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Friday, May 04, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 17

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May 04, 2018


Friday, May 04, 2018 | Vol. 37, No. 17

Indo American erican News


Humorous Evening P5 Vaisakhi Mela Grows Stronger www.indoamerican-news.com Published weekly from Houston, TX

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This Week Inside

Movie Review


Mela organizers and volunteers, from left, Harwinder Singh, Ripudaman Boparai, Gurbir Boparai, Manohar Singh Mann, Hitpaul Singh Sandhar, Bhupinder Singh, Batcha Tiwari (a vendor) and Gurmeet Saini.

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Pure & Traditional Indian Classical Music P6

Guests of honor at the popular concert series Saadhana Sur Sang, organized by the Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH) on Sunday, April 22.

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May 04, 2018


SNC’s Vaisakhi Mela Grows with Added Amenities for Festival Lovers BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: The 20-acre Sikh

National Center site on the West Sam Houston Beltway has been an evolution in slow but steady motion, with new additions as the money is raised and spent on various structures. With purposeful steps, it has taken on the semblance of the master plan model that is on display in the temporary gurdwara behind the other original structures. Just this past year, the steel frame sports pavilion has been fitted with lower siding panels and a canopy skirt to reduce the drenching from rainfall and provide some extra shade. Work on the interior of the permanent gurdwara has yet to be completed but the site is starting to take shape, perhaps in part by the huge khed mela that has been held each of the past five years in the central open area in conjunction with Vaisakhi which falls in the same time slot. Back in 2013, it was envisioned as an event for young kids to play games, but slowly the organizers, led by coordinator Hitpaul Singh Sandhar, have realized the potential for a community-wide celebration. “We realize that this is the only such large festival on this side of town,” said Sandhar in-between taking care of activities at the the mela this past Sunday, April 29. “And we would like to get better organized to attract other people to this fun-filled event.” With a larger budget this year donated just for the

mela, Sandhar and his team have seen how the event can grow. This year, the mela was certainly more fun due to tented pavilions all around the maidan (central lawn) to view the sports and allow people to linger in the open under shade which freed up the pavilion where everyone used to be crowded into before. The langar was served inside the gurdwara lobby instead of outside under the pavilion, resulting in dense lines inside. All the food booths were moved to the emergency road on the western edge and everything was free, in contrast to the small charge for gol-gappe last year. Instead of making hot jalebis under the pavilion, Najjar Singh of Standard Sweets set up under a tent in the lineup. Pizza, popular with all the kids, was ferried from the main oven in the temporary gurdwara to another stall. In the adjacent unfinished dirt lot, a small choo-choo train made lazy eights in the sun with its three bogeys of passengers. In the last space left with some pine trees, a children’s play area was crowded with young kids at the inflatable moonwalks and castles, a petting zoo and a cotton-candy booth. An estimated 2,500 people came to the mela under bright, blue skies and crisp weather to the completely free event. There was a steady stream of teams – some from as far away as Dallas and Mexico – of young men competing for the top prizes of $1,100 each in the volleyball tournament. And there were

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Busy throughout the day were, from left, Bhupinder Singh, Harjit Galhotra, Gurminder Anjala and Gurmeet Singh

Ten teams took part in the volleyball contest

A crowd of spectators enjoyed the games

more fun games for the younger children, like the tug-of-war; 50 meter race, 3-legged race, sack race, spoon race, shot putt, musical chairs and basketball. With mic in hand, Narinder Nagra took his

job as the sports announcer with great fun, prompting teams into action. But most of all, for many it was just hanging out with other Punjabis and feeling like being back


in pastoral Punjab, in a corner of the Bayou City.

For Photo Collage, see page 2


May 04, 2018


Tanmay Thakker Wins First Prize, Architecture Student & ASIE Student Member

HOUSTON: Architecture students at the

Tanmay Thakker displaying his design with details.

Tanmay with ASIE Members, (from left)- Architect Mahendra Vaishnav, Tanmay Thakker, Architect Bhavana Patel, and Engineer/Architect Dinesh Shah, a past President of ASIE.

University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture were challenged to design a single-family residence with modern and progressive materials while adhering deed restrictions, building codes, and Green Design Standards. The completion was led by Rafael Longoria, UH’s Distinguished Professor of Architecture in coordination with the organization “Seeds of Sharpstown”. Ten graduate students participated in the studio class. They had to work with a $140,000 budget for the total cost of construction, and to design a home between 1,000 and 1,200 square feet, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and no taller than two stories. The students spent time in Sharpstown learning about its history and changes residents want to see in the future. Thakker’s analysis revealed the context consisted primarily of homes made out of indigenous brick, so his project adopted a combination of brick and metal for his scheme to integrate. They reached out to residents to learn more about Sharpstown history, what its residents value about living here, and what the visions are for the future. These information they collected influenced each student’s approach in designing a home that appeal to current and future generations. Tanmay Thakker was selected as First Prize Winner by jury for his design entitled “The Screen House”. Tanmay designed the house in the shape of “C” with a theme. He included a courtyard as the centerpiece; so family members can interact with each other. As a winner, he attributed the credit with a remark, “It has only been one and a half year that I came to Houston, USA from Ahmedabad, India to pursue my Master’s Degree in Architecture from the UH, and winning this competition at the first place is like a ‘dream come true’ for me. Because I will be involved in the actual construction of the same house which I have designed. I will be learning a lot with all processes of construction, which will definitely help me at a great level in my architectural career. The organizer and sponsor of the competition, ‘Seeds of Sharpstown’ is doing this great job by providing this great opportunity to students. I am very much thankful to my professor Rafael Longoria at UH, who guided me throughout this competition. I am currently interning at SHAH Companies in Sugar Land, and with the support from the principal Dinesh D. Shah, a Professional Licensed Civil-Structural Engineer and allowed to Practice Architecture by Texas Board, who gave me an opportunity to learn and earn the diversified experience. The American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE) gave me the continuous encouragement as a Student Member. In short, because of all of them, I am learning a lot and gaining success in my career.”

WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information: Call 713-789- 6397 or email us at: indoamericannews@yahoo.com INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 04, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


May 04, 2018


Houston Goes Bonkers at Varun Thakur’s Stand-up Comedy Show! BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA


Laughter is one of the only things in our existence that can soothe the feeling of emptiness- the darkness feeling and the pain of reality. In recent times stand-up comedy has become a serious business. Varun Thakur is a standout amongst the most noticeable faces in the highquality comic drama of this serious business. Varun is known for his observational humor about life in India and he excites groups of onlookers with his clever and beguiling comic style, bringing a new point of view to general situations. A jack of many trades, Varun has co-founded Schitzengiggles Comedy, a play on the phrase ‘Shit and Giggles’, acted in a couple of films like Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Shaitaan Haveli, Vicky this sideVarun that side and he loves being a YouTuber. Houston experienced his out rightly crazy performance last Friday, April 27, at the India House. The humorous evening was presented by Dembi Productions and India House Houston, and organized by Arif Memon of DMMS Events. The Houston based DMSS Events has been successfully organizing concerts over the last three decades, assisting with quality sound equipment, lights, LED panels, HD projectors with wide screens. They also specialize in Event Management, thanks to the championship of Arif, who wears multiple hats, just like Varun. Other than being a successful businessman, Arif is also an actor, a sound director, holds an immense knowledge of music & films. He is loved for his sheer passion to whatever he does and therefore he is fondly known as RJ Arif. The much-anticipated show was one of the best events that have happened in Houston in this year. After all, who doesn’t want to laugh? And, unlike some standup comedians, Varun likes to roast

Varun Thakur (left ) with Sunny Moza

himself rather than roasting the audience. This house-full show was a part of Varun’s first trip to the USA, where he has a line up of around 15 shows over a period of 1.5 months. Being a thorough professional, he was at the venue hours before the show started, kicked about starting the show on time. The show began by the Executive Director of India House, Col. Vipin Kumar and Arif Memon welcoming everyone and introducing candidates running for political offices like Sri Kulkarni, K P George and, Juli Mathew. The first comedian to come up on stage was Sunny Moza, an Emcee/Host, actor and a RJ from California, who did a quick warm up session of jokes. And then it was the moment of sheer joy as Varun walked up the stage. With a good mix of personal stories, impersonations and bio writ-


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ing skills his act was something Houston couldn’t have missed. He was simply mind-blowing. He took on with the habits of Punjabis and Gujaratis on one-hand and Mumbaikars and Delhiites on the other, and his lines were so apt that the audience seemed to be nodding in agreement, as they cheered him and laughed their hearts out. His bizarre and overtly loud comedy was so unique and none of the jokes seemed to be have heard of in the past. The audience went in splits as he joked about America being the only place that has T-shirts in XXX that say, “I am sexy”. Taking on the topic of racism and referring to North & South Indians, he mentioned that we don’t need whites to be racist. Varun is one of those talented comedians who can crack you up almost on anything- and he didn’t shy away from sharing funny epi-

Arif Memon

Photos: SMB Films & Images

sodes about his parents and his love life, or for that matter the sex life of a Mumbai cop. Joking about Indians he said, we are all across the world, if he did a show in South Pole, his audience will include 3 polar bears and 2 Indians with the difference that polar bears will pay for their ticket. This bindaas Varun touched upon some sensitive zones but presented them in a way not to hurt any sentiments, and at the same time having the audience roar with laughter. 1.5 hours was not enough for the 300+ strong audience who had come to de-stress & unwind. The audience rolled up in the aisles to Varuns’ jokes and gave him a thunderous applause and a standing ovation. In a short conversation with the down-to-earth Varun, he shared a little bit about himself, “A true Mumbaikar, my father is Maha-

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rashtrian and mother is Sindhi. I was always the funny guy; anything I would say would make my friends laugh. I loved watching comedy but I never intended to be a comedian. We have always had comedy in India, but it has only been Hindi or regional. Now Indian guys are doing comedy in English, and it is encouraging to see that many people are open to the idea. My kind of comedy is very personal, I want people to feel that I am having a conversation with them”. Sharing his experience about the reaction of audiences in the USA, he mentioned that it was overwhelming and amazing to see people relate so well with his jokes and that gives him more reason to believe that he is on the right path. He was very excited talking about his recent horror comedy that released on Amazon Prime, Shaitaan Haveli or one of a kind stand up special Vicky This Side Varun That Side, a sure treat to watch. Arif Memon managed the format of the show so very well. Arif stated, “I do not have words to thank god for the Dhamaal show. It was a 90-minute laughter riot. I want to thank Puroo Kaul, Col. Vipin Kumar at India House and the India House staff, my sponsors Omar Saeed Khan from Northwestern Mutual and Parvez Jasani of CellPay, Alings Chinese Cuisine for their support, Darshak Thacker for sound equipment, Media partners HUMFM and Indo-American News, Event caterers Halal 5, SMB Films & Images for photography, and my family and friends who helped me and came over to the show”. A good laugh heals a lot of hurts and this evening was an instant vacation for the audience. For further details and information about upcoming shows call Arif Memon at 832-287-8786. Follow Varun Thakur at Instagram: varunthakur, Facebook / Snapchat: @varoonthakoor


COMMUNITY Saadhana Sur Sang - Epitome of Musical Grandeur May 04, 2018

Invocation by Saadhana Pariwar Gurukul

Pt. Suman Ghosh felicitates Ustad-ji


HOUSTON: On Sunday, April

22, Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH) brought two stalwarts, the Living Legend of Sitar Ustad Shahid Parvez and flute Maestro Shashank Subramanyam, together in the space city for the first time as a part of its popular concert series Saadhana Sur Sang. CICMH is unique in its holistic approach towards the popularization of pure and traditional Indian Classical Music. True to its unique

mission and founder Pandit Suman Ghosh’s vision, with each endeavor like Sur Sang, CICMH continues to draw a sizable number of newer entrants into the foray of Indian Classical Music aficionados. The concert, a spectacular confluence of Hindustani and Carnatic Music, was held at the Student Center Theater at University of Houston. It began with an invocation by the disciples of the celebrated Saadhana Pariwar Gurukul, who sang a perfectly synchronized shlok composed in raag Puriya

Dhanashree by their Guruji, Pandit Ghosh. Following this treat and a moment to remember our Beloved Former First Lady, Barbara Bush, Flute Maestro Shashank-ji presented raag Vachaspathi, a Carnatic raag that has become popular in Hindustani music. The bamboo wizard enthralled the audience with his fast fingering technique, also demonstrating the near-impossible maneuver of playing two octaves simultaneously on the same flute. With the able Mridangam accompaniment of Vidwan Parupalli Phalgun they brought forth the southern flavor of classical music beautifully. Ustad Shahid Parvez, Numero Uno of Sitar, began with raag Bhimpalas, patiently unfolding

Maestro Shashank (left) and Ustad Shahid Parvez

the beauty of this sublime melody. The purity of his soul-stirring and tradition-steeped elaborations transported the audience to an entirely new world. Ustad-ji’s fingers continued to mesmerize the capac-


ity audience with melodious raag Khamaj. Every note on the Sitar string plucked the heart strings of the audience. He was accomCONTINUED ON PAGE 8

May 04, 2018





May 04, 2018

IMS Presents Bhairav Se Bhairavi Tak, By Pandit Rajan and Sajan Misra

HOUSTON: The inimitable duo of In-

dian Classical music Padmabushan Pandit Rajan & Pandit Sajan Misra does not need any introduction for the Indian music lovers. They are one of the top most Indian Classical Vocalists today, with a distinguished lineage. They belong to the family of great maestros of Banaras. They commenced their tutelage at a very tender age from the doyens of Banaras Gharana, their father and uncle, Pandit Hanuman Prasad Misra & Pandit Gopal Misra respectively. Banaras, one of the oldest cities of the world, also declared as UNESCO City of Music, is enriched with centuries of a musical, spiritual and cultural heritage. The voices of Pandit Rajan & Pandit Sajan Misra carry the rich nuances of this spiritual city. And their music embraces those ancient sensibilities which are rendered in a contemporary setting to reach out to the world. The name Bhairav Se Bhairavi Tak, encompasses the whole spectrum of ragas. Raga, in Indian classical music, is a bouquet of notes put together in various permutations and combinations to arrive at a

melody that touches your soul. One of the unique and distinguishing characteristics of Indian classical music is the assignment of definite time to most of the ragas. It is believed that ragas are at the zenith of their harmony, melody and majestic splendour when rendered in that particular time frame. The artist can evoke and enhance the rasa of the raga to its optimum when performed at the assigned time. Bhairav Se Bhairavi Tak is not just about music concerts, it is about reaching out to like-minded people in various parts of the world, it is about to taking us inward to the world of peace and bliss. The accompaniment on Tabla is by Shantilal Shah and on Harmonium is by Sumit Mishra. The 26yrs Indian Music Society of Houston, is proud to present this UNIQUE and INCREDIBLE presentation by these foremost artists of Hindustani Classical music. There will be two concerts the same day (on May 5th) one in the morning at 9.30am and one in the evening at 7pm, respectively at Ashtalakshmi Temple and Chinmaya Mission in Sugarland. For tickets please go to www.imshouston. net.

Saadhana Sur Sang - Epitome of Musical Grandeur CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 panied ably on the tabla by Shri Hindole Majumdar. After a short intermission with tea and snacks catered by Madras Pavilion, the program continued with the felicitation of several dignitaries in recognition of their support for CICMH. The honorees included Houston City Council Member Steve Le, Indian Vice Consul Ashok Kumar, Houston Arts Alliance CEO John Abodeeley, Dr. Virendra Mathur, University of Houston School of Music Dean Andrew Davis and Director of Vedanta Institute of Houston Joseph Emmett. The final segment, a duet of Sitar and Flute, was a true convergence of the tectonic plates of melody and rhythm, the rivers Ganges and Cauvery, North and South, Strings and Wind. The two artists together wove delightful new patterns of raag Yaman. As the reflective calm waters of the ocean gather energy and speed at high tide, the artists took the audience sailing through this musical ocean. Both the per-

cussion artists, Hindole-ji and Phalgun-ji brilliantly contributed to the display of musical genius. With moments of serenity and peace contrasted by moments of musical thunder, the divinity that presented itself was only to be experienced. The audience, longing for more, gave them a standing ovation. Master of Ceremonies, Shri Suresh Raghavan, conducted the program with aplomb. It was an emotional moment for Pandit Ghosh, as the Mewati Gharana stalwart thanked the artists and the audience for bringing new meaning to ‘Sur Sang’, through this concert that will be etched in our memories forever.


9 Purandaradasa - A Tribute to the Father of Carnatic Music


HOUSTON: The story of Puran-

dara Dasa is a universal saga that is relevant to people across all ages. He is a famous historical figure renowned for the story of his mythical transformation and enlightenment and is revered as the father of Carnatic Music. His compositions are set in simple words, which exude devotion, common sense and philosophy. His works have universal appeal. His contributions to Carnatic music are immense, as he introduced the method of teaching music systematically which is fol-

May 04, 2018

Photos: Murali Santana

lowed even today. The production “Purandara dasa - the saga of a saint” by Dr. Sreedhara of Kaveri Natya Yoga of San Antonio was presented as a part of Rasaanubhava 2018 by Indrani Parthasarathy of Abhinaya School of performing Arts with her students. The episodes of a miserly man turning to a musical genius, and through Bhakti (devotion) and music reached the heavenly abode of Lord Vittala. The event was held at Berry Center, on April 14. Dance and music connoisseur

Tara Narasimhan of Hindus of Greater Houston said, “Such an exquisite production by Dr. Sreedhara of Kaveri Natya Yoga of San Antonio and Indrani Parthasarathy and her students of Abhinaya School that presented The Saga of Purandaradasa. Congratulations to Indrani and Sreedhara. Music, Choreography, Abhinaya and pertinent portions were well chosen and made it one of the finest dance drama.” Prior to the dance drama all advanced and senior students of

Abhinaya School confidently performed traditional Bharathanatyam dances like Pushpanjali, Thillana, Shabdam, Varnam, Padam and more. After the dance drama, Beginners, junior and intermediate students performed colorfully choreographed dances to classical, folk, semi classical and contemporary classical music. The director Indrani Parthasarathy well versed in the Pandanallur style of Bharathanatyam and also trained in Kuchipudi style of dancing is the daughter of the


Karnataka Kalathilaka Guru Smt. Radha Sridhar of Bangalore. She has to her credit more than 100 solo performances and has been a performer in India, UAE and USA and has been a part of her mother’s dance drama productions. Indrani established the Abhinaya School of Performing Arts in 2001, which is originally based in Katy, and has now has grown and has branches in Cypress. Two other staff members Krithika Ganesh and Anupama Nagasimha assist in teaching and in the institutes other activities.

10 May 04, 2018


JVB Preksha Meditation Center, 18th Annual Family Camp “Reap What You Sow”

18th Annual Family Camp at Radha Madhav Dham - Austin


AUSTIN: JVB Preksha Meditation Cen-

ter, Houston conducted its 18th Annual Family Retreat Camp, in scenic surroundings at Radhe Madhav Dham, Austin TX, on Easter weekend, from March 30 to April 1, under the spiritual guidance of Samani Satya Pragyaji, Samani Kanchan Pragyaji, Samani Rohini Pragyaji & Samani Pranav Pragyaji. Each year, the camp aims to foster spiritual, intellectual, and physical well being of participants. Over 120 campers from Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Orlando and Greater Houston area attended the camp. Campers and spirituality seekers arrived Friday afternoon and were greeted by Texas wildflowers and colorful peacocks at the picturesque campsite. JVB president, Shashank Jain gave a heartfelt welcome to participants. The camp was organized into three tracks - Adults, Youth (12-18 years) and Kids (5-11 years). The camp theme for the year ‘Reap What You Sow’, focused on Karma theory based on timeless eastern spiritual teachings. The meticulously manicured schedule incorporated age appropriate discourses, discussions, creative challenges, learning games and group activities to advance participant’s understanding on the subject. The sessions were complemented with yoga, meditation and prayer to provide a holistic experience to participants. The Mornings started with nature walk, recitation, meditation and ‘Iyengar’ Yoga conducted by Upma Chauhan. Adult session kicked off with lecture titled ‘Gym for Joy’ which was followed by a series of powerful lectures on Karmic theory. First lecture titled ‘Power of Action’ laid out that our experiences, good or bad, are based on our actions. Lecture two ‘Who is Responsible?’ discussed that each person is hundred percent responsible for ones’ actions. The last lecture in the series - ‘Power of Awareness’ implored participants to develop awareness of everyday actions which impacts Karma. Youth sessions started with a thought provoking discourse ‘Who Am I’ which emphasized that each of us have tremendous openended power with infinite potential. This talk was followed by ‘The Secret of Why Me’ which urged the participants to look within for the root cause of their life events. ‘The Power of Mind’ session taught participants concepts of Preksha meditation. Youth CONTINUED ON PAGE 11



May 04, 2018

ASIE Learns METRO’s Mobility Strategy to Keep Houston Flourishing BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

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Over 25 years experience Houston METRO Board Director Sanjay Ram addressed the American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects monthly meeting on April 25 over lunch at the HESS Club.

lectures ended Sunday morning with ‘Discipline Your Desire’. The kids’ groups focused on learning through interactive sessions - ‘You Get What You Give’, ‘Why We Should Be Honest’ & ‘The Rule of Cause and Effect’. On Saturday, an exciting game quiz was organized on ‘The Wheel of Four Realms’ for adult attendees, which turned the afternoon into a fun and learning


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ASIE President Sai Gowthami Asam (left) and past presidents Ved Bansal and Ravi Arora (right) presented Ram with a certificate of appreciation. Photos: Navin Mediwala

Houston and Harris County. With Houston poised to overtake Chicago as the nation’s third largest city and projections that by 2040 the population will be equal to that of Dallas, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Arlington together, congestion will only increase and mass transit will become imperative. He discussed METRO’s budget and the New Bus Network plan which has made 58% of the trip go faster. “The loss of an elevated rail system (envisioned in MATRO’s plan in 1982) will be felt for decades to come,” declared Ram. Meanwhile, 7.7 million commuters use the 27 Park and Ride and 25.4 million use the 88.8 miles of HOV/HOT lanes. The three Metro light rail lines total 22.7 miles and connect major centers, like Harrisburg, the Palm Center and the NRG Center. The 22017 Super Bowl saw the Red Line carry record amounts of people. METRO has 9,000 bus stops, including 2,150 shelters. Though he was not allowed to discuss the most recent plans whose release has been delayed,

Ram did indicate that offering amenities such as a mini mart and dry cleaning at the Park & Rides was being discussed. When asked why wi-fi was not offered in METRO buses and railcars, he said that was also in consideration. The draft of the new plans will be available soon for the public to comment on. In closing, ASIE President Sai Gowthami Asam reminded everyone of the organization’s upcoming flagship event on Thursday, May 31 at the Omni Westside Hotel at 13210 Katy Freeway, featuring Carol Haddock, PE, Director of Public Works for the City of Houston.

activity. Later in the evening, all participants, participated in creative skits based the camp’s central theme ‘Reap What You Sow’. The annual camp concluded with an interactive feedback session with Samanijis. JVB camp was a spiritual, holistic and fun filled family experience. JVB Preksha Meditation Center is home to a specially designed Preksha Dhyan ‘Pyramid’ Meditation Hall and is located

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JVB Preksha Meditation Center CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10

Pradeep Sulhan, P.C.

Certified Public Accountant

HOUSTON: When he was first

appointed as the first IndianAmerican to serve on the Board of Metropolitan Transit Authority by then-Mayor Annise Parker in 2015, Sanjay Ramabhadran (he goes by the shortened form “Ram”) was tickled pink that his boyhood fantasy may finally be fulfilled. “I grew up in a small town of 200,000 in South India and my dad would take me to the bus station,” Ram told the room full of people. “Till I was 6 or 7, all I wanted to do was drive one of the big buses. I never thought that over 40 years later, I would be working on issues related to buses!” Fortunately for him – and the unsuspecting public – Ram has not been offered a chance to drive one in Houston, rather just be a passenger to learn more about city routes and facilities. But for the past three years (he was reappointed to a two-year term in April 2016 by current Mayor Sylvester Turner) he has learnt everything about METRO’s mobility operations and plans for the future to keep the city flourishing and currently serves on the Capital & Strategic Planning Committee and the Finance & Audit Committee. And he has spread that knowledge to the community through talks like the one he was giving to the American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects monthly luncheon meeting on April 25 at the HESS Club on Westheimer. A registered engineer himself, he traded jokes with the roomful of mostly Indian professionals whom he has worked with personally. Ram is a partner at Invicus, an infrastructure consulting firm specializing in planning, engineering, and construction/program management in the transportation, aviation and water sectors and has 24 years of experience in public infrastructure consulting. With the aid of Powerpoint slides, Ram illustrated METRO’s perspective on regional growth and the need to provide easy and convenient mobility across the


at 14102 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082. For more information, please visit www.JVBHouston.org. You can reach Samanijis at 281.596.9642 or call Shashank Jain @ 832.563.8495.

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12 May 04, 2018


A Second-Generation Indo American Donates Two Crores to IIT Kharagpur BY MANU SHAH

HOUSTON: Shion, a data sci-

entist from Carnegie Mellon and the CEO of Datafiniti, grew up listening to his parents swap stories about their alma mater - IIT Kharagpur. He observed their sense of pride and passion for education as they walked him through the campus pointing out their classrooms, dorms and even Chedi’s Chaiwala. Three weeks ago, Shion, 35, told his parents Asoke Deysarkar and Ruma Acharya that he’d like to donate $300,000 or 2 crore rupees to IIT KGP. The money would be utilized to set up three Chair Professorships in Geology and Geophysics, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry/Mining Engineering.

According to IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, this first-of-its-kind gesture of generosity from a second generation Indo American, who hasn’t even studied there, is laudable and inspirational. What prompted this? Shion says the family is always looking to “fund projects that will have a catalytically effect” – in this case, the money will go towards bolstering faculty which in turn will improve the program and attract more students. There’s also the fact that “dollars can go further in India than the US.” However, this isn’t the first time the Deysarkars have opened their checkbooks for their alma mater. Ruma donated $25,000 to improve the amenities at the Sarojini Naidu Girls hostel, Asoke funded a proj-

Asoke Deysarkar (left), Ruma Acharya and Shion Deysarkar

ect in the Geology Department, a biodiesel research grant and in 2013, and the couple announced a donation of one million dollars to start a Center for Excellence in Petroleum Engineering at the prestigious Institute. Asoke, 69, says the jump from a small mining town called Gua in Jharkhand to IIT Kharagpur – India’s premier technical college, sparked a huge transformation in his outlook and made him believe “he could conquer the world.” Ruma, on the other hand, was a “city girl, born and raised in Kolkata” and the only girl in her family to date to become an engineer. They were both students of IIT Kharagpur and although they never met there, Ruma says she knew of Asoke because he was “a topper.” After their Masters in Chemical Engineering, the two scored full scholarships and headed to the University of Greater Manchester in England for their Doctorates. It is here they met for

the first time and within days realized they wanted to be together for the long haul. With a Chemical Engineering background, the Deysarkars needed a place where they could both find their niches. Houston seemed a good bet and they moved here in 1980. After successful stints at Dresser Industries and Pennzoil Products, Asoke gave into his entrepreneurial spirit and started Products for People (PfP) in 2003, a Houston-based Company that provides chemical solutions to the oilfield and gas industry worldwide. Today PfP is a Top 100 Company in Houston and Asoke chalks this success to “right timing, luck, tenacity and hard work.” Meanwhile Ruma was running her own show – Ground Technology, an Environmental Services and Geotech company for 20 years during which she bagged contracts with HISD, TxDot and Kroger Company. She recently sold her company and is currently over-


seeing a personal project on a 14 acre plot bought by her husband. The Tagore Center Foundation, as it is named, will include an open air theater, Center for Performing Arts and a Montessori school. She is also the force behind the installation of the Rabindranath Tagore statue in the Ray Miller Park. IIT’s, which offer world class education, seek private funding for three reasons: it allows them to be more independent, offer better programs and the government matches the private funding they receive. Shion’s parents are understandably proud and happy with their son’s thoughtfulness and hope the day comes when institutes don’t require any funding from the government. Asoke strongly believes this can be done if more alumni pitched in. In the meantime, the Deysarkars and now, son Shion are certainly doing their bit to make this happen.


May 04, 2018


Akshaya Tritiya : The Countdown for Jagannatha Ratha Jatra Begins


OUSTON: Akshaya Tritiya which literally means the “never diminishing and eternal third day” falls on the third day of the bright phase of the “Baisakha” month. This day is considered very auspicious and any new venture started on this day is believed to be blessed with ‘akshaya’ – imperishable good fortune. Across India and Indian diaspora, people celebrate this day by starting new ventures, investing in movable and immovable property. In many parts of India, gold sales see a certain spike, as traditionally gold has been the safest investment, and investing in gold on Akshaya Tritiya implies like any other venture, this investment will also multiply. Akshaya Tritiya is also known as Akha Teej, Akshaya Trutiya, Akhitrutiya. Different communities mark this auspicious day in myriad different ways. For Jains this day marks Risabhadeva’s culmination of a yearlong penance and ascetic life. Hindus have many legends to corroborate the sanctity of this special day, one of them being River Ganga appeared on earth on this very day. For Odias, the people of the eastern state of Odisha, Akshaya Tritiya has a very distinct significance. On the day of Akshaya Tritiya, Odias begin the countdown for the world-famous, centuries old annual Ratha-Jatra – the chariot festival of the beloved deities, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannatha. Odias mark this auspicious day with the commencement of construction of the three majestic wooden Ratha – chariots, the Taladhwaja, Dwarapadalana and Nandighosa, one each for the three deities. Ratha-Jatra typically occurs in the month of July, but the preparation and the elaborate arrangement starts on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, almost three months prior. The first event in the series is the Chandana Jatra which is also celebrated on Akshaya Tritiya. Apart from Ratha-Jatra, Akshaya Tritiya also ushers the cropping season in most of Odisha, farmers choose this blessed day to start the agricultural venture just before the onset of the monsoon season. The month of April is a very important one for Odias, as three major events, each of different significance is observed. April starts with ‘Utkala Dibasa’ commemorating the formation of the state of Odisha. Odisha was the first state to be constituted on linguistic basis on April 1st, 1936. In the second week of April, on April 14th, we Odias celebrate “Mahabisuba Sankranti” which is our New Year, the first day of Baisakha month. We share our New Year with the Assamese, Tamils, Punjabis, Bengalis, Malayalis, Sri Lankans, Thai, Burmese and Cambodians. The April trilogy is aptly completed by the observance of ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ in the second half of the month. We in the Houston Odia community like our brethren world-wide have geared up the forth-coming Ratha-Jatra by marking Akshaya Tritiya in a way which showcases a unique Odia-Texan fusion. The resident Odia community celebrated this pious day with prayers and offerings to Shri Jagannatha, which was followed by Texas-style cook-out bonhomie with traditional Odia dishes at the outdoorsy environs of Shri Jagannath Dham in the heart of Houston. The Houston Odia community led by Orissa Culture Center (OCC) in collaboration with Shri Sitaram Foundation will celebrate Houston’s eleventh Jagannatha RathaJatra on July 14, 2018 at the India House, 8888 W Bellfort Blvd., Houston, TX. As

Chandana Jatra, Puri, Odisha, India.

Akshaya Tritiya at Shri Jagannath Dham, Houston, Texas.

has been the case for the last decade, we eagerly look forward to the synergy of people from all

walks of life as we recreate the high-octane devotional spirit in our own humble way in Houston, Texas.


14 May 04, 2018


BAPS 11th Annual Women’s Conference Focuses on Unity as Our Greatest Strength

Monica Mehta set the tone for the conference.

Ilupi Patel addresses the audience on the importance of unity.

Shailaja Thakkar speaks on the topic of humility.

Dr. Pratiksha Amin addresses the audience on the power of positivity.

The keynote speaker and guests commemorate the start of the conference in a traditional manner by lighting the divo.

STAFFORD: Unity is strength.

This was the simple yet powerful subject of conversation at this year’s annual BAPS Women’s Conference held at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, Texas on April 21. With the thought of unity currently on the minds of many in society, and separation due to differences natural, the conference instead focused on the individual’s role in creating a unified nation and world. The speakers delved into the qualities of humility and positivity and their roles in initiating a more unitycentered mind-frame. Held in 14 cities across North America, this conference aims to

inspire its attendees to bring about change through dialogue and reflection and this year was no different. Monica Mehta, a financial expert, television personality, and an author, set the tone for the conference. Speaking on the level of strength that can be achieved through unity, she encouraged all to honor each other and find ways to better each other and in the end, find strength in unity. When asked about how she felt participating in the conference, Mehta shared, “Events such as this give us an opportunity to explore all of the different roles that we play and the ways in which we can be supportive and lift each other up. In

that way I think it is incredible to have an opportunity to speak to so many women, hear these different perspectives and learn and grow from all of these experiences.” The conference then continued with a speech by Ilupi Patel emphasizing what unity truly means and why it is essential to achieve it. She focused on how the small actions of each individual can lead to a more unified family, and

therefore, influence a community and even society at large. The other two speakers for the evening’s conference concentrated on two instrumental traits that can be developed in order to create unity within our relationships - that of humility and positivity. Affirming that humility is not a fixed trait, but one that should be practiced and developed, speaker Shailaja Thakkar discussed the small, everyday


Aanshi Trivedi performs a traditional dance at the beginning of the conference.

steps that can be taken to practice humility. Using her personal experiences and quoting those she gained inspiration from, she explained how the trait of humility is strengthened through service of others, admitting our mistakes and tolerance. Dr. Pratiksha Amin CONTINUED ON PAGE 15


May 04, 2018


The Fascinating Sri Guruvayurappan Temple Utsavam 2018


The annual Utsavam (Festival) of Sri Guruvayurappan Temple 2018 continues, hundreds of Hindu devotees are gathering to seek the satisfaction of attending various rituals every day . Parallel presentations of varieties classical art forms enthrall many of the visitors every day for long hours. Prominent musicians and dancers from local art schools and from various cities are looking for opportunities to participate in this event year after year. The sound of an assortment of Kerala style vadyam with maddalam, edakka, elathalam, chenda etc. presented by world class artistes reverberate the temple surroundings. The stall that serve a variety of vegetarian food attract everyone at temple ground. The amazing ambience of the temple ground almost take the visitors to a wonderland.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 closed out the conference with a compelling talk on the power of positivity. She illustrated how we must all make an effort to find positivity in not only all situations, but in all those around us as well. Dr. Amin explained that when we find good in one another, we are able to support and build each other up to bring about a more unified world. Each year, the conference is organized in numerous cities, by the local youth and women volunteers of BAPS with the aim to provide a platform for dialogue between women of all different backgrounds and professions. The speakers, just like the audience, were from various professional and personal diasporas and yet were able to come together to bring about an environment for dialogue for self-reflection and growth. Sharing her thoughts on the conference, attendee Dr. Nita Gandhi stated, “This conference is inspiration for all women and we learn a lot from each other. She went on to say that she enjoys attending this conference every year. Dr. Neha Amin, who had traveled from Austin to attend the confer-

Famous Indian Astrologer Sri Lakshmi Mata Astrologer Center

Pandit : Krishna Murthy

The utsavam 2018 continues till the 10 the day – On May 5 (Saturday) with the special ritual of Aarattu that includes the ceremonious lowering of the flag. Thousands of families customarily watch the grand display of fireworks by around 9.00 pm

For More information: www. guruvayurappanhouston.org: address 11620 Ormandy Street, Houston, 77035. For details contact temple (713) 729- 8994, Biju Pillai(President) at 832-247-3411 or Anil Gopinath (Festival coordinator) 973-640-3831.

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BAPS 11th Annual Women’s Conference ence shared, “I think the topic was relatable to people on many levels and everyone could come away with something from any of the speakers—whether it was about humility or how to stay positive in our lives or finding ways that we can come together as a community.” The BAPS Women’s Conference was inspired by Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj and encouraged by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. The conference highlights the influential role of women in today’s society and also empowers the younger generations by promoting a healthy dialogue around current topics. Before and after the conference, attendees had the opportunity to network with others from the greater Indian community and share their perspective on the talks of the day. Many in attendance felt inspired by the conference and conveyed their motivation to share the word with their family and friends. The audience left with the message that while unity may seem like a global concept, the power of change, and the

Private & Confidential

power of a creating a more unified world lies within each individual. For further details contact BAPS North American Headquarters, Phone: 732-777-1414, Email: media@na.baps.org


16 May 04, 2018


Heavenly Pattabhishekam for Goddess Meenakshi at Sri Meenakshi Temple BY BHARGAVI GOLLA



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Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Meenakshi Pattabhishekam on April 21, the coronation ceremony on a majestic scale with religious fervor and devotion as part of the ten-day Chithirai Mahotsavam festival. Chithirai Mahotsavam is one of the biggest extravaganza annual celebrations that take place during the month of April both in Madurai in India and right here in Sri MTS. From Thursday, April 19th, the entire temple atmosphere was transformed into one of supreme celestial ambiance with religious and cultural activities celebrating the divine glory of Goddess Meenakshi. It started on Thursday, April 19 with Vigneswara Pooja and on Friday dhwaja-arohanam, hoisting a flag bearing the image of Nandi took place, which marked the start of Mahotsavam. Third day was the Sri Meenakshi Pattabhishekam. Yagasala poojas were conducted every morning and evening throughout the ten-day event. Cultural Program with classical music and dance are scheduled for each evening during the Mahotsavam. Devotees gathered at the Ganesh temple with colorful trays of bakshanams, fruits and flowers and carried in a seer varisai procession to the Main temple. The devotees were engrossed in spiritual bliss throughout the ceremony as the priests performed the Pattabhishekam at the Main temple. Advisory council chair Dr. P. Vaduganathan explained the legend behind pattabhishekam. King Malayadhwaja Pandian and Queen Kanchana Malai did not have a child for a long time. So Malayadhwaja Pandian performed special poojas and offered his prayers to God. During the pooja, a small girl came out of the fire and sat on the lap of the king and at that time lord appeared from the sky and told them that this child was an incarnation of Shakti (Wife of Lord Shiva) and Lord Shiva himself would come to marry her at the right age. Meenakshi was trained in warfare and she was crowned as the Queen of Pandya kingdom after her father. This coronation ceremony is known as the Pattabhishekam. After the Pattabhishekam Chairman Padmini Ranganathan, bestowed the regal scepter with the customary honor on behalf of all the devotees. Priest Sri Manickasundara Bhattar said that this is the first time he witnessed a woman chairman being presented with a scepter. It was indeed a historical blissful moment. The regal scepter was taken in a procession around the Main Temple to commemorate Meenakshi’s crowning. Sri Meenakshi was crowned with a new Kireetam (crown), donated

by Ms. Roopa and Mr. Balakrishnan and Charman Dr. Padmini Ranganathnan thanked them for their generous donation. Haripriya Sundar and her friend, Roman Stromeyer created a 3D printed and hand painted parakeet model for the Sri Meenakshi pattabhishekam. Goddess Meenakshi was then taken in a procession by devotees in a beautiful Poo Pallakku, It was a magnificent spectacle to watch the parade with Meenakshi in a Poo Pallakku and Meenakshi and Sundareswar in another pallakku and the Vigneswara, Muruga and Chandikeswara murthis adorned in their godly vehicle. Several young children carried lamps leading the procession. The procession was accompanied by Chenda melam performed by amazing MTS devotees. This year a new Poo pallakku (Floral Palanquin) was designed by artistic silpi Ramanathan and hand made by many silpis and volunteers. Beautiful Poo pallakku was decorated with fresh flowers by volunteers in diamond shape patterns using yellow, white and red cornations. It’s also brightly decorated with led lights. Divine


Photos: Srini Sundarrajan

blessings graced the entire Pattabhishekam of goddess Meenakshi and devotees were enthralled to have a glimpse of Meenakshi in a poo pallakku as the procession went around the temple. The feedback from many devotees is that one has to be destined to witness such a heavenly event. Student from Abhinaya School danced in Raja Veedhi as the pallakku returned. The procession concluded with devotees carrying Sri Meenakshi’s Pallakku swaying to the beats of Chanda Melam. Chairman thanked the priests (Manickasundara Bhattar, Kalyana Sundaram, Balaji Sethuraman, Sridharan Raghavan, Pavan Kumar Sri Bhashyam, Sriman Narayana, R.K.E. Parameswaran , Sivakarthick Kannan and Sathish Devanathan), staff, board and advisory council and all the volunteers who worked hard in making the grand poo pallakku day possible. The event was coordinated by Sheila Sriram and Dhani Kannan from RAC committee. A brief video of the event can be found at https://youtu.be/D5iNyfFvADk


Ekal Vidyalaya Show Dazzles The Woodlands



HE WOODLANDS: A caravan rolls into town, and with it comes the deep reverberation of the tabla, the piercing tone of the violin, the drift of sweet melodies through the air, and the sharp strike of feet spelling out hypnotic patterns on the stage. We are immediately transported; we tangle with strands of music, our bodies shift in time to the dancers, our souls push and pull in time to the beat of the drums. Welcome to Kaafila. On Saturday, March 17 The Woodlands proudly hosted the Adithi Bhagwat Group for “Kaafila – A Bollywood Caravan,” a show beautifully coordinated in support of Ekal Vidyalaya – a charity with the main goal of bringing education to every child in India and promoting equality and inclusiveness throughout the country. Musicians Shruti Bhave on violin, Kantha Das on percussion, and Suranjan Khandalkar on vocals plucked beautiful rhythms out of

thin air and worked with the mesmerizing dancers Adithi Bhagwat and Kunal Om to showcase a performance filled with joyous passion. The Adithi Bhagwat Group spun us into a journey through time, the swish of colorful skirts and the straining notes of familiar melodies invoking both the nostalgia of classical Bollywood and the adrenaline of modern Bollywood. We were spirited across the world, from Rajasthan to Spain, and were treated to delightfully playful rhythms and invigorating movements. There is nothing quite like seeing a community uniting and working together for a good cause, and this past Saturday, The Woodlands truly came together - Ragini and Harish Gandhi and Snehal and Smita Mehta deserve special thanks as the driving force behind putting the show together. The Houston Ekal Vidyalaya

May 04, 2018 team worked tirelessly to bring this to the Woodlands, setting up sound and stage to ensure the performance ran smoothly. Youth volunteers and emcees, Ashray Gurugunti, Vaishnav Kuruvanka, Vijay Margan, and Maya Kuruvanka brought a new voice and perspective to the event and local talent, Maya Poduval, showcased her skills and generously put up her beautiful artwork for auction in support of Ekal Vidalaya. Many flocked to the event, and the hall was overflowing with generous people eager to contribute to this amazing cause. A caravan rolls out of town, and we eagerly await its return.


Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital is now among an elite group of facilities nationwide that has received Magnet® recognition for excellence in nursing services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. The designation is one of the highest levels of recognition a hospital can receive. “This is a great achievement and honor for our hospital. It speaks highly of the level of teamwork that went into receiving this recognition. I am proud of our nurses, affiliated physicians and staff who work diligently every day to provide high-quality care to our patients,” said Greg Haralson, CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land. The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes healthcare organizations


Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Receives Top National Nursing Recognition

for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation in professional nursing practice. Magnet recognition is the highest possible organizational credential granted by the ANCC, the largest and most prominent nursing credentialing organization in the United States. Before a hospital is selected for Magnet recognition, ANCC completes a rigorous, extensive evaluation process that includes onsite visits, reviews of written documentation, staff and patient satisfaction surveys and interviews. Hospitals must excel in several areas, including nursing standards and practices, patient care and innovations in nursing leadership and management to achieve Magnet status. “Achieving Magnet recognition reinforces the culture of highquality patient care that we strive for. It is evidence of our nurses’ commit-


ment to providing our patients with the best care and we are extremely proud of receiving this gold standard for nursing excellence,” said Gillian Alexander, Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Hermann Southwest. Initial Magnet recognition is valid for four years and, during that time, hospitals and nursing staff are closely monitored, evaluated and surveyed to ensure they remain in compliance with the program’s high standards. At the end of the four-year period, hospitals must re-apply and again undergo the challenging evaluation process. Memorial Hermann Southwest joins Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and as one of 36 Magnet recognized facilities in Texas.

18 May 04, 2018

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY From Eve-teasing to Rape

Private Money to Upgrade Red Fort


he brouhaha over a private sector group adopting Red Fort with the promise of spending Rs 25 crore over five years – to give the dilapidated area a facelift – is misplaced. It is clearly not a case of selling a national heritage monument to a private entity as those opposed to the scheme are alleging. At best it is a meek admission by government that public departments failed in their basic remit of preserving heritage, promoting tourism, improving sanitation and deploying better crowd management techniques. In 2016, even CAG had termed the Delhi government’s Shahjahanabad redevelopment plan begun in 2008 as a complete failure. Ever since the rise of the private sector in the post-1991 reforms era we have learnt a thing or two about private sector efficiency in growing the economy, creating jobs and executing projects better than their public sector counterparts. Of course, there are exceptions to public sector sloth but the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme is certainly worth attempting. Considering that Red Fort is a foremost symbol of India’s independence struggle, government must ensure oversight of the project, discourage excessive advertisement, and hold the company to the promises it has made. It is billed to provide basic and advanced amenities like public conveniences, illumination, light and sound shows, surveillance and other tourist services. While companies complain that the CSR obligations mandated in Companies Act are an invisible tax and outsources government’s social sector responsibilities to them, projects around monuments are also a brand building opportunity because of high visibility and large footfalls. Unlike governments in India which tend to be indifferent about civic failures corporates will, hopefully, do better even if only to stave off adverse publicity for the brand. If private investment can boost heritage conservation, create a larger pool of conservationists and boost tourist arrivals, it deserves a chance. -Times of India



ape should not be associated with any particular country. And yet, what do we say to women who want to travel to India? What do we tell our own daughters? No, I am not going to talk about rape. I do not think politicians are being honest when they ask those who are outraged at recent rapes in India not to “politicise” the matter, for these are the very same politicians who accused the Congress of turning Delhi into the “rape capital” of India when they were in the opposition. I do not agree with party supporters who offer ‘explanations’for a heinous rape-murder, for no rape can ever be ‘explained’ away. I do not even consider those people fully human whose primary response to a rape is to compare it to some other rape. But despite all this, I will not write about rape. Because, sad as it is, the ‘defenders’ are right when they note that rapes take place in every country in the world. Even if the political reaction to rapes in India is often either gimmicky or chauvinist (or both), the fact remains that most Indians detest the idea of a woman being sexually violated. It is not fair to associate rape only with India — or with any other country in the world. I will not talk about rape in this column, and yet I have a problem. I have a problem when my female students in Denmark or the U.K. ask me about visiting India. Earlier, I used to enthusiastically suggest places to visit, experiences to savour, things to do. Now I say as little as possible. I have a problem when my older daughter, almost a young woman now, talks of travelling with her friends to India.

In the past, I would have been delighted. Now I feel uncertain and nervous. I do not feel nervous because of the rhetoric of rape; I know that rapes are as much a crime in India as anywhere else. It is not rape — an extreme threat every woman lives with in every country of the world, alas — that worries me. What worries me is the rising incidence of moral policing in India. What worries me are the ‘good conduct’ and ‘good dress’ loonies who are getting louder and rougher, all those uncultured louts who can abuse or harm a woman in the name of ‘culture’ and get away with it. What worries me is the fact that men can attack, even molest, women for not wearing the ‘right clothes’, not being in the ‘right place’, not being outdoor at the ‘right time’. Such tendencies — tied to a growing intolerance of difference — have been increasing in India. Let’s face it: India has never been an easy place for women to move around on their own. This fact does not strike most middle-class Indian men, for they are men and ‘their’ women are mostly escorted by men or protected by the social structure within which they move. But I have travelled with foreigners — and at least in north India, I have been shocked at the amount of vulgarity that unescorted women have to face. Some of it is physical and a lot of it is verbal, which, luckily, the tourists do not understand. We Indians have a deeply disturbing word for it: eveteasing. It reduces a serious offence to light flirtation, in a country that claims not to tolerate even light flirtation. So, honestly, when my daughter or female students talk to me about travelling in India, I stay silent now. I have the urge to tell them to travel in


CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: ASEEM KULKARNI ®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


certain ways: stay in top hotels, use standard travel agencies, not go out in the evening, etc. But this is against everything I believe in, everything I have tried to inculcate in my children and in my students. I have done what I could to make them grow up with other people, not to live an elite life, engage positively with difference. Whenever they visit my country, I want them to meet other Indians — most of whom are not rapists or even ‘eve-teasers.’ I want them to see ordinary India, not to move from one air-conditioned bubble into another. But I can no longer ignore the fact that they would be vulnerable to the sexual innuendoes and frustration of an increasingly legitimated minority of men. I cannot ignore the fact that they will be lectured, hectored, even abused by patriarchal louts who have no knowledge of other cultures and very little of their own. Yes, it is not rape that I am afraid of, or want to talk about. And yet, there is a direct line running from such male chauvinism and cultural jingoism, which is on the increase, to the threat and occurrence of rape. We are fooling ourselves if we pretend otherwise. I am as proud of the richness of Indian cultures and history as any other Indian, and I have spent more time and effort learning about them than many Indians. And yet I no longer know what to say when my female students talk of travelling to India. If I warn them to guard against the worst, I will be unfair to most Indians and to India. If I do not say anything, they might come back and ask me: Why didn’t you warn us? -- The Hindu Tabish Khair is an Indian novelist and academic who teaches in Denmark.


May 04, 2018

Mighty Desi Muscles Flex for the MS 150 and Dallas Marathon

many friends riding MS 150.” The Multiple Sclerosis Society raises close to $11 million each year and brings hope for many who are affected by the disease. This is the largest charity ride of its kind in North America with over 8000 people participating every year. Further north, in Dallas, Shuchi Desai ran the city’s 5th annual Skyline half-marathon this past weekend while 5 months pregnant in 2 Hrs 35 min! A 33 year-old mother of a 2


year-old daughter, this Dallas ObGyn doctor has always loved to train and was an athlete in school in Houston, according to her dad Gitesh Desai. Shuchi lives in Plano, north of Dallas with her husband Dr. Arhaanth Reddy, a Pulmonology Fellow and daughter and is expecting a boy in August. Gitesh is a Principal Structural Engineer with the Wood Group and is the President of the local chapter of SEWA International.

Shuchi Desai ran a half-marathon while 5 months pregnant


AUSTIN: In the past decade, it

seems like the desi community has discovered the MS 150 ride from the Bayou City to La Grange through the Hill Country into Austin and their numbers only continue to multiple. This year was no different and a few of the hardy ones celebrated their race at the end, bumping into each other. Like Ramesh Anand, 64, a selfemployed human resource recruiter from Sugar Land. After years of a sedentary lifestyle, he took up running in early 2016 and took part in seven half marathons. He also took up bike riding and took part in his first MS 150 last April, then in the 68 mile Tour de Houston; 70 mile Around the Brazos and in the Mini Triathlon before riding this year’s MS 150. He attributed his success to running with the Ft. Bend Fit club and the online Ready2RollCycling group to prepare for the MS. He was joined by Asam Syed, 44, and Deepak Agarwal, also 44, who were riding with their colleagues for Team Siemens. It was Syed’s first MS 150 and he was able to raise $1,000 for his ride. He also got ready for the ride by training with the Ready2RollCycling group. And then there was the team from the Houston office of the Indian software conglomerate Infosys. They rode with their captain Sandeep Gupta. But veteran Dr. Kuldip Kaul, 66, an endocrinologist from Clear Lake took the 150 mile ride in stride. It was his 12th MS 150 ride and he thanked his record time to a favorable tailwind all the way to the finish line at Circuit of America in Austin. “You get a chance to meet some patients with multiple sclerosis during the ride,” said Kaul. “You have bike riders from all over the world and it was very gratifying to meet people who have done this ride for more than 25 years.” For Vijay Pallod, 60, of Star Pipe, who took up bike riding at age 50, this was his last MS 150. “I was not sure I would be able to ride because I had just returned from India on Friday night and registered on Saturday morning.” Pallod said. He missed the first day ride but two young Star Pipe coworkers, Sai and Prathmesh, gave him good company on the second day. “I have learned a lot and made

Asam Syed (right) with his team mates from Siemens

Kuldip Kaul resting after his 12th MS 150 bike ride

Ramesh Anand on the second day of the ride

Vijay Pallod and some younger friends on his final MS 150 ride


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20 May 04, 2018

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.


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Amb Da Achaar (Green Mango Pickle)

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It goes without saying that Indi-

ans love pickles but it may come as a surprise that there are probably a hundred different types of pickles found all over the country. There are even pickles made of different meats: mutton, pork, quail, partridge, shrimp and lobster. Even though many of the spices and oils used are the same, the end result and taste of the pickles is very different. One of the reasons for the variety of pickles is the abundance of sunshine which not only helps the fruits and vegetables grow, but is a powerful source of natural solar heat that allows the pickles to ferment in the rays of the sun within a few days. A pickle loved universally across the country is the uniquely Northern Indian amb da achaar (green mango pickle). To make the authentic pickle, you need to use small dark green, round shaped, sour unripe mangoes with a softer shell that protects its giri (seed). In India, these achaar wale mangoes are available from April through July. But if you don’t find them, use any green unripe mangoes, but make sure they are sour. Raw green mangoes offer many health benefits: they help with weight loss, reduce morning sickness, acidity, constipation, scurvy, prickly heat, excessive sweating and mineral loss, provide energy, and are good for the liver, immune system, the teeth and diabetics. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene and antioxidants which help maintain healthy skin and mucus membranes. But beware that due to the sap in them, eating too many can also irritate the throat, give indigestion, dysentery and abdominal colic. In India, it is not uncommon to find people making amb da achaar in their homes and store them till the next season. My 83-year-old

mother, Biji, would make some every year and the pungent smell of green mangoes, mustard oil, salt and saunf (fennel seed) would waft through the house! She would pack the pickle in a tall ceramic biyaam (jar) and set it in the sun for a few days, shaking the contents to mix in the spices every so often. When it was ready, we’d all get spoonfuls with our meals and after chewing off the skin and flesh, suck on the spices soaked in the whiskers of the gutli (shell). Uum-huh! That was to die for! Ingredients: • 5 large amb (mangoes) – pickling type, from Indian stores • 2 tbsp methi dana (fenugreek seeds) powder • 2 tbsp saunf (fennel seed) • 1 tbsp lal mirch (red pepper) • 1 tbsp namak (salt) • ½ tsp haldi (turmeric) • ½ tsp kalonji (onion seed) (if available) • ½ cup sarson ka tael (mustard seed oil) • ½ cup white vinegar Directions: 1. Wash the mangoes and dry them with a cloth and spread them out so that all the water is dried off. It is important not to leave any water on the mangoes as this will cause the pickle to not last long and spoil soon. 2. Cut the dry mangoes into 1 inch pieces. If you can, carefully cut the shell into halves. 3. Now prepare the masala for the

pickle. Put the methi dana and the saunf in a blender and set it to chop. 4. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the rest of the spices and mix thoroughly with your hands. 5. Add in the cut mango pieces and mix with your hands to coat them well. 6. Pour the vinegar into the jar you will make the pickle in and swirl it around to coat the inside of it. 7. Pour in the coated mango pieces close the lid tightly and shake well. Set the jar in the sun to allow the heat to ferment it for 4 or 5 days, shaking the contents vigorously a few times each day. If there is no sunshine, place indoors in a warm place. 8. After a week, open the jar and add the mustard seed oil and shake well again so that the mangoes are covered by the oil. 9. Store the jar in a warm spot in the pantry for 3 to 4 weeks so that the green mangoes can ferment. 10. After a month, the ambh da achaar is ready to eat and will keep for up to a year without refrigeration. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned 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 late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi recipes for future generations.




SALAD DRESSING For those who are watching their diet and trying to lose so salads are a comm on alternative to a heavy meal. But ev me weight, ingredients in the sa en though the lad may be low-calo rie much more which makes it less healthy , often the dressing contains than you can imag Next time, try a little ine! green mango or gr regular dressing an een papaya juice in d add in the spices of your choice. Thes stead of a fiber and contain hi e are high in gher amounts of di gesti important for good gut bacteria. These ve-resistant starch, which is re in blood sugar spik es and help improv sistant starches do not result e insulin regulation, risk of insulin resis reducing the tance.

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May 04, 2018



Rajnikanth Returns: Will his new movie be India’s Black Panther moment?

Some 93 minutes, 30 seconds

into K. Balachander’s love quadrangle Aboorva Raagangal (1975), an unkempt-looking man in a loose tie, untucked shirt and worn-out jacket dramatically pushes open the gate and makes his first onscreen appearance. The film, divided into chapters, kicked off a new one with that shot. The entry was announced by a title card, “Sruthi Bedham” (scale change). Indeed, the scale had changed. For with that lowangle long shot, a former bus conductor made the most important entry in the history of Tamil cinema. Someone who would go on to sell billions of tickets. A dark-skinned outcast of an anti-hero had sneaked into a world of showbiz that had been reserved for the fair-skinned because the good old movie camera preferred it that way. Though he started off playing variations of grey and allout dark roles—an alcoholic in Aboorva Raagangal, a village bully who attempts rape in 16 Vayathanile, a rapist in Moondru Mudichu—Rajinikanth cemented his position as a serious


ollywood is again turning its eyes, and cameras too, towards its oncefavourite destination Kashmir as with the increase in the footfall of tourists, film crews are returning to the Valley to capture the picturesque, shootingfriendly locales and rekindle the old romance with the place. Of late, several movies have been filmed in Kashmir portraying the place in a positive way rather than focusing on the violence and strife. This year, so far, many stars, including Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Jacqueline Fernandez, have visited the Valley for filming. Salman and his leading lady Jacqueline shot for the final lap of the third installment of action-thriller Race, which is produced by Ramesh Taurani. The crew after wrapping up shooting in the picturesque Sonamarg meadow in Ganderbal district in central Kashmir, started filming in the Ladakh region of the state. This is the second time Salman

actor with complex character roles in movies such as Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri, Avargal, Aarilirindhu Aruvathu Varai and Netrikkan before he starred in remakes of Amitabh Bachchan films. Billa, for instance, was a remake of Don, Velaikkaaran of Namak Halaal, Thee of Deewaar, and Panakkaran of Laawaris, to name a few. All these films channelled the rage of the angry young man in the southern context. Towards the end of the 1980s and all through the 1990s, Rajinikanth evolved into the quint-

essential south Indian chauvinist hero who wore the uniform of the working classes (taxi driver in Padikkathavan, auto-driver in Baasha, milkman in Annamalai, factory worker in Uzhaippali) and rose to become the undisputed “superstar”, influential enough to change governments. His famous, “Even God cannot save Tamil Nadu”, is said to have cost the late J. Jayalalithaa the election in 1996. Political attacks on his smoking and drinking onscreen meant he had to take responsibility for

setting right the wrongs of his cinematic career—he gave up the very cigarette that defined his style and persona on screen. Over the last decade and a half, we have seen the evolution of a family-friendly superstar. Like a James Bond you wouldn’t mind introducing your sister to. The cigarette was replaced by a biscuit. But the style remained—the way he would flip his sunglasses, the swagger, the way he would run his hands through his hair. Any rare attempt to move away from what people expected bombed. Case in point, Baba (2002), a masala-meets-spirituality film he had written himself. After the twin box-office failures of the animated mythological Kochadaiiyaan and the generic revenge drama Lingaa (both in 2014), Pa. Ranjith, a Generation Next writer-director of the highly acclaimed sociopolitical drama Madras (2014), was given charge of reinventing the Rajinikanth brand. Until Kabali (2016), Rajinikanth, now 67, had fought shy of playing his age. He had played older characters earlier in his career, including saint Sree Raaghavendar in his 100th film of the same

Kashmir Re-emerges as Paradise for Filmmakers has shot in Sonamarg. He filmed Kabir Khan-directed Bajrangi Bhaijaan at the meadow in 2015. Before Salman, this year Abhishek shot for director Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan in the Valley. The film also stars Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu. The crew filmed many scenes near the Thajiwas Glacier and Zojila in Sonamarg. Producer and director Mahesh Bhatt is currently shooting in Kashmir for his next venture Jalebi. Bhatt would be shooting at several scenic locations till May 15. Another Bollywood filmmaker would be shooting in the Valley for a popular family TV serial Udaan. The shooting of the serial would be held at Mughal Gardens, Shankaracharya Road, Nageen Lake and Downtown areas of the summer capital, besides popular destinations

like Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Doodpathri and Yousmarg. Besides Bollywood, the filmmakers from South India are also visiting Kashmir this season for shooting. Annupurna Studios Private Limited is shooting for Telugu serial Maddamandaram at different locations in Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonamarg. One of the favourite destinations for the filmmakers once, Kashmir was overlooked for several years

by Bollywood after the onset of militancy in 1990 and over the years, few films which were shot in the Valley focused primarily on the unrest. With the improvement in the situation, the filmmakers have set their eyes on the Valley again. Many films, including Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Tak Hain Jaan and Ranbir Kapoor-led Rockstar were shot in Kashmir. Last year, Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary was shot in Kashmir. Recently, a film based on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was also shot in the Valley. Vidhu Vinod Chopra also shot here, in March this year, a film based on Kashmiri Pandits. Officials and stakeholders believe that filmmakers visiting Kashmir in droves for shooting would give a fillip to the tourism sector here. “Filmmakers returning to Kashmir


name in 1985, but the trappings of superstardom—and market forces—compelled him into an image trap over the later, post1985, part of his career. With Kabali, Rajinikanth employed style as a weapon of empowerment. In the film, the director’s voice rings loud and clear: He makes his hero read Y.B. Satyanarayana’s My Father Baliah (a book on what it means to be a Dalit in India) and drops enough clues through the film about Kabali’s Dalit identity. For this champion of the masses defies the bad guys by wearing their uniform—the “coat-suit”. The dark-skinned hero had come a long way from the time he wore the uniforms of autodrivers, milk vendors, factory workers and taxi drivers. The film’s punchline, translated, goes somewhat like this: “If you think my prosperity is a problem, I will prosper, da. I will wear coat-suit, da. Will put one leg over the other, and sit in style, in front of you. If you can’t deal with it, die.” -livemint.com is a good sign for tourism. We are doing our bit to facilitate the filmmakers and attract them to the Valley,” Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood Shah told PTI. Shah said the department has granted permissions to several crews to shoot in the Valley. “We have issued several permissions, including for shooting of a South Indian serial. I am sure many more will come to Kashmir,” he said. The director said apart from breathtaking locales, the administrational support in Kashmir, competitive rates and hassle-free permits are the biggest attractions for the filmmakers to shoot in the Valley. “People walk into the office and get permission on the same day,” Shah said, adding single-window clearance system for permissions helps attract filmmakers… We are hopeful the films will help us revive tourism in a big way,” he said. -indianexpress.com

22 May 04, 2018 IPL 2018: RCB Finally Defend Total, Push Out Mumbai BY VISHAL DICKSHIT

MUMBAI (ESPN Crickinfo):

Royal Challengers Bangalore 167 for 7 (Vohra 45, Pandya 3-28) beat Mumbai Indians 153 for 7 (Pandya 50, Southee 2-25, Umesh 2-29, Siraj 2-8) by 14 runs Umesh Yadav took two wickets off consecutive deliveries with the new ball, Ishan Kishan fell for a golden duck and Royal Challengers Bangalore lost to Mumbai Indians by 46 runs. Two weeks later, Umesh was on a hat-trick with the new ball against Mumbai again, Kishan bagged another golden duck, his third in four innings, but this time Umesh’s opening burst also included Rohit Sharma’s first-ball duck and the Royal Challengers bowling line-up sustained the pressure throughout for once to defend 167 on their home ground and move up to fifth place after only their third win from eight matches. The defending champions, meanwhile, are back in seventh place and need to win all their remaining six matches lest they wish to rely on other teams to help them stay in playoff contention. Rohit opted to bowl and a combined bowling show from the spinners and Hardik Pandya in the death overs was restricting Royal Challengers to under 150 until Colin de Grandhomme’s 10-ball 23 lifted them in the last over. Eventually, the early loss of wickets hurt Mumbai this time and even though the Pandya brothers seemed up to the task of scoring 62 runs from the last five overs, some pin-point bowling with pace variations sealed it for the hosts. Virat Kohli had bowled Umesh and Yuzvendra Chahal by the 15th over yet again and the Pandya brothers had the cushion of Ben Cutting to follow in the chase. Among the quicks, only Tim Southee and Mohammed Siraj had two overs left each so Kohli decided to give the 16th to de Grandhomme. He conceded 17, and Mumbai needed 45 from 24 only to see a different story unfold this time. Siraj and Southee bowled a stirring mix of length deliveries, pace variations and wide yorkers to prevent the Pan-

Virat Kohli and his Royal Challengers Bangalore don’t hold his emotions back after witholding a batting challenge from Mumbai Indians.

dyas from hitting down the ground. Siraj conceded only one boundary in his last two overs, Southee allowed Mumbai five little singles in the 18th over and Siraj also had Krunal caught at point for 23 to give the visitors a stiff equation of 25 from six. Hardik then hit Southee’s offcutter to long-on and Cutting connected well with only two of the remaining five deliveries. Southee finished with 2 for 25 and a Man of the Match award. Even though their bowling contingent turned the story around, the death overs stung Royal Challengers’ batting line-up this time. They were 123 for 3 with Kohli on 29 and five overs to go, easily set for 175. However, Jasprit Bumrah had two overs left, and Hardik bowled offcutters and slower ones consistently to remove Mandeep Singh, Kohli and Washington Sundar in the 18th over for only two runs. Bumrah didn’t get all his yorkers right but the batsman couldn’t middle many either. Only one of his final 12 deliveries went to the boundary and there were five dots among them as well. So, Royal Challengers found themselves 143 for 7 with one over to go. Fortunately and decisively for them, de Grandhomme smacked three sixes off the last four balls, including a free hit, for a competi-

tive total. Barring three expensive overs, Mumbai conceded only 101 runs in 17 overs on Tuesday night. Most of the Mumbai bowlers strangled the batsmen, not letting any of them, except de Grandhomme, finish with a strike rate of over 150. It was the remaining three overs that Royal Challengers cashed in on to hammer 66 runs. The first of those was the fourth over, by JP Duminy. Opener Manan Vohra smacked the part-time spinner for 20 runs off the first four balls with two sixes and as many fours in the 22run over. Duminy was probably used in the Powerplay because of a lefthanded opener - Quinton de Kock - but bowled only one ball to him out of 12. The second expensive over was Hardik’s after Brendon McCullum had scratched his way to nine off six balls. In the 10th over, he dispatched two full-tosses for consecutive sixes, the first of them a no-ball, and then struck the fourth legitimate delivery, a knuckleball, through the covers for four. Twenty off the over. It shot their run rate above eight an over but there was more to come, right at the end. Mitchell McClenaghan started the last over impressively with three singles before de Grandhomme launched an offcutter over midwicket, collected two down the ground,

hit a six off a no-ball and ended the innings with a free hit he smoked over long-off. Royal Challengers had gone from 146 to 167 in only three legitimate deliveries. Rohit surprisingly decided to open the bowling with Duminy in a spinheavy first nine overs and the move worked brilliantly except in that fourth over. Duminy extracted sharp turn and bounce in the first over with five dot balls and almost had Vohra caught at midwicket for 6. McClenaghan used a mix of back-of-length and slower deliveries to concede only seven in his first two overs and had de Kock caught at midwicket for a 13-ball 7. Seeing the turn on offer, Rohit bowled Krunal and Mayank Markande from overs six to nine to see them beat the bat, bowl stifling lines and concede only 24 runs, including Vohra’s wicket for 45. Mumbai were similarly shackled in the middle overs but that was down to the early wickets and even though Hardik batted before his brother for a slightly brisk fifty, he and Duminy had to do a lot of consolidation after they were 47 for 4 in the eighth over. Umesh brought two in sharply to trap Suryakumar lbw for 9 and had Rohit inside edge one next ball to de Kock diving full-length behind the stumps. Kishan was bowled by Southee in the first over.



Neeraj Goyat is WBC Asia Boxer of the Year

NEW DELHI: Indian pugilist

Neeraj Goyat has been conferred with the WBC Asia Boxer of the Year Award. Neeraj is the current WBC Asia champion in welter weight category. Since turning pro in 2011, Neeraj has won nine fights including two knockouts. Commenting on the award, Neeraj said, “I am really happy to receive such an honor from WBC, I will continue to work hard in the future fights.” Neerav Tomar, promoter of IOS Boxing Promotions which manages Neeraj and Vijender Singh, was bestowed with ‘WBC Asia honorary Promoter of the year 2017 Award’ by the Asian Boxing Council at WBC Asia and WBC Muaythai annual awards presentation ceremony in Bangkok on Monday. Neeraj Goyat did his schooling till 9th standard from SD model school, Haryana. He Started boxing in 2006 in the Army sports institute and studied for 10th standard there. In the first junior national tournament held in 2007, he won the bronze medal. In the year 2008, Neeraj Goyat won the gold medal in the Youth National Tournament. Neeraj got interested in boxing because the physique and the personality of sportsmen really appealed to him. He started with Athletics, but then when he saw boxers training around him he saw them and was really impressed with their level of fitness and strength and that’s how he shifted to boxing. Since Neeraj had a very good level of fitness, he got selected in the Army sports institute in the year 2006, got very good training from the coaches there.

Neeraj Goyat has been conferred with the WBC Asia Boxer of the Year Award.

May 04, 2018


IIT-Roorkee Develops App to

India’s Next Unicorns: The 8 that have Grabbed Investor Attention Monitor Risk of Heart Failure NEW DELHI: Scientists from InNEW DELHI: After a dry spell of Oyo Rooms (Oravel Stays Pvt. dian Institute of Technology (IIT) Rotwo years in which only two start-ups entered the unicorn club, a bunch of internet companies are set to exceed the $1 billion-valuation mark over the next year, highlighting the revival of investor interest in consumer internet businesses. In the 18 months to January 2016, as many as six start-ups including Ola, Paytm and Quikr became unicorns, or companies that are valued at least $1 billion. In that period, investors had pumped in several billions of dollars into internet companies, believing that India’s online consumer market would surge ahead for years. But it quickly became clear that investors had overestimated the rate at which the market would expand. In the past two years, venture capital firms slashed investments and forced their portfolio companies to cut costs and spend money in a sensible manner. Consequently, only two companies – messaging app Hike and online education platform Byju’s – became unicorns in the past two years. But though a majority of internet companies struggled for funds in this period, some start-ups continued to flourish both on the business side and in attracting fresh capital. Now, it finally looks these start-ups are set to enter that hallowed unicorn club. BigBasket (Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt. Ltd) A relentless focus on execution helped BigBasket create a category online that most investors thought would fail. Now, BigBasket’s success has attracted the likes of Flipkart and Amazon to the online grocery business. In just six years since its launch, BigBasket delivers fruits, vegetables and other consumer staples to customers in 30 cities. It closed a $200 million investment from China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba earlier this year. It will need more. BookMyShow (Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd) Like BigBasket, BookMyShow

Swiggy currently delivers 120,000-150,000 orders a day across 12 cities in India, far ahead of rivals Zomato and Foodpanda.

has pretty much created the sector it operates in—the online movie-ticket business. Over the past few years, even as new challengers such as Paytm have mounted a significant challenge, BookMyShow has withstood the onslaught and still emerged as the undisputed market leader in the movie-ticketing sector. Delhivery Pvt. Ltd Delhivery is the largest provider of logistics services to e-commerce companies. As marketplaces such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and eBay started to expand, they needed couriers to reach customers, particularly in the hinterlands. Delhivery started off in Delhi-NCR in early 2011, with a 150-size team, processing just around 500 shipments per day. By the end of 2017, Delhivery’s logistics network touched 1,200 cities and 12,000 pin codes and claimed to have completed 100 million shipments till date. Freshworks (formerly Freshdesk) Freshdesk is the pioneer of the software-as-a-service model in India and its biggest hope. A lot can still go wrong for enterprise technology

start-ups, amid the massive shifts taking place across the technology landscape. How Freshworks manages to navigate those shifts will go a long way in determining the fate of the sector. From the way it has run its business so far, Freshworks has shown that it is here to stay. Since starting out in 2010, the Chennai- and California-based start-up has amassed nearly 100,000 clients across the world. PolicyBazaar (EtechAces Marketing and Consulting Pvt. Ltd) The owner of PolicyBazaar and Paisabazaar is the country’s leading insurance provider. Given the low insurance penetration in India, PolicyBazaar is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of growing demand for insurance products over the next few years. Its loans platform, Paisabazaar, is expanding rapidly and contributes about one-third of the company’s overall business. PolicyBazaar is growing fast enough to attract interest from the world’s largest tech investor, SoftBank Group, which is in advanced talks to invest in the company.

Ltd) Oyo was one of the breakout startups from the funding boom of 2015, raising a surprise $100 million from SoftBank in August that year. It struggled to live up to its initial promise and, after a wild expansion spree, the hotel brand was hit by customer complaints about its poor service and low room occupancy rates. In the past year, however, Oyo has seen a turnaround, driven by its effort to gain full control of the room inventory on its platform. Its occupancy rates and net promoter score (a measure of customer satisfaction) have both improved significantly. Rivigo (Rivigo Services Pvt. Ltd) In the booming technology-enabled logistics sector, where a number of promising ventures have emerged over the past decade, Rivigo has come up with a unique approach. It operates a “driver relay” model, which is different from the traditional logistics model of using multiple vehicles to transfer loads from different points. Swiggy (Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd) The largest food delivery start-up is also one of the country’s largest consumer internet start-ups by volume. It currently delivers 120,000150,000 orders a day across 12 cities in India, far ahead of rivals Zomato and Foodpanda. Along with Oyo, Swiggy is the only true breakout start-up to emerge from the funding boom of 2014-15 that has otherwise yielded few successes. In less than four years of its launch, Swiggy has expanded rapidly even as early rival TinyOwl failed to survive. Swiggy’s surge, driven by its excellent logistics operation, has even led to a recent revival in investments in food delivery, a market that was once written off. The company is the favourite to maintain its leadership position in the market despite competition from Zomato, Uber and Ola. - Live Mint


orkee have developed a mobile app that can remotely monitor patients at risk of heart failure and provide them with medical assistance. Developed by its Computational Biology group, the ‘Dhadkan’ app can automatically send notifications to both the doctor and the patient, in case of any drastic changes in patient’s data indicating possibility of imminent heart failure. The free app was developed in collaboration with Sandeep Seth and Gopichandran from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The mobile app has been designed to be ‘easy-to-use’ so that people in rural areas can also benefit. “Dhadkan app will be of immense help to patients who live in distant areas and cannot come at regular intervals to tertiary care hospitals,” said Deepak Sharma, assistant professor at department of biotechnology, IIT-Roorkee. “It collects patient’s data (at any desired interval) on blood pressure, heart rate, and weight, and transmits it to the authorized caregiver (a doctor, nurse or paramedic) who is linked to the patient during the initial registration,” he said. The app also provides for two-way communication between doctors and patients. In addition, patients have the freedom to send ECG reports to the doctor if needed. The app will be used for conducting a randomized control trial on 100 heart failure patients at AIIMS to validate its utility and to suggest any new features that can be incorporated.

24 May 04, 2018


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