overseeing the Bharti group’s foray in the retail business. In addition, FICCI will also push for private sector participation in the areas of supply chain and cold storage. “High food inflation in the country can be attributed to huge wastages and pilferages, which occur on account of loopholes in the supply chain infrastructure. With the participation of private sector, these pilferages can be plugged,” Rajan said. Source: Images Food • NDTV

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

straight up food talk

Spiced Rice (Pulao) This is a rice dish from northern India and is very similar to pilafs found in Middle Eastern countries. It is made with rice, spices, raisins, and nuts. The best kind of Indian rice is basmati that has a delicate nutty flavor. 1/3 cup vegetable or peanut oil ½ medium onion, sliced thin 5 whole cloves ½ stick cinnamon 5 cardamom pods ½ tsp. Ground coriander 1 cup basmati or long-grain rice, rinsed and drained ½ tsp. Salt 1 Tbs. Butter or margarine ¼ cup raisins 2 Tbs. Blanched slivered almonds or cashews In a large pan, heat vegetable or peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until soft. Add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and coriander. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 minute. Stir in rice and fry until rice has been well coated with oil. Add salt and boiling water and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. When the rice begins to boil, cover pan, reduce to low heat, and cook rice for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender. When the rice is cooked, heat butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add raisins and nuts and fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until raisins are plump and the nuts are golden brown. Stir the raisin-nut mixture into the rice and serve immediately. Remember to remove the whole spices before enjoying your meal. This recipe serves 6 to 8. Credit: Lou Lou, Associated Content

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Swensen’s Ice Cream to Foray in India Swensen’s, a USA based chain of ice-cream restaurants is planning to foray in the Indian market through their Asian License Minor International, supported by Franchise India International. Minor International is amongst the largest hospitality and leisure companies in the Asia Pacific region, with a prominent existence in hospitality. Minor International has developed into a multi- segment leader in hotels, spas and restaurants over the past few years. Swensen’s is one such brand under its umbrella. Minor International is bringing Swensen’s to India with the aim to provide a fun and friendly casual-dining to its customers with a wide selection of ice cream creation, signature sundaes, coffee and a separate menu designed especially for kids served either at their restaurants or delivered at home. The company has already started with Swensen’s expansion in India by exploring their options and has reviewed locations in south India. The company is seeking dedicated partners pan-India by leveraging the expertise of Franchise India International. Swensen’s opened 15 stores worldwide in 2009 and plans to add 20 more in 2010. On the expansion plans, Gaurav Marya, President, Franchise India said, “Currently, the total market size of branded ice-cream including parlours is INR 800 crores. The growing young earning population, rising disposable incomes, change in taste, and the spending capacity on leisure is leading to a surge in the Indian ice cream market. Compared to the other developed

markets, there is still a huge gap to fill this segment in India and famous international brands such as Swensen’s are keen to capitalise on this aspect especially on the restaurant format which is almost negligible in India.” Swensen’s named their signature products after key landmarked of San Francisco where the brand originated in 1948. The coit tower, fire house and of course the infamous earth shattering ‘Earthquake’ are all examples of the irresistible sundaes served by the company. Source: Franchise India

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

I N DIA

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Who Killed Gautama? New Speculation on the Life of Buddha By Sheela Reddy

NEW DELHI (Outlook): Seven years ago, when Buddhist scholar and former monk Stephen Batchelor embarked on a search for the real Siddhartha Gautama, rooting through over 6,000 pages of the Pali Canon—the oldest set of texts on his teachings, which provide glimpses into his social and political world— perhaps he didn’t even dream of the Buddha that would emerge from his research. Far from the picture we have of Siddhartha as a prince who grew up in a palace, who renounced it all and became the Buddha, attracting the rich and powerful as well as hundreds of monks and nuns by his teachings, until one day he just lay down and died, Batchelor’s portrait of the Buddha “is not that simple”. In his new book, Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, to be out in the US early March, this author of eight other books on Buddhism claims the Buddha was a man whose teachings were regarded by his contemporaries as not only radical, but “queer” enough for him to be denounced by one of his own former disciples as a “fake”, who not only managed to win the patronage of the three most powerful political figures of his time, but was worldly enough to survive in the midst of court intrigues, murders and betrayals, effectively quelling a rebellion within his own flock before he was done in by the ambitions of his own family. But it is Batchelor’s findings on the Buddha’s last days that are the most startling: in the last 10 months of his life, Batchelor says, the Buddha, old and ailing, saw his two main disciples die, one of them brutally murdered, and was forced to flee with a handful of loyalists from all the three political bases he had spent a lifetime building up, until he was possibly poisoned to death by one of his many rivals, leaving a pretender to take over the community after an intense power struggle. The Buddha, according to Batchelor, owed his exile—and eventual death—to the same king who had lifted him to the heights of power: King Pasenadi of Kosala. According to the records, the king—the monarch of the most powerful kingdom north

of the Ganges—and the Buddha— the son of a chieftain in one of the kingdom’s rural provinces—met for the first time when they were both about the age of 40. Hearing of his renown as a teacher, the king paid a visit to the Buddha’s retreat outside his capital city of Shravasti. At first sceptical, Pasenadi was soon won over by the Buddha, and asked to be accepted as his follower. “This was a—if not the— key moment in Gotama’s career,” writes Batchelor: with Pasenadi’s support, Gautama’s tenure in Shravasti was assured, and for the next 25 years, he spent every rainy season here in a grove gifted to him by a rich admirer, giving most of his discourses. Pasenadi, according to the references that Batchelor so painstakingly culled from the Pali Canon, was a paranoid tyrant given to impaling his enemies—imagined or real—on stakes. His friendship with the Buddha, which lasted for the next 25 years, seems to have had little effect on Pasenadi. “The only time he is seen to benefit from Gotama’s instruction is when he follows his advice to go on a diet,” writes Batchelor. From “a bucket measure of boiled rice” he reduces his intake to “a pint-pot measure” and becomes “quite slim”. Nor did the friendship improve the king’s suspicious nature, even when it came to the Buddha himself. For example, in one of the countless plots to discredit him by rival groups of ascetics, the Buddha was accused of sexual impropriety with a female

renunciant called Sundari. When Pasenadi’s men found her body hidden not far from the Buddha’s hut, nothing could persuade the king of his teacher’s innocence. Fortunately, the king’s spies soon discovered the plot to discredit the Buddha. From then on, Batchelor writes,

the Buddha was on the run, losing one by one all the three strongholds from where he spread his teachings. In Rajgir, the Magadhan king Bimbisara, his first royal patron, was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Ajatasattu, who imprisoned and then starved his father to death. At the same time, cracks began to appear within his own monastic community. His cousin Devadatta, who was also Ajatasattu’s mentor, plotted to overthrow the Buddha. Some of the texts say Devadatta tried to assassinate the Buddha by dropping a big boulder on him, and sending a wild elephant in his way. But the passages that give the most information about Devadatta say he tried to persuade the Buddha to step down on grounds of

age. The Buddha dismissed the proposal decisively, saying: “I would not even ask Sariputta and Moggallana (his most indispensable and seniormost monks) to head this community, let alone a lick-spittle like you.” Till the very end, Batchelor says, the Buddha was adamant about not appointing a successor, stating that his teachings were his only successor. Having failed in his bid for power, Devadatta then walked out of the community, taking a sizeable section of the monks along with him. But eventually, the Buddha’s two senior-most followers, Sariputta and Moggallana, healed the schism and persuaded the renegade monks to return to the fold. Frail and elderly, the Buddha suffered yet another blow in the last months of his life: both Sariputta and Moggallana died within two weeks of each other—the latter brutally murdered, according to the commentaries, by the supporters of Jains, who saw the Buddha as a great threat to their own survival. For the Buddha, Batchelor points out, his last few months were dogged by a sense of failure—the society in which he’d worked a lifetime spreading his teachings was erupting into violence. The new king of Kosala, Vidudabha, was invading the Buddha’s homeland and the Buddha was powerless to prevent the massacre that ensued, with the royal troops being ordered to kill every Shakyan they see, “sparing not even infants at the breast”. So he headed south for Rajgir, where Ajatasattu was planning to cross the Ganges and invade the Vajjian republic, despite the Buddha’s advice to the contrary.

An exhausted and sick Buddha then wound towards home again, in Kapilavastu, accompanied by less than half-a-dozen monks of the many hundreds of followers he had in his heyday. And when he stopped at the town of Pavi, 75 miles from home, instead of the hospitality of the rich and powerful he had always enjoyed, he ended up at the house of a butcher or blacksmith. For Batchelor, the Buddha’s death is the biggest mystery of all. The texts only say that a man called Cunda the Smith invited the Buddha and his attendants, including Ananda, home. “From the moment it was offered to him, it seems that Gotama suspected something was amiss with the food,” writes Batchelor. According to the texts, the Buddha told his host: “Serve the pork to me, and the remaining food to the other monks.” When the meal was over, he said to Cunda: “You should bury any leftover pork in a pit.” Then he “was attacked by a severe sickness with bloody diarrhoea”. His only response was to say to Ananda: “Let us go to Kusinara.” Which, under the circumstances, Batchelor says, sounds like, “Let’s get out this place.” But the monk for whom the Buddha laid down his life ended up being upstaged by a relative outsider even before his cremation pyre was lit. Mahakassapa was a Brahmin from Magadha who became a monk towards the end of the Buddha’s life. He arrived with a large group of monks just before the pyre was lit, and insisted that the cremation not take place till he too had paid his last respects to the Buddha. On the face of it, the future of Buddhism after the Buddha’s death looked very bleak: at the cremation itself, when various kingdoms and republics applied for a share of his relics, the Kosalans conspicuously didn’t want any of him. And with a stern, elderly Brahmin at the head, sidelining Ananda, it looked set to become just another Indian religion controlled by priests. But that’s what’s so extraordinary about the Buddha, says Batchelor. “Here’s a person dealing with all these ambitious relatives and kings, and yet establishes his dharma sufficiently well so that we are talking about it now, 2,500 years later.”

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Movie Review: Teen Patti

E N T E RTAI N M E N T

Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

Movie Review: Toh Baat Pakki Story: Meddlesome Rajeshwari wants to find a groom for her sister, Nisha. She chooses the engineering college student, Rahul and brings him in as her tenant, but soon changes her decision when she meets junior manager, Yuvraj, who happens to have a car and a company house. Will true love win? Movie Review: Tabu returns after a long gap. That should be reason enough to watch Toh Baat Pakki. For she’s a fine actor who has proved her mettle, time and again. This time, she opts for a light-hearted comic role in a film that’s cast in the mould of the middleof-the-road comedies that made the eighties’ cinema so winsome and breezy. Pitched somewhere between realism and drama, the film somewhat recreates that genteel era when cinema talked about flesh and blood people who didn’t scream, holler and howl revenge. More importantly, their concerns were commonplace, like finding a suitable boy/girl and stealing a few romantic moments behind the back of meddlesome mums, didis and dadis. Remember Khoobsoorat, Golmal, Baton Baton Mein and the likes. Well, Toh Baat Pakki may not be as riveting as the 80s entertainers, yet it rides high on sheer nostalgia. Also, it presents a different kind of cinema in an age that lays great emphasis on high decibel, larger-than-

By Nikhat Kazmi Story: Professor Venkat Subramaniam, a mathematical genius is tired being ignored by his community. He decides to prove his experiments by real life evidence from the world of gambling and uses a bunch of students to enter the sleazy underworld of card sharpeners. But is there a way out of the world of crime? Is there an end to human greed? Film Review: Ready for a razor sharp teaser? Watch Teen Patti. The film is a taut thriller that’s not only done with loads of style and attitude, it also showcases a fine ensemble cast of youngsters who represent the edginess of today’s youth. And if that’s not enough, there’s further enticement in the character and currently in-form status of Amitabh Bachchan, who is hell bent on a second, third and fourth coming. After the mesmerising Auro in Paa, Amitabh’s eccentric mathematical wizard who talks to Albert Einstein, when he’s alone, is immensely watchable in Teen Patti. Of course, there are his musings with Ben Kingsley too. But one would have wished the film makers had made more substantial use of the tumultuous talent of Mr Kingsley than reducing him to a mere listener. Needless to say, most of Teen Patti unfolds in down market gambling dens as the odd assortment of newbie gamblers -- four students, and a professor, along with Mr Bachchan -- test the theory of probability through the game of cards. But didn’t grandmum tell us gambling is addictive. So, before you know, probability is

set aside and greed sets in. Along with a bit of blackmail. For even if the professor wants to opt out of this game that’s getting dangerous with each passing day, he really can’t. Someone’s threatening to harm the babalog, if the booty stops coming in the dirty plastic bag that’s to be regularly discarded in the bin. But more than all the external threat, it’s the insidious changes that are occurring within the group that are a greater cause of alarm. While a young couple aspires to become the next Bonnie and Clyde, greed’s corroding some others. Will the days of innocence return? Is crime reversible? Now these are just a few tantalising queries Teen Patti chooses to address. The second half does get somewhat repetitive, with the film refusing to move out of the gambling dens and the climax gets somewhat hurried. But majorly, the film holds as a taut thriller that keeps you glued for most of the screen time. Watch out for Sunidhi Chauhan’s item number, Teri Neeyat Kharab Hai. It rocks. A word about: Screenplay: Witty and concise, Leena Yadav displays her skills as a narrator. Dialogue: Ben Rekhi has the characters speak in real time, with real fears and real joys. Music: Salim-Suleman’s scripts a memorable item number: Neeyat Kharab Hai. Choreography: Watch out for Ashley Lobo’s oomph-oozing number, Neeyat Kharab Hai. Styling: Ameira Punvan’s costumes are funky and full of fun.

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life drama. Tabu’s talkative, inquisitive, control freak Rajeshwari who is hell bent on finding the right match for her sister, is eminently watchable. Living in a small town, she seems to have almost perfected the art of the small town conversation, being totally involved in the going-ons in the life of her neighbours and fellow townsmen. On hearing about her neighbour’s singleton tenant -- engineering college student, Sharman Joshi -- she immediately lures him to her house and tries to entrap him as a groom for her younger sibling, Yuvika Chaudhary. It doesn’t take a lot of effort on her part because the youngsters immediately fall in love. But the love story is short-lived since didi finds another dashing groom, Vatsal Seth, who happens to be Goddess Lakshmi’s choice too. Time to throw out the old tenant and bring in the new.... For those who like their films to move at frenetic pace, Toh Baat Pakki may seem a bit laidback. But once you sit back and settle down for some gentle laughs, the film offers you an engaging drama with a tall act by tall and lissome Tabu. Sharman, carries on unspooling his careless charm after his charismatic act in 3 Idiots. A pleasant watch.

Movie Review: Karthik Calling Karthik

By Nikhat Kazmi Story: Karthik, the proverbial loser, would have passed his life unnoticed but for the phone call which changed his life one early morn. The caller, also calling himself Karthik, teaches our hero how to get the top job, the hot chick, the happening life, until our hero angers him...Is it downhill after that? Film Review: Rock On, Luck By Chance and now Karthik Calling Karthik...seriously guys, Farhan Akhtar is turning out to be a revelation as an actor. As Karthik, the cube farm animal (read office nobody) who lives a drab life in a drab house doing drab work, he is absolutely stunning. His anguish at being unnoticed, exploited and squashed by all and sundry -- both in his personal and professional life -- hits you like a sledgehammer. As does his chutzpah, when he metamorphoses into the

other, more savvy and socially adept Karthik who may be the nice and safe guy but definitely not the boring guy. Then, it is his quiet confidence and gentle aggression that make you sit up and watch, as he goes about conquering the very worlds that had earlier ignored him. Treat. But, there’s a third avatar too that Farhan showcases with equal felicity. After winning the love of the girl who hadn’t even noticed him in the last few years and becoming an equal partner in the success of the company where he works, now that he’s forced his khadoos boss to acknowledge his accomplishments, Karthik’s life suddenly takes a turn downhill. His mentor, the other, anonymous phonecaller Karthik, gets livid when his identity is revealed and threatens to turn mean. He spoils all his carefully nurtured relationships and sends the poor, derided soul into hiding once

again. This time round, the anonymity is even more painful, as KO-ed Karthik tries to put back his life, piece by piece, minus his evil mentor. Does it work? It does, At one level. Vijay Lalwani’s film is immensely watchable, purely for the class act by Farhan Akhtar in the title role. Even Deepika Padukone pitches in perfectly as the sassy, uptown girl who has burnt her fingers a bit too much, as do the fringe players like Ram Kapoor and Shefali Chayya. One does wish there was a bit more of the bubbly Ms Padukone, though. Where it doesn’t work is the entertainment factor. The screenplay does tend to get a bit clunky and the drama somewhat heavy as the director looks for text book resolutions of the teasing problem. But, by and large, there is a thrill factor that keeps the momentum on. In the mood for serious cinema ? Watch Karthik Calling Karthik. A word about: Performances: Farhan Akhtar rocks on. Deepika’s effervescent. Dialogue: Vijay Lalwani gets the newage lingo right. Screenplay: Totally in sync with today’s cosmopolitan culture. Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have a winner in Uff Teri Ada. Styling: Niharika Khan’s costumes are picture perfect, both for the dowdy and the dowdy-turned-savvy Farhan and the super-chic Deepika. Cinematography: Sanu Verghese captures the loneliness and isolation of Karthik exquisitely, with empty spaces and shadows in the frame.

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B OOK R E V I E W

Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

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Some Like It Hot

Climate man R.K. Pachauri’s debut novel is a randy ride By Sreevatsa Nevatia Doesn’t influencing climate policy while heading TERI lead to a conflict of interest? Why aren’t you stepping down as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Those are the kind of questions thrown at Dr R.K. Pachauri these days. However, what readers of

his just-released debut novel, Return to Almora, might want to ask instead is: where did this engineer and UN technocrat learn to turn on the heat? If rising temperatures are the basis for the climate debate, sex is the basis for Pachauri’s novel. In the very first chapter, an American woman undresses and slips under the sheets and demands of Dr Sanjay Nath, the protagonist, “It’s cold, Sandy. Come and keep me warm.” And so he does. Then on, there is scarcely a chapter that does not contain a steamy scene. For example: “He removed his clothes and began to feel Sajni’s body, caressing her voluptuous breasts. He felt very excited, but wanted to enjoy exploring her body before he at-

There’s hardly a chapter without a steamy scene. And when the sex is not graphic, it is almost comically euphemistic.

The author has said the book was written far above the earth. Yet another instance of aviation doing damage?

tempted to enter her. But suddenly, it was all over.” And later, when Sanjay is teaching women yoga, he enjoys “the sensation of gently pushing Susan’s shoulders back a few inches, an action that served to lift her breasts even higher”. When the sex is not graphic, it is almost comically euphemistic. After

Shiv Sagar

Sanjay pretends to be impotent in order to reject the advances of a married woman, he thinks gleefully, “Now that the dessert she had been hoping to savour after dinner had gone limp in the unheated oven....” But in the context of Pachauri’s book, such passages are only an appetiser. The author has said, in the acknowledgements, that much of the 402page book was written far above the earth, during long inter-continental flights. Yet another instance, some might say, of aviation causing climate change! As far as literary heroes go, Sanjay Nath can only be compared to such rakes as Don Juan or Casanova. Every place he goes, no matter how remote, some woman or the other throws herself at him. In the absence of women, the author has his protagonist masturbating, stealing a red hankerchief from a passenger on a train for the purpose: “He pulled it out gently, imagined Pooja naked and ready by his side, and got busy with his right hand.” Like Sanjay, Pachauri was 15 in 1955, and like Sanjay, he spent his early years in Nainital. But Sanjay is a character no author would want to resemble beyond a point. And his friends, for sure, don’t make role models either. After he participates in a gangbang, his ‘spiritual master’ lets him off the hook with the following line: “You only took liberty physically with a girl who needed no coercion or deception.” Sanjay’s dead girlfriend appears to him whenever he is with another woman. After he has had sex with a woman in her 50s, the voice in his head says, “It’s a good thing you waited so long. It’s

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totally safe now. She can’t be pregnant.” Fittingly, given the current controversy over Himalayan glaciers, the book keeps returning to the Himalayan region. There are other echoes: one of the key characters just happens to be an environmental journalist, a psychic specialises in the geology of the Himalayan range, and Sanjay happens to check into a room at the India Habitat Centre, which, incidentally, is home to Pachauri’s TERI office. But this raunchy piece of fiction is clearly no dry-as-dust ipcc assessment report. And rather than a Nobel, what it might get Pachauri, at most, is the Bad Sex award.

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51

Blast Bole and Bloom Together?

It takes more to feed the family amidst destroyed houses and ruined hopes. The flood-hit women in North Karnataka are putting up with more than what their menfolk could ever empathise with. By Savita Hiremath “Devastation” and “destruction” are realms words can’t enter but it is these same words thrown around effortlessly these days. To know what it really means to be destroyed; one needs to only listen to the anguished outpourings of those left homeless and famished by the October floods in North Karnataka. Not that life has been rewarding for a majority of the population here - a region which politicians of all stripes remember only for its backwardness. But the floods have wiped out even that semblance of life established over generations. In the midst of it all lay mutilated hopes and dogged attempts to resume life. Yet, there’s one persistent thread that somehow holds on silently no matter how many skies have fallen - woman. She is scrambling around hungry with the torment of how to feed her children wearing her skin thin. Although she is the one picking up scraps left behind by the ravages of the tragedy and putting them together to call it life, she has remained invis-

changed in so short a time, much of it remains the same. “Namma hanebaraha namge (our fate is ours). Our house collapsed and I have to cook in someone else’s house. Even after all this, the men in our house want their food right on time,” complains Somavva, 63, of Halegondabalu. “The situation of women (in India) is bad as it is; it has not changed a bit

Hope had grown grey hairs, Hope had mourning on, Trenched with tears, carved with cares, Hope was twelve hours gone; And frightful a nightfall folded rueful a day Nor rescue, only rocket and lightship, shone, And lives at last were washing away: To the shrouds they took,—they shook in the hurling and horrible airs. - G M Hopkins

prevent men from squandering it away. “They could not bathe for days, they had no privacy. This has affected them both physically and psychologically. They are being stuffed like cattle into the sheds and quite a few families are living in one shed. Dalit women suffered even more. They were not allowed to enter temple or school premises to take shelter during floods.” These Dalit women from Hachcholli taluk of Bellary district have an endNine families stuffed less litany of woes, but nobody to listen. Photo: Savita Hiremath. into one shed While half of Karnataka was witnessing this “unprecedented tragedy” (click here) as the government itself admits, the dissident faction of the Yeddyurappa government was busy with what is now being termed “resort politics”. Not even a few weeks into the floods, the ministers were holed up in resorts in Goa and Hyderabad fine- tuning their political strategies. For once, the government statistics do not belie the reality. Claiming “swift relief action and massive reconstruction” in its Report to Only hard impotable water runs through this tap. Life is beyond People-1 - “Unprecedented any reasonable endurance at these sheds near Shridharagadde of Floods” - dated December 6, Bellary district where potable drinking water, power, basic amenithe Karnataka government ties like toilet and bathroom are a luxury. Pic: Savita Hiremath. says 34,821 sheds have been set up to shelter 3 lakh famieven after the floods. They were the ible to policy-makers. lies. That means nearly nine When I visited flood-hit Hiresind- ones doing all the work - salvaging Hanumanthamma in her early 90s, who families are living in one hogi, Kakkaragol, Halegondabalu of things from fallen houses, collecting lost everything to the floods, describes shed and if each family has Koppal district and Shridharagadde, bits and pieces of wood, cooking and what it takes to living in this shed which a minimum of five members, Hachcholli, and Kudadaral in Siru- feeding their children. Menfolk were turns into a hellhole the moment it rains it is roughly 45 members guppa taluk of Bellary district re- not to be seen at all; they were out on at Shridharagadde. including elderly people, Photo: Savita Hiremath. cently, it didn’t take long to realise some pretext or the other,” says Prof women, and children. how a single tragedy can affect dif- T R Chandrashekhar of Hampi Kan- basic amenities including bathroom Describing the situation, Ramesh, and toilets. “She told us that it was member of Bijapura Shoshithara Abferent people differently and how nada University. He led a team of seven members to not a question of funds or space but hivriddhi Vedike (a newly constituted women almost always suffer multiple the flood-hit districts to understand that they never felt it was necessary forum to fight discrimination against blows. Whether it is Pavithra (Hiresind- the nature of floods, the consequenc- (to build bathrooms and toilets). This flood-hit Dalits), regrets how 500 hogi) who is into her last few days es, how people faced it, and finally, is the attitude of the bureaucracy…. families are forced to live in 110 sheds of pregnancy putting up with her how the government responded to Sheds have been constructed but near Bijapur following the demolimother who has been reduced to pen- the crisis and how it is formulating the women’s interests have not been tion of a Dalit-dominated slum by ury, Rangamma of Shridharagadde relief operations. “All this from wom- taken into account. Behind all the the district administration. “Nearly who is tired of chasing cattle out en’s perspective,” he adds. Sponsored designging, planning of the relief 4-5 families are living in one shed. of her brother’s fields, Gangamma by the Women’s Studies Department, programmes, women never even We are being stuffed into these sheds (Hiresindhogi) who tries to pacify this extensive study spread across constituted a part.” like cattle. We have no privacy. No Basavaraj Kowtal, convenor of life. One short circuit and we will all her infant clutching him to her breasts eight districts and carried out by inteland complaining of displacement, or lectuals, social activists, and research Human Rights Front for Dalit Liber- perish. There is no solace outside as a homeless Sarojamma out on the assistants has been encapsulated into ation-Karnataka (HRFDL-K), who it gets really hot here and there are toured the worst-hit Bijapur district, no trees, no shade. No grocery shops streets with her two young daughters a comprehensive report. lays bare how traumatised women either.” No bathrooms and toilets - there seemed to be a painful reThe team met Hungund (another and children are. He feels the governalisation running through their veins. Prof. Chandrashekhar’s team met That no matter how irreversibly and worst-hit taluk) tahsildar Jayashree J ment should have at least released with harsher reality once again when completely the tenor of their life has and complained about the absence of the cheques in women’s names to it presented its report to the gov-

ernment at a meet in Bangalore in November last. For what it’s worth, State Nodal Officer on Flood Relief S M Jaamdar termed it ‘partial’ as it talks about only half the population even as he admitted that he had not read the full report. Prof. Chandrashekhar regrets how he made “a light comment” and stormed off the meeting in a huff. “In our report, we are not asking for anything much - but only what the government is supposed to give. We have not given room for any bias; we have worked very hard to be as objective as possible.” In a world bereft of toys Shridharagadde is no more, but only its starved people and their maimed spirit. A little away from where the village existed till recently, the recent rains had brought in dampness and even the hot sun seemed to be soothing. But once I walked up the paddy fields leading to rows of sheds 230 in all, I was confronted by a good measure of quiet, but a sinister quiet. The entire area lay as under some dread enchantment - one that doesn’t spare even the children. A group of children in tattered clothes were huddling together and their chatter didn’t betray the character of childhood. A quick glance and you know it’s a world bereft of toys. Up until you visit these shacks, you would believe if someone said “children have no sense of loss”. Maybe, that phrase belongs to another time, another world. But here, you’d see this hopeful observation on child psychology turned upside down. The wretched look on these children’s faces speaks of the loss they have suffered at such a tender age. While they walk around the sheds starved and naked, everything stands violated - their right to home, right to safety, and right to heal. No special programmes for children Somshekhar of Every Child, an NGO fighting for children’s rights, visited migration-prone Surupur and Shahapur taluks of Gulbarga district and also Havinahal which was completely submerged. He says the officials promptly distributed books to some kids here as the CM’s visit was round the corner. No books were given to the neighbouring Haldaal kids which was also submerged. No officials were visiting it either. “We have been talking to officials including the DDPI but no one seems to have any clue about the children’s schooling, their welfare in general.” Similarly, Prof. Chandrashekhar regrets lack of any special programmes like crash courses and extra hours of teaching and counselling for the traumatised children, especially those in Std X. He adds, “it’s not just flood relief problem. Basically it’s a developmental problem - how we conceive development and what we mean by it. The officials have to put people in the centre stage and design the programmes. They can’t do it so mechanically as if they are some inanimate, taken-for-granted things.”

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 05 , 2010 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

SPORTS

Roller Coaster Ride for Indian Hockey are one of the strong points of NEW DELHI (PTI): Bruised the home team. and battered by Australia, In“We were not lucky with dia will have to regroup their penalty corners againstAustraforces when they take on Spain lia. We didn’t succeed and that in a crucial Pool B encounter was the reason we couldn’t get of the hockey World Cup on closer,” Brasa said. Thursday. The Indians will also have After drubbing Pakistan 4-1 in to do away with their perentheir tournament opener, the Innial habit of holding on to dians were given a reality check the ball for longer, a mistake by Australia. which proved costly against The hosts were surprised Australia. by the pace and verve of the But notwithstanding all the Kookaburras, who completely flaws, Brasa will draw heart outplayed them in all departfrom the fact that the Indian ments of the game in their 5-2 mid-field sparkled yet again. win last night. Arjun Halappa and Sardar Jose Brasa’s men were taught Singh were as cool as cucuma good hockey lesson by Ausber even under tremendous tralia and showed that only conpressure. trol over the mid-field was not But what they lacked is enough to win a game. support from the forwardline If pace and fitness was all and they will be eagerly lookabout Australia, world number India’s Shivendra Singh and Tushar Khandker celebrate during ing forward to the strikers to three Spain is known for its flair their match against Pakistan at the men’s Hockey World Cup deliver the goods against the and one-touch hockey and the Spaniards and see that their The Indian forwardline, which Indian defence cannot afford hardwork does not go waste. to relax at any moment and repeat missed the banned Shivendra Singh, Another and most important heartencompletely looked off-colour with the mistakes they committed against Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur ing factor for the eight-time Olympics Australia. A defeat on Thursday will severely doing very little to prove their presence champions ahead of the Thursday’s game is the presence of Brasa up their in the game. dent India’s semi-final chances. ranks as he knows more than enough But with the two-match suspension Against the Australians, the Indian defence wore a sorry look from the ruling Shivendra out of the next match, about the Spaniards. “Spain are a good team but of our onset, conceding two goals within the the trio of Deepak, Prabhjot and captain level. I say this because they don’t have first 10 minutes. Sandeep Singh-led Rajpal Singh will have to rise to the two key players in their side - Santi occasion and come out with more backline had no answers to the speed and angular passes of the Australians. innovative ideas to beat the Spanish Freixa and Eduard Tabau. “I had trained them for many years. Such was the Aussie domination defence. Freixa is not with the current squad due “Playing without Shivendra and that even India coach Brasa admitted to injury. He is one of the best players in with just 15 players is our main conhis players were not used to such fast the world. Tubau is injured (in the first cern,” Brasa said. nature of hockey. Sandeep had a bad day in office match here). Without the two I think “We did not play bad, we played at our level much better than what we against Australia as he could not con- we can beat Spain,” he said. “I don’t think they can beat us easily. had in Salta. But Australia played at vert even a single penalty corner out a different level of fast-paced hockey. of three that India earned, and the ace They are not of Aussie level. I hope my We were not used to that kind of fast drag-flicker will have to pull up his knowledge of the Spanish team will socks against Spain as short corners help us.,” he added. hockey,” Brasa said. However, he said that in Pol Amat, Spain has got one of the best strikers of the world and his defenders will have against the Spanish captain. “PolAmat is a quality player. We will have to mark him closely,” the Indian coach said. Meanwhile in Pool B on Thursday, Australia will look to consolidate their position in the points table when they take on a lowly South Africa, while Pakistan will look to play out of their skin to keep their winning momentum intact against an unbeaten England.

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Statistics Behind Sachin’s Centuries

The last 34 months have been quite extraordinary for Sachin Tendulkar. In the couple of years preceding them, there had been serious questions asked about his form, his reflexes, and his appetite for the game. There was the acknowledgement, with more than a tinge of sadness, that Tendulkar’s mind and body were inevitably giving in to years of constant wear and tear, and that the kind of innings we witnessed during his glory days would only rarely, if ever, be repeated. How wrong we were. Quite magically Tendulkar has turned back the clock, displaying the intensity and hunger many thought had been lost forever. The result has been a stunning sequence of scores: 10 centuries in the last 12 months in international cricket, including three of his four highest ODI hundreds, and the first double-century in 2962 one-day internationals. His last eight innings in all international cricket read as follows: 105*, 16, 143, 7, 100, 106, 4, 200*. Among other things, it shows his all-consuming desire to convert his starts - every time he has topped 20, he has gone on to a century. \In 14 Tests from the beginning of 2005 to the end of 2006, he scored one hundred from 22 innings, and the average had dropped to less than 34. His ODI form was equally disappointing during this period: an average similar to his Test number, and a strike rate of less than 80. Since the 2007 World Cup, though, the numbers present a far more cheerful picture: in 58 ODIs the average has zoomed past 50, with the strike rate touching 90. His Test form has been equally delightful - an average

of almost 60, with 12 centuries from 34 matches. Since the end of the 2007 World Cup, Tendulkar is one of only three batsmen to average more than 50 in ODIs; MS Dhoni and Michael Hussey are the others. Combining the average with a strike rate of 89.20, Tendulkar’s ODI batting index (average multiplied by runs per ball) is 46.29, with only Virender Sehwag and Dhoni having a better index. Tendulkar’s Test average puts him in sixth place in a list dominated by Sri Lankans and Indians. Three Indian batsmen have a higher average than his, which indicates how good the going has been for India during this period. And while plenty has been written about Gambhir, Sehwag and Tendulkar, the performances of VVS Laxman have gone relatively unnoticed, even though he averages a touch higher than Tendulkar. Even more than the averages, what’s been stunning is the rate at which Tendulkar has been adding to his century tally. Not so long ago, Ricky Ponting was closing in on Tendulkar’s mark, especially in Tests. However, Tendulkar has opened up a handy lead once again, scoring six Test centuries in the last year even as Ponting’s form has dipped. The gap between their Test hundreds is now eight, while the overall difference is an unbridgeable 25. Since that 2007 World Cup, Tendulkar has scored a century every 6.53 innings (combining all international cricket). Only Thilan Samaraweera, with six Test centuries in 32 innings and two ODI hundreds in 15, has a better rate.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 05 , 2010 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


india

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

53

India in Pictures

ations Youngsters dunk each oher into colored water during celebr Holi of l festiva time spring Hindu marking the

Saif Ali Khan and Shah Rukh Khan at the 55th Idea Filmfare Awards at Yashraj Studios in Mumbai on February 27, 2010.

A young laborer looks on, as Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, talks to the media outside Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue for the upcoming commonwealth games, after a brief visit to check the preparedness and the security of the stadium in New Delhi.

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu along with CPI MLAs during protest against the hike in petrol and diesel prices in Hyderabad.

Tennis sensation Sania Mirza being felicitated at the inaugural ceremony of a tennis academy in Kolkata.

Police Commissioner Shankar Bidiri going through stolen goods recovered by Bangalore City police on display in Bangalore.

Folk dancers from the northeastern Indian state of Assam pose for pictures during the inauguration ceremony of a cultural festival on the outskirts of Gandhinagar, in India’s western state of Gujarat. More than 45 teams of folk dancers from different states of India participated in the ten-day long festival.

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

c o mm u n i t y c o nnec t i o n s

RELIGIOUS SERVICES

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston 281-242-5000

Havan Satsang 10 AM - 12, discourse by Dr. Premchand Shridhar: 281-7520100 DAV Sanskriti school 10 AM - 12 - Havan, Hindi and Naitik Shiksha classes. Shekhar Agrawal: 281-242-5000

BAPS Satsang Assembly accompanied by Santos from 4:30pm - 6:30pm followed by 281-765-BAPS (2277) arati and mahaprasad. 281-765-BAPS (2277)

Durga Bari Society Temple hours: Monday - Saturday: 9am- 11am and 4pm to 7pm; Sandhya Aarti 6.30pm. Sunday 9am- 7 pm. www.houstondurgabari.org, Champak 832-347-4003 Sadhu. • 13944 Schiller Road. Hare Krishna Dham

Daily Darshan & Arati Times: 4.30am, 7am, 8.30am, 12noon, 4.30pm, 7pm, 9pm. See darshan live on www.iskconhouston.org. Sunday Festival: 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Located at 1320 West 34th St, Houston, TX 77018.

Hindu Worship Society Temple

Priest – “Bhibhdutt Mishra Ji”. Open for Darshan all days, except Thursday, from 8am -10am & 5pm - 8pm. Sunday 11:30am to 1:30pm – Regular Puja, Religious discourses and Prasad. Website www.hwst.org

JVB Preksha Center

Regular weekly program of Yoga and meditation Mon-Thu 7.15pm to 8.15pm. On Saturdays from 9.00am to 11.15am. Located at 14102 Schiller Rd.

281-596-9642

Sanatan Shiv Shakti Rudrabhiskek every Monday followed by Aarti and mahaprasad. 5645 HillMandir croft, #701 Houston TX 77036. 713-278-9099

MARCH 2010

5

Fri

6

10.30am: Vibha Alpha Math Champs, Alpha Math Station, Jayashree: 201-604-3759, mathchamps@houston.vibha.org

Sat

8

Mon

11 Thu

12-21 Fri-Sun

13 Sat

Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple 281-498-2344

Daily Schedule: 7:30am – 9:30am -Suprabhatam, Sri Murthy Aaradhana, Tiruppa:vai Sevakalam, Theertha Ghosti, Balabhogam, 9:30am – 11am :Temple is open, 6:30am – 7pm, www.jetusahouston.org

17

Shri Kripalu Kunj Ashram 713-344-1321

Satsang & spiritual discourses, Sun: 10.30 am.-12.30pm. with simultaneous prog. of Hindi, Sanskrit and Moral science for kids, dance classes for children and adults every Fri:8 pm, www.shrikripalukunj.org

18-20

Shri Radha Krishna Four Arti daily: 6:30am , 12 noon, 7pm & 9pm. Tuesday & Saturday 7:10pm. Sunday Bhajan and Kritan at 6pm. Maha Arti 7pm, More information www. Temple srkt.org Located at 11625 Beechnut Houston, TX 77072. 281-933-8100

18-21

Vedanta Society

5906 Cypress • Classes Sunday from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, 1st &3rd Sunday; Bhagavad-Gita, 2nd Sunday; on works of Swami Vivekananda, More information visit www.houstonvedanta.org

Wed

Thu-Sat

Thu-Sun

19

Free Citizenship Classes

@ Houston Public Library February - May 2010

Mondays & Thursdays 5.30-7.30pm Carnegie Neighborhood Library 832-393-1970

Wednesdays 7-8.30pm Henington Regional Library 832-393-1820

7.30pm: Holi Fuldolotsav, India Fine Arts, Paramount Theatre, Austin, www.austintheater.org, Dr.A.Nagarajan: 512-918-1351 6pm: Spiritual Gathering for women, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Gurudwara Sahib of SW Houston, 281-565-5141, www.imgh.org 10th Annual Patotsav Festival, Shree Swaminarayan Temple (ISSO), 281-530-2565, www.swaminarayan.info 8pm: Shreya Ghoshal & Atif Aslam Concert, Indo American Association, Jones Hall, 281-648-0422, 832-758-2844, www.iaahouston.com

6pm: Legal Seminar on Employment Law, Indo American Chamber of Commerce, India House, Mondira: 713-624-7131 Weekend Meditation Retreat, SMVA Trust, Unity Church, 713-365-9676 Houston Mega Retreat with Amma, Unity Church Pyramid, 713-365-9676, www.karunamayi.org

Fri

7pm: Bhgavathi Seva, Shri Meenakshi Temple, 281-489-0358, www.meenakshi.org

Sat

6.30pm: Dreams to Reality, India House, www.indiahousehouston.org, Sri or Yolanda: 713-929-1900

20

Music for Literacy, Pratham USA, Stafford Civic Center (old), 866-PRATHAM

Give Your Religious Services a Facelift

Please note: The above section for Religious Services has been provided as a free service for many years. We are now updating this section to make it informative for our readers. To help provide this service on an ongoing weekly basis, we are making these listings available for a nominal annual charge. Give prominence to your religious services with a special block ad for an annual cost of only $150. That is only $2.88 per week. Paid Service listing starts Feb 2010. Thank you for your ongoing support.

7.30pm: Zakir Hussain & Masters of Percussion, India Fine Arts, Paramount Theatre, Austin, www.austintheater.org, Dr.A.Nagarajan: 512-918-1351

8.30pm: Shanti- A Journey of Peace, AIM for SEVA, Cullen Performance Hall, University of Houston, 832-303-2461, www.shantichoir.org

Temple hours: Mon - Fri: 8.30am-Noon, 5-8pm, Sat & Sun: 8.30am-2pm, 5-8pm, Aarti: Noon and 7.30pm, Chinmaya Prabha, 10353 Synott Rd, Sugar Land, TX 77478. www.saumyakasi.org, Bharati Sutaria: 281-568-1690

Darshan: Daily 7.30am-12.30pm, 4-8.30pm. Aarti: Daily 7.45am & 7pm. Hanumanji Aarti: Sat: 7.15pm. Rajbhog Thaal (No Darshan): 10.30-11am. Dinner Thaal 5.30-6pm. Located at 10080 Synott Rd, Sugar Land TX 77498.

CURRENT EVENTS

7pm: Young TiE Social, TiE Houston,Slick Willies, www. YoungTiE.org, events@YoungTiE.org

Saumyakasi Sivalaya 281-568-1690

Swaminarayan Mandir (ISSO) 281-530-2565

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24 Wed

11.30am: How India’s Top Business Leaders are Revolutionizing Management (Wells Fargo Series on South Asia), Asia Society Texas Center, Junior League of Houston, 713439-0051, brandiw@asiasociety.org, www.asiasociety.org 6pm: Chai Exchange - A Business and Networking Series, SACC, Jeff Wallace:832-660-2952, jeff@sacchouston.com, www.sacchouston.com 6pm: Hiring Event, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, The Westin Galleria, 713-624-7131, rsvp@iaccgh.com

27 Sat

28 Sun

10am: Sri Ramanavami Celebration, Shri Meenakshi Temple, 281-489-0358, www.meenakshi.org 5pm: Seeds of Hope: 14th Anniversary & Fundraiser Gala, DAYA Houston, Chateau Crystale, 713-981-7645, www.dayahouston.org, contact@dayahouston.org 7pm: Jai Ho Jamnadas, Namaskaar Entertainment, Houston baptist University, 281-240-3333

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