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Friday, January 18, 2019 | Vol. 38, No. 02

Indo American erican News


Kohli, Dhoni Star vs. Aussies Virat Kohli set it up and, for the first time in a while, MS Dhoni was there to finish it although India were grateful to a cameo from Dinesh Karthik to secure a sixwicket win with four balls remaining. The victory set up a series decider in Melbourne on Friday. “Tonight was an MS classic,” said Captain Virat Kohli, who scored his 39th ODI century.

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MS Dhoni launches one over longon during a spectacular chase.


Partnered & Syndicated with Times of India, Sulekha.com, Google, Yahoo & Bing

IACCGH is Proud to Celebrate 20 Years of Excellence

The Chamber commemorated the start of its 20th Anniversary at the Houston City Hall with the Guests of Honor Mayor Sylvester Turner and Indian Consul General Dr Anupam Ray. It was attended by over 170 members and supporters of the Chamber, representatives of the other local chambers and resource partners the Chamber works with including the Greater Houston Partnership and the Confederation of Indian Industries whose representative flew in from Washington. IACCGH Board members pose with special guests at Houston City Hall.

P4 ICC’s New Executive Team P10

Accidental Prime Minister Anupam Kher makes PM Manmohan Singh’s trademark soft spoken demeanor and skittish walk, his own. You will find yourself rooting for him, whether he is mustering the courage to do the right thing, or succumbing to the powers that play him (read: dynasty politics).




January 18, 2019

ICC Elections Express Confidence in Previous Executive Team BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA


OUSTON: Just over a month ago, the India Culture Center held its annual Board elections and on in a follow-up round of elections on Sunday, January 6, in India House, the new Executive Committee and three more Trustees were voted in unanimously. Outside, on a crisp, sunny day, the grounds of the center were filled with players from a local Latino soccer league and the parking lot filled up with spectators and athletes. To express the ICC’s confidence in the leadership from last year, the same Executive Committee was selected to move forward in 2019 with the exception of the Secretary Ajit Patel who was replaced by Santosh Varma. The others are Nisha Mirani, President; Pramod Bengani, Vice president and Hemant Patel, Treasurer. The election of the Executives and three vacant Trustee seats were conducted by this reporter who has been an Election Commissioner for four years. The other two Commissioners - Sam Merchant and Girish Pandya – were unable to attend. In addition, it was disclosed that Trustee Raj Bhalla had taken over the remaining one-year term Director position of Harshad Patel, who has had to resign due to ill health. The remaining EC position of

The newly elected Executive Committee of the India Culture Center, (from left) Raj Bhalla, Santosh Varma, Pramod Bengani, Nisha Mirani and Hemant Patel pose with the two new Trustees Falguni Gandhi and Sanjay Sohoni. The third Trustee, Manisha Gandhi, was unable to attend.

Past President was thrown up for grabs as the 2017 president Falguni Gandhi was term-limited and had to withdraw from the Board, according to the Bylaws. The position would then fall back on the past presidents

from previous years, but as both – Raj Bhavsar and Charlie Patel – are currently Trustees, the next in line would be Bhalla, who willingly accepted. The final bit of votes involved

filling the three Trustee seats. Nominations were made from the floor and Falguni Gandhi and Sanjay Sohoni accepted while Manisha Gandhi accepted via a telephone call.

With conclusion of the elections, the ICC Board held its normal meeting and discussed plans for the first flagship event: Republic Day celebration on Sunday, Jan. 27 Stafford Civic Center on Cash Road.


Celebrate India’s 70 Republic Day at India House

Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Flag Hoisting at 10:30 am

Happy Republic Day! We invite you with your family and friends to come and celebrate the joy & happiness of India’s transition toward becoming an independent republic. O. P. Jindal Center, India House, 8888 West Bellfort Ave., Houston, TX 77031 (Light refreshments will be served)

Programs & Services at India House

India House Charity Volunteer Clinic | Free Food Distribution | Free Yoga Classes Free Meditation Classes | Free Sanskrit Classes | Free Hindi Classes Free Line Dance Classes | Free Technology Classes For Seniors | Table Tennis Group Free Legal Consultation | After School Program | Summer Camp Cricket- Taped Ball | Sareen Harris Health Clinic For more information contact: 713-929-1900 | Vipin@indiahouseinc.org | www.indiahouseinc.org INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2019 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


January 18, 2019

HH Adikalar Urges Funds for Tamil Studies Chair at UH


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Officers of sponsoring organizations with the speaker, His Holiness Maruthasala Adikalar, at the Meenakshi Temple.

PEARLAND, TEXAS: His Holiness Maruthasala Adikalar from Perur Adheenam, near Coimbatore, India, was received with purna kumbham honors on January 12, 2019 at the Sri Meenakshi Temple, where he spoke eloquently in support of Houston Tamil Studies Chair (HTSC) at the University of Houston. The function was co-sponsored by HTSC, Meenakshi temple(MTS) and Bharathi Kalai Manram (BKM). MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Nathan and BKM President Priya Chandru attended the event. HTSC’s President Sockalingam

Sam Kannappan welcomed the gathering. Tupil Narasiman, Vice-President of Finance presented the details of the formation of HTSC. Fundraising coordinator Dr. SG Appan said that contributions are coming in at a record level. Treasurer Dr. Naa Ganesan introduced the speaker. Vice-President of grants, Dr. Thiruvengadam proposed vote of Thanks. HTSC Secretary A. Perumal coordinated the event. Adikalar presented books to MTS Vice-Chairman Dhani Kannan and Board member Malathi Sundar for Meenakshi Temple library.

Indian community is growing at an ever-increasing pace in the city of Houston, Texas. Many youth from Indian and Asian background are attending both undergraduate and graduate programs in various disciplines at University of Houston. University of Houston has accepted our proposal to set up a “Houston Tamil Studies Chair” with the focus being on Research & Teaching of Tamil. HTSC is a non-profit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) approval set up specifically to collect funds for the establishment of the Tamil Chair. For further information, please contact sam.kannappan@gmail. com

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FIS Interviews Jugal Malani, with a Strong Belief in “Giving Back to the Community” HOUSTON: Jugal Malani was interviewed by Kumud Pulijala for the Foundation for India studies’ Indo-American Oral History Project on June 12, 2018. Jugal Malani, a long-time Houstonian and a successful entrepreneur, was born in Bidar in the state of Karnataka, India. Mr. Malani received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Karnataka University and briefly worked in the Birla groups in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, before joining their family business in Calcutta. In 1981 he moved to Houston, Texas to join his sister and brother-in-law and work for the small business they started. Houston was much smaller then but was suffering from one of its worst recessions with layoffs and foreclosures. The slow economy didn’t deter Jugal to grow the family business. He helped the business grow and in three-four years he became a partner of the family business he was working for. In first 17 years he played in a leadership role and grew the company from $1M to $40M in revenue, while his brother-in-law was pursuing another business endeavor. Eventually these two companies merged and Jugal left the company and sold his 30% ownership he had.

Jugal Malani being interviewed by Kumud Pulijala for the Indo-American Oral History project.

It was a new beginning for Jugal but a decisive moment as to whether start a new business endeavor in the same area he worked for last 17 years or doing something completely new Jugal thus founded a new business, Unique Industrial Product Company, with his business partner Mr. Pradeep Gupta and again slowly grew the new company from scratch. Now after 20 years the company grew with 150 employees. Since 1981, Jugal has been living in Houston with his lovely wife Raj and raised their two kids Pankaj and Nikita. Pankaj graduated from University of Texas at Austin and now he is leading the company his father founded.

Nikita is a successful pediatric neurologist in the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Jugal and his family play a prominent role in the Indian community in Houston and has been a key contributor to Hindu temples, organizations and religious celebrations such in the Houston areas. He is a strong believer of the philosophy of “giving back to the community” and credits his brother-in-law for this learning. Mr. Malani is presently the President of India House Inc. Mr. Malani’s full video interview has been preserved in the digital archives of the Houston Public Library which can be viewed by clicking on the web link: http://digital. houstonlibrary.net/oral-history/ MALANI-59.php.

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January 18, 2019

US-India Business Council Hosts Reception in Honor of Shringla, Indian Ambassador to U.S. WASHINGTON DC: On 15 January 2019, the United States-India Business Council (USIBC) hosted a welcome reception in honour of Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Ambassador of India to the United States. Congressmen, senior US government officials, representatives of U.S. companies, industry associations and a cross-section of the media were present at the event. In his remarks, Ambassador Shringla spoke about the remarkable transformation that India-US. relations have under-

gone in recent years. He emphasized that this transformation has been characterized by a growing convergence of strategic and commercial interests. He also highlighted the multifaceted cooperation between India and the U.S. in a wide range of sectors, including trade and economic cooperation, security and defence ties, energy, and science and technology. Ambassador Shringla stated that India-U.S. trade relationship reached new heights in 2017 with bilateral trade reaching $126 billion. He noted with satisfaction that this upward trend continued in 2018 marked by new developments such as purchases of pe-


troleum, LNG and civilian aircraft from the U.S. He expressed confidence that this remarkable growth would continue in 2019 and beyond. Ambassador Shringla also held a meeting with Thomas J. Donohue, CEO and President of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with Nisha Biswal, President of the USIBC. Formed in 1975, the USIBC has a membership of over 300 companies. Its aim is to engage the private sectors of both countries to enhance investment flows and serve a direct link between business and Government leaders.

Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla speaking at his welcome reception at the U.S.-India Business Council on 15 January 2019.


EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Feminism vs. Faith Passions are running high over Sabarimala. Feminism and faith don’t have to fight to the death, but the reactionary right and the rationalist left are leaving no middle ground to resolve it at all. The Sabarimala case really does not have glib answers. It is not Hindutva and patriarchy lining up on one side and emancipation and constitutional morality on the other. It is about two important values: the freedom of religion and association (the right of the devout — so far male — to worship at Sabarimala the way they have) clashing with non-discrimination (the right of women to enter that space). It’s hard to be unreservedly on either side, and a solution can come only from negotiation, not confrontation. How are women’s rights substantively affected by not being welcome at the lonesome hill shrine of Sabarimala? This would be like Dalit temple entry, a matter of oppression and equality, if there was a general gender barrier across Hindu temples. Sabarimala is one random male redoubt. There is no universal menstrual taboo either — there are temples for menstruating goddesses where men can’t go, I recently heard of a Radha cult where men wear red loincloths to simulate menstruation, there are rituals like yoni puja. There are limits to where the state can go in correcting non-standard practices. Religion is a zone of privacy that need only make sense to its adherents, as long as there is no coercion or violence involved in its practice. While god, if she exists, probably doesn’t discriminate, religious practice has currents and crosscurrents. You can’t legislate away all whimsical or problematic beliefs, or bring everyone around to a common idea. We only need to exist alongside as equals, not melt all walls and step into each other’s enclaves. Distinct spaces are not always incompatible with equality, when they are not the norm. Does the existence of a boys’ school discriminate against girls or vice versa? Not if educational and co-educational opportunities are not denied to anyone. The right to worship Ayyappa is not denied to women in other temples. If they don’t like the Sabarimala way of worship, they are free to devise their own. Sabarimala happens to exclude women because of current beliefs around the deity. Either you believe, or you don’t; there is no point arguing logically with the faithful about celibacy or menstruation. This Sabarimala consensus and purity-obsession may indeed be relatively recent, but that’s about as meaningful as pointing out that cows were not worshipped in Vedic times. Whether or not one agrees with them, everyone has the right to remedy when their religious freedoms are challenged (unless this amounts to systematic discrimination or coercion). It is not for unbelievers to declare beliefs ‘archaic’ and then bulldoze them. Many Indians, whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or faitheist, flinch at the thought of busting into a place of worship. That’s not how things get fairer, in matters of faith: you need to engage within its terms. To progress, you have to change the story, loosen the beliefs, mobilise most believers and shame the others. Can beliefs and practices of a place change with external pressure? They seem to have, in the similar standoff at Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur, with some skilful negotiation and soothing. But both sides need to feel acknowledged, rather than invalidated by the other. The good-faith defenders of the Sabarimala tradition must accept that while Hinduism is spiritually heterodox, it is also socially rigid and hierarchical. Kerala is seeing a long-deferred and tremendous wave of feminist activism, and the CPM-organised Women’s Wall is proof of these powerful energies. Women’s voices have been stifled in all organised faiths, including in Kerala’s Devaswom boards. This patriarchal stranglehold must be fought by progressive parties and activists. To inappropriately quote Salman Rushdie in this context: ‘For God’s sake, open the universe a little more.’ But don’t tear it open. --Amulya Gopalakrishnan in Times of India

January 18, 2019


Why Do We Need to Plan? BY VIJAY KUMAR DAMLE In our everyday life we unknowingly are doing planning. For example, let’s suppose that you have just moved into a new house or an apartment and trying to decide when should you get-up in the morning, when should you leave the house, what route should you take to go to the office if you have a choice? So that you arrive at your place of work on or ahead of your time? It takes a while to experiment, to try out different routes, what’s the possibility of you running into all red lights and so on. But once you find out the best route, you know exactly when to get up, when to leave your house to get to your place of work 99 percent of the time before your official start time… Let’s face it…that 1% of the time you will run into a traffic jam due to a torrential rain that day.. On that day you will be late arriving at work…but so would most of your co-workers! However, when we are planning for getting some work done which requires spending, let’s say, about $20,000 dollars of your hardearned money on a home improvement project. It may be building a backyard patio, or a gazebo. Can we use this trial and error method to get your project done on time? What if, there is a deadline by which you must get this project done? This is where, if you are aware of some of the established techniques that professional planners use, it will save you significant heartburn, anxiety, and money….. there is a famous saying which goes something like the following: “The nicest thing about not planning is that failure always comes as a complete surprise and not preceded by a period of worry and desperation”. But seriously, do you want to be in such a situation? Before we go any further, let’s get to know the classic definition of a project. “A Project is defined as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service., which has a definite start and a definite finish, and has a budget associated with it”.

SPORTS “The nicest thing about not planning is that failure always comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by a period of worry and desperation.” Typically, therefore, if you embark on a project which you are going to do-it-yourself, you do need bit of planning. Fortunately, there are various techniques that have been developed that you can utilize to start and finish your project on time, and within your budget. One such technique is called a “Gantt Chart”. In its simplest form, you would start by listing activities that you think are important in getting your back-yard patio done: Marking location of the patio, its rough size, preparing rough sketches, preparing a list of materials that you need to buy….and so on. Once you do this, you can try and organize this list in a sequence that will tell you what to do first, second, third etc. Then for each of this activity, you can assign a specific duration in days or weeks….Here is a sample above. You can of course add more details. As you add more details, you will be able to minimize any unexpected surprises that you may run into…. After you have added these details, go through each activity one more time to make sure that the sequence you have created makes a logical sense to you…. Also, do one more check. How much time are you allowing between the time your schedule shows you will be completing your project, and the date you must have this patio finished. If you are showing in your Gantt Chart drawing that you will be finishing on the same day that you must have this patio finished, then you are not allowing some “leeway” for any unexpected delays that you may face…My recommendation is that you do allow yourself two to three days of contingency (or more if needed). Once

you are happy with this schedule, then comes the task of maintaining this schedule on a regular basis, statusing completed activities to make sure that you do remain on schedule. In the above Gantt chart, you will notice that you are progressing as planned. If you do start falling behind, be prepared to put in extra effort to catch up. This may involve getting help from your family or friends. The key is to recognize this sufficiently well in advance so that you can make a course correction while there is time! With success that you will achieve by doing this planning, you will undoubtedly get more ambitious and think of tackling even bigger projects. If you do, there are more sophisticated planning tools that are available to you. Two such tools are called PERT (Program Evaluation & Review Technique) and CPM (Critical Path Method). If you wish to learn more about the Gantt Chart, PERT, or CPM, start by googling them. You will be then entering the fascinating world of Professional Project Planners. The author, Vijay Kumar Damle, has been working in the Engineering & Construction industry for over 36 years for Bechtel Corporation on a variety of medium to mega project. He recently published a book titled, The Book on Schedule Delays: Why do they happen and how to avoid them.”

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI PUBLISHER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI PARTNER: VANSHIKA VIPIN OFFICE MANAGER: SARITA MEHTA GRAPHICS: JACOB DAVID ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-6397 email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: www.indoamerican-news.com




January 18, 2019

ASIE Elections Meld Experience and Youthful Exuberance on Board BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA


OUSTON: As she stepped down from her year-long role as president of the ASIE, an engineering and architectural organization for Indians, Sai Gowthami Asam had reason to look back with pride. As the first female president in eight years (the first was Manjula Krishnamurthy in 2008 followed the next year by Tanu Hiremath) and only the third in the history of the 25 year-old organization, Asam had set out to draw in more females into the group and also a younger set of professionals. Not an easy task for a profession still dominated by men worldwide, but gradually changing as more women enter into the science and technology field. So it was with justified pride that Asam talked about a mini transformation of the American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects at its annual changing of guard ceremony last Thursday, January 10 at India House. After a buffet dinner, the ceremony began in the main hall, attended by about 90 people, including many of the older founding members. “The year went by so fast,” exclaimed Asam as she began to list her accomplishments. “But our team’s goal was to focus on diversity, not only in gender but also membership from various disciplines of engineering and different levels of experience.” Towards that end, Asam was pleased to announce an increased participation by women, even on the Board and advisory council and by students. Even the flagship May event featured a woman keynote speaker, Carol Haddock, the Director of Public Works for the City of Houston, followed by the June meeting that featured Vineeta Jayaram, another noted professional.

Asam spoke about the ASIE’s monthly meetings, collaboration with other groups like the IACCGH, the holiday event and the handing out of 12 scholarships and the Engineer of the Year awards. With 65 life members, 81 annual members, 20 students and 40 corporate sponsors, Asam assured the group that the ASIE was financially sound as it entered its 25th anniversary year. She spoke about her own initial quest for networking with other Indian engineers when a casual google search led her to the ASIE where she was welcomed and encouraged to work in different capacities which helped her personally and professionally. One lingering bit of business left over was the recognition of scholarship awards to two students – Bhavana Patel and Neha Shai – who could not make the November event but were present now. After the 2018 Board was recognized, the new incoming Board and the 2019 president Showri Nandagiri were presented and the oath of office was administered by Judge Natalia Oakes, of the Texas District Court 313, who was elected to the office this past November and is a close friend of member Chad Patel. The 2019 team is Showri Nandagiri, President; Chaitanya Gampa, Vice President; Archana Sharma, Secretary; Chetan Vyas, Treasurer; and Board Directors Sirish Madichetti, Sekhar Ambadapudi, Vishakha Kaushik, Apoorv Kumar and Raghu Veturi. In his acceptance comments, Nandagiri said he was pleased at the growth in the organization and that there was a lot more work to be done and was going to have a preliminary planning session to brainstorm ideas. True to his word, his new Board had their first meeting in one corner of the hall right after the event concluded!

The newly elected Board Directors and Executive Committee of the American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects, (from left) Showri Nandagiri, President (center); Chaitanya Gampa, Vice President (to his left); Archana Sharma, Secretary; and Chetan Vyas, Treasurer (to his right); and Board Directors (from left) Sirish Madichetti, Sekhar Ambadapudi, Vishakha Kaushik, Apoorv Kumar and Raghu Veturi.

Outgoing President Sai Gowthami Asam with incoming (right) President Showri Nandagiri

Outgoing President Sai Asam with new Board Director Vishakha Kaushik (left) and ASIE scholarship winner Neha Sahai and Student Representative Anusha Kistapuram (right). Photos: Navin Mediwala

AAPI Will Host Global Healthcare Summit in July 2019 in Hyderabad The 13th edition of the annual Global Healthcare Summit will be held in Hyderabad in India in July 19th to 21st, 2019,” Dr. Suresh Reddy, President-Elect of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), during a Kick Off Dinner Event, here at the Hotel Daspalla, Kavuri Hills, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad on January 2nd.

Dr. Suresh Reddy, Chair, Global Health Summit 2019, urged all AAPI leaders, local organizers and sponsors to fully participate in order to make the next edition of AAPI’s Global Healthcare a more effective one, serving the many healthcare needs of our mother India. Dr. Reddy, who will assume charge as the President of AAPI in July this year at the convention in

Atlanta, USA, said, the GHS 2019, planned to be organized by AAPI in collaboration with BAPIO & GAPIO, as well as Host Alumni Chapters, including OGKTMA, ATMGUSA, KAMCOSA, and GMCGA, will focus on preventive health, Rural Health, Women’s Health, and providing special CPR Trainings, that will equip First Responders to help save a life.

Former White House Official Says Changes Upcoming for H4 Legals Doug Rand, a former White House official who worked on the H-4 visa regulations sent out an email listing the highlights of what transpired with immigration over the year 2018. The H-4 regulations relating to Employment Authorization brought in during the last days of the Obama administration enabled thousands of Indian spouses, mostly women, to work in the U.S. while their husbands were on H-1B visas, Rand noted in his Dec. 19 email, the Department of Homeland Security implemented what he considers a new obstacle for over 166,000 married couples each year. “Nearly all of them will be required to attend an in-person interview two years after receiving a spousal green card, where they

will have to prove the authenticity of their marriage for a second time,” Rand noted, and goes on to predict that, “The coming influx of new interviews is bound to exacerbate backlogs for green cards and U.S. citizenship, as well.” Rand provides a “non-exhaustive” list of the year’s top 10 legal immigration policy changes: 1. Public Charge, Act One: On Jan. 3, the State Department began to exclude more people seeking to enter the United States from abroad, if they are deemed too poor, old, or unhealthy, Rand says. The city of Baltimore recently sued to block this move. 2. Public charge, Act Two: On Oct. 10, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled its proposed “public charge rule,” which Rand describes as “a back-door

wealth test that would slash legal immigration by more than 50%, separate nearly 200,000 married couples each year, and cost up to $13 billion in annual compliance costs alone.” 3. Rejection Rates on the Rise: So far in 2018, DHS has denied 37% more legal immigration applications than in 2016, including applications for work permits, travel permits, green cards, H-1Bs, and other visas, Rand estimates. 4.One Strike and You’re Out: Rand says the DHS announced a “zero-room-for-error” policy toward legal immigration applications, scaling back the ability of applicants to correct minor mistakes and initiating deportation proceedings against anyone who is out of status at the moment their application is denied.



January 18, 2019


King, Queen and a Young Voice Charm at IMAGH’s New Year Party BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA


OUSTON: The Club 65 has a habit of being a trendsetter, thanks to the extraordinary lengths that it goes to get good value for its members. And with the sharp eye of an entrepreneur, C65 President Paru McGuire and her band of volunteers not only pulled off its New Year celebration two weeks after the date, but they ensured that its parent organization, Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston and it’s the other offshoot, South Asian Youth Association came together for the event. What mattered most was that the older people of the community had a chance to participate in the tradition that they often have to spend away from the crowds and din of New Year’s Eve revelers. That has been the modus operandi

for Club 65 ever since it was formed almost 7 years ago to cater to the needs and well-being of its senior Indian members, most of whom at present are first generation immigrants to this country. C65 is an offshoot of the IMAGH, itself a relatively young organization which has become visibly prominent through many events over the past seven years. And from the start, Paru McGuire has been an active volunteer and the C65 President for the past five years. McGuire served as the emcee for C65 New Year’s Day party and was heartened that almost 100 people attended. The party featured musical performance by the local Indian group Aarohan composed of Preitu Dave, Tejas Mehta, Nick Ganatra and his 9-year-old son Yash Ganatra. The group has performed free or for minimal charge.

Harris County Deputy Sherriff Nasir Abbasi introduced Mohammed Nehad Abdul Hamid (left) who is running for Ft Bend County Constable District 3 as Saeed Pathan and Paru McGuire. look on.


Fatehali Chatur, Chair, Board of Directors; Rahat Kalle, Vice President; Hatim Kanorwala, Joint Vice President (not present at the event); Farida Bandali, Treasurer; Paru McGuire, President; Rozina Zafarali, volunteer; Farida Jinnah, volunteer and Albert Joseph, Secretary.

The King (Jamil Chunawala) and Queen (Farida Bandali) of the evening were crowned by (from left) judges Jawahar Malhotra, Meera Kapur, Tasneem Wadhwa and C65 President Paru McGuire.

Arundhati Desai Weds Anish Patel


MANVEL, TX: As the guests sat

at their tables, the newlyweds came down the grand staircase in the center of the room and sat at a sofa; she in a velvet green gown and he in a black tuxedo. The bride’s sister, Alaukika, stood to one side and spoke adoringly about how the couple had met and then, six months later decided they were meant to be together. And what better way to show their love story then in dance to Bollywood songs that tagged at each of the pivotal points in their courtship? The couple took to the dance floor and expressed their adoration for each other in five pieces set to songs with lyrics that weaved together their story. Off came Anish’s jacket and Arundhati’s high heels as they twirled and twisted in well-rehearsed moves. Wanting to connect with someone who shared her interests, Arundhati, now 28, registered at the dating website coffeemeetsbagel.com two years ago. She browsed through the online profiles and was intrigued by the one in particular of Anish, who was also a Gujarati and studying nursing like herself. They met two or three times and then she told her parents who asked to meet him. They gave their approval and six months later the couple were engaged in an elaborate ceremony in the Desai family’s hometown of

Baroda, Gujarat. “We have all our extended families there,” explained Arundhati’s dad Santosh, “and Anish’s family is all here, but his parents, brother and a few cousins came to attend.” Their wedding took place almost a year later at the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Stafford on Saturday, December 22 with all of Anish’s extended family attending, and the reception the following evening at The Springs (Magnolia Manor) in Angleton, Texas, about 50 miles south of downtown Houston. The newlyweds will make their home in Houston. Arundhati was born and raised in Baroda, coming to the US at 13 years of age when her parents immigrated in 2003. After finishing her pre-requisites at the University of Houston, she attended the Wilson School of Nursing at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas and received her degree in 2015.

The young, 9-year-old Yash Ganatra was the star of the musical group Aarohan (Preitu Dave, Tejas Mehta, Nick Ganatra) which performed.

She is currently working on her Nurse Practitioner degree online while also working at Hermann Memorial Hospital. Her father is Dr. Santosh Desai, an administrative consultant for the Dallas County Hospital District who was in private practice for 16 years in Baroda before immigrating. Her mother Vaishali has been an esthetician for 14 years and, along with Santosh, owns and manages the Beauty & Beyond Skin Care Center and Spas of Houston. Her younger sister Alaukika works for Hermann Memorial Hospital, and is starting pharmacy school this summer. Anish Patel, 29, was born and raised in Houston, and got his bachelors and nursing degrees from the University ofAustin,Arlington in 2016. He is also an RN at Hermann Memorial Hospital Southwest and also pursuing a nurse practitioner degree. His parents moved from Sarsa. Chahotar District, Gujarat to the US in the late ‘70s. His father is a medical technician working with various hospitals and his mother is an RN at St. Luke’s Hospital.

The bride Arundhati Desai and groom Anish Patel at their wedding reception with the bride’s family; mom Vaishali, dad Dr. Santosh Desai and younger sister Alaukika



January 18, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard Announces 2020 Run vs. Trump WASHINGTON DC: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard announced on Friday that she would run for president in 2020, entering what is expected to be a crowded field of liberal contenders. “I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” the Hawaii congresswoman said on CNN in an interview that’s slated to air tonight on “The Van Jones Show.” Gabbard, who was elected to Congress in 2012, was the first Samoan-American and the first Hindu member of Congress. An Iraq veteran, Gabbard, 37, serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hi., nominates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., for president during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP) She previously served as the vice-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee but resigned to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign. “There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” she said, according to CNN.

Tulsi Gabbard speaking at the Democratic National Convention.

Gabbard was criticized in 2016 for traveling to Syria and meeting with President Bashar Assad, who has been accused of war crimes. She says it’s important to meet with adversaries if “you are serious about pursuing peace.” The Republican National Committee, shortly after Gabbard’s announcement, sent out a “cheat sheet” attacking the meeting and her bid for the White House. Already, the pool of Democrats looking to take on President Donald Trump in 2020 is getting crowded. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced the start of an exploratory committee to run for president and held rallies in Iowa last week to talk with voters in the state that’s the first to vote in the

presidential primary. Julian Castro, Barack Obama’s former Housing chief, is expected to announce his 2020 bid on Saturday in Texas. Others, including former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke are also considering a White House run in 2020. But within days of her decision, Gabbard is facing questions over her work in the early 2000’s for an anti-gay organization run by her father, Mike Gabbard. A review of Gabbard’s past political engagements published by CNN’s KFile found that while Gabbard was running for the state legislature, she touted work she did alongside her father to help pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Hawaii.


COMMUNITY Kamala Harris Says Inspired by Mother WASHINGTON DC -- Senator Kamala Harris, who is eyeing to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, has credited her Indian-American “superhero” mother for instilling in her the sense of responsibility that motivates her political career. Harris, 54, is the first Indianorigin Senator in the US. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris immigrated to the US for studies at the age of 19 from Tamil Nadu. She married Donald Harris an African American born in Jamaica in 1938. “It was really my mother who took charge of our upbringing. She was the one most responsible for shaping us into the women we would become,” Harris writes in her book ‘The Truths We Hold: An American Journey’, which will hit the bookstores later this week. She said that her late mother

empowered her to take personal action to fix problems she encountered - a theme that she says is influencing her political career. Harris, is being seen as a potential strong contender to get the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump in the 2020 elections. “My mother was barely five foot one, but I felt like she was six foot two. She was smart and tough and fierce and protective. She was generous, loyal, and funny. She had only two goals in life: to raise her two daughters and to end breast cancer,” the Senator from California said. “She pushed us hard and with high expectations as she nurtured us. She made Maya and me feel special, like we could do anything we wanted to if we put in the work,” Harris said. Maya is the name of her younger sister.

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January 18, 2019

Smash! Table Tennis Takes Off at India House HOUSTON: India House took another step in hosting sports activities that are popular on the Indian subcontinent. Cricket is already being played for about a decade, but now table tennis enthusiasts have found a new home at India House. Launched in mid-October, table tennis enthusiasts are attending the Friday evening sessions. Two brand new Stiga table tennis tables are available for the participants. Both tables were purchased through the sponsor-

ship of Pankaj and Avni Malani. For those waiting to play, a carom board is also available. After filling out a medical disclaimer form, the participants enjoy both singles and doubles games. Many of the games are surprisingly close. Table tennis continues every Friday from 6-8 pm. “It is an opportunity for table tennis players at all skill levels to enjoy the sport,” explained Table Tennis coordinator Jyoti Kulkarni. “For the

introductory sessions, we had players ranging in age from 30 to 77, both men and women, players from the nearby community, and even a player from Hong Kong. “”We will arrange for other play times and plan to hold a tournament soon,” promised India House Executive Director Col. Vipin Kumar (retired). For additional information and registration, visit www.indiahouseinc. org/programs-services/table-tennis/


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A table tennis match underway at India House with other participants watching the action.

Clean Sweep for China at Youth Olympics 2018 in Buenos Aires BUENOSAIRES: The clean sweep was China’s second in a row at the Youth Olympic Games, with their players also completing a golden table tennis hat-trick at Nanjing 2014. Seventeenyear-old Sun Yingsha claimed gold in the women’s competition and Wang Chuqin, one year her senior, did like-

wise in the men’s. The two then joined forces to win the mixed international team competition. “There were times when I did feel a bit nervous,” Wang said after securing his second gold medal of the YOG. “We managed to get the win in the end but we need to analyse our performances if we’re


going to improve.” Japan’s Miu Hirano and Tomokazu Harimoto, meanwhile, collected all the silver medals between them. Hirano lost 4-1 to Sun in the women’s final, Harimoto went down by the same scoreline to Wang in the men’s gold-medal match.




January 18, 2019

SUDOKU Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine.

Send us the correct answer before January 14, 2019. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 212, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

For those looking for an alternative to the more commonly available Aaloo da Parantha (stuffed potato flatbread), look no further than the gajjar (carrot) parantha to make your mouth water! But for a parantha to taste right, it should be hot off the tava and crispy but soft. So here is a reprint of this popular recipe with some additional information and directions.

Gajjar da Parantha


The favorite Punjab comfort food – the parantha (crispy flatbread) – is popping up everywhere as a convenience food too! Taking a tip from American marketing savvy, the plain parantha has come out wrapped around a meat filling like a kebab of shredded chicken as a “wrap”. It’s a variation of a taco, burrito or other wraps, but the wheat bread is certainly tastier than a tortilla. Some mom’s even pack it into lunch boxes as kids in the US much rather prefer munching on the parantha roll than to traditional dal-roti in the school cafeteria. The word parantha comes from parat (turn over) and atta (flour) and it is pronounced in various ways across India and other places where Indians have settled, like Mauritius, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Though the basic way to make paranthas is very similar, it’s the stuffing that differentiates them, the cooking method and of course the taste … and even the way you eat them. Gajjaran or carrots are good for your vision as they have a lot of Vitamin A. They contain almost no starch but as they have 7 per cent free sugars, carrot juice is not a good option for diabetics as it gets converted to glucose very quickly and can cause a spike in the blood sugar. But grated carrots stuffed in paranthas is a safe way to eat them in moderation. A homemade Punjabi parantha is usually 8 to 10 inches round and nearly ¼ inch thick. It is made of twice-rolled dough, with a little dab of oil and then cooked on each side till there is a crispy, golden brown top layer, which can only happen when you coax the dough to actually puff up and NOT press down hard on it while cooking. Then the crispy side is coated with some butter or oil and served piping hot. Ingredients: • 500gm kanak (gehon) ka atta (wheat flour) • 500gm gajjar (carrots) • 2 tbsp tael (olive oil or vegetable oil) • 1 1/2 cups pani (water) • 1 tsp dhaniya (coriander) • º½ tsp lal mirch (red pepper) • ½ tsp garam masala • To marinate: namak (salt)

Directions: 1. Knead the atta into dough with water and set aside for 30 minutes. Make sure that the dough is soft but not thin so that it can be easily rolled out. 2. Peel the carrots, then grate them and place in a bowl. Add the salt, mix thoroughly and let it sit for 30 minutes. 3. Drain the water from the bowl and with your hands, squeeze out the excess from the carrots. The grated carrots will reduce in size and should be quite dry in order to be used as a stuffing. Mix in the rest of the spices and keep aside. 4.Pinch off a piece of dough and make into 1½ inch round padde (balls). Roll each padda out into a 4 inch disc. 5. Spread the dough into the middle of the disc and place two tablespoons of the grated carrots into it. Gather off the ends off the dough with a pinch and then roll into a ball again. 6. Carefully roll out the ball into an 8 to 10 inch disc ¼ inches thick, trying not to spill the mixture in a tear of the dough.

7. Put a small dab of oil on a hot tava (hotplate or skillet) and place the flattened disc on. When it puffs a bit and turn color, turn the pancake over. Turn the heat to medium low. Put another dab of oil on the tava and then turn it over again till it is fully cooked. 8. These paranthas are best served hot with butter or some mango pickle. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India (since renamed Faisalabad) before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her early-nineties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi recipes for future generations.




re health conscious now than they were diabetes has become years ago, especial a major epidemic am ly as ong Indians. Conseq as a whole have be come concerned ab uently, older Indian out their sugar, and s intake though the yo are watching their unger Indians show sweet no caution and conti weight. nue to put on lots of It’s important to kn ow that excess carb ohydrates – like att peas), daals (lentils) a (bread), chole (ch and other starches icklike aaloo (potatoe contribute to high s) – and fried foods sugar in the bloodstr also eam. And many ve rots), shkarkandi (sw getables, like gajja eet potatoes), chku r (carndar (beets) also co should be eaten in ntain lots of sugar moderation. This is and often difficult to do when one of the fav orite

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January 18, 2019



Uri: The Surgical Strike -- The Real Avengers Story: The film is based on the surgical strikes conducted in 2016 by the IndianArmy, against militant launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). 35-50 terrorists were reportedly killed in the covert operation, in retaliation to the terrorist attack in Uri that killed 19 Indian soldiers. Subsequently, Pakistan denied the incident. Review: Aditya Dhar’s unforgiving war drama incorporates the events that led to the surgical strikes as seen through the eyes of protagonist Major Vihaan Singh Shergill (Vicky Kaushal). To make things harder for him, he has personal battles to fight at home as well.

First things first, Vicky Kaushal is on a roll. Interestingly, after playing a valiant Pakistani Army officer in Raazi, here he switches sides and plays an invincible Para (Special Forces) Commando, Indian Army. Justifying the hype around him, the actor continues to grow from strength to strength. His sincere and effortless presence adds depth to this film, that otherwise lacks the palpable tension you expect from a war drama. What makes it then engaging is not its execution, but the audacity of the mission it dramatically decodes and recreates. Despite knowing the result, you watch the events unfold with childlike intrigue as the complete

operation plan was classified. The rigorous process — how 80 Indian Para SF commandos managed to infiltrate PoK and destroy the terror camps, makes for an instructive watch if not gripping. The film scores higher on the technical front than creative. The combat sequences, ambush, gunfire, fistfights, sniper shots are realistically shot. Though based on true events, a lot seems far-fetched and thus, questionable. One can overlook a few creative liberties, but there is deliberate attempts to evoke emotions in the first half. Yami Gautam, Mohit Raina, Paresh Rawal and Kirti Kulhari are effective. -- Times of India

Accidental Prime Minister: Never a Dull Moment Rajkumar Hirani Says in Political Thriller about Manmohan Singh Story: Based on the book with the same name, The Accidental Prime Minister chronicles former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s (Anupam Kher) relationship with his media advisor Sanjaya Baru (Akshaye Khanna). While the film focuses largely on how Baru struggled with managing Dr Singh’s public image, it also touches upon United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s key milestones, like the nuclear deal and Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s undisputed authority within the party. Review: The Accidental Prime Minister opens with a heavily pixelated TV news footage from the 2004 victory of the UPA in the general elections. This quickly gives way to the actors behaving and looking strikingly similar to all real life political players. The film could have easily degenerated into a tacky spoof-fest had it not been for its unusual execution and some stellar performances. Kher leads the pack as the submissive Prime Minister, who is swornin amidst wide-ranging skepticism within the ranks. His performance progressively grows on you, gradually evoking empathy for his character. Kher makes Singh’s trademark soft spoken demeanor and skittish walk, his own.You will find yourself rooting for him, whether he is mustering the courage to do the right thing, or suc-

cumbing to the powers that play him (read: dynasty politics). But a lot of support comes from his co-actor Akshaye Khanna, who ensures there’s never a dull moment in this political drama. Whether it is the crucial nuclear deal or petty politics that repeatedly threatens his own job, he never lets any tension become palpable. Often talking into the camera, Khanna is quick to strike a chord with the audience also playing the narrator. Rest of the characters range from believable to mere caricatures. German actress Suzanne Bernert as Sonia Gandhi looks and acts her part with stoic seriousness. Actors playing Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi sadly, don’t have much to contribute. Divya Seth Shah as the first lady Gursharan Kaur is

impressive with her understated performance. Most actors playing ministers, opposition party leaders and news anchors are relegated to being caricatures of the original. There are no songs in the film but the background score adds punch to the political rumblings. Debutante director and co-writer Vijay Ratnakar Gutte brushes past a few uncomfortable scams (2G, 3G) in the 10-year-term of the UPA, except the nuclear deal. Bollywood has produced several political dramas that are intense, complex and dark, The Accidental Prime Minister has all of that in measured tones. It leaves you more entertained than informed, and we don’t think it’s by accident. The movie kicked off its box office

run with Rs 3.50 crore, followed by Rs 4 crore on Saturday. Now, the latest report on Boxofficeindia.com claims that the film collected Rs 4.5 crore on Sunday, racking up a total tally of Rs 12 crore in three days. So intent is Gutte on portraying a great man let down by his party that he allows other aspects of The Accidental Prime Minister drift. In fact, what plays out on the screen is so risible at times that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the film is the handiwork of the social media cell of a particular party. It is all very well to present a cinematic portrait of a respected economist-turnedreluctant-politician who is painfully soft-spoken, but must a two-term PM of India be turned into such a caricature? Lead actor Anupam Kher must be commended for putting in a lot of hard work. His performance, which relies more on physical imitation than on genuine empathy, renders Dr Singh as a catatonic, wound-up doll running on precariously low battery. As a consequence, the film’s pivotal character comes across as an amusingly flappable, nervous wreck rather than a sad, forlorn scholar-bureaucrat pitchforked into a role he wasn’t cut out for and yet made the most of. The film seems to strip the then PM of his dignity. -- Times of India and NDTV

Sex Charge Malicious

Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who worked with him on his 2018 movie Sanju. While Hirani has issued a statement denying the allegations, the woman, an “assistant” on the sets of Sanju, has, according to a report in HuffPost India, alleged that Hirani sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018. The report says that the woman assistant made her allegation in an email dated November 3, 2018, to filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who has been Hirani’s collaborator on a number of movies, including Sanju. The mail, says the report, was also marked to Anupama Chopra, Chopra’s wife and film critic who is also a director of Vinod Chopra Films Private Limited; and Chopra’s sister Shelly Chopra Dhar.



January 18, 2019



January 18, 2019


January 18, 2019



4 January 18, 2019 COMMUNITY IACCGH is Proud to Celebrate 20 Years of Excellence HOUSTON: The Chamber commemorated the start of its 20th Anniversary at the Houston City Hall with the Guests of Honor Mayor Sylvester Turner and Indian Consul General Dr Anupam Ray. It was attended by over 170 members and supporters of the Chamber, representatives of the other local chambers and resource partners the Chamber works with including the Greater Houston Partnership and the Confederation of Indian Industries whose representative flew in from Washington IACCGH Advisors Dr Anupam Ray, Dr David Leebron, Dr Renu Khator, Dr Durga Agrawal and Vijay Goradia were joined by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Judge Ravi Sandill , Council member Himesh Gandhi, HCC Trustee Neeta Sane, Senator John Cornyn representative Jay Guerrero and Senator Ted Cruz representative Jason Fuller, Andy Icken Chief Economic Development Officer City of Houston, Michael Wolfe City of Hempstead Mayor, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee representative in congratulating the Chamber on its anniversary and thanking it for its service to the community. Other community leaders who were in attendance were Colonel Raj Bhalla, Asif Dakri, Sanjay Jain, Nisha Mirani, Charlie Patel, Manisha Gandhi, Murad Ajani, Nagraj Eleswarapu, Ash Shah, Asha Dhume, Dr Prasun Jalal & Saeed Pathan. President Swapan Dhairy-

IACCGH Board members pose with special guests at the 20th annual celebrations at Houston City Hall. Photos by Bijay Dixit.

awan in his speech thanked the past Presidents, naming each for their contribution in building the Chamber to its current stature in the community and shared the success of 2018 and also outlining his plans for 2019. The current Board and the Directors at Large were joined by major supporters Shell and Halliburton in a group picture when the Chamber formally announced a Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented to Dr Durga Agrawal at the 2019 Gala. The event was catered by Dawaat Catering, a division of Madras Pavilion. Kijana Wiseman led the singing of the US and Indian National Anthems. A minutes silence was observed in memory of IACCGH Advisor

John Mendelsohn. Twenty years ago a group of local Indo-American businessmen and professionals met the then Consul General of India in Houston and discussed the need to create an Indo-American Chamber of Commerce to serve our region. The group saw the role India would play in the emerging global economy and wanted to help leverage the India Advantage to help grow our local economy. The Chamber was chartered in 1999 with Dr Durga Agrawal as President, Jagdip Ahluwalia as Secretary and Jitu Shah CPA as Treasurer. Consul General Wangdi was the first Advisor and was later joined by eminent local leaders like Compaq’s CEO Michael Capellas, Rice University

President Malcolm Gillis, Memorial Hermann President Dan Wolterman and Continental Airlines Chairman Larry Kellner. Over the years the Chamber kept evolving to address the changing needs of the community. Visit www.iaccgh. com for more information and upcoming events. IACCGH’s primary focus is on local economic development and creating local jobs through empowering small and medium enterprises and professionals. Leveraging the powerful “India Advantage” the Chamber facilitates trade between the United States of America and India. The Chamber has achieved steady growth through innovation and robust leadership over the course of two decades.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner congratulating IACCGH.



January 18, 2019



Seminar on The Role of Insurance in Retirement HOUSTON: India House and Share Our Secrets Organization (SOS. ORG), plan to conduct a free seminar on one of the most vexing issues faced by the retired and elderly. The seminar is scheduled on Sunday, February 10th, 2019 from 4 – 6.30 pm at the India House, 8888 Bellfort Avenue, Houston, Texas. Our next seminar in the “Life After” series will address the issue of insurance. Seniors, often, do not realize the gaps that exist in their retirement plans that could threaten a comfortable retired lifestyle. For example, as seniors face health issues, they may be relying on long-term care and assisted living, which can be a significant drain on their asset pool. In order to mitigate these risks and meet their evolving needs, seniors are exploring various insurance options. The primary purpose of this seminar is to discuss how life insurance, long-term care insurance, and medical insurance can be used to fill the gaps during one’s retirement. We hope to respond to questions and misconceptions on how these insurance plans work and what is covered and not covered through these policies. Insurance and annuities for cash flow is to be addressed in the next seminar. The panelists have legal, financial and personal experience on this subject. They work with seniors on identifying risks in their retirement plans, finding the appropriate options to cover those risks, and implementing/monitoring those policies over time. Our speakers for February 10th event include an eldercare attorney, Insurance Advisor A. J. John and SOS Founder Biki Mohindra. Anasuya Kabad, CFP, will moderate the program. As in our last seminar, the event will conclude with small grouphuddle sessions, allowing the

attendees to raise more specific questions with the speakers/panelists. We encourage both spouses to attend the seminar and come prepared to gain maximum benefit from the seminar. Our plan for the rest of 2019 is to hold three additional seminars on major topics, and deep dive handson workshops between those seminars. We also appreciate receiving input on topics for future seminars and hands-on workshops that can be held between these seminars. The information presented is for educational and informational purposes only. The information presented should enable the individuals to review their respective situation with their family and develop the most suitable strategy and plan. Seniors are also encouraged to send us the questions ahead of the seminar (to sosoutreachteam@gmail.com with the title “Questions for Feb 10th seminar”), to enable the speakers to address your questions, and make the best use of the available time. Share Our Secrets (SOS) is an educational organization, which conducts a gamut of programs for educated young people to teach them skills that are not taught in


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college curriculums, and enabling them to succeed in their careers. SOS also conducts various community outreach events, on topics of interest to Houstonians, and specifically for seniors that could benefit them in their retired lives. India House is a community center which provides a myriad of services & activities, either free or at a highly discounted price, including Charity Clinic, Sareen Harris Health Clinic, Yoga, Meditation, After-School and Summer Care, Technology Classes for Seniors, Hindi and Sanskrit Language Classes, Legal Consultations, Dance Classes, Cricket, table tennis and informative/educational seminars. India House, in partnership with Food Bank of Houston, has recently started a program for free food distribution to disadvantaged members of the neighboring community. All are welcome to volunteer at these events. India House and SOS have a strategic partnership, and have been conducting seminars and workshops of relevance to the seniors in our community, who face multiple challenges. In “Life After” seminar series, two sessions

were held on the subject “Loss of Spouse – Life After” to help the seniors to face this reality, and provide experience-based tips to cope with the gamut of challenges involved.

During these seminars, the attendees identified several topics of foremost concern and interest. As a result of the feedback, the third seminar in “Life After” series was conducted on October 7 on the broad topic of Estate Planning, including some specific issues raised by our seniors This seminar was attended by over 300 members of our community. The results of a structured survey conducted post-event gave us further feedback for future seminars. Also, for the first time, we also introduced small huddle sessions at the end of the seminar with the experts that gave the attendees an opportunity to get deeper into the issues nagging them. For further information, please contact one of the following: SOS: sosoutreachteam@gmail. com India House: vipin@indiahouseinc.org, (713) 929-1900

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January 18, 2019

11th Annual Namadwaar Utsav - A Divine Celebration Like No Other MANVEL TX - Houston Namadwaar & Global Organization for Divinity (G.O.D.)’s 11th annual Srimad Bhagavata Utsav was held this December from 24th to 30th, 2018 at New Life Plaza in Manvel, Texas. It was a unique, joyful divine celebration of the Lord, conducted with the blessings of His Holiness Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, and a celebration like no other that had to be experienced to be appreciated. This year’s Utsav also included a rare event, Sri Dasamam Shatakratu - where over 100 devotees came together for 2 days to read the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana that elucidates on Lord Krishna’s leelas. Smt. Shobha Parasuram from Atlanta led this Shatakratu that was held on Dec 28 and 29. Along with hundreds of Houston devotees, several devotees from all around USA, Canada, as well as India, came all the way to Houston to attend this Shatakratu and the Namadwaar Utsav. Srimad Bhagavatam Katha was also rendered in the mornings by Smt. Shobha ji, summarizing the parayanam chapters, and in the evenings by Sri Sriram Ramanujam of Houston, who elucidated on the Navayogi Upakhyanam from the 11th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Other special events during this Utsav included a “Varkari Dindi”

Namadwaar devotees celebrated “Butter” holi with the divine deity. Story and photos by Nisha Giri.

Yatra where devotees dressed up as Marathi pilgrims and sang Lord Vittala’s Name, Marathi abhangs and Sri Swamiji’s songs on Lord Panduranga as they danced their way to ‘Pandharpur’ for Lord Panduranga’s darshan; the “Vennai Thazhi Utsav, where devotees in Houston were transported to Gokula as everyone played ‘butter holi’ with the Lord and His friends. Daily Utsav events included Tiruppavai recital, Srimad Bhagavata Saptaha parayanam, Srimad Bhagavata Katha, Ashtapadi bhajans in the afternoon led by children of the Krishna’s Cottage Youth Sampradaya Bhajan Program, evening cultural performances and sangeetha seva. There

were vocal music offerings by Smt. Vidhu Vijay, Smt. Prashanthi Srinivasan and Kum. Ananya Sriramsankar, Veena recitals by Sisters Sumedha and Dhanya Jayaraman from NJ, accompanied by Houston’s Naga Srinidhi Kuruvada on mridangam, and Kum. Shweta Srinivasan from Edmonton, Canada. One evening was a special seva for the Divine Couple, Namadwaar deities Sri Premika Varadan-Sri Madhuri Sakhi (Lord KrishnaRadha Devi), with a captivating Bharatanatyam dance performance by Smt. Meenakshi Venkataraman of Houston. Another special sangeetha seva was rendered by young star singer Kum. Shilpa Sadagopan accompanied by Vish-

nu Sadagopan, who presented a number of beautiful compositions on Lord Krishna to the Divine Couple during their pre-wedding festivities. There were also palki processions of the Lord on many days. In the morning He rode majestically on the elephant one day (yaanai vahanam), on Kamadhenu on another to the singing of kirtans, and on Garuda vahanam on another day to the chanting of pasurams from the Divya Prabandham glorifying His Divine Name. Janavasam (the pre-wedding baaraat) was another highlight event with fireworks, apt kirtans and the fun exchanging of garlands between the Divine Groom and the Bride. Children of the Krishna’s Cottage Youth Band

also performed. The next morning was the concluding grand finale of the Utsav with the Radha Kalyanam - the Divine Wedding. Special abhishekam was performed for the Divine Couple. Sampradaya bhajans with Thodayamangalam and Ashtapadis were then rendered led by the young bhagavatas of Krishna’s Cottage group and the wedding of the Divine Couple was conducted grandly in the Bhagavata Dharma sampradaya manner. After the wedding, the newly-wedded Divine Couple was taken out on a procession in a special palanquin beautifully decorated with mirrors, to the singing of Meera bhajans. The Utsav was then concluded with an Anjaneya Utsav honoring Sri Hanumanji with prayers that we should ever celebrate the Lord and keep His Name on our lips. The event was brought together seamlessly by numerous volunteers from all around the Greater Houston Area who all served Bhagavan and Guru selflessly in so many different ways throughout the week-long event. Visitors from out of town also pitched and served happily alongside local devotees. This annual celebration is held every year during Christmas week. For more information about Global Organization for Divinity and Houston Namadwaar, please visit www.houston.godivinity.org.



January 18, 2019

2nd ODI: Kohli, Dhoni Star as India Force Decider BY ANDREW MCGLASHAN

ADELAIDE (ESPN Crickinfo): 4 for 299 (Kohli 104, Dhoni 55, Maxwell 1-16) beat Australia 9 for 298 (Marsh 131, Maxwell 48, Bhuvneshwar 4-45) by six wickets Virat Kohli set it up and, for the first time in a while, MS Dhoni was there to finish it although India were grateful to a cameo from Dinesh Karthik to secure a sixwicket win with four balls remaining. The victory set up a series decider in Melbourne on Friday. When Kohli found deep midwicket shortly after reaching his 39th ODI hundred - one he celebrated in animated fashion - India still needed 57 off 38 balls and Dhoni had played a very sedate second fiddle to the captain. He launched Nathan Lyon for six and had just enough in the tank and the legs to ensure a meltdown on social media was perhaps avoided for now. He ensured the victory when he swung Jason Behrendorff over long-on with the first ball of the final over. It could have been a different story, however, without the lively Karthik who took the pressure off Dhoni with boundaries from Jhye Richardson and Marcus Stoinis. Towards the end Dhoni was struggling at the end of a hot day, but was still able to sprint a three in the penultimate over. Shaun Marsh’s seventh ODI hundred - and the fourth in his eight ODI innings - had anchored Australia’s 9 for 298 which was formed around four middle-order stands that ranged from 52 to the 94 he added with Glenn Maxwell. However, a late collapse of 4 for 3, including the wickets of Maxwell and Marsh in the same over, meant they couldn’t reach 300. The efforts of Marsh and Kohli, who both spent 90 and 86 overs respectively in the field on a day that touched 42 degrees, were a testament to their fitness and resilience. Australia didn’t make the early inroads they did at the SCG, this time Shikhar Dhawan peppered the boundary five times in a 28-ball 32 before trying for a sixth and lofting a catch to mid-off. After the early

MS Dhoni launches one over long-on during a spectacular chase.

high tempo, the chase settled into a steadier pace with Rohit Sharma and Kohli adding 54 in 10 overs followed by 59 between Kohli and Ambati Rayudu. Rohit, who made 133 in Sydney, was starting to move through his gears with sixes off Peter Siddle - a wonderful pick-up off the hip - and Lyon, when he was caught deep on the leg side by Peter Handscomb, who judged it well coming out of the setting sun. The bowler, Marcus Stoinis, celebrated in a manner not dissimilar to Bruce Banner transforming into the Hulk. Rayudu’s innings was curious and without much timing, his two boundaries coming from edges to third man, and Kohli had to be alert that the asking rate did not climb too far. Whether it was an instruction from his captain, Rayudu then suddenly tried to clear the leg side off Glenn Maxwell and didn’t succeed. These two matches in Australia have not been great for his World Cup ambitions. Kohli has achieved the ultimate aim of this tour - to win the Test series - but that has not dulled his competitive instincts at all. If anything, the defeat at the SCG may well have given him the motivation to go again. As he launched into the Australia attack when the chase was in the balance, he responded to some of his boundaries with vocal reactions. The period where the chase went firmly India’s way was in the 34th over as Kohli took on Behren-

dorff with a back-foot drive followed by a thumping blow over long-on. A beautiful straight six off Lyon followed although it took him 13 balls to go from 91 to his century as Richardson and Stoinis applied pressure. It was a rare moment of misjudgement when he flicked straight to deep midwicket but Kohli isn’t the only one who knows how to calculate a chase. Given how close it was at the end, the way India closed out with the ball - save for the two boundaries Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded to Lyon off the last three balls - proved a key period with the final three overs bringing just 17 runs after Marsh and Maxwell had given Australia a chance to push 320. Aaron Finch failed again, bowled by Bhuvneshwar for the second innings in a row, and after 10 overs Australia were 2 for 38. The innings was stabilised by Marsh and Usman Khawaja, who added 56 in nearly 11 overs, but just as the pair were finding their stride Ravindra Jadeja produced a magnificent direct hit from backward point to remove Khawaja. Handscomb and Stoinis contributed to half-century stands, but it was only Marsh who could go big. He played the spinners well throughout: a boundary off Jadeja took him into the 90s, and another off Kuldeep Yadav carried him to 99, and he then worked a single down the ground to take him to a 108-ball century. One of the shots

of the innings followed when he lofted Kuldeep inside-out over extra cover for six in the wristspinner’s expensive final over. Marsh’s one-day form has been one of the few high points amid Australia’s white-ball struggles and this century backed up his fifty in the opening match of the series. Since returning to the ODI side on the tour of England last year, Marsh has scored 601 runs at 66.77 and appears one of the few batting certainties for Australia heading into the World Cup. Maxwell, whose role has been much debated, benefited from the DRS on 26 when it saved him from being lbw to debutant Mohammed Siraj who had a tough first outing as he finished with the second-most expensive figures on debut for India. He came in with equation reading 139 off 118 deliveries. He took it to the last over. He hit the first ball for a six. And then made sure India won the game. MS Dhoni was in his element in Adelaide and Virat Kohli was highly appreciative of it. “There’s no doubt that he should be a part of this team. When you haven’t played so much cricket you take a bit of time to get back into the groove, and tonight was

Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul Suspended Pending Inquiry NEW DELHI: Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have been suspended from all forms of cricket pending an inquiry into their controversial comments on a recently aired TV show. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) that is overseeing the functioning of the BCCI has sent fresh show-cause notices to the players, asking them for a response within seven days “as to why they should not be proceeded against for misconduct and indiscipline under Rule 41 of the BCCI Constitution”. The pair will return to India and miss the remainder of the Australia tour and the upcoming limitedovers tour of New Zealand. The selectors are expected to name their replacements in due course.


PBL: Mumbai Rockets to Face Bengaluru Raptors BHUVANESHWAR: Mumbai Rockets ended the title defence of Hyderabad Hunters to set up a summit clash against Bengaluru Raptors at the Premier Badminton League Season 4 on Saturday. Mumbai Trump Sameer Verma played a brilliant match before Anders Antonsen finished off what was a dominant 4-2 win for the two-time runners-up at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. Mumbai will hope to be third time lucky in the final on Sunday after losses to the Delhi Acers and the Chennai Smashers in the first two seasons. The Rockets looked the better of the two teams for most part of the tie, racing ahead to 4-0 before P V Sindhu could finally open the Hunters’ account. It was, however, only a matter of time before Mumbai wrapped it up. The superb Sameer was not bothered by the fact that he had lost his last BWF showdown to World No. 35 Mark Caljouw. Asserting his supremacy right from the start, the Mumbai shuttler raced ahead to 8-2 before the Dutchman could not even settle into the match. Staying very calm, Verma grabbed the first game 158. Sameer smartly blunted Caljouw’s aggression even in the second game to move ahead to 8-2. Using his deception to perfection, Verma wrapped it up 15-8, 15-7. Hyderabad’s Lee Hyun Il was able to stave off a resilient Anders Antonsen to go up to 8-6 in the fourth rubber. Despite Lee going up to 13-11, the young Dane looked unfazed and steadily fought back to take the opener 15-13. Antonsen did not have to work as hard in the one-sided second game. He held control of the pro-

Mumbai’s Sameer Verma played a brilliant match.

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January 18, 2019

COMMUNITY India R-Day Flag Hoistings HOUSTON: Flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day will be held on Saturday, 26 January 2019 at 7:30 AM at the Consulate General of India (4300 Scotland St, Houston Texas, 77007). This will be followed by singing of the National Anthem, reading the address of the President of India and light refreshments. Indian nationals, members of the Indian American community, friends of India and their families including children are cordially invited to the function. Participants are requested to assemble at the Consulate General of India. Kindly bring your photo ID. India House is also hosting a flag hoisting ceremony. This event is taking place at Saturday, January 26, 10:30 am at the O.P. Jindal Center at India House, located at 8888 West Bellfort Avenue, Houston, Texas 77031. Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony. Republic Day is celebrated throughout India and the Indian diaspora around the world. The celebration in New Delhi features a grand parade from the Raisina Hill Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President’s residence), along the Rajpath, past India Gate. Prior to its commencement, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at India Gate.

A host of country’s air defence capabilities will be showcased during the Republic Day celebrations here, including a ‘vic’ formation of An-32 aircraft, whose lead plane will be flying using a mix of traditional and biofuel for the first time during the parade, a senior IAF official Wednesday said. The ‘vic’ formation is devised for military aircraft and comprises three or sometimes more aircraft flying in close formation with the leader at the apex and the rest of the flight en echelon to left and right, the whole resembling the letter ‘V’. This formation will follow the swashbuckling main flypast which leaves the crowd on the ceremonial boulevard spellbound every year on January 26.



Rev. M.T. Thomas, Pastor, 88

OUSTON: Rev. Fr. Thomas Manonu Thomas was born in Maramon, Kerala on May 23, 1931 to Manonu Iype Thomas and Rahelamma Thomas. As the elder of twins, he earned his BA from the University of Madras in 1954, MA from the University of Bombay, 1957. While studying for his BA degree, he won several accolades for swimming. From 1960 -1961, he served as a mission worker in Sihera Ashram in Madya Pradesh, India. He passed away on Wednesday, January 2 in Houston. He married his wife, Grace from Chenganur, Kerala in 1965 at Chenganur Mar Thoma Church. They moved to Ethiopia, where Rev. Thomas served as a teacher. In 1971, after the birth of two sons, Stephen and Peter, the family moved to the US, where Rev. Thomas joined Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. While in NJ, his younger sons, twins Joseph and Koshy were born. He earned his M. Div in 1975 and an additional Masters in Sacred Theology in 1977. In 1975, H.H. Ignatius Yakub III, Patriarch of Antioch, in Damascus, Syria, ordained him a deacon. In 1978, along with his twin brother, Rev. M. T. Philip, he was ordained as priest by H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II. Along with

January 18, 2019 Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce


his family, he moved to Houston in 1979 and started as the Associate Priest at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church until 1986. He served as the vicar of the Dallas St. George Church, from 1992-1995. He was currently serving as associate priest at St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Houston. ThomasAchen,ashisparishioners referred to him, is lovingly survived by his wife Grace Kochamma, his sons, Stephen, Peter, Joseph and Koshy, his twin brother, Rev. Fr. M. T. Philip of Houston and numerous nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

Uncontested divorces are the least expensive, least complicated, and fastest way to get a divorce in Texas. An uncontested divorce is the legal term for a divorce where both parties agree to the divorce, child custody, child support, and property division. Once the petition for divorce is filed, the divorce may be finalized within 60 days except for military personnel. Under Texas family law, there is a mandatory sixty day waiting period to finalize or prove up a divorce. The reasoning behind this law is to allow the couple time to consider reconciliation. To file for divorce in Texas, a court must be the proper venue and have authority, or jurisdiction, over the matter. This is accomplished if one spouse is a resident of the state for at least six continuous months and in the county for at least 90 continuous days where the petition is filed. The procedure for an uncontested divorce is petitioner, first, files the petition for divorce with the case information sheet attached. Second, a waiver of service needs to be signed by the respondent, BVS form completed (bureau of vital statistics), and proposed agreed decree of divorce signed by both parties. If children were born or adopted during the marriage, you may also need a wage withholding order and medical support order. Further if property, assets, or liabilities are to be divided or transferred, this must be included. It is advised to include a special warranty deed and deed of trust. All real property transfer documents will need to be recorded at the County Clerk’s office. Additionally, if there is a retirement plan, a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is necessary and must be approved by the Court. After all paperwork is ready and filed with the Court, only one spouse needs to appear to finalize. A court will approve an uncon-

tested divorce when both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce decree, evidenced by both signatures on the decree. The court will ensure that there is sufficient notice and actual consent by both parties. One attorney is able to prepare the decree for both parties with a written consent to any conflict of interest. Once the judge approves the forms and signs the decree of divorce, this order becomes binding on both parties. The judgment may be challenged during the 30 days after the order is signed and is final thereafter. It is highly advisable to have a competent attorney review any decree of divorce prior to finalizing to ensure a fair and just outcome. About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala has been appointed leadership roles for the American Bar Association GP Solo and GP Solo YLD division, is Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Past President of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. Mala has also been selected as 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorney for 2018-2019, Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers for 2018-2019, and Texas Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney by Attorney and Practice Magazine for 2019. This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at office number 281-893-8644 or by email at mala@sharmalaws.net to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.


CAIR-Houston Issues Call for Thorough Investigation of Shots Fired at Katy Mosque HOUSTON: The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, urged a thorough investigation of the shooting at the Muslim American Society-Katy Center Mosque. On January 14, bullet holes were found in the mosque’s front wall as well as through the windshield of a parked contracting truck. The shots were discovered Monday afternoon. Security cameras were checked but the still released of the vehicle is unclear. The MAS-Katy Islamic Center is linked with a school on the same property, Houston Quran Academy. Donations to aid in increasing security efforts for the school and mosque can be sent through this link: https://www.houstonquranacademy1.com/donation “We are relieved that no one was harmed in this attack, but we are deeply disturbed by the unprecedented spike in attacks and threats targeting houses of worship nationwide,” said Arsalan Safiullah, CAIR-Houston Civil Rights Attorney. “We thank local police for their prompt response to the incident and we call on the FBI to offer their resources to local authorities to help determine if this was a bias-motivated attack.” CAIR-Houston encourages anyone with information to call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit at 713274-9100. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of a suspect in this case. Tips can be called in at 713-222-TIPS (8477); submitted online at www. crime-stoppers.org, or sent by texting TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.