E newspaper 01202017

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Friday, January 20, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 03


Indo American erican News

www.indoamerican-news.com Published weekly from Houston, TX

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January 20, 2017 3 COMMUNITY Indian Faces Among the Chevron and Aramco Marathoners BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: The Houston Mar-

athon certainly has come a long way from when it started in 1972 with a field of 113 runners who ran through a 5-mile loop at Memorial Park. The winners then were Danny Green in 2:32:33 and Tanya Trantham in 5:11:55. This past weekend, on Sunday, January 15, the course, now called the Chevron Houston Marathon, wound through downtown, Greenway and Uptown before heading back to finish at Discovery Green, a typical 42.2km or 26.2 miles course. The winners of the full-marathon were for men, Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro clocking 2:12:05 and for women Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia, coming in at 2:30:18. In the Aramco Half-Marathon (21.1km or 13.1miles), among women, Veronicah Nyaruai Wanjiru of Kenya won in 67:58 and among men, Leonard Korir of the United States came away with a time of 61:14. In 1972, Houston’s population was about 1,250,000 and the number of desis were measured only in the low hundreds and none of them participated in the marathon. Fast forward 44 years, and the Bayou City has grown to 2,232,000, the desi population now is estimated at around 150,000 in the five county area and there were at least as many desi runners in this year’s marathon as all those who ran in 1972! The number of desi runners has only been increasing over the past two decades as more of them take up running – and other endurance races – as a sport. Just through a rough sampling of common Indian last names which registered for the 2017 marathon, there were in excess of 150 desis who participated in Sunday’s marathon in all the ten types of races that were run. Among them were the constant runners, Dr. Kuldip Kaul of Clear Lake and Dr. Sanjay Sharma of Houston. Kaul has also participated in the MS100 bike race to Austin and Sharma took part in two races this time and has also been running other marathons and the Ironman Race over the past three months. Dr. Randeep Suneja of Katy, who has been running marathons in Houston, Katy and New Delhi with very little preparation, even took to sending a live Facebook feed during his half-marathon run!

Kuldip Kaul (right) and Nadir Ali (center)

Randeep Suneja

Aditya Bansal

2017 Houston Marathon

Jay and Nirja Aiyer

Indo American participants in Half Marathon with finisher medals. From left: Ramesh Anand, Zarina Anand, Pankaj Desai, Riddhi Desai, Chintan Mehta, and Sesh Bala.

HOUSTON: It was warm and Sanjay Sharma

So, maybe the other story in this is that the desi community is ready for a marathon of its own, with corporate sponsorship from some large firms like Infosys, Tata Consulting, Mahendra and other local giants! And the proceeds could go to some deserving local charities or groups! It’s an idea whose time has come!!

muggy at 7 AM at start of the race. The temperature stayed in mid 60s and it was overcast and a bit windy most of the day. About 3 hours into the race it rained hard. The Houston Marathon organizers had warned the runners of these weather conditions and advised caution even to the extent of saying not to push for the personal best in timing. As it turned out, the weather did not affect performance and en-

thusiasm that badly. A determined group of Indo Americans were out in open space, running and walking, and making their presence felt at the 46th annual Houston Marathon on Sunday, Jan 15, 2017. The Chevron Houston Marathon is a world-class event happening right at our doorsteps; it attracts athletes from over 40 states in the US and many countries around the globe. The 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon featured 27,000

registered participants, 7,500 volunteers and over 200,000 spectators, making it the largest annual single-day sporting event in Houston. The 27,000 is split evenly between Full Marathon (26.2 miles) and Half Marathon (13.1 miles). The 5K race was held the previous day for better crowd control and management. The Marathon starts and ends at the George R. Brown





January 20, 2017



January 20, 2017


A Trifecta of Events at Sri Meenakshi Temple During January 11- 15

PEARLAND: The trifecta of events cele-

brating Arudhra Darshanam, Andal Kalyanam, and Pongal displayed the rich traditions of India and the depth of “bhakthi” (devotion) among the devotees who attended. Each event was a feast to the eyes and ears, and proved to be extremely gratifying to the devotees, thanks to the beautiful decorations and authentic pujas performed by the priests.

Arudhra Darshanam BY M.K. SRIRAM Arudra Darshanam, also known as Thiruvadirai is a very important festival, celebrated primarily in southern India. Sri Meenakshi Temple, the symbol of traditional Hindu worship in the southern United States celebrates this in the same fashion as the famous Chidambaram temple in Tamil Nadu. This event occurs on the full moon day, also on Thiruvadirai nakshathra or birth-star, in the Tamil month of Marghazhi. Legend says Lord Shiva descended on earth in the form of Lord Nataraja, and performed an ecstatic cosmic dance. About a hundred devotees gathered on Wednesday, Jan 11th evening and took part in the abhishekam and pooja conducted by the priests. Classic Tamil poems in Thiruvempavai and many vedic hymns were chanted to the spiritual delight of the devotees. The idols were taken out on a grand procession around the temple. After the final Aarthi, prasadams brought by the devotees were distributed among all. The main prasadam by unique tradition is the Thiruvadirai Kali, made of made of Rice, Jaggery, Moong dhal, Coconut, Cardamom and Ghee accompanied with Thiruvathirai koottu which is a dish made using seven vegetables. The event was coordinated by Sheila Sriram and Chitra Kumar. MTS priests, staff, Religious Activities Committee and volunteers worked hard to make this a great religious experience for the devotees.

Andal Kalyanam BY KAMALA RAGHAVAN Andal is one of the best-loved poet-saints in Tamil Nadu, and one of the 12 azhwars known for their bhakthi towards Lord Vish-

nu. Andal, also known as “Kodhai” and “Choodikotutha Nachiyar” is considered to be the incarnation of Bhoomi Devi (Mother Earth) who took the human form to show all of us mortals the way to Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet. The 12 azhwars together contributed 4,000 poems in Tamil known as the “Naalayira Divyaprabhandham”, of which 143 poems were written by Andal. The 30 poems known as “Thiruppavai” are known for their simplicity and elegance in Tamil. The poems are believed to be more than 1000 years old, but they are still in vogue with young and old devotees today. Sri Meenakshi Temple Society celebrated the sacred wedding of Andal with Lord Vishnu on Friday, Jan 13th. Utsava idols of Maha Vishnu and Andal were beautifully adorned and placed in the center of the main temple. Over a hundred devotees eagerly gathered to witness and celebrate this celestial wedding. After the initial rituals including Sankalpam, Vishwaksena puja and Punyahavachanam (purification), the Priests performed all the rituals that are part of a regular Hindu wedding. Parents with unmarried children believe that when they partake in this event, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu will shower their blessings so their children will find suitable partners in life. The event was very well organized by Mrs. Sheila Sriram and coordinated by Bhargavi Golla, Chitra Kumar and Malathi Sundar. They were ably supported by the Temple staff, silpis (artisans) and devotee volunteers. The priests deserved special kudos for the beautiful decorations and authentic divine wedding ceremony of Sri Andal to Lord Vishnu. The devotees were treated to dinner organized by the MTS Food Committee.

Pongal BY ARUN NARAYANAN This year the auspicious Pongal day was stunningly celebrated at Sri Meenakshi Temple. It was even more special because the Pongal calendar day and the temple celebration were both on the same day. Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in India on the first day of the Tamil Month, Thai. It is similar to Thanksgiving in the United States. The program started with Surya Namasakar through yoga by Hindu Swayam Sevak. At

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Andal kalyanam

Arudhra Darshanam

10:30am the priests began the puja and Mrs. Meena Kannapan and the priests’ spouses lit the first stove of the Pongal celebration. The overwhelming number of devotees registered to do Pongal was at an all-time high. Milk was boiled in vessels over wood burning stoves. As the milk overflowed, chants of “Pongalo Pongal!” could be heard from the devotees. The ladies performed a traditional “Kummi” dance to classic folk music. The enthusiasm was infectious, as the men and children also entertained the crowd with delightful dancing. It felt like you were in Tamil Nadu. As the music faded and the dancing came to an end, the priests offered the delicious Pongal prasadam to all four deities inside the main Temple: Siva, Meenakshi, Venkateswara and Padmavathi. A special aarthi


was done in all the Sannadhis. The executive team thanked the priests, staff and all the volunteers. Malar Narayanan and Sarawathiamma Pillai were the coordinators of the Pongal celebration. Mala Gopal coordinated the Kummi dance and Sheila Sriram coordinated the Puja. It was a great day for the Meenakshi temple devotees. Pongalo Pongal!

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6 January 20, 2017 COMMUNITY Pasrija Takes Helm at TiE Houston; Rojas is Exec. Director


The Indus Entrepreneurs Houston Chapter whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship, announced that Dr. Arun Pasrija, will be its new President succeeding John S. Reale, Jr.,. who will remain on the Board of Directors. “I am proud to take on this role to continue the progress made under JR and Aruna Viswanathan’s leadership”, stated Pasrija. “I hope to build on TiE’s strong foundation to strengthen Houston’s entrepreneurship ecosystem by bringing value of TiE global network to Houston. I look forward to working with our dedicated membership base across our local and global organization, working collaboratively with other like-minded organizations and welcome new members to

help us fulfill our mission.” Pasrija is the CEO and co-founder of CHR Solutions, a billing software, IT services, and telecom engineering company headquartered in Houston, Texas. Prior to co-founding CHR Solutions, he has had over 15 years of broad experience at AT&T/ Lucent and L-3 Communications in various executive-level roles in both domestic and international markets. His entrepreneurial success in building CHR solutions has been recognized by being a finalist for the ‘Gulf Coast Region E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year’ for five different times. Pasrija has been a TiE Houston Charter Member since 2001, on its board for the last 5 years, and actively involved with TiE global commu-

Dr. Arun Pasrija, new TiE Houston President Ana Rojas, new Executive Director

nity attending several TiE Global retreats in past few years. “’Leader’ is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Arun,” said Reale, the co-founder and CEO of Station Houston. “His commitment to the organization, its members and the community has been consistent and exemplary throughout the years. I am excited for TiE’s future and our ability to continue our support the growth of our local startup and entrepreneurship community.” TiE Houston is also pleased to announce that Ana Rojas Bastidas will be the new Executive Director of the chapter. She has With 12 years of corporate experience in human resources, recruitment, and training, is a recent transplant to Houston from South Florida and had been volunteering for TiE Houston for last six months. “The energy of the Houston entrepreneurial community is boundless and I feel so fortunate to be able to use my talents and experience to help drive that force here with TiE Houston with support from TiE global. I am looking forward to planning and participating in all the initiatives we have planned for 2017 and beyond.” says Rojas

WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information, Call 713-789- NEWS (6397) or email


January 20, 2017





January 20, 2017

2017 Houston Marathon CONTINUED FROM PAGE


Convention Center in downtown Houston. The guaranteed prize money for the Full Marathon first place was $45,000 and for the Half Marathon $20,000. It is the same amount for men and women. Of the 4 top purses, this year, 2 of the top prizes were won by Kenyans, one by an Ethiopian and one by an American. The Houston Marathon is also a charitable event; the runners and the organization raise money for many area charities. Each year the organizers make some changes. This year the route was the same as in 2016 except for the home stretch in downtown. The arrangements for the flow of such a large number of runners at start and on finish inside the George R Brown Convention Center were outstanding. Security precautions were very visible. The organizers deserve high praise for the management of the race. A casual scanning and observation sug-

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gested the participation from the Indian American community this year has grown after being steady for a number of years! Facebook postings are on the rise. There were many young runners as well as veterans. There were quite a few Indo American volunteers at the water and Gatorade stations on the course. In particular there were many youngsters helping out as volunteers. The Houston Marathon is very popular but has limits on how many can sign up. For the Jan 14, 2018 Marathon, the registration was already open on Jan 15, 2017, but open just for 5 days for first 10,000 registrants. It will open again in May and Jun in stages until sold out. For the last 12 years the marathon has been a sell-out. The details are at the site www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com. Organizations like USA Fit and Fort Bend Fit will help getting trained. Email SeshBala@ hotmail.com to learn more about Houston Marathon participation.

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January 20, 2017



HINDU WORSHIP SOCIETY GOVERNING BOARD AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ELECTIONS TO BE HELD IN FEBRUARY /MARCH 2017 (Since not all Emails and/or home addresses are available, hence this announcement in the local news media ) At the General Body Meeting held on 8 Jan 2017 the Board President, Bal Sareen announced the following time line for the upcoming election. Receiving the Self Verification Forms 22 January 2017 (Date extended) | Members list on Temple Notice Board 10 February 2017 Election Commissioner to invite Nominations 10 February 2017 | Last Date to receive Nominations 24 February 2017 | Election to be held at the Temple 11:00AM to 3:00PM on 26 March 2017 In the recent weeks, Bal Sareen, HWS Temporary Board President has announced to the HWS devotees that HWS plans to have elections in MARCH 2017 so that a regular Board and Executive Committee is in place to effectively operate the Hindu Worship Society in accordance with the current constitution and good operating practices based on an initial input from the Temporary Board to use systems that are based on the lessons learned from the past operations. Ms.Usha Mehra has kindly agreed to serve as an ELECTION COMMISSIONER to insure elections are conducted within the HWS Constitution guidelines and in a fair and congenial environment. As a first step to commence the election process, the Temporary Board is communicating with all HWS devotees and well wishers to confirm their Membership Status by completing the membership verification form provided below : Hindu Worship Society - Membership Declaration Form (Self-attestation process) Name: ___________________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________ E-mail Address: ____________________________________________________________ Phone Number: Home: ______________________ Mobile: ________________________ I am a Life Member or / General Member ____ Since: ________________________ Signature______________________________________


HWS Constitution Article 4: Membership 1. Article 4 Membership Membership in the society is open to any Hindu of 18 Years of age, the term “Hindu” shall apply to anyone who was born into the Hindu faith or who has adopted the Hindu Faith 2. Life membership is open to those who pay life membership fee. Life membership is not transferable 3. Associate or corporate membership shall be open to anyone who respects and supports the objectives. Associates and corporate members shall have no voting rights 4. Members who have paid annual or lifetime dues and fees shall be entitled as set forth in this constitution, to vote on the election or ratification of members of the executive committee and of the board, on the acquisition and disposition of the major assets of the society, on the merger and its principal terms and any amendment of those terms, on any resolution to dissolve the society, and on any amendments to this constitution. The voting rights shall be in effect after two months of continuous membership in good standing. 5. All members shall be required to abide by this constitution and to promote the welfare and the interest of the society 6. All members shall pay annual or lifetime dues as set by the general body at the beginning of each year the amount for life time membership may be increased but shall not be decreased. For the

7. 8.

first year the amount due for life time membership shall be $1,000 which may be paid over a twenty four month period. Only after the full amount has been paid shall member become a life member. The annual membership dues shall be for January 1 through December 31. General Membership is currently $100 per year. Each verification Form is for TWO votes (Member and Spouse)

The membership verification form indicates the requirements for LIFE MEMBERS and GENERAL MEMBERS. While all the life members are voting members, General Members for years 2015 and 2016 are eligible to vote. The completed and signed forms may be sent in any of the following proposed methods : a. Scan and return by Email if preferred to : mnicholson@ieeinc.net b. Mail the form to : Bhawani Shankar Shastri Ji C/O Hindu Worship Society 2223 Wirtcrest Road, Houston, Texas 77055 c. If visiting the Temple please deposit the forms in a sealed envelope in locked box specifically kept for the completed Membership Verification Forms d. Forms in sealed envelopes can be handed over to the Election Commissioner Ms. Usha Mehra. Kindly complete and return this form to any of the methods described above your earliest possible, preferably before 22 January 2017. (You can also return the completed form and leave it in the locked box kept in the temple hall for this purpose) After the Membership verification process has been completed Members will receive communications from the Election Commissioner providing general guidelines and will also seek nominations for a variety of positions to serve the Hindu Worship Society of Houston.


10 January 20, 2017




January 20, 2017

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Mataji Aanakut Darshan 2017 at Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir

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HOUSTON: Mataji’s Pooja started at 9:00 am on Wednesday January 11. Annakut Darshan timings were 11:00 am to 6:30 pm. Mahaprasad was served after maha Aarti. Devotees bought many Samagri- Prasad. Devotees who desire to sit in future Pooja may give their names to Priest Shri Hardik Raval 361-2436539 or Shri Prakash Adhvaryu 832-981-0055 or Shri Pralay pandya 832-7589733 Or call the Mandir at 713-278-9099. Temple is located at 6640 Harwin Dr, Houston, Tx 77036. Upcoming event: Mahashivratri on January 24, 2017

Yoga for Health, Health for Humanity Yogathon

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Suryanamaskar Yagan kickoff event at Madhav Shakha, Sugar Land. Over 150 people participated in this e vent. Photo: Vijay Pallod

SUGAR LAND: The tenth an-

nual “Yoga for Health, Health for Humanity Yogathon” will be held at Sugar Land Town Square (2711, Town Center Blvd, Sugarland, TX 77479) on Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. This is a free event. Sugar Land Mayior ProTem Himesh gandhi will be the chief guest at the event. The 16-day event, also known as “Surya Namaskar Yajna” or Salutation to Sun, involving a series of 12 yogic postures, aims to create awareness about Yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind and spirit. Surya Namaskar integrates simple Yoga postures in 10-steps that,

along with easy breathing technique, can provide immense health benefits to both the body and the mind. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) initiated this health awareness project in 2006. Since its inception, participants from 40 states actively took part via various Yoga Centers. Community organizations, schools and colleges regardless of individual faiths and beliefs, have participated and collectively performed over 4 million Surya Namaskars. Community leaders and many elected officials across the nation have appreciated this initiative and encouraged their residents to participate and gain the benefits of an

overall healthy life style. This year also, HSS Houston invites community groups, Yoga centers, students, and individuals to learn and participate in Health for Humanity Yogathon. Free parking is available at SLTS and everyone is requested to bring their own yoga mat. The Health for Humanity Yogathon aims to bring a sense of self-discipline in all of our lives. By enabling one to connect with and internalize that habit of selfdiscipline. This initiates the process of living a healthy life style. This program is open to people of all ages, gender, and races and does not involve the worship of any deity. Registration for the event can be done at https://goo.gl/ forms/HIoy4aAZSf0oZFid2 . Anant Samdhani is coordinator for January 29th event. For more information, visit http://www. hssus.org/sny or email to anantsamdani@yahoo.com or call 424-335-9661

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Role Model for Entrepreneurs: Swapnil Agarwal


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IACCGH member Swapnil Agarwal’s first brush with living in an apartment was when the 15 year old moved with his parents to a rundown Class C apartment complex in 1996. The teenager from India lived in what he describes as “a rough area” and an apartment that was broken into thrice. The experience seems to have stuck with Swapnil. Seventeen years later when he would buy a multi -family property as an entrepreneurial venture and follow it up with 24 other properties, he put a high premium on security, upgrades such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, quality fixtures and state of the art gyms to create a safe family friendly environment for residents. Like every other Indian kid, Swapnil set out to be a computer engineer but an Economics 101 class in high school prevailed. He headed to UT Austin to major in Finance and supplemented his tuition by working at Merrill Lynch. By this time, he’d had another change of heart. He wanted to become an investment banker. Stints at Simmons and EP Energy led to an offer in a private real estate investment firm in Hong Kong – a seven year experience

Swapnil Agarwal

that proved invaluable. However, while Swapnil’s career was on the fast track, his entrepreneurial spirit was chafing. With a baby on the way, Swapnil and his wife wanted to move back to the US and that’s when he decided to take the plunge and start out on his own. In 2013, he settled on an apartment complex on Tidwell and I45, tapped banks, family and friends for a loan and with their blessings launched Nitya Capital – a company that buys properties and Karya Property Management which manages the properties. Swapnil quickly got schooled in the essentials of running a multifamily property. He acted on complaints about leaking roofs and running water and within 6 months increased revenues from 60 K to 90 K. There was no looking back from

that point on and Swapnil along with college buddies and now partners Vivek Shah and Manish Patel own 7500 units and $500 million worth of assets spread over Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Swapnil, who recently turned 35, was also invited to address the Harvard Business School - Club of Houston to share his entrepreneurial journey. IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia describes him as a “great role model to would be entrepreneurs.” In January 2017, Nitya Capital clinched the largest transaction in the company’s history – a portfolio of 6 properties. The responsibility for 8000 families and 350 plus employees brings its fair share of challenges but Swapnil, who clearly enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes with the challenges, wouldn’t have it any other way. His advice for those following in his footsteps is to be “willing to take the risk and relinquish a paycheck security mindset.” Swapnil and wife Deepika are involved in several charitable organizations such as Magic Bus and Pratham as well as support two schools in India. He recharges by playing with his 3 year old son Aryan and enjoys a competitive game of tennis.



January 20, 2017

Importance of Dental Care for Children

HOUSTON: Healthy teeth are

important to children’s overall health. From the time a child is born, family members can take steps to promote healthy teeth and prevent cavities. For example, babies’ teeth can be cleaned with a soft, clean cloth or baby’s toothbrush. Also, avoid putting a baby to bed with a bottle and check their teeth regularly for spots or stains. According to Dr. David Le, DDS, Dental Director at Ibn Sina Community Medical and Dental Clinic at 11226 South Wilcrest Dr., in Houston, parents can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when children are two years old, or sooner, if your dentist suggests it. “Parents can provide healthy fruits and vegetables as an alternative to sugary sweet snacks and drinks,” said Dr. Le, “ as well as scheduling regular dental checkups.” Forming good habits at a young age can help your child have healthy teeth for life.” In addition, dental treatments that seal a child’s back teeth (molars), can prevent most cavities, but many kids -- particularly those living in poverty -- don’t get them, according to U.S. health officials. Dental sealants are liquid fluoride resin coatings painted into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of teeth. When cured with a specific light source, they quickly harden to form a shield on the teeth, which can last for years. Sealants can cut cavities by 80 percent for up to two years, and by 50 percent for up to four years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Unfortunately, only an estimated 40 percent of children have dental sealants, but 60 percent do not,” added Dr. Le. “Kids without dental sealants have almost three times more risk of cavities that those who do have sealants.” Low-Income Children Lack

Dr. David Le, DDS

Dental Care Poor children are more than twice as likely as those from more affluent families to have untreated tooth decay. According to Dr. Le, “dental sealants are simple, quick, easy and completely painless, there are no unwanted side effects and the benefits start immediately.” Clinics that provide free and low-cost services for children from low-income families are especially important, because those children are less likely to receive dental care. Sealant treatments are offered at Ibn Sina Community Medical and Dental Clinics at all locations in the Houston area, including: 11226 S. Wilcrest Dr., Houston 77099 15132 Old Galveston Road (Highway 3), Clear Lake 77598 16345 S. Post Oak Road, Houston, 77053 5012 North Shepherd, Houston 77018 What to expect The standard six-month dental visit should begin at age 2. Between ages 4 and 6, expect a first set of mouth X-rays to check for cavities lurking between the teeth. Prevention is the name of the game

between ages 6 and 12, when baby teeth give way to permanent teeth. Look for your child’s dentist to suggest a sealant between ages 7 and 9. Cavity-prone molars (at the back of the mouth) are the most likely site for treatment. The first orthodontic evaluation should occur around age 7, although most children that need braces will have them at ages 12 or 13. Dr. David Le, DDS. In 1990, Dr. David Le graduated from the University of Washington with an Electrical Engineering degree and became a Nuclear Engineer through the accelerated Naval Nuclear Power training program in the Pacific Northwest in 1991. He worked as a lead Nuclear Engineer specializing in the Naval Nuclear Power Propulsion and Electrical System for 10 years and decided to pursue a career in Dentistry. Dr. Le graduated from the University of Washington Dental School in 2006 and have been practicing dentistry for 10 years. He has joined Ibn Sina Foundation and provided quality dental care to the community at the Wilcrest Medical and Dental Clinic location since 2011. Outside of work, Dr. Le enjoys fishing, camping, and boating with his wife and 5 children.



14 January 20, 2017


Houston Chapter President Visits an Ekal School in Maharashtra

HOUSTON: Have you ever wondered

what it might be like to spend a day visiting with one of 55 plus thousand Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation Schools in the remote and tribal villages of India? Well, that was exactly what the new incoming president of the Ekal Houston local chapter, Pankaj Desai and his wife, Urmi Desai, accomplished during their recent visit to India. The Ekal School that they visited is located about three hours from Mumbai in the Charanwadi village of the Palghar district, in Maharashtra. This trip was arranged by the Ekal Mumbai area lead, Anil Mansighka. Charanwadi is a small village, where Ekal School is run inside a local resident’s house. The ambiance there reminded Desai of a village school 50 plus years back in the village where his parents came from and where he attended a summer school in a similar environment. Upon arrival in Charanwadi, Desais were greeted with flowers and Aarti (Indian custom). About 30 kids neatly dressed in a uniform between ages 5 and 11 years were also part of the greeting team and expressed their formal “Pranaam”. Ekal local lead explained Ekal Model – Functional Literacy, Ethics & Value Education, Health Care, Village Development and Empowerment. The schoolteacher, as well as the local lead for all the area schools had the Bachelor of Arts degrees from local colleges. The real key is that the teachers were from the same area, who students can relate to and therefore dream of making a similar progression. While on the day of the visit, school session was conducted in the morning to accommodate the Desais visit; they are typi-

Pankaj and Urmi Desai visiting the Gramothan project

cally conducted in the evening (5:00 PM – 7:30 PM). School started with Gayatri Mantra and other religious and patriotic songs. There was a significant emphasis on allegiance to “Bharatmaata” and on ensuring India’s sovereignty. Most of the students participated in singing Sanskrit shlokas and Hindi patriotic prayers. They were very all disciplined and well behaved and had a great sense of community. This was followed by storytelling in Marathi (regional language) and Q&A. Good overall participation from Students was observed. Main emphasis of teaching was on language and vocabulary skills. Besides, in Math, students were taught basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Many of them were getting it right the first time. In addition to studies, teachers and students played a game together, which was very interactive - students knew each other by name and had good fun playing. There

was small break during which Desais distributed chocolate packs and some board games to students. One of the teachers had a great singing talent, she sang and kids clapped and danced in circle. There was lot of joy in the room. Toward the end, Desais were asked to interact with the students and teachers – mostly in the local language, Marathi. They all knew “Modiji’ by name but did not know about the big cities, Mumbai or New Delhi. When asked about their career aspirations, the most common responses were either a soldier or a policeman, with a handful aspiring to become either teachers or doctors. Desais were quite impressed with the kids and encouraged the teacher to buy even more learning gadgets for them. As the lunch break arrived, about noon time, Annamrita (Iskcon Project) Food truck had arrived and kids rushed to get their nutritious mid-day meal. They also visited a Gramothan project

about 20 km from the school – nice vocational/technical training facility and compost project. Ekal runs nine such centers, with the one in Jharkhand being the most developed. A few local college students were there for training as well. As Desais completed an ISO 9001 Survey subsequent to their visits, they especially noted the following takeaways: •Ekal Schools are well run and students are learning, •Ekal has committed organization in the field to ensure success, •Ekal model works due to collaboration with many other local organizations, •Ekal model does promote Sustainability, •Use English charts and alphabets – posters were visible on the walls, •Use local community TV and other mediums (smartphones) to expedite learning and broaden their horizons, •Try to make students global citizens. “We truly enjoyed our day visit to the Ekal School in Charanwadi – seeing a real school in live action, the progress and more importantly, the enthusiasm in these tribal communities, were priceless! It does give a true sense of gratification and a renewed commitment to the Ekal mission”, Desai wrote in his trip report. This experience he said was indeed a real life manifestation of the good being done back home by the charitable donations made to Ekal by its multiple loyal donors, here in Houston and nationally across the United States. For more information about the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, please visit www. ekal.org and click on Who We Are or What We Do, or contact us at ekalusa@ekal.org.

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January 20, 2017



20 January 20, 2017 Reservation of Baffling Kind Baffling is the only word that comes to mind to describe Air

India’s latest move. It has said that it will reserve six seats for women on its domestic routes from next week. The reason, though not clearly articulated, seems to have been the incident in which a woman passenger was groped while asleep during a long haul Air India flight. With this seat reservation, Air India says that women travelling alone and in middle or window seats will not be inconvenienced while going to the washroom. Judging by the response on social media, this patronising and sexist step has not gone down well, least of all with women. This comes at a time when the airline has been rated the third worst in the world, something it has furiously refuted. We wonder what the priorities of the airline are. Reserving seats for women certainly should not be one. On what basis will these reserved seats be allocated? And why on earth should an airline whose prime motive should be to be competitive and provide value for money want to reserve seats for anyone? Those with disabilities could be accommodated in seats where they could have easier access to the washroom or exits, the elderly must be shown consideration but reservation goes against the very grain of any competitive business. The struggling airline has many problems it needs to tackle. While it has been successful in reducing its bloated crewto-passenger ratio, it still lacks professionalism in in-flight services and ground handling. One of the frequent complaints is that its ground staff are either badly trained or unresponsive to travellers, and that it is not competitively priced. In recent times, in the domestic sector, private carriers have given it a run for its money. Much of its fleet is aging and needs an urgent upgrade. One of the responses on social media goes: Women don’t need reserved seats but clean seats would be a good idea. The other problem that Air India has been trying to tackle with not much success is that of our political worthies demanding upgrades and using the carrier as a private charter. There are many stories of ministers getting upgrades for their relatives, something which causes a loss of revenue for the airline. For years, the airline has been bleeding and there have been numerous committees which have made valid recommendations on how to set things right. These have all got a quiet burial. The obvious answer would privatisation — something the political class is resistant to. But given the myriad problems that affect the airline, reservations for women should not have featured anywhere on its agenda going forward. -Hindustan Times

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Make in India: 60 Years Ago

BY S. MUTHIAH That’s what Godrej, the office furniture manufacturer started doing, seeing typewriters as a logical extension of its primary business. To commemorate this, it has brought out a well-designed, entertainingly written pictorial history that’s landed on my table.With Great Truth & Regard by Sidharth Bhatia conveys Godrej’s further thinking on this in a couple of striking section dividers that deserve quoting: “The Indian ideal of Swadeshi, or self-reliance, went much further than the ubiquitous charkha spinning out its rough but beloved khadi fabric. It infiltrated the images of artists, wound its way to the heart of thinkers and even motivated the practical dreamers who formed the new country’s first industrial empires. These last were inspired to develop new processes for manufacture using the latent pool of talent and resources within India instead of depending on (imports). It was an ingenious way towards building the nation’s future, providing employment, generating new and existing skills and paving the way for new industries. “Patriotism manifests itself in many ways. After Godrej successfully produced the first completely Indian, completely indigenous typewriter, it presented one of its first machines to the Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The great man reportedly saw the typewriter as ‘a symbol of independent and industrialised India.’ This statement echoes more than half a century later. In 2013, the Indian High Commission in the UK was back to using typewriters for sensitive documents in order to avoid being spied upon by NSA and others.” Once the typewriter culture spread in India, another divider says, “certain sub-groups began to be identified with expertise at typing and being fiercely loyal to dictation-giving bosses. The South Indian Brahmin and his erudition, the Anglo-Indian lady with her ‘modern ways’, the Bengali Babu maintaining the rigid structure of the bureaucracy in government offices… all rose in standing because of the professional and social skills they had imbibed in the course of being the conduit of the boss’s articula-

Archival photo show PM Jawaharlal Nehru trying out the Godrej typewriter.

tions. They wielded this power with derision or sophistication, all too keenly aware that this ability to take shorthand and machine it into communication was the new literacy, the new currency of progress. The entry of women into the work place in the ‘50s and ‘60s, both in India and abroad was roughly around the same time the typewriter began to make its presence felt…. The aspiration and freedoms this new profession offered to women could not be denied, nor could the status they achieved as the indispensable assistants to the top men in the office.” But despite the increasing presence of women in offices with typewriters, the Bengali Babus, “Wren and Martins incarnate” insisted on men-only offices. This paper also seems to have had this view at one time. Bhatia recounts how V. Subramanian, who began life as a stenographer in Madurai, later, in 1951, joined the Madras office of The Hindu where there were only male typists. Women, Subramanian, noticed, joined Madras offices only later in the 1950s. He doesn’t say when that happened at The Hindu. Writing of the Madras scene today, Bhatia narrates a couple of stories. Vatsala Krishna Kumar, a 50-yearold keen on helping her chartered accountant daughter, has been taking classes at the Stenographers’ Guild, having forgotten her early training in these skills and wanting to be ready

to handle the computer more competently. Asked whether having the skill to use a typewriter improved her skill on the computer as is often said by typing instructors, she says, “The computer is easier. On the typewriter you cannot afford to make mistakes, so I am more careful. On the computer, my mind wanders a bit.” And S.K. Balasubramaniam of Eskeby & Co, a significant player in the Madras wholesale paper market, has a 20-year-old Facit typewriter in his small office. Dealing as he is only with large orders for a few big customers, he finds his typewriter more than enough for his volume of correspondence. He has a computer at home “and I use it for Internet and Facebook”. Speaking of his typewriter he says, “It is very old and gives trouble from time to time. Sometimes, the ribbon gets stuck. Sometimes something else will be wrong. Then I call the repairer… and give him 20 or 50 Rupees or so. I will never spend more money than that, say 700 or 800 rupees, on a major overhaul.” If you can lay your hands on this Roli-published book, you’ll find a heap of typewriting stories from round the country…but little about the other typewriter manufacturers like Remington, the pioneer, or Facit and Halda of Madras, though the book is subtitled “The story of the typewriter in India.” -- The Hindu


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January 20, 2017


C24+ Closes Out Year with Lively Family Event

Photos: Bijay Dixit, Unique Photo Images


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OUSTON: Club 24 Plus ended the 2016 event calendar with a celebration for the holidays with a luncheon for its members and their children, held on last December 11 at the upscale Tony Vallone’s eatery Ciao Bello on Sage and San Felipe. The event was held in the restaurant’s spacious indoor patio. The natural lighting and interesting mosaics on the wall lend a lovely charm to the overall ambience. About 115 people attended the lively, fun filled event. The guests arrived for the festive occasion dressed up in the Christmas spirit. Samosas and other snacks were served along with ice tea and soft drinks. Everyone had an opportunity to mingle with each other and was seated at beautifully decorated tables. Pradeep Gupta, President, Club 24 Plus welcomed everyone to the holiday event. He was appreciative of all the members that attended the over-subscribed event. He introduced the chair of the event, Savita Rao. She, in turn, requested some of the younger kids that attended to come forward and introduce themselves. About 8 children spoke and


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to from 2.30pm to 3.30pm introduced their parents and in some cases grand-parents that attended the event with them. Following the introductions, Rao and committee member Hansa Kothari organized a Christmas Trivia game. Kothari had a stocking filled with Christmas trivia questions and about ten members were chosen, at random, to help answer these questions. It was fun to watch some of the adults struggle with Christmas trivia. Luckily, the organizer allowed the audience to help answer the questions. Following the game, the famous Tony Vallone Italian lunch was served. This consisted of a delicious

Vallone salad followed by a sumptuous choice of chicken frascati, eggplant parmigiana or paglia fieno Genovese. This delicious dinner was topped with a to-die for chocolate cake, traditional Indian “mithai” sweets and coffee. Rao and Kothari then kicked of the White Elephant game, in which the members could pick any gift from the table of gifts in return for the gift that they had placed on the table. Gupta closed off the evening by announcing that the next Club 24 event will be a Valentine event to be held at Maggiano’s restaurant in early February 2017.





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HOUSTON: There are many great souls who

have made a deep impact on this world. They become guiding forces for the society with their inspirational lifestyle and leadership. Many people became their followers and have kept the lineage and tradition alive with the core values. Sri Ramanujacharya is the jewel among such great souls. Bestowed with the Acharya status by God himself, to set an example for all of us, Ramanuja became Jagadacharya (Universal Teacher). He served as a role model through out the world and even today his life and teachings continue to inspire many. He made sure that all sections of society were part of it and his message was “All are equal before God”. “Serve all beings as Service to God – instilled the altruistic spirit in me and shape my outlook towards the world. It is a magnanimous feat of Sri Ramanuja to break open the shackles of caste system when it was ingrained deeply into the hearts of people, centuries ago. Worship your own, respect all – needs to be intrinsic part of one’s life for a peaceful world. Bringing forth Sri Ramanuja’s doctrine of selfless service to the universal attention and propagating his ideals for the betterment of the

January 20, 2017


Sri Ramanujacharya: The Inspirational Leader

society is a divine call of the conscience with the blessing of my Guru. His steadfast principles captivated me to envisage this mission of constructing Statue of Equality, to be accomplished for his 1000th birth anniversary in 2017, realizing it for a diving person who played a monumental role in diminishing disparities among humans. Sri Ramanuja’s doctrine of equality propelled

me to take up the life’s mission of constructing this Statue of Equality – an equality of gender, caste, religions and race in the benevolence of the Almighty” Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji raised awareness about the service of Sri Ramanujacharya to the country by meeting the PM of India, Sri Narendra Modiji in July 2016. Inspired by the same, PM addressed the nation of 1.25 billion people

on India’s Independence Day – Aug 15th, 2016 about the 1000th birthday anniversary of Ramanuja in 2017, the vision of “EQUALITY” and it’s utmost relevance now. Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji will visit Houston and have public functions at the Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple on January 28 and 29. For further details visit www.ashtalakshmi.org


24 January 20, 2017



HOUSTON: We are just few days away from I-Fair, India Culture Center’s signature event. The preparations for various segments like dance, skit, yoga for health, Antakshari, ‘Women who make India proud’, showcasing ‘Republic of Turkey’, live Quiz on ‘our India’, are almost in its final stages. These programs will certainly entertain the audience and will emotionally connect them to India. ICC will recognize and honor few outstanding individuals from the community by awarding them ‘Community Service Awards’.

Consul General of India will grace the occasion and will deliver his congratulatory speech. The commercial booths, as well as booths for religious, political and social organizations have all been allotted and will attract lot of attention. The food booths will provide variety of delicious food items at very affordable price. This all is made available to the attendees just for $ 3.00 per person only. And an ‘Icing on the Cake’ would be, quite a few gold coins to be won during the entire event on entry ticket raffle.

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January 20, 2017


Grand New Year Celebrations by Katy – Greater Houston Tamil Friends! KATY: Greater Houston Tamil Friends celebrated the New Year with a grand event at Tompkins High School on Saturday, January 7. The entire commons area wore a festive look with more than 600 people in attendance from Katy, Fulshear, Houston, Cypress, Sugar Land and Pearland. The event started with the traditional Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu and was followed by a series of scintillating performances by both adults and children. Songs, dances and instrumental music flowed in rapid succession, and with the comperes chiming in with their jokes, the audience was kept fully engrossed. Special entertainment was also arranged for the younger children; magic show, face painting and balloon twisting were all available and kept the kids in great spirits. Greater Houston Tamil School board members and teachers were called on to the stage and appreciated by the audience for their efforts in teaching and promoting Tamil. An interactive dance by Nithya Hari was a popular hit and got a

Photo: Murali Santhana Photography

huge number of people shaking their legs! This year’s event also featured family portraits by Murali Santhana and a selfie photo

spot by Lavanya Arts. Both of them were major successes with the attendees. Sari, Jewelry and Henna vendors were also avail-

able onsite and attracted the women audience. A sumptuous dinner was catered from Briyani Pot and was

appreciated by one and all. Post dinner, the stage was taken by Pinnacle Studios. The singers, Karthika Mahadev, Barani Krishnan and Krishnamurthy L., enthralled the audience with a great mix of songs. The event was sponsored by KasTech, Sierra Inc., Mass Mutual, Re/Max, Johnson Development, NewGen Dental, Smile Rangers Dental, Vishala Grocery, Bombay KT Bazaar and Swagath Grocers. The sponsors were all called on to the stage and honored. The sponsors also graciously provided several raffle gifts for the audience. An event of this magnitude would not have been possible without the excellent support from volunteers. More than 50 volunteers including several student volunteers helped run the show and were all invited on to the stage during the vote of thanks. The evening ended on a pleasant note with a few more songs by the singers! To be invited for future events, please email @ katytamils@ gmail.com or join Katy Tamil Friends Facebook group.

Farooq Ahmed Khan December 20, 1943 - January 12, 2017 It is with great sadness that we inform you one of Houston’s greatest entertainment pioneers and community leaders, Farooq Ahmed Khan, has passed away. Farooq, was always a man of action and involvement and heavily committed to his family and community. Professionally he was best known for being the first to introduce Bollywood films in the United States along with owning and operating one of the largest indoor family entertainment centers in the United States known as Fun-Plex. Born in Lahore, Pakistan and a long time native Houstonian Farooq Khan is survived by his wife Asma and his four sons- Ali, Abbas, Umer, Hassan and eight grandchildren. He was a loving husband of 47 years to Asma and he was extremely proud of their four beautiful children. Farooq’s charm, infectious attitude, and kind heart made him easy to love. Houston has suffered from a great loss of a loving husband, a loving father, a loyal friend, and a true pioneer…

He will be dearly missed by his beloved family, friends, & community INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

26 January 20, 2017


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Choliya te Wadiyan (Fresh Green Chickpeas & Dumplings) Directions:

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or chickpeas (or garbanzos as they also often called) and realize that they come as the large, light cream colored and small dark brown varieties. Most people know about the larger ones and that these are often cooked in soups and stews and also to make the popular Arabic side dish “hummus”. South Asians know chole as a savory curry or snack which is eaten with roti or puris all over the Indian subcontinent. But few people are aware of the fresh version of chole known as choliya – a green chickpea that does not require cooking and can be eaten raw. Their taste is sweeter than a chickpea but less mushy than a green pea and they have a fresh sweet aroma. When we built our house in Rajouri Garden in New Delhi, my son, my mother Biji and I would walk through field of shoulder high choliya stalks and pick them to munch on while we walked to the construction site. Choliya are seasonal and fresh ones are usually available only for a few days in the winter, but these days you can find them in the frozen vegetable section of most Indian grocery stores. They are rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A and C, iron and are a good source of dietary fiber, just like regular chickpeas are, and do not contain any fat. Punjabi wadiyan (lentil dumplings) are dry, rough, 1 to 2 inch round nuggets made of skinless manh or urad daal (black lentils) with dhania (coriander), garam masala, lal mirch (red pepper), adrak (ginger) and hing (astafoetida powder). They should be roasted till slightly brown in a toaster oven or in a little oil in a skillet. There is an art to knowing how to prepare Punjabi wadiyan and then how to cook them so that they enhance the food but do not crumble into tiny pieces. When choliya are cooked in a curry

with Punjabi wadiyan, the taste and flavor will reach the heart of any Punjabi. The spiciness and aroma of the wadiyan permeate through the dish and add to the sweet woody flavor of the choliya with added tanginess that makes the dish irresistible. Wadiyan can be used with many types of vegetables, beans or even with rice as an ingredient which adds a burst of flavor and a slightly pungent smell.

1. If the choliya is frozen, take it out and let it thaw before using. 2. In a kadai, heat the oil and throw in the wadiyan and stir till they are slightly brown. 3. Prepare the masala in a medium saucepan. Chop the onions, ginger, coriander and garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, add the puree till it is slightly brown, and then add the 1 cup water and the tomato. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is reddish brown, add the salt, pepper and haldi and stir well. 4. Throw in the choliya in the masala and stir for a few minutes till it is slightly brown. 5. Add the water and the wadiyan and bring to a boil for 10 minutes to let the wadiyan fluff up which means they are cooked on the inside. 6. For best taste, serve with rice, hot rotis or crispy paranthas.

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •

250 gm choliya (green chickpeas) – frozen or fresh 1 Punjabi wadi (lentil dumpling) 1 medium piyaaz (onion) 1 medium clump of adrak (ginger root) 1 medium kernel of lasan (garlic) 1 tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil Tomato paste to taste 4 cups of pani (water) Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), garam masala Garnishes (to taste): dhania (coriander) – chopped leaves

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable recipes.



These days there ar e masala fried peanut many ready-made snacks available in s, channa chor and methi matthis at ev bags, like people are usually m ery store and unching on them. W he there is usually a lar ge amount of the m n they are finished with them, asala residue left in of the bags. the bottom Rather than toss th is and the bag away the masala to mak in the garbage, you e a dish that needs can reuse spices. The snacks salt, mirch (pepper) are loaded with and loads of other spices which are of as those used in man ten y and can save you so dishes. The residue can be used for se the same veral dishes me money too!

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January 20, 2017


Mani Ratnam delivered a com-

mercially and critically successful film with O Kadhal Kanmani in 2015. With Ok Jaanu, which hits the theatres on Friday, Shaad Ali remakes the movie – borrowing Ratnam’s screenplay but treating it to the silky, royal touch of Gulzar’s dialogues. So, we have been hearing about the tale of young love that Ok Jaanu is all about. However, allow us to forewarn you, it’s something more than that. Let’s just say Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur form the supporting cast, while Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson play strong lead roles. Yes, Ok Jaanu is as much about the old couple and their romance – sans the mushy coochycooes – as it is about a young couple coming to terms with the idea of marriage and lifelong commitment. To start with, Ok Jaanu is a progressive love story at several levels – right from the young couple breaking all sorts of gender stereotypes (and not just for the sake of breaking, but naturally flaunting new-age gender neutrality) to the older couple extend-

ing another reversal of gender roles and a heart-warming and uplifting climax. The start credits of Ok Jaanu come with a fun video game that our hero, Adi (Aditya), is working on. He plans to compete with Mark Zuckerberg when he reaches America with the game. Adi meets Tara (Shraddha), an architect who plans to take on the world with her talent after pursuing a degree in Paris. The chemistry between the duo sparks instantly, the best part being that they are both on the same page as far as marriage is concerned – they enjoy each other’s company but do not want the commitment that comes with tying the knot. Adi, who resides with family friend Gopi uncle (Naseer), asks if Tara can stay with him in his room. Negotiations follow, but the uncle finally agrees – thanks to his wife, Charu (Leela). Charu is an Alzheimer’s patient who keeps forgetting things like having a meal, but she remembers her husband. The way Gopi takes care of his wife is heartwarming – he cooks, cleans and does all the household chores. There is no sympathy in his demeanour for his ail-

ing wife – all we see is love. Once, when Adi asks Gopi how he manages to keep doing everything for her wife, he replies: “Agar wo din mein ek baar bhi mujhe ‘Paplu’ keh ke bula le, pure zindagi ki energy wapas aa jaati hai”. The fact that Gopi’s wife remembers their good old days keeps him going even in his old age. Eventually, occurrences in the elder couple’s lives change Adi and Tara’s notions of marriage and commitment. They eventually decide to get wedded, but without giving up on their careers (thankfully!) – a perfect way of reminding the world that a marital commitment need not necessarily mean clamping down on one’s ambitions. Instead, it could give you the courage and energy to keep going. Mani Ratnam’s screenplay is the star of the movie, and the actors are natural and energetic enough to convincingly portray it onscreen. While Aditya and Shraddha share a naturally organic chemistry, Nasser and Leela remind us they are two of the best among veteran actors today. AR Rahman’s music and Gulzar’s pen add to the charismatic, positive vibe of the movie – while the music keeps it peppy and new-age, Gulzar’s dialogues ensure that melodrama does not overpower the film. Watch it if you believe in love, and watch it if you don’t. Fact is, Ok Jaanu is probably one of the most heartwarming romances you will ever see in Bollywood. -hindustantimes.com


62nd Filmfare Awards 2017: Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt Bag the Top Honors


‘ angal’ swept away three of the top four awards at the 62nd Jio Filmfare Awards 2017. Aamir Khan won the Best Actor (Male) Award for his role of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat in ‘Dangal’. Alia Bhatt, who was nominated for two films - ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Dear Zindagi’, picked up the award in the Best Actor (Female) category for her performance in the former film. Alia played the role of a Bihari migrant, who unfortunately finds herself caught in the vicious web of drug addiction and human trafficking in Punjab. Sridevi and husband Boney Kapoor presented the award to her. In her acceptance speech, the actress said that the award was very close to her heart and thanked ‘Udta Punjab’ co-star Shahid Kapoor for sending over the script to her. Alia got very emotional about her second Filmfare award. While Aamir was conspicuous by his absence, ‘Dangal’ director Nitesh Tiwari picked up the award on his behalf from the gorgeous Rekha.

The night’s biggest honour, the Best Film award went out to ‘Dangal’. In the Best Director category too, it was the wrestling drama that came out on top as director Nitesh Tiwari clinched the award. The film that released late last year is still breaking records at the box-office and has won the nation’s hearts. -timesofindia.com

Sushant Singh Rajput January 21, 1986

Subhash Ghai January 24, 1945


28 January 20, 2017

1st ODI: Jadhav, Kohli Leave England Shellshocked BY ARUN VENUGOPAL


UNE: (IESPN Cricinfo):Alittle over 60 overs into the game it appeared England had their winning template in place. After being asked to bat first, they obliged by putting 350 on the board. It was the 15th time England have scored in excess of 300 since the 2015 World Cup, and they have lost only on four occasions. Then Chris Woakes bowled a priceless opening spell of 5-0-12-0 on an unforgiving pitch, while David Willey delivered the early breakthroughs. England even managed to dismiss Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in successive overs to have India teetering on the brink on 63 for 4. There was still Virat Kohli, but with only a littleknown Kedar Jadhav and a callow lower middle-order, England had a chance to win big and dent India’s psyche. Instead, at the end of the night, it was England’s morale that was razed by a 200-run partnership in 147 balls between Jadhav and Kohli, who both scored first-rate, counterpunching hundreds. Eoin Morgan admitted he didn’t expect Jadhav to take the game away from England. He also revealed that at one point England looked to take Kohli off strike and target Jadhav, who ended up with a career-best 120 off 76 balls. “What hurts the most is we had India 60 for 4,” he said. “Credit to his 60-70 ball hundred. We take our hat off to him. He was striking it from ball one and gave us no chances.” When asked if England had run out of ideas to stop Kohli, he said none of their plans came to fruition. Morgan referred to the 10th over when Kohli got a thick outside edge off Jake Ball, and Alex Hales at third man ran around and got in position for the catch, but the ball evaded his reach. “There is always something we can do,” he said. “All the plans weren’t far off today and the balls went over heads, maybe those two yards on another day, and that would have been out. And they would have been five down and you are right into them. He’s a fantastic player, he’s proven that over a long period of time.” Despite scoring 115 runs in their last 10 overs, Morgan felt England could have scored more than 350. He

Kedar Jadhav brings out the sweep shot , India v England, 1st ODI, Pune,.

said it was as much a reflection of the pitch as it was about how they batted. “Yes, our batting effort was good, but it still wasn’t our best. When you score 350 you expect to play well. That summarises the conditions here, the pitch was really really good and the boundaries were pretty small. If anything, today proves that chasing 350, even at 60 for 4, you are never out of the game.” Morgan, however, took heart from the bowling performance in the first half. “Early on we were brilliant, four early wickets, still don’t think it [the pitch] offered a lot. Creating those chances early on was a great effort,” he said. “India came back at us hard, kept up with the rate and still kept coming, The wicket allowed them to do that. “We took four early wickets which is tough in the subcontinent. Taking early wickets is something we’ve always struggled to do in the past. David Willey has done well for us particularly at home, and from there you look at different options.” He hoped his bowlers would be better for the experience, and find ways to get out of such situations. “Our hope is that, the more our bowlers experience games like this, experi-

ence like the partnership today and the circumstances get harder, they’ll actually come up with good enough skills to restrict batsmen or get them off strike, or even take a wicket. “We encourage guys to do things differently all the time, conventional stuff doesn’t work as well as it used to anymore. All the teams around the world are in the same position, very rarely you come across a guy who can come in and blast the team out when there is a huge partnership going on. We still have guys like that.” “Since we were four down, England were looking to attack,” Jadhav said. “It was good that many fielders were in catching positions rather than saving boundaries. The wicket was good for batting, so I had a lot of gaps to score boundaries. And my natural game is to try and dominate the opposition whenever I bat. I look to take the bowlers on. So I was just playing in that flow, and because we had to chase 350, irrespective of the situation, we had to maintain the tempo.” It helped that Kohli was at the other end, which meant all of England’s energies were spent on the more accomplished partner. Jadhav had said after the match that he rued that he hadn’t got to bat as much with

Kohli as he would have liked. Before Sunday, Jadhav had batted with Kohli three times. “Whenever you bat with Virat, it helps you,” Jadhav said. “Because the bowlers’ focus would be on him - how to get him out, how to control him. So that’s an advantage. If you are batting with him, you sometimes get loose balls. The bowlers are not able to put a lot of pressure on you, so that helps a lot.” “I realised that if I could perform well in Australia for India despite carrying a fracture, I can bear any pain,” Jadhav said. “If I have to overcome odds, I know I can do anything. That’s how I always think,.” That doesn’t stop Jadhav from watching against complacency. Jadhav’s second century may have given him a more permanent spot in the India ODI side, but he is not taking it for granted. “There shouldn’t be a change [in my approach],” Jadhav said. Jadhav played some IPL cricket with Virender Sehwag at Delhi Daredevils, and he showed shades of Sehwag’s thinking in the way he approached the chase. Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo.


Pakistan End 12-Year Win Drought in Australia


ELBOURNE (ESPN Cricinfo): Pakistan 4 for 221 (Hafeez 72, Malik 42*) beat Australia 220 (Smith 60, Amir 3-47) by six wickets Not since the days of a young Wasim Akram and a befuddled Allan Border had Pakistan beaten Australia at the MCG, in a match played as part of the one-off World Championship of Cricket. And not since January 2005 had Pakistan beaten Australia in Australia, in any format. Pakistan ended both those dry spells in a contest that illustrated familiar strengths for the visitors and plenty of increasingly tiresome weaknesses among the hosts. On a sluggish surface Australia’s batsmen were cornered by Pakistan’s spinners, allowing for a chase within the modest reach of their batsmen. Earlier in the day Australia had unveiled their touring party for a Test series in India next month, with the spin bowler Mitchell Swepson speaking outside the MCG. About the same time on the other side of the gates, eight members of the same squad were demonstrating why Swepson and his counterparts may not often have many runs to defend. Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik and stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez combined to expose Australia’s familiar troubles against spin. While the pitch did not take much in the way of turn, its variable pace was expertly utilised to prevent the home team batsmen from finding rhythm. Captain Steven Smith got closest with 60, but even he was forced to play well within himself. Matthew Wade made another useful contribution.

Mohammad Hafeez had an excellent match as stand-in captain with a steady 72.


January 20, 2017


Indian Airlines Soar but Experts Warn of Turbulence Ahead

NEW DELHI: A major acquisition

by Indian budget airline SpiceJet this week underscored the vast potential of the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, but experts say woefully inadequate infrastructure and high operating costs could threaten the industry’s rapid expansion. India’s burgeoning middle classes are taking to the skies in ever greater numbers, with passenger growth of 20% in 2015 according to industry body IATA—nearly double China’s 11% increase over the same period. Low-cost airlines are rushing to expand their fleets to take advantage of that growth, encouraged by a fall in fuel prices that last year pushed several private operators into profit for the first time. SpiceJet, India’s fourth biggest airline with a 13% market share, said Friday it was buying up to 205 Boeing planes worth $22 billion to fuel a major expansion of its domestic operations.

Experts say the country’s aviation sector holds vast untapped potential, with just 100 million of India’s 1.2 billion people taking to the skies last year. But they warn that India’s rickety infrastructure could hold back future growth, with just 90 of the country’s more than 460 airports currently operational. “Consistent 20% plus growth per se is not a cause for celebration if the institutional framework is weak,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia head of industry advisory and research firm CAPA. “This only increases safety and security risks. And skill shortages are also emerging. An urgent fix is required.” That is because most airlines opt to increase flights to popular locations rather than adding new routes, analysts say. In 2015 the government announced a plan to “take flying to the mass-

es” by making air travel affordable for millions more Indians, reviving struggling airports and connecting rural areas. The policy aims to slash airfares to Rs2,500 ($37) per hour of flying on many regional routes through a slew of tax incentives and subsidies. The first round of bids for these subsidised regional routes are due to start this week, with winners getting a three-year exclusive on flying rights. Auctions for routes will be conducted twice a year. High operating costs represent the second major threat to the industry. High fuel import taxes mean that about 50% of an Indian airline’s costs go towards fuel, while a scarcity of pilots has pushed up salaries to global levels. India’s airlines are banking on higher passenger numbers to help distribute those high fixed costs as an emerging middle class increasingly opts for the plane over the train.

SpiceJet, India’s fourth biggest airline with a 13% market share, said Friday it was buying up to 205 Boeing planes worth $22 billion to fuel a major expansion of its domestic operations.

Among them is electrician Shankar Singh, who took his first flight last May at the age of 31. Singh, who earns Rs15,000 ($220) a month, has now flown nearly 10 times to different cities to stores run by his employer, an Indian clothing retailer. He plans to take his wife and threeyear-old son on their first flight to visit her family in Kolkata in eastern India

early this year -- replacing a 24-hour train ride with a two-and-a-half hour journey. KPMG’s Dubey said India remained “one of the most under-penetrated countries in the world”. “With passenger traffic growing at over 20% for nearly two years despite severe infrastructure challenges, India is the place to be,” he told AFP. -livemint.com

Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit: This Gujarat Teen Signs Rs 5 Crore MoU for Drones

Harshwardhan Zala (r) started work on the prototypes (above) and business proposal in 2016.


HMEDABAD: A bespectacled boy dressed in a spiffy blue suit created a buzz at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit+ on Thursday after he signed a Rs 5 crore-worth memorandum of understanding (MoU)

with the state government, bagging the deal for production of a drone designed by him. Harshwardhan Zala, 14, signed a deal with the Department of Science and Technology, Government

of Gujarat, to facilitate production of the drones that help detect and defuse land mines on war fields. Incidentally, the class 10 student had been working on his business plan and made three prototypes of the drone while most children of his age are fretting over the upcoming board exams. Zala said he started work on the prototype of the landmine-detecting drone in 2016 and created a business plan too. “The inspiration struck when I was watching television and learned that a large number of soldiers succumb to injuries sustained due to landmine blasts while defusing them manually,” said the 14-year-old, who spent not less than Rs 5 lakh on the three prototypes of the drone. While the teen’s parents shelled out approximately Rs 2 lakh for the first two prototypes, he was granted Rs 3 lakh from the state for the third prototype. Wired to locate and destroy “The

drone has been equipped with infrared, RGB sensor and thermal meter along with a 21-megapixel camera with a mechanical shutter that can take high resolution pictures as well,” explained the class 10 student. The drone is designed to send out waves that cover eight sq mt area while flying two feet above the surface; the waves detect land mines and communicate their location with a base station. “The drone also carries a bomb weighing 50 gram that can be used to destroy the landmine ,” explained Zala, who was looking at manufacturing the drone and getting it tested by security agencies. He has already registered for a patent and has set up his own company ‘Aerobotics’. The teenager added, “I started making drones on my own and set up an interface with a base station but realised I need to do more. So I fixed payloads that detect landmines. I have several other plans that I want to execute once the patent for this

drone is registered.” Better than the best The student of Sarvoday Vidhyamandir in Bapunagar said he has been interested in science and innovation for several years now and has always been encouraged by his parents. His father Pradhyumansinh Zala is an accountant with a plastic company in Naroda while his mother Nishaba Zala is a homemaker. Zala’s desire to get his product patented and produced was fuelled during a visit to the headquarters of Google, Inc. headquarters in the US where he shared a project idea with several investors after observing the way they work. “This was part of an all-expenses paid trip to the US that was part of a prize I won during an innovation event at LD College of Engineering. Now, I need to inform these investors about the MoU and I am sure they will be ready to invest in my company,” said Zala, who wants to make his company bigger than Apple Inc or even Google, Inc. -timesofindia.com


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January 20, 2017