Indo-American News: May 6, 2022

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Friday, May 6, 2022 | Vol. 41, No. 18

May 6, 2022


Indo American News


Published weekly from Houston, TX

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New Shiv Mandir at HWS

BAPS Walk/Run

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May 6, 2022

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May 6, 2022

Shiv Mandir Inauguration Caps a Busy Season for HWS


By Nisha Bhatia HOUSTON: The city’s oldest Hindu temple – the Hindu Worship Society - had much to celebrate over the weekend of April 23-24 with an expansion and inauguration of the new Shiv Temple. The much-awaited event was attended by several hundred devotees. Saturday kicked-off the event with puja and staphana (placement) of the Shivling and Navgraha murtis. Starting at 9am, devotees sat for puja, did parikrama around the temple and witnessed the auspicious staphana through the afternoon. Sunday devotees participated in a three-hour long havan to bring the event to a close. Much was celebrated and enjoyed by those that were able to attend. The Shiv Temple is dedicated to the memory of Rajinder Soni, a Board member who dedicated for the last five years of his life to make the temple a reality. Sadly, he passed away in early 2021 before he could see this staphana take place. In addition, the Shiv Temple could not have been made possible without the support from Rajinder Soni’s family - his wife Meera and son Sandeep. Sandeep Soni has been a generous donor to the Hindu Worship Society, contributing over $100,000 towards the Shiv Temple construction. Unfortunately, the HWS has suffered two other huge losses in the last few months, losing former priest Pandit Rajendra Sharma and Prabhat “PC” Sharma. Pandit Sharma served as priest to HWS from the early 1990’s to 2006. It was during his time at the temple that the HWS saw the biggest expansion to where the temple currently stands. Pandit ji had the biggest hand and best relationship with the young people attending the temple. His legacy lives on through the same generation which continues to support the temple in various roles today. PC Sharma was one of the founding members of the Hindu Worship Society. He trained to become a Hindu priest and often stood in at HWS when the tem-

ple was without one. PC Sharma played a big role in the Hindus of Greater Houston organization, the India Culture Center and India House as well. His loss is one the entire Houston community feels greatly. The temple could not be successful without people like Rajinder Soni, PC Sharma and Pandit Sharma ji. The temple also could not be successful without the generous support of many donors who came out to support of the new Shiv Temple. The Hindu Worship Society recognizes this event’s major donors: Rakesh and Madhu Aggarwal for Navgraha Murti Staphana; Pramod Sharma for Shivling Staphana; Druga & Madhu Aggarwal; Bal & Rita Sareen; Varinder Bansal; Aruna & Ravi Goel; Manish & Niharika Mehra and Devki & Kirti Aggarwal.

Of course no event could be possible without volunteers. HWS recognizes Prem Goyal for her food and prashad coordination over the entire two-day event. Mrs. Goyal and her army of volunteers managed to keep everyone attending the event well fed, from breakfast, lunch and all the snacks in between. Managing a kitchen for several hundred people over two days is no easy feat! The Hindu Worship Society would also recognizes all of the volunteers who worked for months to ensure this event would be a true success. There was a massive effort in planning, coordination and execution by the wonderful volunteers which made the staphana enjoyable for all. And how can you have a staphana without prayers? The Hindu Worship Society gives special recognition to temple priest Sri

Photos: Bijay Dixit, Unique Photo Images

Bhawani Shastri Ji and visiting Pandit Vishnu Prasad Basyal ji. The two pandits together made the inauguration memorable and truly blessed for those who were able to attend. The Hindu Worship Society has held several events so far in 2022 starting with the annual Mata di Chowki held on January 1 and following up with celebrations for Lohri, Shivratri, Holi Dahen and colors celebration, Akhand Rama-

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 6, 2022 •

yan path, and Sunderkand. There are many more events to come: celebrating Sawaan Maas every Monday in July, Janmashtami, Karwa Chauth, Navratri, Diwali and more! Be sure to join HWS for these upcoming events. For more information, please visit or find HWS on Facebook @hwstemple. You can also email at or call the temple at 713-957-4608.



May 6, 2022

TCC Taped Ball Winter Tournament: Winners: STYX, Runners Up: CFCC

Houston: STYX Cricket Club won the TCC championship after a hard-fought tournament. CFCC who made it to the final for the second successive time were the runners up. This is the second time STYX has won the championship, having won it for the first time back in 2019. STYX had to take the hard road, being at the bottom of the table, and had to play against the top teams at every playoff stage. On the morning of April 09 2022, STYX won the toss and elected to bat. STYX openers Raj Nair (23) and Siddhesh Jagushte (35) safely navigated the opening bowling attack with a solid opening partnership of 53 runs in about 8 overs, providing the great start the team needed in a high stakes game. Coming in next, Debasish Das (21) kept the momentum going with a 31 run partnership taking the team to 84/2 in 12 overs. Siddhesh fell shortly after, but Raj Singh (27) and Aveg Kadian (30) stepped up the attack after that with a game changing 54 run partnership, at a strike rate of almost 150 each. This helped STYX reach a total of 157 setting an imposing total for CFCC to chase down. STYX bowling attack had been performing exceptionally well in recent times, and chasing 157 against this attack was a huge challenge from the get go. CFCC openers started cautiously but Sunny Nadeem struck in his first over to remove Sasidhar Valluru (7) at

Winners: STYX

Runners Up: CFCC

a score of 15/1. Both Raj Nair and Sunny delivered a tight opening spell leaving CFCC at 24/1 after the first 4 overs. The first change attack continued relentlessly with Sheryar Siddiqui’s fiery pace, conceding only 4 runs in his first over, and then the sharp and accurate bowling of Dharmesh Patel who removed 2 wickets in his first over

including that of the opener Mithun Reddy (15). This left CFCC in a spot of bother at 29/3 at the end of 6 overs. Yesu Seelam settled in and tried to build partnerships, but Aveg Kadian’s introduction to the bowling attack turned the tables completely. Aveg got Yesu’s wicket and that of 3 other CFCC batters completing his spell with 4

wickets for 21 runs in his 4 overs. Dharmesh finished with 4 wickets also, giving only 11 runs in his 4 overs. Sheryar, Varun Jaiswal and Himanshu Patel kept a tight lid on the runs and never let CFCC break free. Notable to mention the incredible work behind the stumps by STYX keeper Devjit Biswas who ended up with 7 dismissals. In the end, the tight spells with regular wickets falling meant CFCC had their work cut out. In the end they ended up with 105/9 in their 20 overs losing the finals by 52 runs. Aveg Kadian was awarded man of the match award for his 30 (19) runs and bowling figures of 4/21 in 4 overs. The game was followed by a well-managed presentation ceremony organized by Jagdish Biradar. Cameron Best, brother of Tony Best was the Chief Guest and Nanda Kumar, president of TCC was also present. TCC presented a memento to Cameron in remembrance of Tony Best and his services to Cricket in Houston. Debasish Das, the captain of STYX was handed over the winner’s trophy and the runners up trophy was handed over to captain of CFCC Prabhakar Thota. Dharmesh from STYX was the MVP for the tournament. Tournament awards were also handed over. Shiva from HCCC was the best batsman with 204 runs, Avinash from Kastech Kings was the best bowler with 21 wickets, Sunil from 300s with 21 dismissals was the best wicket keeper, Amit from

300s was the best allrounder with 150 runs and 14 wickets. Special awards were given to Darshan from Gladiators and Yesu from CFCC for centuries and Vivek from Javelinas-Genx and Imran from BTH for Hat tricks. Online scorecard is at: https://www. do?matchId=1044&clubId=8675 and YouTube video is at: https:// The Championship trophy for the final was dedicated to Tony Best who left us. He has done so much for Cricket in Houston. The runners up trophy was dedicated to Sunny Dhillon from BHCC who left us in an unfortunate accident.

Tony Best

Sunny Dhillon.


Indo-American News • Friday, may 6, 2022 •

May 6, 2022

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 6, 2022 •




May 6, 2022

SAFEST: South Asian Seniors Support Group for Each Other’s Spiritual Toning By Pramod Kulkarni Houston: As we age, some of us are susceptible to bouts of loneliness, despondency, and possible depression. Psychological studies have suggested that interaction with a support group has medicinal qualities that may help us achieve mental wellbeing as well as develop lasting friendships. One such support group is SAFEST, which meets once a month at the Thomas Glazier Senior Center on Pine Forest Lane in west Houston. The group coodinator is long-time Houston resident Bindu Malhotra. The group interacts with each other online through What’s App. I had an opportunity to attend the SAFEST meeting for April, which was held last Thursday afternoon. About 12 members attended. Initially, each of us introduced ourselves and talked about our life history, how we immigrated to the United States, what we did for work, and how we are keeping busy during our retirement time. It was interesting to learn that the SAFEST members originate from all parts of India, including Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka. “Everything we do is based upon being responsible for our actions and communications to bring about the best to all our relationships and create a legacy in offering emotional support,” declares the SAFEST mission statement. “We’re a non-religious and nonpolitical group,” emphasized Ms. Malhotra. At the April meeting, one of the members explained how he

ABOVE: SAFEST members who attended the April meeting at the Thomas Glazier Senior Center in west Houston. The group coordinator is Bindu Malhotra (center, seated). At the meeting, members exchange their thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics in a friendly discussion. RIGHT: SAFEST member Shrikant Sane with the poster he created to honor Lata Mangeshkar at one of the monthly meetings that was dedicated to remembering the late playback singer through the rendition of her songs.

worked with a local hospital system to develop a Stroke Center in northwest Houston as a memorial to his wife, who had passed away due to a stroke and had to be transported to a stroke center in the Texas Medical Center. He invited the group to visit the Cypress Stroke Center and see for themselves a seating area, fountain, and garden he helped create through the hospital system. Another member talked about how he helped a young lady who had just immigrated from India and was in an abusive situation through her husband and in-laws. The in-laws had even filed a criminal complaint and the lady had to endure a whole night in a holding cell with a large number of criminal elements. Our member helped this young lady to secure a job in California, and obtain a green card that was not dependent on her husband’s sponsorship.

Jyoti Kulkarni explained the services available through Daya Houston for South Asian families in crisis and victims of domestic violence. After the friendly discussions, the group participated in a potluck lunch. This was a time for members to express their creative talent in cuisine. Among the delicacies the SAFEST members enjoyed was vada-pav, a speciality of Maharashtra. A few weeks ago, the SAFEST group held a memorial session to honor the late Lata Mangeshkar by singing songs made famous by the legendary playback singer. Shrikant and Mangala Sane sang some of the songs. Mangala even wrote a poem in Lata’s memory. If you are a senior or have someone in your circle of relatives and friends, consider joining SAFEST by contacting the Safest Group What’s App.

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7 COVID: Name is Everything! May 6, 2022

Houston: We have all heard the adage ‘A rose by any other name is a rose’, or ‘What is in the name?’, suggesting what you call something doesn’t really matter. Yet, corporates spend large sums on developing name branding. Anecdotally, each one of us can relate to personal experience with the COVID pandemic. A dear friend succumbed to COVID early on when there were no vaccines or effective therapies. Then came the

sparring over whether masks should continue to be mandated indoors, we hear the Biden administration trying to appeal the Court ruling, and last, but by no means the least, we hear Fauci claiming the COVID pandemic is not yet over. For Fauci, COVID pandemic has proven to be his ticket to job security. So, I don’t blame him for putting aside whatever public health credentials he might have and blowing with the political wind from day one of the COVID pandemic. I am proud to belong to the public health fraternity. The public health community,

deadly Delta variant that claimed the lives of many friends and relatives. Then came the Omicron in which a lot of friends and acquaintances got it, or thought they got it, but happily the mortality was extremely low. Finally, we are living with cousins of Omicron in which we hear almost everyday someone we know got it, stayed home for two-three days, and went back to normal life. In this last phase, it would seem the sequalae is not much different than ordinary flu we are all used to getting every year. Yet, we hear the CDC and the Courts

excluding Fauci, needs to come up with a term that is an honest descriptor of what we currently have on our hands. Calling it COVID conjures images of hospitals running short of ventilators, corpses in India not getting dignified final rites, and worse. Parenthetically, my nephew died of Delta variant in India and did not get a dignified funeral- a scar that will take a long time to heal. I hope the world will rationally deal with the tail end of the pandemic and, for starters, call it what it is. Name is everything!

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May 6, 2022

BAPS Charities Participate in Susan G. Komen Walk/Run

Sugar Land: On April 24, 2022, BAPS Charities in Sugar Land, Texas held the ‘In the Joy of Others: Walk | Run’. The event was organized to support Susan G. Komen, Stafford MSD and Behind the Badges. Households. People of all ages took part, from 7-year-old firsttime walkers to senior citizens, with over 2100 members of the community participating in total. participated in the event along with her family. “We are so proud of our partnership with BAPS [Charities] and as [they] are truly a servant-minded organization and [they] demonstrate that generosity every day,” said Paula Schneider, President and CEO of Susan G. Komen.” “We missed this for the last 2 years, it is a great way to connect with the community. And we have seen BAPS Charities do this event for many years,” said Swapan Dhairyawan of International Hindi Association. “It’s great to see people from the young to the eldest to be here today.” “I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people today and it’s a great feeling to give back,” commented David Mirza, EngerGenie. “It is truly phenomenal to see a large turnout,” addressed the key sponsor Vinay Kotak of AV Diamonds and Maharaja Jeweler. He

highlighted his family supports BAPS Charities because of its reach globally and locally. It’s been amazing to see everyone come together on a Sunday morning to bring joy to others,” said Yogin Patel.

In addition to the annual walk | run, BAPS Charities actively supports health and well-being efforts throughout the year through Health Fairs, Health Awareness Lectures, and Children’s Health and Safety Day. BAPS Charities

also organizes other socially responsible & humanitarian events throughout the year like, Blood Donation Drives, Food Drives, and Earth Day. The activities of BAPS Charities are centered on improving the quality of lives of

individuals and their families. For additional information on BAPS Charities (a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit international charity) and its philanthropic activities, please visit www.bapscharities. org.

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May 6, 2022

New Art Gallery in Sugar Land by Gopaal Seyn

Houston: Gopaal Seyn, eminent Indian-American artist residing in Houston, Texas, welcomed residents of Houston to his new art Gallery in Sugar Land on the April 25,2022. Guests came and saw his artwork, had a glass of wine, socialized and immersed themselves in beautiful pieces of art. This is an unique art Gallery as it promotes Indian Art not to be seen anywhere else in the US as such. To view his art kindly make an appointment or visit us at www. In 2018, Seyn was invited to join a Trade Mission to India, led by Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, where he painted for a live audience and his artwork was showcased in famous art galleries in India. In 2019 he created a portrait of George HW Bush which was accepted by Neil Bush on President’s Day. He has also created a portrait of Bob McNair, owner of Texans, which has been accepted by the McNair Foundation to be displayed in their lobby. His portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, created in 2019, is a permanent fixture at the Indian Consulate in Houston. Seyn presented his portrait of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Howdy Modi

Committee Chair Jugal Malani at the Partnership’s Q4 International Trade Development Committee meeting to mark the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Houston. The event was the largest gathering of the Indian diaspora outside of India in history with some 55,000 attending. Seyn was launched by Emami Chisel Art as the first International Artist for a two month long solo Art show in Kolkata, India. (2016) He was the Artist of the Month (Nov) at the Artist’s Alliance of Sugarland and was recognized and awarded for his works at the Sugarland Area Artist 2010 Convention. He was also selected to exhibit his work at the San Marcos Walker Art Gallery

and Zen Gallery in Galleria, Houston. In 2007 Seyn was recognized and awarded for his contribution to Indian Art by Sanaskriti Art Association. Seyn paints with a flurry of colors and goes into meticulous detail using a broad range of styles and medium depicting human beauty, especially the female form in an explicit and large spectrum of emotions. He loves to portray these emotions using abstract as his mode of portraying real-life issues. His exquisite works sometimes create a disquieting clarity from his well-expressed subjects aided with familiar objects which gives his work a sense of scale, meaning and proportion.

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May 6, 2022

‘Runway 34’: Devgn, Bachchan Movie Crash Lands


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By Shubhra Gupta Cast: Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Aakansha Singh, Angira Dhar, Ajey Nagar Director: Ajay Devgn Rating: 2.5 stars A high-flying pilot, in charge of a flight from Dubai to Kochi, has to bring all his vaunted expertise to bear in order to power through bad weather and worsening visibility. Is he successful? Is that even a question? The most effective disaster movies keep both stakes and suspense high, but in ‘Runway 34’, my heart was never in my mouth. In part because the real-life incident that the film is based on (a 2015 flight from Doha to Kochi had a successful trajectory), and in part because it has an invincible Bollywood hero at the helm. When a mainstream film is so completely controlled by an Alister (Devgn is producer-directorlead star), it is inconceivable that it will harbour any complexity, either in the creation of characters or in the way it is told. So going in we know the kind of film we will get — put together in broad brushstrokes, easy to consume, and where the hero emerges victorious. For all that, Devgn manages to deliver a somewhat effective pre interval portion despite its inelegant, underlined bits, helped enormously by computer graphics, and menacing background music. And then it falls prey to the perils of the second half, and crash-lands in a dreary civil aviation court-room.

The flight begins with the usual settling in, people placing their bags in the overhead cabins, the air-hostesses pacifying boorish flyers (there’s almost always one who will demand more whiskey as soon as the flight takes off), the cabin crew making announcements, and a few people more outlined than the rest — apart from the bad tempered fellow, there’s a Parsi mother-daughter duo, a young Muslim mum with a constantly crying baby, a smart-alecky young man with an ever-recording phone camera (Ajey Nagar aka the very famous i-r-l YouTuber CarryMinati), a bearded aviation journalist who gets to ask the crucial question: if the weather in Kochi is bad, why divert to nearby Trivandrum where the weather may be equally terrible, and why not to Bengaluru, a much safer choice? That’s what Captain Vikrant Khanna (Ajay Devgn) is asked by his first officer Tanya Albuquerque (Rakul Preet Singh). That question hangs in the thick air, as the fuel plunges, the wind rises, the torrential rain lashes, and the plane flies into the kind of turbulence which is a nightmare for all concerned: increasingly alarmed passengers and crew and air traffic control of-

ficers, who all gawp and cheer for the pilot who puts out the dreaded Mayday signal, but who manages, right at the very last minute, to pull out a genie from the bottle. In its zeal to paint Vikrant a hero, despite clear signs of transgression (all-night partying, too many wakeful hours), he is made into a saviour with a photographic memory whose heart is in the right place. And to that end, the plot reduces all the other actors to bit parts. Boman Irani as a crafty airline owner, Aakansha Singh as Vikrant’s supportive wife, Angira Dhar as his lawyer, even Amitabh Bachchan as his chief antagonist, as the thundering, intimidating, perfect-Hindi speaking interrogator, whose job is to fix responsibility. Rakul Preet Singh is capable of more than just being a scared presence in the cockpit, but she doesn’t really get a chance, and the Bachchan-Devgn face-off never quite takes off. In all this — the loose ends hanging, the jury being mute spectators, and the tricky questions brushed under the carpet — the one who keeps it on course is Devgn, with a performance that fits right into his movie. -- Indian Express

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