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Friday, November 16, 2018 | Vol. 37, No. 45

Indo American erican News


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@ BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

P5 Annakut at the BAPS temple

Beautifully lit BAPS temple during Diwali with spectacular fireworks

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November 16, 2018


Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaoon: The Musical Journey of the Legend



Music has been the breath of Indians for centuries now. The contribution of some of the greatest musicians and lyricists has been a boon to India as a whole and particularly to the Hindi film industry - Bollywood. While we rejoice in the melody of our most loved songs, a lot goes behindthe-scenes in bringing these numbers on to our plate. It is certainly exciting to know the stories that led to the birth of the lyrics of our most loved songs. In view of this, a unique concept, ‘Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaoon’ was concocted by India’s most prominent scriptwriter, lyricist, poet and Padma Bhushan awardee Javed Akhtar Saab. Rajender Singh of Star Promotion in association with Swapnil Agarwal from Karya Property Management and Amiralli Dodhiya from New York Life, presented this one of its kind shows on Friday, November 2 at Stafford Civic Center. Through this show, audiences were taken on a nostalgic musical ride as Javed Akhtar shared instances, an amalgam of emotions that were behind the creation of the masterpieces. He shared stories from some of his pleasant occurrences with renowned directors and producers. He also amused the audiences with some of his poems in his signature style. The show was a treat for fans of his TV series ‘The Golden Years’. Once a rebel-

lious writer in the 1970s, then a romantic poet who penned some of Bollywood’s most celebrated tunes, Javed Akhtar has contributed so much more to Bollywood than song writing. Javed Saab, from the Salim-Javed fame, the most renowned script writer duo of Bollywood, won a number of Filmfare awards in all four writing categories – story, dialogue, screenplay and lyrics. Besides, he has been honored with the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Sahitya Akademi Awards. Javed Akhtar was accompanied by Bollywood playback singers Parthiv Gohil and Jahnvi Shrimankar and not to forget, his team of talented musicians. The auditorium was enthralled with a beautiful blend of melody and nostalgia. The sound system by Darshan Thacker of Krishna Sounds was exemplary. He shared anecdotes of some of the songs from the marvelous collection written by him and jokingly dished out some of the incidents. The audiences were visibly amused. He also recalled how Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar sang the maiden song that he wrote, Dekha ek khwaab from the movie Silsila. The audiences were amazed to know from the valorous writer that the famous song Tumko dekha was written in merely 9 minutes. It was a sight to watch as the audiences choired along.

From left: Parthiv Gohil, Javed Akhtar, Deputy Consul Surendra Adhana, Rajender Singh, and Jahnvi Shrimankar.

Labeled as a writer for poetry type of songs, he broke the stereotype by penning down Hawa hawayee from Mr. India and it was definitely a welcome change. He also narrated how the beautiful song Ek ladki ko dekha occurred to him instantly. Not just that, even the tune was created in a flash by RD Burman, whom Javed Akhtar saluted for his candescent taste of music. As he described the instances, relevant images and videos were beautifully displayed at the backdrop. Javed Saab narrated his experiences of working in the film industry for decades and having the opportunity to have worked with

Himadri and Harish Katharani with Javed Akhtar

Deepika and Swapnil Agarwal with Javed Akhtar

big names like Yash Johar, Karan Johar and Amitabh Bachchan back then and with their respective sons today. The audiences were visibly engrossed as he re-

counted memories. Encouraging the new generation of writers, he gave an invigorat-




November 16, 2018


Texans Energy & Masala Radio Host Exclusive Thugs of Hindostan Premiere Customer Appreciation Event Sailor”, the evil British Company leader “Clive” and Amitabh Bachchan as “Azaad.” Several ladies of Masala batted long eyelashes, diamond nose rings, demure sari blouses and harem pants, and belts of silver bells to greet amused guests. Infused Performing Arts lead Kiron Kumar, and his team of five dancers, all dressed as Thugs and Damsels from the movie, and presented a revenue

SUGAR LAND: Texans Energy

and Masala Radio hosted yet another Bollywood Premiere on Saal Mubarak Day THU NOV 8, at the AMC First Colony. This time it was a more exclusive event for Texans Customers only, allowing them the space and prime seating for the last blockbuster of 2018 premiere screening. CEO Javed Meghani exclaimed, “I wanted to celebrate Diwali, the Gujarati and Gujarati New Year with my customers, and appreciate our

customers, some who have been with us for ten years now, and in one week, Masala Radio was able to organize this quirky, fun-filled Premiere Night, with dhol, dances, dressed-up characters and overall dhamaal!” Texans Energy and Masala Radio clients, sponsors, VIPs, friends, family and crew were treated to an elegant Premiere with souvenir tickets and professional photo ops with giant posters and Thugs dress up like Aamir Khan’s “Firangi

act just before the film started. Among the who’s who were Houston Billionaire Shaukat Dhanani & wife Nadiya, and much of the Dhanani family, including Ali Dhanani celebrating his birthday that night, Mr & Mrs. Fuad Cochinwala, Mr & Mrs Ghulam Bombaywala, Aftab Rahemtullah & Sam Hussain of Shabana Motors, and business leaders from leading South Asian owned businesses including Karya Properties, Xfinity, Jindal Corporation. Javed & Nisha Meghani were so pleased with the response and success of the event, they are planning several Bollywood Movie Premier events for 2019. Sajjid Dawood said, “Some warned me it was a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean, but I have to watch every movie of Aamir Khan, and this actually kept me entertained!” Stay tuned to Masala Radio for more Bollywood and Cultural Event Incentives to save hundreds of dollars on your electricity bill by switching to Texans Energy.


Photos: Goel Photography


November 16, 2018


Diwali Traditions Brings Generations Together at BAPS

STAFFORD: Over years some

traditions dwindle away as generations pass. Diwali is one time where the twinkle of the flickering candles brings families and friends together to celebrate good over evil. While the ancient tradition of lighting divos on Diwali erase physical darkness, the festival’s rich traditions and rituals go deeper – inviting individuals to make efforts in removing darkness in the forms of anger, envy, greed, arrogance, and resentment. This year, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, TX celebrated Diwali under the theme “Hamara Parivar” – Kindling Generational Harmony. This theme showed the importance of families taking care of one another; kids taking care of parents and vice versa. The five days of Diwali (including the Hindu new year) are rich in cultural traditions and rituals that symbolize new beginnings and a renewed commitment to family. The bright colors of Rangoli (intricate designs made of colored powder), the lighting of divos, and the elaborate variety of vegetarian foods offered to God (called an Annakut), all mark a renewal of the good within and the goodwill towards everything around us. Diwali presents Hindus with an opportunity to connect with and celebrate the traditions of their roots with great fanfare. Many community members including public office officials attended the celebrations at the mandir. Meghal Bhatt recalled, “when I was growing up, my dad would

ant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www. baps.org.

talk about Diwali in India and being here at the mandir gives me an opportunity to have my kids participate in the festivities without traveling all the way to India.” He added, “my son’s favorite part was seeing fireworks over the beautiful mandir.” Offering his prayers to Bhag-

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wan Swaminarayan, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, guru and President of BAPS, prayed for devotees around the world for continued personal, and professional growth in this New Year. Mahant Swami Maharaj took the occasion of Diwali to remind individuals and families about the importance of leading spiritually centric lives, grounded in strong values and increased attachment to God. This year, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs across North America marked the auspicious festival of Diwali and its associated five days of celebrations with an elaborate Annakut, lighted divos, fireworks, and even a special children’s Diwali celebration.

The celebrations were open to all. Visitors participated in celebration activities, offered prayers for new beginnings and had the opportunity to taste in the delicious offerings of the Annakut. About BAPS The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mah-

About Mahant Swami Maharaj His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016. About Pramukh Swami Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”

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November 16, 2018


Harris, Ft Bend Counties Turn Blue, a Victory for Diversity BY NIDHI TREHAN


LAND: In an amazing victory for Democrats in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, the party captured a majority of seats in these mid-terms. Thanks to Sri Preston Kulkarni’s efforts, Democrats got within five points of winning the US House Congressional District 22. Running an energetic, get-out-vote campaign across three counties, Kulkarni, an ex-Foreign Service Officer and multilingual political aspirant who previously worked with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, fought the tightest race in decades in District 22 (formerly the stomping ground of minority whip Republican Tom Delay). When discussing his loss (or near victory), Sri said, “this is just the beginning”! Another highly qualified contender of South Asian heritage, attorney Juli Mathew, is now Number 3 Judge-elect for the Fort Bend County Court at Law. A Democrat, Mathew handily defeated her Republican opponent Tricia Krenek with over 54% of the vote. Mathew’s personal outreach to voters at dozens of events across the county paid off. Another South Asian, KP George is the DemocraticFortBendCountyCommissioners Court Judge-elect, after decisively winning the general election against long-term incumbent Robert Hebert with nearly 53% of the vote. George is currently serving as Position 5 representative on the Fort Bend Independent School District board. Born in South India, he previously worked for a financial firm. He is also the founder of the Hightower High School Academies’ Booster Club. The victories for Democrats in Harris Clockwise from top left: KP George and Juli Matthews at the election night victory party; Democratic candidate for the 22nd Congressional district Sri Preston Kulkarni; Rabeea Collier, R.K. Sandill and Alex Karjeker.

and Fort Bend counties emerged from a confluence of events which energized progressives across the political spectrum: firstly, suburban women voters were fired up, as well as youth and minority communities (Harris and Fort Bend are among the most diverse districts in the country) in relatively affluent Sugar Land and other parts of suburban southwest Houston. This has partly to do with the on-going perceived excesses and partisanship of the current administration in Washington DC and the dynamic race led by Beto O’Rourke for the Senate (which he lost by only 2% to Cruz). Fort Bend County Democrats chairperson Cynthia Ginyard was one of the key figures in GOTV activities and organizing across the county for all candidates in “down ballot” races. Beto campaigners and volunteers too traversed up and down the county in a successful effort to get new “non-voters” to participate. These all combined to create an unprecedented blue “tsunami” in both counties that saw the entire slate of Democratic candidates ride the coattails of Beto O’Rourke and sweep every judiciary and county position in Harris. Other Asians in areawide races were Alex Karjeker forTexas House District 129, Rabeea Collier for Texas District Court 113 and Ravi K. Sandill for Texas Supreme Court Place 4. Alexander Jonathan Karjeker was a Democratic candidate who sought election to the Texas House of Representatives to represent the South Houston District 129 that covers Pearland, Friendswood, and Clear Lake all the way to Kemah. Karjeker garnered 41.7% or 26,797 votes but lost to

his Republican opponent Dennis Paul who received 56.6% or 36,300 votes. Karjeker, of Filipino-Indian (Marathi) heritage, was born in Houston and studied mathematics and economics at the University of Texas and earned master’s degrees in public policy and economics from Georgetown University in 2012. Karjeker’s career experience includes working as a research analyst with Uber. He was married to Bijal Mehta last year in October Rabeea Collier became the Democrat Judge-elect of the 113th Civil District Court of Harris County. She ran against Republican Michael Landrum who was appointed to the position in May 2013 by Governor Rick Perry and was seeking re-election. Collier received 54.6% or 645,784 votes to defeat Landrum. Collier, a Pakistani-American and native Houstonian who went to Kingwood High School, the University of Texas at Austin and received her Law degree from Texas Southern University. She is married to Robert Collier, an attorney, and they have two sons. R.K. Sandill, a Democrat, garnered 46.2% or 3,767,678 votes but lost to Republican John Devine. Sandill is currently the Judge of the 127th Civil District Court of Harris County since 2009 and is the first ever district judge in Texas of South Asian descent. Sandill, of Punjabi heritage, lives in Houston, Texas. He earned a B.A. in government from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998 and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 2001. Sandill’s career experience includes working as an attorney with Steele Sturm. Contributor: Jawahar Malhotra


November 16, 2018





November 16, 2018

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November 16, 2018


Women Mean Business Series with Vanitha Pothuri & Nyamusi Igambi BY SOWMYA MURALI

HOUSTON: The Indo American

Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston held its final Women Mean Business series for the year on October 30, ending a successful 2018 with yet another successful event. The Keynote Speakers for the event were Vanitha Pothuri and Nyamusi Igambi. President Swapan Dhairyawan welcomed the gathering by encouraging the audience to stay connected with the Chamber, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. He also shared a few details about the upcoming Trade Mission to India led by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Greater Houston Partnership. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, thanked SHELL, the sponsor for the event, for their generous support to both the Women Mean Business and the Distinguished Lecture Series. Past President and Program Chair Joya Shukla introduced the Keynote Speakers and encouraged the audience to share their ideas on the different kinds of successful women leaders they would like to hear and learn from. Vanitha Pothuri spoke about how her work ethic and interest to run a business came from her parents. Those traits, she said, helped her to begin an entrepreneurial venture,

starting in retail and venturing into “the gelato and cookie business”. She also shared the various challenges she faced and lessons she had to learn on the way to establishing her franchise. “The path to success is to keep aside your ego and to always be ready to learn the core principles and concepts”. These ideals, she said, helped her to equally juggle being a doctor and a food entrepreneur. Nyamusi Igambi shared that she has come to a full circle moment being back in Houston; the city where she started working with the U.S Commercial Service 18 years ago and currently serving as its Director. Her multicultural family background fostered the curiosity to seek multicultural and diverse spaces, both personally and professionally. She also shared the exposure and knowledge she gained through her travels to countries like Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, India and within the USA. She closed her speech by encouraging women to “Keep showing up, keep asking questions, to mentor and raise the next generation of leader”. Following an engaging Q&A session, Shell representative and IACCGH Board member Alyssa Holmes Henderson, presented the gifts and certificates to our speakers. Darshak Thacker of Krishna Sounds provided sound and AV at the event.

IACCGH Board with the Keynote speakers

Vanitha Pothuri (right) & Nyamusi Igambi

For more details about upcoming events visit www.iaccgh.com


Photos: Bijay Dixit



November 16, 2018

Grand Spectacular Diwali Celebrated at Sri Meenakshi Temple BY BHARGAVI GOLLA

PEARLAND: Diwali, the festi-

val of lights was celebrated with exhilaration at Sri Meenakshi Temple on November 3. The festive look of the temple with colorful lights, huge tents and filled parking lots with thousands of people was all set for the celebration of grand spectacular Diwali. Diwali, or Deepavali, is a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps. The significance of the festival is the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. The day started with 23rd annual free community Health fair coordinated by Council Chairman Dr. Vaduganathan and was inaugurated by dignitaries Hon. Mayor Tom Reid, Pearland, Kyle Price, CEO, Memorial Hermann, Kelly Ochoa Chief, Nursing Officer, Memorial Hermann, Rebecca Lilly Memorial Hermann, Joanne Barrett, Chief clinical officer, Kindred hospital. Services provided were Blood Pressure, EKG, Blood tests, Complete Blood Count, Metabolic Profile, Thyroid test, Lipid Profile, Dental Check, Eye Exam, Prostate Exam, Women’s wellness check and general Medical advice. Dr. Vaduganathan thanked the Kindred Hospital for the generous support for the lab tests, Dr. Subhadra for diabetic screening, Dr. Saranathan and Dr. Mukesh for EKG, Dr. Bhavani Iyer and residents and students for the vision screening, Dr. Vijaya Kaila, Dr. Priti Palvadi, Dr. Hema Salvady, Dr. Ramarao Denduluri and Dr. Jay Patel for consulting services and Taylor for amazing organization. Honorary President of MTS Sam Kannappan requested many dignitaries to inaugu-

rate and attend the Diwali Bazaar. Honorable Mayor Tom Reid, Pearland, UH Dean of Humanities, Dr. Antonio Tillis, President UH Clear Lake, Dr. Ira K. Blake, Ms. Kim Howard, Sr. Director of Development, UH System, Satya Gudipaty, Staff Assistant, UH Pearland campus, Texas State Representative Hon. Ed Thompson, Kim Sinistore, Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau, Hon. Stacy Adams, Brazoria County Commissioner, Consul Amit Khanna, Consulate of India at Houston, and Lisa Weller of Chase Bank cut the ribbon and inaugurated the Diwali Bazaar 2018. About 45 vendors had their beautiful items for sale, jewelry, saris, costumes, art works, paintings, handicrafts etc that filled up the entire youth center and lobby. Under the food tent we had seven local restaurants serving authentic Indian food from morning 10 AM till mid-night. There was a steady stream of devotees with families through out the day to pray, shop and participate in many activities organized by MTS simultaneously for all age groups. This year MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Nathan took great effort to design and setup the stalls in Raja Veedhi to mimic the stalls in front of Temples in India. Devotees experienced little India while buying Temple sarees, Pooja items and sweets and savories from these stalls. Among the many attractions organized by MTS are

the children’s cultural program. Brightly clad children entertained the visitors by displaying their wonderful talents. Budding artists participated in art workshop and rangoli competitions. This year Kumon, West University, sponsored the art workshop. VHS kids had a booth selling cookies, Tulasi plants, and origami workshop, VR activity, which made it a big hit for kids and adults as well. Carnival coordinated by Aakash Srikanth and Adhi Gopal kept the children engaged and entertained. The traditional Lakshmi puja was conducted in the Main Temple both morning and evening. Sri Lakshmi was then taken on a procession around the Temple in a silver chariot. Several devotees took part in pulling the chariot rope to the resounding drumbeat of chenda melam. Around 8:30 p.m. the grand professional fireworks show began with beautiful fireworks lit up the night sky in a blaze of glory. The crowd then joined in Garba and Dandia with live music in Kalyana Mandapam. This wonderful free event is a great voluntary effort. It takes a lot of work and even more planning to make it happen. MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Nathan thanked this year coordinator Bhargavi Golla, the board, volunteers and employees of MTS for organizing such a flawless festival year after year. We thank TV Asia Correspondent Manisha Gandhi and Cameraman Gautam Jani for morning event coverage and the link for TVAsia telecast https://youtu.be/ SH0amD77B30 and evening Program highlights can be found at https://youtu.be/FjLjgymYDPo We pray to Sri Meenakshi, Sri Sundareswara, Sri Padmavathi and Sri Venkateswara for a year of happiness and welfare to all.



November 16, 2018

Chinmaya Mission, Shining Light on Diwali’s Significance the Year Through


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Devotees performing Lakshmi puja

Acharya Gaurang Uncle doing aarti

Priest Ganeshji leading the puja


HOUSTON: The grand autum-

nal festival of Diwali, arguably the biggest celebration among Indians the world over, was celebrated in Chinmaya Mission Houston with vibrance and devotion on Sunday, November 4, 2018. Against the exquisitely decorated backdrop of Lord Rama and Sita Devi, and the row of ashtalakshmi murtis, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayana, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya priest, lead the puja with each family seated in the hall following the rituals step by step with their own idols. This was both personal and especially empowering for the children who immediately got involved, and participated with enthusiasm throughout the puja. “Bring out the divinity in you”, was the message Acharya Gaurang Nanavaty had for those present. Just like gardens flourish by

constant weeding, he said let us allow ourselves to grow, by persistently removing the negativity within us. Wishes from the acharyas on this occasion were to light the diyas within our hearts, be alert to destroy the Ravana within us, and keep the light of knowledge continuously shining within. In the five days of the rituals of Diwali is a beautifully packaged message worth reflecting upon every day. On the first day the homes are cleaned and new things are bought. On the second, houses are decorated with diyas and rangoli. The third day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. This is followed by the celebration of the New Year. On the fifth day siblings pray for each other’s well-being and visit upon each other. In the microcosmic realm of an individual, our journey to an elevated existence begins with first purging our minds of the

Photos:Jay Mistry

clutter. Then we bring in things of value that will equip us to get better at our endeavors. With renewed exuberance and optimism we pray for the light to continuously kindle this spirit. Without the wealth of knowledge and a balanced state of mind, all the worldly joys are evasive to us; hence we seek the grace of MahaLakshmi, the supreme goddess of wealth, for an abundance of knowledge and all worldly comforts to make our progress possible. And lastly, while we work zealously towards our personal goals, the last two days of Diwali remind us to expand our circle of influence, and spread the joy of love and look out for as many lives as we can. As the glance traverses down the neatly seated aisles of devotees in the hall, the familiar eye would spot some young parents; themselves balavihar children not too long back, passing on the tradition to their little ones. The new brahmacharini Shweta Chaitanya herself was a balavihar student at this center. As philosopher Rumi said, the lamps are different but the light is the same. Under the guidance of acharyas Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty a dynamic group of volunteers strive to keep the rich philosophy and knowledge of the hindu scriptures relevant and applicable and of interest to all generations and all kinds of seekers.

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November 16, 2018

IITAGH’s Signature Annual Picnic on a Glorious Fall Day



UGAR LAND: Many of the members and supporters of the Indian Institute of Technology of Greater Houston were disappointed when its annual picnic was cancelled last year due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. But this year, a determined group of the IITAGH board led by Surajit Dasgupta made sure that even the Fall weather was glorious for the 2018 annual picnic held on Saturday, 27 October at Lost Creek Park. They had carefully planned out the picnic to appeal to all ages and about 120 folks including alumni, spouses, friends and children attended. Though a significant proportion of the attendees were younger alumni with their families and current students from the University of Houston and

Clockwise from top left: The IITAGH 2018 annual picnic was held on Saturday, 27 October at Lost Creek Park; Witty Bindra (right) the former President of IITAGH- Houston with the Democratic candidate for the 22nd Congressional district Sri Preston Kulkarni; Teams competed in a series of 1 minute games.

Texas A&M, a wide range of alumni from 2018 graduates to some from the mid 1960’s attended the much

awaited picnic. A striking number were women alumni reflective of the changing demographics and their growing number at Indian Institutes of Technology system campuses. The President of IITAGH, Abhijit Gadgil welcomed one and all. He underscored the three key elements of IITAGH- Connect, Develop and Give Back. It is an inclusive organization with no requirement to be an alumnus to participate in its events. The goal is to have about 6 events a year with the annual picnic being the much anticipated signature event. Attendees were welcomed by tasty appetizers and masala chai catered by Udipi restaurant. After whetting their appetite, a sumptuous lunch was served. Once people had chatted and networked over lunch and were suitably satiated, the main event started. Witty Bindra, the irrepressible former President of the North American Pan IIT organization and a dynamic former President of

IITAGH- Houston had invited the Democratic candidate for the 22nd Congressional district Sri Preston Kulkarni to address the group. The district has been described as one of the most culturally diverse in the country. Abhijit introduced Sri and suggested his accomplished background and his platform may resonate with attendees. Sri served for 14 years in the US Foreign Service in numerous countries and speaks 6 global languages. He spoke eloquently about what he stood for, his aspirations for the country and his unifying, inclusive multi-cultural campaign.

Then it was on to the entertainment. Younger children were kept entertained in a bouncing castle. A group of young board members had arranged a series of 1 minute games designed for all skills and ages to participate. Teams were organized to compete in 5 games and scores tallied. All participants in first and second place would be awarded individual prizes. Soon competitive juices were flowing and participants got increasingly animated. The games concept was so successful that other planned entertainment like the traditional game of cricket was not required!

Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaoon CONTINUED FROM PAGE 03 ing message – “First Listen and then recite poetry. Absorb it before writing.” He also persuaded them to listen to folk songs as there is a lot that can be learnt from there. One of his songs Mehendi hai rachne wali is inspired by a folk song. Known for his soul-stirring poems and stories, he glued the awe-inspired audiences with his tales. Before breaking into the Q&A round, the audience was mesmerized with some beautiful songs like Tauba tumhare, Tu yaar tu hi dildaar, Chale jaise hawaye, Mere mehboob mere sanam, Tumse milke dil ka. Javed Saab made the Question and Answer round interesting with his statement, “We

don’t speak Hindi or Urdu- we speak Hindustani”. Sharing his experience on how the Madhuri Dixit popular song Ek Do Teen was conceived, he mentioned that the music director used the words 1,2,3,4 as dummy fillers for a tune and he liked it so much that he retained it. And the rest is history. Javed Saab’s music makes us all hum along and each of his songs has a history & a story attached to it. He shared how some sincere, candid & genuine tunes automatically fall in place, citing the instance of Har ghadi badal rahi hai from Kal Ho Na Ho. He shared memories of the numbers that he has done for his childrenDil chahta hai and Jaane kyu log pyaar karte hai. The richness of Javed Saab’s

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songs has made almost all of his number’s immortal. The audience could just not get enough of him and they requested for more inspite the clock ticking past 12 midnight. Rajender Singh came shareed his heartfelt thanks to Houston for making this show such a memorable one. He thanked the sponsors for their outstanding support and also the Deputy Consul Surendra Adhana for attending the event. He also thanked Himadri and Harish Katharani for their support and for also hosting a special meet & greet at their home the evening before. The night was truly a distinguished one with the rebellious, romantic and poignant words of Javed Saab and his seamless transcend from poetic brilliance into filmi melodies. The upcoming events include MUGHAL-E-AZAM: THE MUSICAL in early 2019. For further information call Rajender Singh at 281-222-4500 or visit starpromotioninc.com



November 16, 2018


Puja Samithi of Greater Houston Celebrates Kali Puja at Houston ISCKON


Houston’s Bengali community, Puja Samithi of Greater Houston, celebrated Kali Puja along with at Houston ISCKON temple (puja was featured in Gouranga Hall just across from the main ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple) on November 3, with great devotion and joy. Kali Puja, also known as Shyama

Puja is a festival dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, celebrated on the new moon day of the Hindu month Kartik especially in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura. It coincides with the restof-Indian Lakshmi Puja day of Diwali. While the Bengalis, Odias, Assamese adore goddess Kali on this day while the rest of India

worships goddess Lakshmi on Diwali. According to Hindu mythology Goddess Kali is the first of the ten incarnations of Goddess Durga. The image of Kali usually shows her foot on Lord Shiva’s chest, a severed head in one hand, her sword in the other and wearing a garland of skulls. Kali is worshiped as the Mother Goddess who is known to destroy all evil. In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil. The

light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, which brings us closer to divinity. This year celebration of Kalipuja at ISCKON temple consisted of an evening full of fun, food, religious activities and great concerts by Payal Mitra and Parnava Banerjee. This year the festivities started on Saturday evening at 5 pm followed by Puspanjali, Bhog, Arati and dinner . Audience was entertained by two captivating programs per-

formed by Playback Singer Payal Mitra who warmed up the program for ½ hour with some catchy Bollywood numbers followed by the main attraction by Parnava Banerjee, Champion of Zee TV Bangla Golden Voice’2006, Parnava was accompanied on stage by Manas Chakraborty, the tabla and hand sonic player and also by Akash Ghosh on keyboard. Parnava presented some popular Bengali and Hindi numbers with exceptional ease and confidence for approximately 2 hrs. Parnava easily interacted with the audience of 400+ many of whom went to their memory lanes of famous singers like Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar and Hemanta Mukherjee while listening to the popular songs from Parnava. The entire audience was spellbound with their performances. Dr. Bishnupada Goswami, the Head Priest of the Organization, Puja Samithi of Greater Houston, performed Kali puja while maintaining all the rituals from Hawan, puspanjali, and ceremonial bolidan to bhog and Arati on Saturday evening. Devoted ladies in the temple prepared nice bhog for Ma Kali. After Puja, 400+ people enjoyed delicious dinner from Govinda’s restaurant from ISKCON of Houston. It was indeed a memorable evening and night for all devotees and attendees.




November 16, 2018

Personal Injury, Recovering All Damages in an Accident You are Entitled to!

HOUSTON: If you or a signifi-

cant other suffered bodily injuries in a car accident, there will most likely be several bills that need to be paid by the negligent driver’s insurance! There will be the ambulance expense, hospital bill, emergency physician’s fee, and more. If there was health insurance available, the health insurance will cover a portion of those bills leaving the patient’s portion of responsibility for the bill outstanding. Please note that the first offer of payment for bodily injuries by the negligent driver’s insurance will be unreasonably low. Most people want to resolve their case immediately and would accept this unjust offer without being properly compensated. Thus, always talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight for the true worth of your damages, have all bills paid, and all treatment completed before the case is closed forever. Never settle with the auto insurance company for your bodily injuries without just compensation! When you are hit by a negligent driver, their insurance policy should pay all your medical bills depending on policy limits available, ranging from $30,000.00 and up. However, the insurance company will never offer the correct value of all your medical bills, as it is their job to devalue your

case. Further, if health insurance paid for the bill, which is always significantly less than the original bill, the auto insurance will now value your case at that reduced cost instead of the original bill. This significantly reduces the value of your case and therefore, how much you recover for your damages. Thus, do not sign any bodily injury agreement and never settle for less! It is highly advisable to hold off on using any health insurance to pay for medical bills in order to circumvent this issue so that your case is valued at its full potential. Further, once your attorney receives policy limits from the atfault driver and exhausting the policy limits, you are also entitled to underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) compensation from your own insurance which ranges from $30,000.00 and up, depending on your policy. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), protects those involved in an accident with an atfault driver whose insurance coverage does not cover all damages and/or medical expenses so that you are fairly compensated. Full coverage also includes Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to protect those hit by an at-fault driver who does not have any insurance on their vehicle and therefore unable to pay any damages they have caused in an auto accident.

Although, if the negligent driver who caused the accident is affluent and does not have insurance, you may sue this person to recover all damages. Most often however, uninsured drivers do not have significant assets in which you may attempt to recover from. Full coverage policies also include Personal Injury Protection (PIP), usually $2,500.00 and up depending on the policy, allows you to recover your medical expenses no matter who is at fault for the accident. It is in your best interest to protect yourself with full coverage auto insurance policy so you are not left with outstanding medical bills caused by a negligent driver. Moreover, hospitals and health insurance companies are both allowed to recover their liens or expenses through one’s recovery

against the negligent driver’s insurance but not through one’s own personal insurance policy, as prescribed under the Texas Property Code. On the other hand, Medicare/ Medicaid may seek reimbursement for any payments made for an accident under not only the negligent driver’s auto insurance, but also through one’s own insurance settlement under UM/UIM and PIP. However, all subrogation claims may be negotiated and reduced down when applicable. Thus, never settle without having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side! A good attorney will recover not only your economic damages but non-economic damages such as physical pain and mental anguish. Additionally, punitive damages, designed to punish the at-fault party, may also be recovered by your attorney. About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala is chair of the American Bar Association GP Solo and GP Solo

Mala Sharma

YLD division, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. Mala has also been selected as 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers, and also selected Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers. This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at office number 281-893-8644 or by email at mala@sharmalaws.net to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.


November 16, 2018





November 16, 2018

Health Matters!

HOUSTON: In an effort to pro-

mote health, and with intent to fulfill health access needs of our under- served community, Alka & Ajay Gupta Foundation together with Indus Management Group, conducted community wide health fairs in Houston. The Health Fair events at seven different locations were coordinated by multiple health organizations and providers who joined in to celebrate health. This was a great opportunity for vulnerable community families to access and utilize appropriate health services, health education, and health resources. “Our mission is to eliminate

health disparities and improve the overall quality of health of our community families”, says Indus Management Group CEO Ajay Gupta. “With our involvement in health outreach activities, we hope to help disadvantaged families who often experience health inequities, thus providing them easy access to health services”. These community-based health fairs were funded by Alka & Ajay Gupta Foundation to support health promotion efforts and publicize the importance of health fairs for medically under-served communities. Free health services provided in these events included vision

screening, dental health, screenings for diabetes, Blood pressure check, bone scans, medical and mental health counseling, free flu shots and vaccines to the families in their own familiar community settings. Information on various health resources and health education was provided to many Houston families. “Carrying out community wide health fair events is a labor intensive multi step process, however, it proved to be a very purposeful venture directed at health promotion and disease prevention for our community members”, said Indus Management Group Chief Operating Officer Raj Adnani.

Karle Receives Oil Industry Award for Exemplary Service BY PRAMOD KULKARNI


EW ORLEANS: A long-time resident of Houston, who now splits his time between Houston and Mumbai, Arun Karle has received one of the highest honors awarded by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC). At its Annual General Meeting in New Orleans during Nov. 7 - 9, 2018, the IADC presented its Exemplary Service Award to Arun in the presence of his colleagues, family and friends. Arun is a founding member of the IADC South Central Asia Chapter (IADC SCA), and has also served as vice-chairman from 2001–2005 and, continues to be a very active member on its board. For IADC, Arun serves as a Global Ambassador. In accepting this award, Arun noted that the success of the IADC SCA is through the support of IADC in Houston, key Drilling Contractors in India as well as Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, all working together. Arun, the founder of the Askara Group, is well recognized in the Oil & Gas industry as a technocrat for his sincere passion and boundless enthusiasm to introduce fitfor-purpose technologies and solutions for the upstream oil and gas activity in India. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from Mumbai University, Arun obtained his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lamar University. Arun then joined Schlumberger in Houston,

Arun Karle, right, shares his IADC award with his wife Rashmi (seated left) and daughters Sangeeta (left, rear) and Radhika. Karle’s third daughter, Madhura, as well as her husband Kabir were managing the Askara business in India.

with whom he worked for 22 years globally in several senior management positions. In 1992, Arun decided to take the entrepreneurial route and founded the Askara Group of Companies. Under his able leadership and with 45+ valuable years of experience, Askara has been extremely successful in providing business and technical consulting to over 30+ international companies from its

offices in Houston and Mumbai. Aside from Askara, Arun and his wife Rashmi have dedicated their time and funds to promote education in their native village in Konkan, Maharashtra. The Shirgaon Panchakroshi School was started by Arun’s father in 1955 and, through Arun and Rashmi’s efforts, the school provides access to education for over 1,000 children.



November 16, 2018


Houston Mayor Leads Trade Delegation to India


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will lead a highlevel trade and investment mission to India from November 12-18 to boost bilateral trade relations and joint investment initiatives in various sectors including energy, education, space and civil aviation. The delegation is scheduled to meet with government and corporate representatives from the energy, life sciences, transportation, innovation, and space sectors to facilitate the exchange of information and promote partnerships between the US city of Houston and India. The mission, whose first halt is New Delhi from November 12-14 and later to Mumbai on November 14-17 will focus on increasing trade and investment between the Houston region and Indian cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Turner, who is visiting India for the first time since holding this position, is accompanied by Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer for the Greater Houston Partnership, William T Harris, CEO & president Johnson Space Center, Swapan Dhairyawan, president of the Indo American Chamber of commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), Jagdip Ahluwalia, founder & executive director IACCGH, Sanjay

Ramabhadran, Principal Houston Metro, and representatives from the city of Houston, including city council members and economic development, communication and international trade directors. This trip is due to a combination of factors that make India an attractive partner for Houston in terms of culture, trade and investment exchange. Besides the large Indian student presence at various educational institutions in Houston and the booming diaspora itself, Houston has a strong Indian economic presence as well. Mahindra USA, Larsen and Toubro, Reliance and Welspun have their US operations headquartered in Houston. Additionally, the city houses the US headquarters of India’s three public sector companies - ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India Ltd and Gail Global USA. IT majors Infosys, Wipro, TechMahindra, Tata Consulting Services and Cognizant also have tens of thousands of employees in the Greater Houston region. “We share strong business, trade and cultural ties. I see much potential for increased economic activity between Houston and India and look forward to helping make those connections,” Turner told PTI.

“India is now a major LNG consumer & the fastest growing energy market of the world. Between 10 to 15 per cent of the world’s oil consumption is in India. It is natural for the energy capital of the world to have connections with this market. Indians are major buyers of oil, LNG and petrochemicals. “Indian companies are committed to lifting at least a billion dollars’ worth of LNG per annum from the Sabine Pass terminal near Houston for the next decade. The first shipment of petroleum from the US to India also sailed off from a Houston area port earlier this year. “This flow is going to increase. We expect that Houston will become a hub for energy exports to India. Virtually all Houston-based oil majors are expanding their footprint in India. These include upstream, downstream, and midstream companies. Companies associated with the oil industry such as oilfield service and technology companies also have growing operations in India,” he said. “A key area of interest of the delegation is US crude oil trade between Houston ports and India. By June 2018, Houston ports exported 15 million barrels of oil to India, which was a significant increase from the 8 million barrels exports during all of 2017. Given the current international trade climate, it is possible that US crude oil shipment from Houston ports to India may be an area of discussion for the future”, said Anupam Ray, Consul General of India. In 2017, Houston-India trade was valued at approximately 4.9 billion USD. Nearly 82,000 people living in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area were born in India. During the first half of 2018, India advanced as one of Houston’s top 10 export destinations. Exports from Houston to India are up 61.5 per cent this year by dollar value. The mayor’s visit comes months after Texas Governor Greg Abbot toured India in January. -PTI | Houston (US)

Trump Nominates Neomi Rao to Replace Kavanaugh on DC Circuit WASHINGTON (CNN): Presi-

dent Donald Trump announced during a Diwali ceremonial lighting ceremony at the White House Tuesday that he is nominating Neomi Rao to fill Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. “I won’t say today that I just nominated Neomi to be on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the seat of Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said, 24 hours before a planned announcement. “She’s going to be fantastic -- great person.” Trump said the early announcement “gives me a big story.”

“We were going to announce that tomorrow and I said you know, here we are Neomi -- we’re

never gonna do better than this -- I thought it was an appropriate place” The President has interviewed Rao, who currently serves as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an agency within the White House Office of Management and Budget, CNN’s Ariane de Vogue reported. Rao is on leave of absence from George Mason University Scalia School of Law, where she is an associate law professor. Asked to say something by Trump, Rao responded with “thank you very much, Mr. President, for the confidence you’ve shown in me. I greatly appreciate it.”


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November 16, 2018


The Forgotten Million One hundred years after the end of World War I, the immense sacrifice and contributions of well over a million soldiers of undivided India are being incrementally recognized and memorialized the world over. In France, the centenary celebrations of Armistice Day on November 11 included the unveiling of the second overseas national war memorial for Indian soldiers, by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu. The first such memorial abroad, formalised in 2002, is the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, which is a recognition that more than 130,000 Indian soldiers fought in WWI in Belgium, at least 10,000 of whom lost their lives on the battlefield. Last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to wear a khadi poppy in honour of more than 74,000 soldiers from pre-Partition India who fought on the side of the allies and died in battle. She particularly noted that 11 of them won the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery and played a crucial role in the war across continents. Yet far from the ceremonial pomp of officialdom is perhaps the most poignant symbol of how much ordinary Indian men enlisting in the colonial government’s Army gave of their lives to fight the German,Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires: the British Library in London has received 1,000 pages of war-veteran interview transcripts recorded in the 1970s, which include details of the inhumane treatment, including floggings, denial of home leave, and brazenly racial-discriminatory treatment that 1.5 million mostly-illiterate men from northern India faced regularly within the allied forces army. In the early days of the War, troops of the Indian Army, backed by the political bourgeoisie, were enthusiastic in responding to the British government’s call for military support from India. This was because, although the swadeshi movement was underway, the freedom movement was in a fledgling stage. Even Mahatma Gandhi was open to Indians enlisting and learning to defend themselves using arms, as were leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak. However, with the enormous death toll by the end of WWI, the painful lessons were absorbed and the pressure for enlistment of Indians in the World War II effort produced an entirely different outcome — the Quit India movement and the escalation of the freedom movement. WWI also influenced the collective psyche of the government of independent India, starting with the tenets of nonalignment that came to embody a core mantra of the country’s foreign policy ethos. However, while India remains wary of ‘treaty alliances’ and steers clear of combat involvement in third-party conflicts, it is the third-largest contributor of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping missions. Difficult though the conditions Indian peacekeepers face must be, they must be thankful that their country would never put them in the sort of situation that their predecessors faced from 1914 to 1918. -- The Hindu

A Gated Revolution BY SANJAY SRIVASTAVA Urban India is the site of the most dramatic changes in human life. The manner in which we work, live, play, do business, enter into relationships and construct communities is firmly entrenched in the life of our cities. The romanticised village of post-Independence cinema holds little interest for young people in particular, as they seek new futures within possibilities offered by the inexorable expansion of urban agglomerations. Through unplanned and semi-planned means, our cities absorb — with different degrees of hospitality — migrants of different capacities, including those escaping provincial feudal social and economic structures and the fading promise of regional development. In 2011, for the first time since the Census came into being, the absolute urban growth recorded a higher rate than the rural one. Urban life for many may still be brutish, but it is possibly longer and not as short as in the countryside. The exuberant abandon of urban growth has been accompanied by a quieter but just as significant process that will also deeply influence city life in subsequent years: A very significant middle-class participation in urban planning and development. This new aspect of the urban can be most frequently witnessed in the manner in which Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) are able to galvanise members to act on an issue that affects their perceived interests. The growth of RWAs is, in turn, linked to both political nurturing of an important constituency (such as the Delhi Bhagidari scheme under the Congress) and a gathering sense of self. This is a new form of activism, enacted through lycra-clad bicycle enthusiasts, leisure activists, environmentalists, bird-watchers and “ordinary mums and dads” who want a better life in the city. The ongoing residents’campaign against the construction of a six-lane highway through Gurgaon’s Aravalli Bio-Diversity Park that stretches over 400 acres is a case in point. Spurred through word of mouth, social media and news reports, protesters have gathered in their thousands, with steely resolve and placards aloft. Alongside, local

editions of national newspapers have carried extended coverage of protests as well as columns by Gurgaon residents that speak of the kinds of sustainable infrastructure that cities need for a decent life. The protagonists are articulate and rational in their evaluation: “Who will bring back the birds?”, they rightly ask in one strong voice. Strangely, however, cities such as Gurgaon hardly ever elicit such response — and it is difficult to gather a group of 50 protesters — when it is the social fabric of the city that is in question. In the very recent past, the city has been witness to events that are fundamental to defining the social nature of cities. In Gurgaon, for example, one religious community’s public right to worship has been sought to be curtailed (while placing no limits on others) and there have been severe disturbances that relate to working conditions of factory labour, including those at Maruti’s factory in Manesar. Another site of significant urban development near Delhi, Noida, witnessed a riot-like situation when workers stormed a gated enclave to protest against the alleged overnight detention of one of their colleagues who worked in the complex. These, too, are issues and events that determine the nature of a city. However, it frequently appears that the more our cities expand, the more narrow — and gated — our perspective of our place within them. It is striking that the well-off primarily consider urban life as the sum-total of its physical infrastructure, gathering in large numbers to protest against it or argue for it. However, the social life of a city — a decent existence for its most vulnerable populations — appears to not interest many. The

emerging nature of urban politics, an apparent revolution that primarily concerns itself with the interests of a small group versus wider discontent that parades in tattered saris and trousers has the potential to produce deeply fragmented cities, if it hasn’t already done so. The current forms of urban politics are quite different from mass political movements we have seen in the past and it is this difference that holds the key to the kind of society we may end up with. Its key concerns are based on redefining the idea of the “ordinary” person. The ordinary person now is the relatively privileged whitecollar professional who, it is asserted, has been exploited and denied his or her rights because of state “appeasement” of the poor. The ordinary person pays taxes and gets little in return; the ordinary person pays for electricity while slum-dwellers steal it. The anger of this ordinary man is at the heart of a new sense of the city where the apparently dispossessed stake a claim through agitational activities that are increasingly narrowly defined in terms of their objectives. This new outlook seems particularly prevalent in newer urban locations where the separation between the well-off and the poor is embedded in the fundamentals of planning. Our cities will fail not just because we lack parks, gardens and highways. Rather, they will slide into dystopian states because of a failure of the imagination. The nature of a liveable city is fundamentally connected to the possibilities of freedom and decency of life for the vast majority that has limited means to influence these aspects. A “global” or “smart” city is, primarily, an advanced form of habitation because of the manner in which its residents think. What is required is an urban consciousness concerned with both the physical infrastructure as well as its social one: Diversity, equity, and fair treatment of its most vulnerable workers. Without such a consciousness, we will end up with a situation where it is easy to gather the well-off to defend a park but impossible to make them rise to defend the idea of a city. -- Indian Express The writer is professor of sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi


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 212, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-6397 email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: www.indoamerican-news.com


November 16, 2018



Thugs of Hindostan : Thuggery on a large scale, with viewers at

in jungles. Or walking the plank, and dancing in forest clearings, dressed in the kind of clothes best described as pirate-cool. It almost made me long for the really bad masala of the 70s and 80s which had face-painted jungle dwellers drumming a frenzy around the hero and heroine. At least

they had energy. Bachchan plays Khudabaksh Jahaazi, who hates the idea of ‘Angrezon ki ghulami’, and harbours the dream of ‘azaadi’, along with his ‘fauj’. He also has a fierce-looking kite/eagle who circles him (no, this is not Coolie), as he goes about guarding the life of young-princessin-hiding Zafira (Shaikh), and trying to turn the greedy turncoat Firangi Mallah (Khan) into a desh-bhakt, who hangs out with his tropey ‘heroke-bachpan-ka-dost’ (Ayyub) when not making whoopee with a sexy ‘nachaniya’ (Kaif). There are sword-fights on land and sea. Bows are strung and guns are cocked. The Brits are red-faced and venomous, except a token fellow who discovers goodness at a crucial moment. There are stagey, talky faceoffs between Bachchan and Khan, and trying-to-be-kindling glances between Khan and Shaikh, and Kaif in jaw-dropping shake-it-shake-it mode, armed with a trademark risible dialogue. No, her name is not Sheela. The only one having a blast is Aamir Khan’s Awadhi thug in his carroty curls and soorma-ringed eyes. He vamps it up madly, grin-

in our hands. Sarkar belongs to Vijay, but not AR Murugadoss. It’s tailor-made for ‘Thalapathy’ who speaks of farmer suicides, Jallikattu, Tuticorin protests, the fishermen’s issue, ‘marketing and branding’ and how with the support of youngsters, he can save Tamil Nadu. Watch out for the scene where he talks about tomatoes and ketchup, please. As for the supporting characters, except Radha Ravi (Rendu), none make any kind of impression. Pazha Karuppiah’s role (Masilamani) wasn’t substantial enough to make an impact, and Yogi Babu too didn’t do much to add to his repertoire. He tries to be funny in a couple of places, but fails miserably. I quite liked the interval block where Vijay says, “I’m waiting!” in his signature style. But the problem with Sarkar is that, it has a lot of lengthy dialogues but nothing stays in mind. Maybe, AR Murugadoss had lots of things

to say, but didn’t know how to. There are multiple references in the film on Tamil Nadu politics over the past few years — death of the leader, misgivings and so on. Also, I wonder why Keerthy Suresh (Nila) was even cast in the film. She has nothing to do, but aimlessly roam around wherever Vijay goes. After watching her in Mahanati aka Nadigaiyar Thilagam, I wonder why she did Sarkar. It’s not about the commercial film template, but the character. On one side there’s Keerthy, and the other side, we have Varalaxmi Sarathkumar (Komalavalli aka Paapa) who steals the show. Genuinely, I think the makers could have introduced more of her character in the first half. But, she’s abroad, advising her politician-dad (Pazha Karuppiah) on the phone and vanishes. A few scenes in Sarkar reminded me of Ramana. Comparisons are inevitable — because of the same director. But hey, if only Sarkar was half as engaging as Ramana. ~Indian Express.com

the receiving end

As you slide into Thugs of Hin-

dostan, you expect a rousing tale of thuggery and patriotism, because that’s what the name suggests. You also expect a modicum of quality filmmaking because you can’t get more A-list than Yash Raj Films, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan. With two big marquee names coming together for the first time, the screen should have crackled. When Bachchan taps into his unexplored reserves, he is capable of blowing you away. Still. And on the top of his game, Khan is a magnet in his own right.ut there is not even a flicker. What you get instead is nothing but a massive cherry-picking enterprise from big entertainers of the past, many of them YRF’s own. Not only do you end up picking up on past films, scenes and references, you are left struggling with staleness and boredom. The writing is shockingly pedestrian, and the film just lies around, waiting for something to happen. Nothing does, for nearly three hours. Yes, this is thuggery on a large

scale, and we the viewers are at the receiving end. The film opens in 1795, with a father and a daughter building a sand-castle. Instantly you know where this is leading to. Sandcastles are fragile structures which are washed away. Ergo, the castle the duo lives in is in danger. They are the victims and the aggressors are the British. The East India Company is busy mopping up swathes of Hindustan, gobbling up ‘riyaasats’and ‘rajas’ and demanding tax from poor ‘desh-wasis’. No, this is not Lagaan. This is your cue to start the remember-that-film game. And counting tropes, just as the characters of this film start skimming up ropes on ships (no, this is not Pirates of the Caribbean) and swinging from trees

Sarkar : Not a Sarkar Deepavali


hen a successful filmmaker teams up with a mass hero for the third time, naturally, the expectations are high. Sarkar (which marks the third collaboration of AR Murugadoss and Vijay) fails to live up to the hype. The film works in the first half, thanks to the introduction scenes. You also get to see a song shot in Las Vegas and all that. But post-interval, you lose hope as you realise the film is going off the track. If Sarkar was a political launchpad for Vijay, then you could say, he won. But unfortunately, this is a film. Those slo-mos, action blocks and stylish-tossing-cigarette-moments doesn’t help if you see the film as a whole. Vijay’s terrific screen presence makes this underwritten saga somewhat bearable. But that doesn’t mean one would enjoy everything in a star-driven film. For instance, the Governor suddenly responds to the Chief Jus-

tice’s phone call during a swearingin ceremony. No, I’m not kidding. Vijay (Sundar Ramasamy), CEO of an American firm (who calls himself a ‘corporate criminal’, mind you), returns to India to cast his vote. To his disappointment, he finds his vote cast already. Sundar reads up and decides to start a revolution on 49-P (similar to 49-O) of Indian Penal Code that lets someone cast his or her vote even it was forged before. To our amusement, the film features an advocate (Jethmalani) who doesn’t even know such a law existed. Initially, Sundar says he’d leave Chennai in four hours, but an incident involving a family that sets themselves ablaze changes his mind. He wants to stay back, and cleanse the system. Most importantly, he wants to make people understand the power of democracy (Ovvoru ottum mukkiyam) as it lies

ning widely: the act’s not new but some of it is infectious, and bearable. Just about. The rest of it is a non-stop combo of eye-roll-and-eye-glaze. ~IndianExpress.com


Meenakshi Sheshadri

November16, 1963

Zeenat Aman

November 19, 1951

Sushmita Sen

November 19, 1975

Tusshar Kapoor

November 20, 1976



November 16, 2018

India Seal Whitewash vs. Windies, Despite Late Drama BY SIDHARTH MONGA CHENNAI (ESPN Crickinfo): India 182 for 4 (Dhawan 92, Pant 58) beat West Indies 181 for 3 (Pooran 53*, Bravo 43*) by six wickets. In a match that will be difficult to explain for analysts, Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant seemed to be cruising through what looked like a difficult chase on a pitch with plenty for spinners. Yet, from seven required off 11, India needed a misfield off the last ball of the match to stumble over the line. With the ball turning so much that India’s spinners bowled nine wides - eight because of excessive turn the spinners on both sides barring Yuzvendra Chahal underwhelmed. Particularly disappointing and inexplicable were West Indies, who had 181 on the board but bowled only fiver overs of spin, that too unimpressive even though they went for only 36 runs. The last of those was an afterthought: the last over, with five runs required. The batting was of a high order. Darren Bravo and Dhawan played the more traditional hits; Nicholas Pooran and Pant dazzled with switchhits against spin and reverse-ramps and reverse-laps against pace. Bravo and Pooran added 87 off 43 balls from 94 for 3, but Dhawan and Pant went one step ahead with what eventually turned out to be a 130-run matchwinning partnership, at 10 runs an over. Missing regular T20 openers, West Indies had two different combinations in the first two matches. In the third match, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer showed they had learnt from watching Rohit Sharma in the last game. They played out the first two overs for just six runs, but once they got used to the pace of the pitch they set off using the Powerplay overs. There was also realisation they wanted to use the new ball before it started gripping. Two boundaries each were hit in overs three to six, taking West Indies to 51 in the Powerplay. Already three overs of spin had gone for 32 in the Powerplay, but when Hope went to attack Yuzvendra Chahal first ball, he top-edged a slog-sweep. Chahal bowled cleverly to Hetmyer, who has a distinct preference for the leg side. Chahal kept

an exhibition of sorts: Pant bowling wide outside off and would pull out a crazy T20 slow, not minding the odd shot, Dhawan would match wide, until Hetmyer evenit with an equally impressive tually gave deep-backward hit down the ground. point a catch. At the other A twist came when Pant end, though, Washington tried one reverse-hit too Sundar and Krunal Pandya many, leaving his middle bowled to restrict. stump exposed to a Paul Bhuvneshwar Kumar yorker in the 19th over. bowled a spate of offcutters, Manish Pandey came out to fetching more turn that the face accurate yorkers from fingerspinners, but the first Paul. At seven required from ball he bowled at regulation seven, Pandey drilled one pace, Pooran launched him back to Paul, who tried to over cow corner. field it to deny the batsmen To put Bhuvneshwar off a single, but all he managed his yorker, he played the was to take the pace off the reverse-ramp over point. ball, which gave the batsKhaleel bowled an excellent men time to take two by the 18th over with three yorkers time the ball went to long-off and no boundary, but his last and came back. went for 23. The match almost done, From the way India went Brathwaite went to Allen. after everything in the PowWith four runs off the first erplay, you could tell they three balls, the job was all were wary of the surface. but done. Dhawan then They wanted to cause some became casual, playing a damage before the ball got dot and then finding out the old and began to grip. Rohit Sharma got out trying to do Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant run between the only man outside the circle, India v West Indies, 3rd T20I, Chennai, November Pollard at long-on. Allen that in the second over, and wickets, 11, 2018. bowled a pretty good last KL Rahul in the sixth. Howball, cramping Pandey, who ever, they did seem to have Pant and Dhawan took a liking to the given India some momentum. pace, each of them hitting a six. The hit it to the bowler’s right with no real India still needed 106 off the last pressure had been transferred. Fabien force behind it. Not only could Allen 10 overs. West Indies still had a Allen began with a boundary-less not field it cleanly, he deflected it wide potential six overs of spin in hand. over, but Pant destroyed Pollard at the enough of the man running in from This is what they had opted to bat for. other end. The pressure taken off, he straight short midwicket. Match over. Yet they went to their fastest bowler. went after Allen in his next. It became India 3, west Indies 0.

Mithali Raj 50 Steers India to Victory vs. Pakistan PROVIDENCE, GUYANA: India 137 for 3 (Raj 56) beat Pakistan 133 for 7 (Maroof 53, Dar 52, Poonam 2-22) by seven wickets First, there was the silly - five dropped catches from India, one where the fielder ran away from the ball instead of towards it - and 10 penalty runs given against Pakistan for traipsing up and down the danger area of the pitch. And then there was the sublime - the cricket world knows full well how fun it is to bat but Mithali Raj just makes it look so darn good. She came in, got set, struck her 16th T20I fifty and wrapped up victory with six balls and seven wickets to spare. At the innings break, there was the sense of a contest brewing. Bismah Maroof, after scoring a half-century

of her own, replete with the most picturesque cover drives, spoke to the broadcaster about how India’s batsmen don’t do well against Pakistan’s bowlers. That the pitch was slow and low and their spinners should be able to defend 133. That they even got there after being 30 for 3 was the result of an excellent fourth-wicket stand. Nida Dar, who was the other half of that rescue effort, made 52 off only 35 balls. It was during that 93-run partnership that the biggest talking point from the game emerged. With India’s spinners bowling ever so slowly through the air while maintaining a strict line outside off, Maroof and Dar tried to force the pace by constantly stepping down the track. But after that, when they ran down

the pitch, they kept treading on the danger area. The umpires warned both players - at least twice - before Sue Redfern finally punished them in the 18th over Officials tell each incoming batsman to stay away from the middle of the pitch while sprinting between the wickets but Nahida Khan and Sidra Nawaz forgot all about it. Nevertheless, they too were reprimanded and India’s total swelled by a second set of five runs. All without them facing a single ball. The Pakistan captain Javeria Khan later admitted that it was unprofessional of her side to keep making such mistakes - and even mentioned a instance in Sri Lanka earlier this year, when they were docked for the same offence.


PV Sindhu Sets Sights On Hong Kong Open Title

KOWLOON: In a gruelling season, PV Sindhu managed to claim silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, World Championship and Asian Games. She also reached the finals at the India Open and Thailand Open. Sindhu will look to continue her consistent run when she spearheads the Indian challenge at the Hong Kong World Tour Super 500 tournament beginning here on Tuesday. Sindhu finished second best in the last edition after her gallant fight ended in agony against world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying and the Indian will have to once again bring her best to the fore to salvage any hopes of making the podium again in a tough field. At the rear-end of the season, the Indian will have to go full throttle if she has to reach the finals. Sindhu begins her campaign against Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol and is likely to face China’s He Bingjiao in the quarterfinals, an opponent who has defeated her thrice this year. Saina Nehwal, who claimed a second Commonwealth Games gold and a bronze at the Asian Games this season, will have a tough task at hand when she faces the formidable Akane Yamaguchi, the second seeded Japanese. Saina will have to produce the kind of form that she displayed on way to the Denmark Open final last month. Interestingly, the Indian had beaten the Japanese in the second round at Odense. In the men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth will face Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the opener and might face compatriot HS Prannoy in the second round if he crosses the opening hurdle. Prannoyopenshiscampaignagainst Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, an opponent he had defeated at the Japan Open last year in their only meeting. Also in action will be Sameer Verma, who won the Swiss Open and Hyderabad Open this season.

PV Sindhu finished 2nd best in the last edition against Tai Tzu Ying,

Positions available: 1) Full- time or part-time cashier / counter (must be able to speak English and understand Hindi) 2) Full-time kitchen help. 3) Full-time sales girl for Sari store (must be able to speak English and understand Hindi) Anyone interested in this opportunity, please contact Ramesh Lulla at 713-819-1820 after 2 pm or Aakash Lulla at 832-715-8328 after 2 pm INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

November 16, 2018

India to Lease Half of Padur Crude Oil Storage to ADNOC DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) has signed a preliminary agreement to use half of the Padur strategic reserve facility in Kerala, which can store about 2.5 million tonnes or 18 million barrels of crude, the UAE firm said on Monday. Officials of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and ADNOC signed the memorandum of understanding in the presence of Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and ADNOC Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber. India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, is scouting for partners to fill the reserves and also to build storage to hold oil reserves and to cut costs. “It is our firm hope that we will be able to convert this framework agreement into a new mutually beneficial partnership that will create opportunities for ADNOC to increase deliveries of high-quality crude oil to India’s expanding energy market and

help India meet its growing energy demand and safeguard its energy security,” the ADNOC CEO said in statement. The announcement confirmed an earlier Reuters report. India, which relies on oil imports for about 80% of its needs, has built underground emergency storage in three places to protect itself from any disruption. The reserves can hold

36.87 million barrels or about 9.5 days of average demand. ADNOC, the only foreign company with a deal to store oil in India’s strategic reserves, has a similar storage deal already at the Mangalore strategic storage in Karnataka. “This agreement reflects the strong bonds of cooperation between India and the UAE and provides a foundation for strengthening and expanding

our strategic energy relationship,” Pradhan said in the statement. The agreement allows ADNOC to sell oil to local refiners but would give the government of India the first right to the oil held in the reserve in case of an emergency. Pradhan said earlier on Monday that India was also in talks with Saudi Arabia to store oil in Padur, after India’s cabinet approved a plan last week allowing foreign firms to store oil in the facility. “Participation by foreign oil companies will significantly reduce budgetary support of government of India by more than Rs10,000 crore ($1.38 billion) based on current prices,” Law Minister R. S. Prasad told a news conference last week. The Padur site is about 5 km (3 miles) from the southwest coast and 40 km (25 miles) from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd’s refinery -- Live Mint

PepsiCo Tests Ancient Indian River for Cargo Transport VARANASI: India’s first inland voyage by a container ship since it gained independence from Britain 70 years ago ended when the vessel docked in the holy city of Varanasi on Monday, a development officials hope will help shift cargo from the country’s congested road and rail networks. The 1,390km (863 miles) Ganga watercourse is one of the 111 waterways spanning 20,276km that India is reviving or planning to build. The World Bank-assisted Ganga waterways project—costing Rs5,370 crore ($738 million)— will enable the commercial navigation of vessels and is set to be completed by 2023. Transforming country’s waterways could be a game changer for India as it will reduce the cost of transportation—50% less than highways—as well as easing congestion on roads. The move is designed to encourage companies

such as NTPC Ltd, India’s biggest power producer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the nation’s largest carmaker, Fertilizer Corp. of India Ltd and Tata Chemicals Ltd to use waterways to move cargo from cement to cars. Shifting to water-based cargo transport should have happened at least 15 years ago, said K. Murali, professor at the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts in

the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. “Over time it will pick up steam to become more economical and more sought after mode for shifting cargo—there will be certain cargo which will have preference to move in waterways.” The vessel that sailed from Kolkata on 30 October was carrying food and snacks of PepsiCo Inc. in 16 containers, which is the equivalent of 16

truckloads. The Inland Waterways Authority of India vessel will make its return journey with fertilizers from Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd. To promote inland waterways, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has started dredging channels, building terminals and adding barges and has now set about convincing companies to use them. Modi was in Varanasi— which is also his parliamentary constituency—to receive the vessel and inaugurate the new terminal. Still, India need to overcome challenges including night-time navigation, maintaining consistent water levels and creating more infrastructure, said Murali. India’s first container cargo movement “will provide some momentum to the industry to boost commercial activities, social development and curb carbon footprints, among others”, he said. -- Indian Express


India Identified as Major Seed Hub in All of Asia NEW DELHI: A study has identified India as a major seed hub in Asia with four of its private seed companies featuring in the top 10 of the first ever ‘Access to Seeds’ Index for South and South-East Asia. An evaluation of 24 leading seed companies in the region, however, put India’s stateowned seed company National Seeds Corporation almost at the bottom of the list. The Index scores companies in several areas including efforts to reach out to smallholder farmers, research, breeding activities, marketing, genetic resources, intellectual property and capacity-building of farmers. The study, released in Amsterdam on Monday, showed that 21 of these 24 companies sold seeds in India and 18 had invested in breeding and production activities. On the other hand, only 11 companies invested in breeding activities in Thailand and eight in Indonesia — the two other major regional seed hubs. Referring to presence of so many seed companies in India, executive director of ‘Access to Seeds’ Index Ido Verhagen, however, said the majority of smallholder farmers in the country were yet to be reached. Thailand-based East-West Seed figured at the top of the list with global giants Bayer and Syngenta at number two and three. Indian companies which figured in the top 10 included Advanta, Acsen HyVeg, Namdhari Seeds and Nuziveedu Seeds. National Seeds Corporation (NSC) was at number 21, mainly due to no commitments in genetic resources and intellectual property. The Index, published by the World Benchmarking Alliance with support of the United Nations Foundation and others, is one of the first benchmarks measuring the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



November 16, 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.

Send us the correct answer before November 19, 2018. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 212, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

Solution Next Week

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L��� W���’� SUDOKU W������ 1) Avish Nath 2) Hari Prasad 3) Roy Mathew


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

By popular demand, here is a reprint of Mama’s Baingan Di Dip recipe, which is just the kind of tasty, snack that you need for the parties that are held during the Winter Holidays season. It goes well with crackers, pita bread or veggies. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions.

Baingan Di Dip (EGGPLANT DIP) In the middle of the Holidays, thoughts turn to ways to cool yourself down. Though there are many Indian comfort foods to do that, like gol gappe or pani puri (wafer puffs in spicy water), chaat (spicy cubed potato salad), bhalle (lentil cakes in yogurt), rooh afza (a drink of fruits and herbs), mango ice cream and cool hindwana (watermelon); there are few salty snacks like dips that will do the trick, especially as Indians don’t have things like pita chips to dip with!! But these are summer foods though in the US, people eat them year-round. One summer food that goes well in the winter too are dips for party snacks. Dips and chips aren’t very popular in the Punjab, as they are in the US where Indians of all types easily rush to them. Mediterranean like dips Baba Ghanoush and hummus are popular; just as salsa and guacamole are in the southern US. The closest Indians get are chutneys like pudina (mint) and imbli (tamarind) but these are condiments and not dips or raitas (yogurt sauce) which are usually eaten with rice or paranthas. But the plump baingan (eggplant) is just the right versatile vegetable to turn into a spicy dip with an Indian twist to it. Baingans are very popular in North India where they are often cooked as baingan bhartha with lots of onions and oil. And this same vegetable can be made into a succulent dip that can be eaten with pita chips or small pieces of Italian bread. Baingan dip is a very easy concoction of eggplant, onions and garlic with many herbs and spices. When left to cool in the fridge and served, it is a surprisingly popular addition to the appetizer table and really a hit on hot summer days but equally well for winter holiday partiess! Ingredients: • 1 large baingan (eggplant) • 1 medium piyaaz (onion) • 4 tbsp tael (vegetable or olive oil) • 2 cloves lassan (garlic) • Spices to taste: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), fresh dhania (coriander)

Directions: 1. Remove the top dandal (stem) off the eggplant, peel it and then cut it lengthwise into slices. Cut the slices into smaller 1.5 inch pieces. 2. Wash the pieces in cold water and let them drain in a strainer. It is very important to wash them otherwise the eggplant will start to turn dark. 3. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, wok or kadai over medium heat, place the eggplant in it and mix till they are coated. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Check to see that the eggplant has become tender. If it has, then mash the eggplant with a large spoon. 4. Leave to cook for 2 more minutes, then take off the heat and let it cool for 30 minutes. 5. Peel the onions and garlic and then crush them in a mixer. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat and throw them in till they are brown. Take off the heat and let the mixture cool for 20 minutes. 6. After they are cool to touch, put

the eggplant, onions and garlic in a blender and add the spices and coriander. Set to puree and run according to your taste. 7. Pour into a bowl and leave in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Serve with pita chips or small garlic bread. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India (since renamed Faisalabad) before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her early-nineties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi recipes for future generations.



Rice is a stapl food for so many people make rice that stieck , but it’s pity that they Some may say that s together in lumps and then isaha the method of cook it depends on the kind of rice you bu rd to serve. ing it is the key. y but really, Most people, es right out of the packpecially those in a hurry, will just th it afterwards. Th age into a pot, boil it once, simmer anrow the rice only allows all the d then serve make it stick. Althisou starch to stay in th gh e rice and th er e ar e other ways to cook separate kernels, a the rice to get simple trick is to ad teaspoon of oil to th d a few drop to see how the grai e rice and stir before boiling. You’sllof lemon or a ns come out separa be surprised tely!


November 16, 2018




November 16, 2018


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