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Friday, May 10 2013 | Vol. 32, No. 19

Indo American erican News

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May 10, 2013



May 10, 2013


IACF’s 3rd Annual Golfing for Giving Tournament Raises Funds

The first group of teams that registered for the IACF Golf Tournament at the Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble on Saturday, May 4.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HUMBLE: Although located in the town with a forgiving name, there is nothing too forgiving for the uninitiated in the challenging 18-hole golf course located 45-minutes north of downtown Houston and just east of the Bush Intercontinental Airport. It is a well-respected course which area golfers love to try their shots at and has been the site for the Indo American Charity Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament and where the third such was held this past Saturday, May 4 on a pristine you-couldn’t-have-asked-for-better-weather kind of golfing day. About 50 golfers – mostly Indian American, but with several mainstream friends and colleagues in tow – descended on the golf links to take part in the Golfing for Giving tournament that lasted over four hours and raised over $12,000 for the coffers of IACF. The money will eventually go towards the many non-profits and education initiative that the IACF

supports. Included, just for the fun of it, were a couple of non-golfers like IACF President Murthy Divakaruni and Pratham Past-President Swatantra Jain whose son Dr. Ajay Jain was the chair of the event. Other IACF Board Directors Anu Bala, Surender Talwar, Vanitha Pothuri and this reporter handled the logistics of the event in registering the 12 teams and making sure they were well stocked with lunch, a goodies bag and dinner, which was catered by Madras Pavilion of Sugar Land. Talwar and I drove the entire links in a golf cart, handing out cold water bottles and taking pictures of the teams at the holes. Three teams won for the first place and the tiebreaker was the total handicap, which gave the team of Pradeep Gokhale, Jorje Puig, Jose Madrigal and Ash Shah the final victory. The Longest Drive was won by Kirk Bolos and the Hole In One was won by Charlie Hall.

IACF Directors (from left) Anu Bala, Ajay Jain, Surender Talwar and Jawahar Malhotra with President Murthy Divakaruni (center standing) at the registration desk.

The second group of teams that registered for the IACF Golf Tournament along with several IACF Directors. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra




May 10, 2013

Soorya Festival Invokes a Powerful Sense of Unity Soorya Krishnamoorthy’s ‘Sangamam’ Premiered in Houston May 5

BY IAN STAFF REPORTER STAFFORD: In Tamil and Malayalam, the term ‘sangamam’ describes the coming together of various platforms for a common goal. For those who attended the Soorya Festival’s premiere showcase in Houston on May 5, ‘sangamam’ was brought to life through the diverse performing art forms of India. Padmashree Dr. Soorya Krishnamoorthy, the founder-director of the Soorya Stage and Film Society, made his first visit to the United States as he presented his highlyanticipated Soorya Festival to an eager and receptive audience. Attendees arrived from various parts of Texas to see the show, and the performance surpassed expectations. One hour and forty-five minutes flew by as the audience was truly at the edge of their seats wanting more. The 20-artist troupe proved their passion and endurance as they performed nonstop, weaving together Bharatnatyam (Dakshina Vaidyanathan), Kathak (Sonia Gupta), Samudra Natanam (Madhu Gopinath and Vakkom Sajeev), Dhol Dholak Cholam (Manipur Dancers), Percussion (Lazer Sasi and Pathrose Jayakumar) and Vocal (Ziaya ul Haq). Powerful music by Mohammed Rafi served as the background for the performances,

and all were moved by the compelling finale that brought together all the dance forms symbolizing ‘Unity in Diversity’…a true ‘Sangamam’. Sangamam’. The Soorya Festival is touring 15 cities throughout the United States in one month, with Texas as the first stop on the tour. Houston-based production company Freedia Entertainment, the national promoter of the Soorya Festival, was proud to bring the Festival for its first American tour. The Houston show held last week was hosted by Shingari’s School of Rhythm who wanted to share this artistic delight with local cultural enthusiasts. For the event’s inauguration, there was a rare scene, the directors of nine area dance schools came together on stage to welcome

and show their respect for Krishnamoorthy’s contribution to the world of performing arts. At the end of the show, he expressed his appreciation to Shingari Makkora, director of Shingari’s School of Rhythm, for starting the show on a positive note by uniting all the dance gurus of the local dance community. “Gurus show our children the path to God,” Krishnamoorthy said during his final words, encouraging the audience to continue their support of authentic, non-commercialized artists. Krishnamoorthy remains the only person to have received the highest artistic honors from three state governments: Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The highly-decorated creative director was named Man of the Year 2003 by the Limca Book of World Records, who

Samudra Natanam (a unique dance form combining classical dance and martial arts) was among the various forms presented at the Houston Soorya Festival. Left: Manipuri dancers presented a lively exhibition of Dhol Dholak Cholam using a variety of percussion instruments native to India.

also appointed Soorya as the largest cultural society of Asia. He served as the director of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation for three terms, as a member of the India National Film Award committee, the Kerala State Film


Award committee, the NFDC Script Committee and the National committee for selecting Indian Panorama films. He has also been a member of the Expert Committee of the Department of Culture for the Government of India where he was instrumental in advancing the cultural policy of the country. The Soorya Festival is the longest and among the most prestigious cultural events in India, in which the finest and most accomplished artists in Indian classical dances and music participate.


May 10, 2013


Ekal Vidyalaya Gala Funds Over 900 Schools in India

BY NIKI KHAMBE HOUSTON: Once again it was that time of the year when Ekal Vidyalaya organized their annual fundraiser. Over 1150 people – it was a full house - gathered at the Stafford Center of Performing Arts, on Cash Road on Friday May 3. Prior to the show in the auditorium, everyone was treated to a buffet style vegetarian dinner in partitioned thalis, catered by Bhojan restaurant, in the large banquet hall. This year the organizers had invited the mellifluous Sanjeevani Bhelande, who has many Bollywood hits to her credit. The first ever winner of the Sa Re Ga Ma

TV talent show, Sanjeevani mesmerized the audience with her soulful voice and sang Hindi classics and songs in 4 different languages. The overwhelmed crowd couldn’t stop cheering ‘once more’ and applauding the seven time Sa Re Ga Ma winner Chirag Panchal. The talented team also included Mohit Shastry on keyboard and flute, Amit Mehta on tabla and dholak and Rupesh Rane on percussion. Key note speakers of the evening were Chairman of Ekal Global Ramesh Shah and his wife Kokilaben Shah. They related their experience of visiting 100 schools over the past 4 months and how the families in rural villages strive to earn their living and are also enthusiastic to learn in school. Ramesh Shah added that “there are children attending government schools and yet again in the evening they come to Ekal schools because it is the only place where they get true value based education. They were overjoyed to see someone taking efforts to travel from thousands of miles and taking interest in their lives.” The usually media shy person Kokilaben requested the Chairman of Ekal Global Ramesh Shah and his audience to wife Kokilaben Shah

Sanjeevani Bhelande performing at the Ekal Vidyalaya annual fundraiser on Friday, May 3. Photos: Kirthi Jain

visit at least one school in their lifetime and experience the simple yet tough life of villagers. The life is filled with hardships due to corruption and exploitation. The Houston chapter president Nikhil Mehta gave a warm welcome to all old and young entrepreneurs and professionals, retired donors and graduates with open heart and stretched arms. His visit to Uttranchal made him realize that the children can not do it without help from someone like us, who are very fortunate & grateful. He quoted the Ekal Vidyalaya founder, Shyamji Gupt “Ekal ko apni sarthakta sidhh karni hai (Ekal has to prove its significance).” He also explained how we can play role of Shri Ram in someone’s life and nurture every tiny seed to become a Hanuman.

The emcee for the evening Nikita Khambe also made an impactful appeal. “The Shakti of the family, the woman must be educated and empowered for enriching their lives. We should not be mute bystanders to corruption and exploitation,” she stated, adding “Ekal Vidyalaya nurtures individuals into responsible citizens who can fight against all obstacles.” The hard work and effort put in by all the volunteers: Dharmendra Shah, Hitesh Shah, Sudarshan Belose, Sujan Patel, Margi Shah, Pooja Shah, Pratik Kapadia, Uday Gandhy, Shruti Gandhy and Siddhi Dave helped to pull the event together seamlessly and efficiently. The triumphant event collected donations for over 900 schools and would brighten day to day life

of nearly 80,000 families. Gopal Savjani and Pankaj Maheshwari were awarded Donors of the Decade for their contribution of over 300 schools. Concerts in Dallas and Austin raised money for over 200 schools. Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is a tax exempt, registered non-profit service organization dedicated to education and village development in rural India. Ekal’s philosophy is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development. The Ekal movement is the largest, grassroots level, non-government education movement in India, operating in over 48,000 villages and educating over 1.4 million children in rural India.

Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $40 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036, tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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May 10, 2013

Gujarat Day Anniversary Celebrated

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was packed to full capacity with around 1500 attendees. By 7pm there were no parking spaces available. GSH Presiden Nisha appreciated and recognized the event sponsors and volunteers. The second part of the event, started with musical group “Mumbai masti” with beautiful hit songs of “Garvi Gujarat.” Sunny, Alka and KK from India with their musicians. They did a great job of taking all the audience back to the melodies of famous Gujarati songs and thereafter Bollywood music. Among those who attended the event were Hon. Anil Matta (Consul from Consulate General

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Mehendi contest and Narendra Modi “look alike” competition was coordinated by Sapna Shah with the help of Jaimini Patel and Smita Chawla. They also had coloring contest for two age groups. There were twenty entries for kids coloring competition and four entries for Mehendi competition. Colorful and artistic side of local artist talent was on display for the attendees to watch. Rachna Patel, owner of RJ Salon & Spa was the prize sponsor and judge for the mehendi contest. Uma Nagarsheth was the judge for the kids coloring contest. Ajit Patel won the Narendra Modi look alike contest. Sincere thanks goes to Kohinoor Diamond, Shubhlaxmi Grocers for providing giveaways during the event. This event was greatly supported by Mass Mutual Insurance, Karat 22 Jewelers, Auto, Bhakta Samaj of Houston, Parivar Grocers, Kohinoor Diamond, Namaskar Entertainment, Sari Sapne, Balaji Bhavan, East West International and Subway. GSH also thanks RJ Salon and Spa, Namaste, Laxmi Sarees, Alings Hakka Chinese, Michael Angelo Restaurant, and Straw Hat Pizza for sponsoring the prizes for various contests. The outdoor event was organized from 6 pm to midnight. The colorful part of this grand event was a ‘Cultural Evening’ which was coordinated by Sapna Shah and Sureshbhai Patel (Darbar) with the assistance and support of local dance schools, associations and individuals. The venue

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BY NISHA MIRANI HOUSTON: The much awaited “Gurjar Mela”, the grand 53rd Anniversary celebrations of Gujarat State was held on Saturday, May 4. Various programs were organized during the day by the Gujarati Samaj of Houston (GSH) in association with local dance schools. The Gurjar Mela celebration was formally launched by Nisha Mirani, President of GSH with her young and energetic Executive Committee, GSH Trustee Board and GSH Board of Directors. Event coordinator Ajit Patel had done a wonderful job of arranging Sardar Patel Community Park (GSH own land) as the venue for this grand event. Stage Decoration was the result of the hard work of GSH EC members and other volunteers. Mandap Creations, touch of decoration, made the venue light up as a full moon night. Gujarat Day Exhibition was set in a double Exhibit booth by Vishwadeep Barad and volunteers of Gujarati Sahitya Sarita. Gujarati Samaj of Houston is thankful of their association and support. A big kudos to Charlie Patel who single handedly offered his service to GSH as the Booth Coordinator. He was the key person for all those who came out to enjoy the different food and services at various booths. All the power point presentation were done by Paresh Patel. Our sincere thanks goes to Paresh Shah and Gautaum Jani for video recordings and Mili Thakkar for clinking the pictures of this grand Gurjar Mela.

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May 10, 2013

Gujarat Day Anniversary Celebrated



of India Office), Swapan Dhairyawan, Rajiv Bhavsar (both past ICC President), Ashvin Dave from BAPS Temple, Rasesh Dalal from VPSS Haveli, Vijay Pallod from Hindus of Greater Houston. Also present were Past Presidents of Guajrati Samaj, religious leaders, TV Asia, leading radio station host and other community leaders. The spectators were treated to an exhilarating performances by over 60 participants. Key events of Gujarat’s history were presented by local participants in their unique styles. The participants of different age group (4 years to 70 years) performed on various themes from pre-historic era to modern Gujarat. Master of Ceremony was a youth, Dhaval Patel as “Ranglo” (Gujarati Bhavai). GSH thanks Darshak Thakkar of Krishna Sound and his team for managing stage sound and lights. Heartfelt appreciation goes to Shailesh Patel for preparing the venue. Special appreciation to BOD members Dr.Kirit Desai, Harshad Patel, Jayanti Patel and Suresh Patel, BOT members Jaimini Patel, Mukesh Patel and Prakesh Desai for attending the event. GSH President extends heartiest congratulations and sincere appreciation to her vibrant team members Ajit Patel (VP) Sapna Shah (Secretary), Smita Chawla, Sanjay Chauhan, Rakesh

Shah, Haren Hingu, Kalpesh Rana, Akshay Shah, Pankaj Patel, Amrish Patel, Vrajesh Patel and Bharat Thakkar for continuous support. Great volunteers like Kirit Patel, Raju Patel and Samir Patel (pappu) came forward to help before and after the event. GSH will also like to mention a special thanks to Amish Patel, Yagnesh Patel and Kamlesh Patel. The SKAI Foundation of Woodlands had displayed the Chariot at the venue and that site was a “Kodak moment” for the attendees. GSH President, Nisha Mirani conveys, “From the bottom of my heart I thank you all who have stepped forward to help us cel-

ebrate this event. And, I cannot express enough of my gratitude and appreciation to event coordinator, venue coordinator, all our volunteers, committee members, their spouses and children, our sponsors and well wishers, as well as all our participants for giving us this opportunity to make this event a memorable occasion for all of us. Without your support, we could not have pulled this off. We humbly request you all to please continue to provide us your support and encouragement.” For more information visit www.gujaratisamajofhouston. com or read next issue of DARPAN.



12 May 10, 2013




PWD Director Krueger Speaks at ASIE Luncheon

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The speaker of the annual luncheon event, Mr. Daniel W. Krueger, P.E., the Director of Public Works and Engineering of City of Houston with ASIE Board Members.

HOUSTON: At the luncheon held by the American Society of Indian Engineers on May 3 at the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society Club (HESS Club), the invited speaker for the event was Daniel W. Krueger, Director of the Public Works Department at the City of Houston. Over 125 professionals, including many non-Indians, from the local engineering, consulting, architectural and manufacturing firms, attended the event. The event was sponsored by 28 companies including Platinum Sponsors: Arcadis US, CH2M Hill, Geotest Engineering, HDR and KIT Professionals; Gold Sponsors: ADS Pipe, Aguirre & Fields, AIA Engineers, Cobb Fendley and Associates, Doshi Engineering and Surveying, HR Green and Wadhwa Associates, Architects and Silver Sponsors: AECOM, ARKK Engineers, Carollo Engineers, CP&Y, Crouch Environmental Services, Epic Transportation Group, GC Engineering, Gupta and Associates, Huitt Zollars, Kalluri Group, Kenall, Klotz Associates, Kuo Associates, Othon, Parsons and RK&K Engineers. ASIE President Vishal Merchant recognized the elected officials and distinguished guests includeding City of Pearland Councilman Woody Owens who is also and Chairman of the Greater 288 Partnership; Andrea Ranft of TSC Engineering who is President of the Asian American Engineers and Architects and Chairman Engineering Week Committee of Houston; James Jones of Jones and Carter and President of Texas American Water Works Association; Billy Cooke with Klotz Associates, President of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers and Paul Voiles with Brown and Gay Engineers and President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Jimmy Shindewolf, General Manager of North Harris County Regional Water Authority;

Ravi Kaleyatodi, Senior Assistant Director, City of Houston and Jun Chang, Deputy Director, Utilities, City of Houston also attended. Merchant noted that the ASIE had over 120 active members, about 60 life members, and 16 corporate members and said his goal is to double the numbers in 2013 during his presidency. He added that the proceeds from the event would go towards the ASIE Scholarship program, which this year will offer five $2,000 scholarships. As Director of PWD, Krueger is responsible for overseeing the Department’s services to Houstonians through the planning, operation, maintenance, construction management and technical engineering of the City’s public infrastructure. The Department’s responsibilities include operation and maintenance of the City’s streets and drainage, production and distribu-

tion of water, collection and treatment of wastewater, and permitting and regulation of public and private construction. The Department is staffed with a trained work force of approximately 3,900 and operates with an annual budget of approximately $1.2 billion. Krueger gave more details about the function of his department. He discussed the latest initiatives adopted by the City for improving the public infrastructure including drainage, utilities, roadways and sidewalks, and also about the Rebuild Houston program. He briefly mentioned the City’s CIP program and cited a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which graded the City’s infrastructure and encouraged participation of local engineers and construction managers to make future improvements for the City.

ASIE Members, guests, elected officials during networking and social.

Audience listens to the speaker of the annual luncheon event, Mr. Daniel W. Krueger, P.E., the Director of Public Works and Engineering of City of Houston.



May 10, 2013


Sewa International Launches Family Services Hot Line

Sewa International Family Services Team with invited guests.

HOUSTON: Sewa International launched its Family Services initiative on April 20, at Keshav Smuriti in Houston. It is a program to assist individuals or families walk through their most difficult times with the help of the community leaders, organizations and volunteers. More than 60 representatives from various organizations like the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston and Hindus of Greater Houston participated in the modest inaugural ceremony and offered their support. Along with the Houston supporters, Girish Mehta from Boston who is running a similar program,, joined online, shared his experiences and encouraged the Family Services team of volunteers. “It was an inspiring evening and a beau-

tiful exchange of experiences, stories and enthusiasm which concluded with High tea and delicious snacks. The Family Services Team would like to thank the community for supporting the launch of the most awaited initiative,” said Sarojini Gupta, speaking on behalf of the team. To see photos of the event visit: http://cts.vresp.comc/?SewaInternatio nalUSAb2a71d30bb/TEST/ec96499c51/ authkey=CPCG3825nOLbCA The Family Services team includes Sarojini Gupta, Dhara Arya, and Dinesh Shah of Sewa International, Houston Chapter. The Family Services Hot Line is 832-9009354. For more information visit:


14 May 10, 2013



May 10, 2013


Passion and Commitment Guides Wadhwa Associates Through 30 Years of Architecture

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: In the years that he has practiced architecture, Mahesh Wadhwa has been able to reassure his clients with his infectious smile and easy-going personable demeanor. To this, one should add his calm nature under stress that settles the anxiety of his clients who find themselves in a perplexing bind. Haroon Shaikh, of one Wadhwa’s clients and a well-known CPA for many years, related one such episode when he had bought a property and put in $500,000 into it. “The following week, we got a Demolition Order on it from the City of Pasadena,” said Shaikh as he stood on the stage and spoke to the audience of about 190 people who listened with rapt attention as he described how Mahesh was able to help stop the demolition and finally the project was approved. It was a night for testimonials as Wadhwa Associates Inc. celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a party at India House last Saturday, May 4 with many of their friends, family and colleagues from over the years. The event featured a catered dinner by Madras Pavilion of Sugar Land and entertainment from friends and a salsa dancing duet. The entire extended Wadhwa family was there to celebrate the occasion with Mahesh, including his sons Ankur, who manages the family’s La Quinta motel in Brookshire and Pankaj who is a developer and Green Design consultant. Along with his wife Shashi and grandkids, Wadhwa’s extended family was there at the front table to celebrate with him. Originally born in Multan, Wadhwa’s

years, and his wife Shashi who takes care of the office administration and coordinates many technical issues with all the public agencies. “We are family,” he said as he proudly gave out service awards to two of his employees, adding “we love you and we appreciate you.” Ram Guliani reMahesh Wadhwa (Left) cuts the cake with employees Ram Guliani ceived his award and Ajay Kumar, while others from his staff and family look on. for 10 years of engineering and family migrated to Delhi after the Partition and he came to the US in 1974 and quickly Ajay Kumar for 15 years of architectural settled down in Houston, establishing his design. A short video ran through the many practice in 1982. He has built an impressive projects WAI has completed over the past portfolio of projects which span all across three decades. Of course most of the projects would not the US and recently into Mexico, Kazakhstan, Angola and other countries. Many of be completed without the help of other prothe projects are hotels/motels and he has fessionals and consultants in the design and designed and built them for all the chains construction business and Wadhwa called except for Sheraton. Since the South Asian upon several of them who were present community is concentrated in the hospital- to come to the stage and be appreciated. ity industry, Wadhwa is much sought out for Among them were consulting engineers his in-depth knowledge which often saves Harry Brendgen, Jasbir Singh Sethi, Saad Ahmed, Achilis Kozakis and Bandy and time and money on new projects. Wadhwa attributes the success of his ar- Associates; those who couldn’t attend inchitecture practice located on Blalock north cluded Chaim Steinberg, Maged Rifat, and of the Katy Freeway to the able staff and B.J. Mehta. The elderly but still energetic and jovial consultants who had stood by him over the

Sethi climbed up to the stage to stand besides Wadhwa and give a glowing tribute to that profession that “keeps him working sometimes 18 hours a day. Mahesh imbibes this in his life, it is almost a spiritual experience for him” adding that “his designs were not bound by space or time, but he makes them beautiful.” Shaikh followed on his footsteps by adding that he has “had many spiritual conversations with Mahesh and over the years me has even made a vegetarian out of me!” The program featured a couple of lilting Hindi songs by family friend Shakun Srivastav which moved Wadhwa, who loves to sing, to perform a song – Ahsan mere dil pe hai, mere dosto - himself to honor his enduring friendships and associations over the years. The entertainment was rounded out by two very energetic, colorful and thrilling salsa dance numbers by the couple Hector and Sara Vasquez, rising stars in the local dance circuit in the Bayou City. The evening was concluded by a trivia quiz of three questions taken from the short video that was presented before, with winners taking away caps with the WAI logo and shortly thereafter, a cake cutting ceremony – which were actually two cakes, one with the WAI logo and felicitations and the other made in the shape of a man sitting at a drafting table and drawing on a sheet, made by Wadhwa’s niece Nidhi Grover. As the evening ended, all the guests were given coffee mugs emblazoned with the WAI and 30th Anniversary logos, and filled with pistachios. See Photo Collage on page 14


16 May 10, 2013


May 10, 2013

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May 10, 2013

Yes to Nuclear Energy

It is not the sort of news that the protesters were waiting to hear. But then the Supreme Court is not guided by sentiment in its rulings and so it gave the go-ahead on Monday for the operationalising of the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. The apex court based its ruling on the fact that the plant is safe and its functioning was essential for the larger interest of the nation and its economic growth. Nuclear energy is clean and could be answer to energy-starved India at a time when demands are growing. However, the protestors do have a point. India’s safety record has been somewhat patchy which is why the court has maintained that there should no compromise on this aspect. It has insisted that there be strict monitoring of the operations of the plant. The KNPP deal was struck in the ‘80s between the erstwhile USSR and India but gathered momentum after 2011. The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster and the 2012 Rawatbhata nuclear plant leak, in addition to the earlier accidents in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, have raised apprehensions in the public mind about nuclear energy. Developed nations are gradually switching to other sources for meeting their energy requirements. However, given that the nation needs to produce energy to fuel its growth trajectory, India is left with a Hobson’s choice when it comes to nuclear energy. The output from alternative sources of clean energy has fallen woefully short of meeting the ever-growing energy need and this tilts the balance in favour of nuclear energy. A great deal of the suspicion and fear that the KNPP will be detrimental to the people’s lives and livelihoods in and around the plant is because, as MS Swaminathan puts it, ‘there was a greater need for communication between scientists and local communities’. There is also a need to check the quality of the equipment in the reactor right from the onset. This is vital because allegations of corruption have been levelled against Zio-Podolsk, a subsidiary of the Russian firm Rosatom involved in building the KNPP. China has started a quality check on Zio-Podolsk’s nuclear reactors. There is no reason why India should not do a similar check. Meeting India’s growing energy needs and ensuring environmental safety require a delicate balancing act. This is not easy, but not insurmountable if the people are taken into confidence from the start. Hindustan Times

Victor’s Tribulations BY SARITHA RAI While there seems to be little doubt that Karnataka will have a Congress government, what happens next is unclear Obviously disillusioned by decadelong instability and mal-administration in Karnataka, voters stormed into polling booths in record numbers to vote with a vengeance earlier this week. The state registered a 70 per cent voter turnout in the assembly elections, the highest in three-anda-half decades. That cannot be good news for the corrupt, inept and wobbly BJP government of the last five years. The Congress is scenting a conquest, with the exit polls showing the party at about 110 seats, where it needs 113 seats to take it to a simple majority out of a total of 224. Party analysts are now confidently forecasting a larger triumph with around 130 seats. While there seems to be little doubt that Karnataka will have a Congress government, what happens next is a bit blurry. If it does make it comfortably past the halfway mark, the victorious Congress will have to get to the next hurdle: choosing a chief minister. Two Congress leaders who have openly declared themselves to be aspirants are leader of opposition Siddaramaiah, who belongs to the backward Kuruba community, and G. Parameshwar, Karnataka Congress chief, who is a Dalit leader. The former seems to be the favourite amongst partymen. Meanwhile, in Delhi, two Union ministers are equally strong chief ministerial contenders, despite being in the shadows. Mallikarjun Kharge, a 10-time election winner and current labour minister, is looking to make a comeback to his home state and so is his colleague, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily. The question, however, is whether the Congress party in Delhi can spare any efficient, able Central ministers at this point in its scam- and controversy-ridden tenure. Some partymen are saying that choosing a chief minister might turn out to be a bigger challenge for the Congress than winning the assembly election. A few local strongmen

The Congress is scenting a conquest, with the exit polls showing the party at about 110 seats, where it needs 113 seats to take it to a simple majority out of a total of 224. Party analysts are now confidently forecasting a larger triumph with around 130 seats. While there seems to be little doubt that Karnataka will have a Congress government, what happens next is a bit blurry.

wish to see a ballot in the Congress Legislature Party to pick a chief minister. A secret ballot could accentuate local divisions but it has been done before, and could boost Siddaramaiah’s chances. Some see Siddaramaiah as an able administrator and an independent-thinking, strong leader who speaks his mind. This particular characteristic is worrying top leaders in Delhi. That may, again, lead to a slip between the proverbial cup and lip for Siddaramaiah, and lead to Delhi picking from the other aspirants, increasing Parameshwar’s chances dramatically, followed by those of Moily and Kharge. Whoever is chosen chief minister, a lot of heartburn is guaranteed. That brings the Congress to its next hurdle, ministry formation. That is where local leaders’ preferences and Delhi’s influence are expected to hold sway. If the Congress gets a clear mandate, voters’ expectations will ride on the ministry. Hopefully,



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the ministry will not turn out to be just a mathematical play of the usual switch-and-swap along caste and regional lines, like the Congress’s recent assembly ticket distribution exercise, but rather a mix of strong and efficient ministers who can deliver. The Congress’s next big tribulation will be governance itself. A decisive BJP defeat and, conversely, a Congress victory will signal voter frustration with bad governance. The new government’s task is cut out for it. Karnataka badly needs a good administration that can rein in corruption and revitalise development. Long-term thinking on infrastructure and a comprehensive development plan for Bangalore need to be a vital part of the new government’s agenda. In Bangalore, young, educated voters turned up in unprecedented numbers to vote, as the latest voter tallies show. The city is in dire need of a rejuvenation plan. If it wins big when results are in today, the Congress party would like to believe that it rode to victory on a pro-Congress wave, and not because of the anti-incumbency wave against the BJP working in their favour. The Congress will have another chance to prove its popularity soon enough, as Lok Sabha elections are due in less than a year. Karnataka boasts of an unusual election record, decisively electing one party at the state level and the opposite party at the national level in consecutive elections. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won a measly six of the total 28 Karnataka Lok Sabha seats. That should be reason enough for the Congress to pull out all stops to provide a good government in Karnataka in the hope that it will provide the much-needed momentum to smoothly transport not just the Karnataka party, but also the national party, through the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. As the hour of reckoning draws close, people’s expectations are sky high, say nervous Congress leaders. If the Congress wins, it has no option but to deliver a squeaky clean, efficient administration in Karnataka. If voting trends are any indication, the voters are not merely expecting it, they are demanding it. Indian Express


May 10, 2013


AIM for Seva Salutes Houston Mothers

HOUSTON: “Mom” is the word! AIM for Seva is holding an exciting get together to honor Houston Mothers and to celebrate motherhood. “Houston has a very vibrant Indian culture”, says Suma Mudan of AIM for Seva, “and the credit goes to the tenacity of mothers taking the time and trouble to inculcate Indian tradition and values to their children”. Many of the Houston Moms are professionals and perform the delicate tasks of balancing household chores, demands of profession, educating children, taking care of the elder relatives and yet, manage to have lots of fun. “AIM for Seva has a close relationship with motherhood and education”, says Suma Mudan. “Our entire movement was started by a disheartened tribal mother, Papammal, who could not send her children to school because of poverty, distance, safety and security. She challenged Swami Dayananda Saraswathi to bring “Homes to Schools”. Thus was born the unique concept of “Chatralayas” or student homes, where we provide food, shelter,

education, clothing, healthcare and teach ethics in a safe, secure and nurturing environment”. The Event will be held at Anjali Performance Center, Sugar Land on May 11. The festivities start at 6 PM, with a social hour for guests to meet and greet, and will conclude with dinner. The primary focus of the event is to felicitate several senior mothers for contributions to families and communities. The mothers who will be honored include Shakuntala Malhotra, Anasuya Devi, Seetha Devi, Lalita Mangipudi, Pankajam Rangaswamy,

and Thulasi Radhakrishnan. We are also inaugurating the Women’s’ Co-op during the event and we will have pickles and powders for sale. There are fun events planned, entertainment by Andhra Mirchi Radio Team, bingo games with great prizes, and other as well. Please join us and make this a memorable event for Houston Moms. For further information visit: groups/135714760183/

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The coordinators of the Houston chapter NSF event, held at the Lone Star College on April 27.

HOUSTON: Houston Chapter of North South Foundation (NSF) conducted its 21st annual children’s educational contests on Saturday, April 27 at Lone Star College (University Park campus). The event was successfully organized with participation of more than 150 children. This year saw an increase of more than 60% in its registrations compared to last year. The event was supported by India Cultural Center (ICC) and Radio Hangama, a Telugu radio station. NSF Houston chapter had partnered with Lone Star College for the venue. The College provided all required facilities for the success of the event and to the satisfaction of all. NSF Houston Chapter con-

ducted Math Bee, Science Bee, Vocabulary Bee, Spelling Bee, Essay Bee, and Public Speaking contests for children ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 12. Each contest is organized in 2 – 3 three levels based on the range of grades of children. First three ranks have been declared in each contest depending on number of participants. Contest results have already been published on the website Certificates, medals, and trophies were warmly given away by Mahesh Wadhwa, Vice President of ICC. Houston Chapter is coordinated by Sai Rachakonda and is assisted by a dedicated team consisting of a Technical Coordinator, Vijai Venkata, and other members, Neetha

Chada, Sridhar Dadi, Kamakshi Rudravajhala and past Chapter Coordinator Sumana Nutalapati. This year the team was assisted by more than 40 dedicated volunteers who took the roles of proctors, judges, and as coordinators for various other functions leading to a successful event. North South Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1989. The objective of the organization is to encourage excellence in education and provide scholarships to poor children in India for their education. The organization conducts regional and national contests for children whose parents have Indian origin. For further information visit

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May 10, 2013


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Besan ka Pooda (CHICKPEA FLOUR PANCAKES) Besan (chickpea or garbanzo) flour is used throughout India to make many dishes and is commonly used for batter to make pakoras or fritters in. In Punjab, the popular dishes using besan are kaddi (see IAN dated Jan. 18, 2013) and besan di sabzi or gutte. This is also a quick dish and it resembles a flour pancake, except it is salty and spicy. Pooda is often eaten during the rainy Monsoon season along with some hot tea. Pooda are also called “chilla” by people from Uttar Pradesh. You can even make sweet pooda using wheat flour, but that is a different recipe. In our home remedies, besan pooda are given to people to help reduce their sugar levels. Chickpea flour has a high proportion of carbohydrates but no gluten and is also high in protein, magnesium (47%), phosphorus (45%) and potassium (18%). Besan is used in making boondi, laddu, papad, dhokla and many of the spicy snacks that are sold in stores. Ingredients: • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour) – makes four 6-inch round poode • ½ cup dahi (plain yo gurt) • 1 medium pyaaz (onion) – peeled and chopped • ½ cup pani (water) • 1 teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil for each pooda • Spices (to taste): na mak (salt), mirch (red pepper). If desired, add ajwain (bishop’s weed, caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds) for a slightly bitter taste.

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and beat the mixture till it becomes a paste: it should not be too thin else the pooda will not cook and will remain wet inside. 3. For each pooda, heat the oil on a high flame on a tava (hotplate) or in a frying pan. Pour a small amount of mixture and spread it to make a 6-inch circle. When tiny holes start to form on the surface, check to see in the bottom side is cooked. If so, use a spatula and flip the pooda over.


4. Cook the other side till the pooda is not moist, but do not let it cook too long or become brown.

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May 10, 2013

Annapurna Puja Celebrated at Houston Durgabari Temple

From Left. Dr. Bishnupada Goswami, Dr. Amrit Achari, Consulate General P. Harish, Nandita Harish, Mridula Karna, Kalpana Mookerjee, Gauranga Mookerjee, and others.

HOUSTON: On Thursday April 18 around 5:30 PM. Head priest Dr. Bishnupada Goswami performed Annapurna Puja at the temple of Houston Durgabari Society located at 13944 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082. Annapurna Puja is an important festival of West Bengal. Goddess Annapurna is the Goddess of plenty. It is believed that Goddess Annapurna’s barn is never empty. ‘Anna’ means food grains. ‘Purna’ means full, absolute and perfect. Annapurna is the one who grants sustenance to everyone. Goddess Annapurna is worshipped with great devotion. Lord Shiva had begged alms from Goddess Annapurna who is the supreme energy of Lord Shiva for achieving perfection in knowledge and renunciation. Annapurna is another form of Goddess Parvati who grants nourishment. She is the life force of Shiva. He is incomplete without Goddess Annapurna. To attain perfection in wisdom and renunciation, Shiva seeks her nourishment. Goddess Annapurna teaches us the art of giving. Generosity and renunciation are her strengths. Through renunciation she teaches

equality to all. Mother Annapurna nurtures us each day by giving us food as well as sustaining our lives in so many ways. Goddess Annapurna is thanked by her devotees for her generosity and kindness. Ardent devotees rejoice to thank the Mother Divine from the deepest core of their hearts. Sponsored by Gauranga (Goray) Mookerjee and Kalpana Mookerjee, this occasion was witnessed by many devotees, and senior members of the society. Puja and Havan were witnessed by many including honorable Consul General P. Harish, his wife Nandita Harish, Gauranga and Kalpana Mookerjee, Amrit and Gauri Achari, Mridula Karna, Jayanta Bandopadhyay, Geeta and Santosh Mandal, and others. A special Chandipaat was performed by ConsulGeneralP.HarishandDr.AmritAchari. After puja, and Havan, Dr Goswami performed aarti followed by dinner/ prasad. The devotees were very enthusiastic about being part of this occasion. Sponsorsy Gauranga (Goray) and Kalpana Mookerjee have Annapurna Puja as their Traditional family puja in India for many years.





May 10, 2013


Eight Local Children to Compete in National Dharma Bee Chicago

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Dharma Bee Houston winners.

HOUSTON: The regional Dharma Bee contest was held at the Arya Samaj of Greator Houston on Saturday April 27. Almost seventy contestants from Kindergarten to grade eight participated in the second level regional quiz competition on Swami Vivekananda and Lord Krishna. All of these contestant were qualified winner from the level one exam, which was held in March across nine centers in the Houston area. The next round of the competition will be a grand finale to be held in Chicago. Eight participants, first prize winners of the second level competition from different age group will advance to the next level of National contest in Chicago on June 15 and 16. In addition to the exam format, Dharma Bee also encouraged students to conduct one optional sewa project prior to the regional exam. Prior to the grand finale, finalists will complete an “Exploring Project,” which involves visiting a place where Swami ji visited or a nearby Vedanta Center/Ramakrishna Center. There was a very positive feedback from all the parents who witnessed the contest and encouraged the kids as they were answering

the questions of the life of Swami Vivekananda and Lord Krishna. Dr Sen Pathak, Pankaj Maheshwari, Sharad Amin and Madhusudan Chaudhari were guests of honor who awarded trophies to the the winners. Dr. Sen Pathak said, “ During my 42-years of stay in Houston, the Dharma Bee Competition was one of the best organized and attended events on - The Leelas of Shree Krishna and the life-time messages of a Great Son of India, Swami Vivekananda Ji, in my opinion. I wish to congratulate all participants for their preparations and judges who had tough act to examine and decide the winners. These youngsters are the future caretakers of “second to none” Hindu culture and heritage of Bharat.” “ Dhrama Bee is a very good learning experience not only for my son Siddharth but for me as well and my entire family. I personally got to know more about Swami Vivekanand while reading the stories to Siddharth. HSS should conduct such contest every year”, said Shipra Jhunjhunwala, mother of Siddharth, participant from group 1.

The winners: Houston North: Group 1 1st - Raja Pandya 2nd - Siddharth Agarwal 3rd - Chinmayee Madhava Group 2: 1st - Raghav Rao 2nd - Rohan Patel 3rd - Sindhu Sannabhadti Group 3: 1st - Govind Chada 2nd - Saritha Cheemerla 3rd - Maheshwar Ajaykumar Group 4: 1st - Girisa Sai Yaddanapudi 2nd - Aryan Shenoy 3rd - Anuj Kankani Houston South:Group 1: 1st - Madhura Sriram 2nd - Sravani Polluri 3rd - Rajni Nitturi Group 2: 1st - Nikitha Kota 2nd - Vidya Iyengar 3rd - Karyaveer Misra Group 3: 1st - Anish Immadi 2nd - Aditya Bhosley 3rd - Anish Kumaran Group 4: 1st - Maharajni Perla 2nd - Harinandan Sainath 3rd - Devangsu Gowswami

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May 10, 2013


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Is the Indian Techie’s Silicon Valley Dream About to Come Crashing Down?

Senator John McCain (C) speaks as immigration reform legislation as outlined by the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight that would create a path for the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants to apply for US citizenship on Capitol Hill in Washington.

NEW DELHI (HT) : Atul Kumar, a computer engineer is a role model for IT engineers in Sitapur, his hometown in Uttar Pradesh. The 45-year-old, who holds a US green card, is living out what for many Indian geeks remains a dream. “I went to the US in 1999 on an H-1B visa. Four years later I quit Infosys (which had sent him there), and joined Bank of America,” said Kumar (name changed as he is not authorised to speak to the media), who now lives in New York. There are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of such stories. And the success of the Indian IT sector is inexorably linked to the story of these professionals and their ticket to the US - the H1B visa. But the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Bill, which seeks to

control -among other things - the entry of foreign IT professionals into the US, if passed by the US Senate, can severely restrict the competitive advantage of Indian IT companies and kill the aspirations of many thousands of Indian geeks. The new bill places restrictions on the iconic H and L visas used by Indian tech workers. Last year, 59% of all H-1B and 35% of all L-1 visas were issued to Indian nationals. And Indians have an enviable record with such visas: US embassy figures show that 90% of all H-1 cases result in the Indian getting the visa. At present leading Indian IT firms have anywhere between 50% and 80% of their staff as H-1B or L-1 visa holders. “At a broader level, I believe that operating

models will need to change,” said Phaneesh Murthy, CEO of iGATE, a mid-sized Indian IT firm, on the proposed US Immigration Bill. “The bill seems to be targeting a set of larger Indian IT firms such as the Infosys and Wipro and consequently seeks to make things difficult for them. It is creating an uneven field with favourable options for the local US firms,” said Krishnakumar Natarajan, chairman Nasscom. Infosys, Wipro and HCLTechnologiesrefusedtoofferanycomments. India’s commerce secretary SR Rao had recently written to the US trade representative protesting strongly against the H-1B visa restrictions proposed in the Immigration Reform Bill.

AI to Resume Dreamliner Flights Next Week, Replace 19 Planes NEW DELHI (HT): Air India on Tuesday decided to resume next week domestic operations of the Dreamliner aircraft, grounded for four months due to a battery problem, and replace 19 aged Airbus A-320s with new leased ones. The Air India Board, which met in New Delhi, was briefed about the progress of making changes in the batteries of six Boeing 787 Dreamliners, owned by Air India, airline sources said. While the first domestic flight of the Dreamliner would take place next week, the national carrier would fly to the first international destination by the third week of May, they said. A team of Boeing engineers and those from Air India have been replacing the new packages of the lithium ion batteries. The battery sparks in two of these aircraft owned by Japanese airlines had led to the grounding of 50 Dreamliners worldwide mid-January.

The Board also decided to replace 14 AI-owned and five leased aircraft, which are 20-22 years of age. The leased aircraft would be returned to the lessors while those owned by Air India would be phased out gradually. The process, likely to start from the third quarter of this financial year, would require about 10-12 months to be completed, the sources said. With these replacements, the airline would have a narrowbody fleet size of 62 aircraft. The new aircraft of the A-320 family -- that is A-319s, A-320s and A-321s, would have 180 seats in an all-economy configuration. These would replace the old planes which had both business and economy classes. The Board also approved harmonised service regulations for all employees of Air India, who were so far governed by different service rules of the erstwhile Indian Airlines and pre-merger Air India.

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May 10, 2013

Sachin Sets Up Mumbai Win Over KKR with 48/28 BY SIDHARTH MONGA

MUMBAI (ESPN Cricinfo): In the increasingly intense fight for the play-offs, Mumbai Indians joined Rajasthan Royals at No. 2 hours after the latter had broken away with a win of their own. And the win came easy against the defending champions, Kolkata Knight Riders. It was the kind of win that coaches love: almost everything went to plan. They won the toss, batted first, Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik got them a target, and their superior attack shut Knight Riders out. Only a faulty light tower and some good fielding towards the end of Mumbai’s innings posed any resistance. It was all one-way traffic from the moment Tendulkar smacked Ryan McLaren for five successive fours, all to different areas of the ground, in the fourth over. By the time the power failure countered the Tendulkar blaze, he had reached 29 off 17 balls. Despite Dwayne Smith’s struggle to get going at the other end, Mumbai were headed in the right direction. The lights came back on for Tendulkar to score 19 more off 11 more balls. Smith failed to reach a run a ball, but by the time they fell, Mumbai had reached 99 in the 14th over. Some good fielding - Eoin Morgan’s catch at deep midwicket, lobbing the ball up, stepping over the boundary and coming back in to complete the

catch; and two run-outs - reduced Mumbai to 144 for 6 in the 19th over. Karthik, though, kept scoring from one end. Most striking was his unsettling of Sunil Narine. He used sweeps to hit Narine off his length, and took 20 off the 11 balls he faced from Narine. Mitchell Johnson, as if to give a sample of what was to follow, smacked the last ball of the innings for a straight six. Ten minutes later, he began swinging the ball at a high pace. An inside edge saved Manvinder Bisla first ball, and then next hit him high on the thigh pad. Two balls later, Gautam Gambhir played for the non-existent swing, and was bowled for a duck. Jacques Kallis and Bisla looked to revive the chase, but Pragyan Ojha had Bisla stumped just after the Powerplay. Kallis soon fell to Harbhajan Singh, who had dropped him earlier. And when Eoin Morgan sliced Abu Nechim to point in the 13th over, the game was virtually over, just like Knight Riders’ campaign. Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo.

Sachin Tendulkar set up the Mumbai win with a 48 in 28 balls.

I hope KKR (by the way they are playing now) will not have the Dubious Distinction of finishing last if two other teams DD and Pune win their remaining matches. Holder one year and last place in the next Edition. Kashinath

Rajasthan Maintains Perfect Home Record vs. Delhi

A stuttering top order and a lame effort with the ball consigned Delhi Daredevils to their ninth loss in 12 matches, while Rajasthan Royals sounded a warning with a ninewicket thumping that embellished their unbeaten home record, and propelled them to second place on the table. Royals’ seventh straight victory in Jaipur was founded first on robust bowling, as Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny and 41-year-old debutant Pravin Tambe struck upon a collective consistency that erased the damage done in Shaun Tait’s early, wayward overs. Their openers

then flew to an unbeaten century stand in staggeringly orthodox fashion, and ensured Daredevils’ modest total would not challenge them. Ajinkya Rahane, who opened alongside Rahul Dravid, was dropped on 4, but did hardly a misdeed thereafter, as he finished not out on 63 from 45 balls, after he hit the winning run in the 18th over. Dravid had more of the strike in the early overs, and though he was the slower scorer, reached his fifty first, before departing for 53, with the match almost secure, at 108 for 1. It was Royals’ bowling, how-

ever, that had the bigger impact on the match, as they muzzled a seasoned Delhi Daredevils top order, despite their strike bowler’s indiscretions. Tait began the match with an 11-run over, three wides among those runs, and his second cost 17, later in the Powerplay. But James Faulkner and Watson had struck once each in between those Tait overs, and that was enough to scare Mahela Jayawardene and David Warner into relative reticence. On a pitch so full of runs, Daredevils did not hesitate to bat first, but the visitors were barely scoring at six an over inside the Pow-

erplay, and when Warner departed in the eighth over to leave his side at 47 for 3, the run rate dipped further still. Jayawardene attempted a measured rescue, but fell too, before he could make any meaningful impact, and were it not for a well-paced 64 not out from Ben Rohrer, whose recent nuptials had evidently done him good, Daredevils may not have reached 154 for 4 on a pitch on which they should have made 180. Royals’ openers exploited Daredevils bowling, and the pair went about playing orthodox cricket, with just the level of aggression required for such a chase.


SPORTS New Venue for Rajkot

RAJKOT: A newly constructed indoor sports complex was inaugurated near the railway cricket ground in Rajkot on Saturday. The facility has been developed by Rajkot Division Sports Association (RDSA). Officials said that a separate dining hall and rest rooms have also been built in the complex for players and match officials. The complex also has kitchen facility. The facility was inaugurated by Niranjan Shah who is vicepresident of Board of Control for Cricket in India and secretary of Saurashtra Cricket Association. A summer coaching camp was started at this new facility for sports including cricket, table tennis, badminton, basketball, tennis and football from May 4 to May 31. “This camp has been started to motivate and train the young generation to actively participate in sports activities and is open for under 19 boys from families of both railway employees as well as others,” said Vinay Babtiwale, divisional railways manager at Rajkot.

Badminton League?

NEW DELHI — The launch of a new professional Indian Badminton League aims to capitalize on a massive player and fan base in the country and to transform the sport from a popular pastime to a commercial powerhouse. The new league will be based on teams rather than individual players and have franchises in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad. There are plans for an auction between those teams to attract the world’s top players. “All of us have held a badminton racket at some point in time,” said Ashish Chadha, chief executive of sports management firm Sporty Solutionz which has signed a 15-year-deal with the Badminton Association of India to organize the league. “There are some 150 badminton academies in New Delhi alone. In Hyderabad, there are some 5,000 players playing competitively. These figures give an idea of the potential for the sport,” says Chadha, who represented India in junior competitions and held a national men’s ranking of No.3 during the 1990s.


May 10, 2013


Bibi Magazine Celebrates its 20th Bridal Show in Houston

HOUSTON: To celebrate 20 of anything marks a big occasion but when it is the celebration of 20 bridal shows for the South Asian community, it is a testament to growing strength of the demographic. Bibi Magazine celebrated its 20th Bridal Show at the Hyatt Regency Downtown with a packed house of upscale vendors, newly engaged couples (many with parents in tow), a grand fashion show featuring the collection preview of Houston’s new Baraat Bridal Studio and of course, a cake commemorating the occasion and bubbly champagne served in colorful, LED-lit glasses. “When we held our first bridal show 10 years ago, we barely had about 30-40 brides and about 100 people in total. Today, we have close to 200 brides who have pre-registered and about 400 attendees. We’ve come along way!” says Ayesha Hakki, founder and publisher of Bibi Magazine, a national bridal publication established in 2000. The room was aglow with washes of blue light along the walls and two mandaps (elaborate canopies under which Hindus get married) stood as anchors to the all white and gold stage. The stage, designed by The Perfect Touch Linens, looked like the entrance to a harem at an ancient Indian palace. The rest of the room was an assortment of cakes, chocolate fountains, photographers, clothing and jewelry stalls, DJs, dancers and henna artists. Brides walked among the 28 booths clutching Bibi gift bags stuffed with Incipio cell phone cases, makeup samples, the latest issue of Bibi Bridal while sampling food, sipping cham-

pagne and gathering information for their upcoming weddings. The highlight of the day was, however, the fashion show that presented the bridal collections of the soon-to-open Baraat Studio by the founders of Houston’s established South Asian boutique, Roop Sari Palace located on Harwin. Models walked out in glittering bridalwear for women featuring colorful saris, flowing anarkalis and rhinestone and zariencrusted lehngas. For men, fitted sherwanis and suits were shown. Colors ranged from metallics to jewel-toned with hints of neon. The cuts were flowing and layered. The founders of the Bibi Magazine, Ayesha Hakki and Zooni, presented their Bridal show director Zeb Mamsa and board advisor Munir Ibrahim, each an award for 10-years of service. A mehndiinspired cake design by Cake Creations by Janeth, was cut to mark the occasion and the fashion show began. The opening was a musical piece played on the dulcimer

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: There was a lively auction conducted by Dr. Subodh Bhuchar for several items during the Pratham Gala last weekend on Saturday, April 27. The auction was able to raise almost $20,000. The items included an elegant men’s James Bond series watch by Omega donated by Aku and Meena Patel of Karat 22 Jewelers; an immense wooden statue of Ganesh donated by

Surender Talwar of Zarposh India; a handcrafted diamond and gold

by Joshua Messick, which culminated into a DJ-mixed soundtrack by DJ Ramping that accompanied the models. The show ended with the introduction of the lead designer behind Baraat Studio, Saniya Kaanji. “The Bibi Bridal Shows are a bi-annual event held at hotels and venues around Houston that can handle South Asian weddings,” adds Zeb Mamsa. “ South Asian weddings are large, multiday events that require a team of vendors. We hope that the Bibi Bridal Show makes it easier for couples to plan their special days.” Bibi Bridal Shows are held in April and October of each year and are geared towards the luxury market. Each show features about 25 vendors that range from decorators, planners, photographers, invitations, DJs, cake designers, caterers, clothing, jewelry and more. Bibi Magazine, a national bridal magazine that began in Houston in 2000 and is now headquarted in New York City, puts on the shows. For further information visit

Pratham Auction Items Went Fast

Qatar Airways 5 Star Award 2011 Capricorn Travel Best Performing Travel Agency

pendant set donated by Aziz Malik of Maharaja Jewelers and an 18

karat white gold necklace and earrings donated by Shailendra and

Prabha Sacheti of Prava Diamonds.

Award Winning Customer Service & Best Rates in Town Proudly Serving For Best Rates to: India, Europe, Cruises & Vacation Packages South Asian Community Toll Free: 1-866-956-0758 - Tel:713-339-2222 for Past 3939 Hillcroft Ave, Suite# 110, Houston, TX 77057 28 Years




May 10, 2013

SERVING THE COMMUNITY FOR TEN YEARS All fares on major airlines such as United, British Airways, Delta, Emirates & Kuwait Airways. Summer Special Fares Available & Block Seats Summer Promotional Fares Available For Few Weeks Special Discounts Available For Senior Citizens, Students & Groups


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