Indo-American News: November 18, 2022

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • Akshaya Patra Fund Raiser Indo American News 2470 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077 • 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News Published weekly from Houston, TX W E D D I N G S , S P E C I A L E V E N T S , T E N T E D E V E N T S , O U T D O O R C O U R T Y A R D 3 3 3 0 F M 1 4 6 3 | K a t y , T X 7 7 4 9 4 | 8 3 2 . 8 5 5 . 5 5 2 0 | p a l m r o y a l v i l l a . c o m Friday, November 18, 2022 | Vol. 41, No. 45 $1 P10 Indian Students in US: +19% P5 Intriguing Drama ‘Blind Justice’ for Udavum Karangal P2-P3 EARLY VOTING OCT 24 - NOV 4 ELECTION DAY NOV 8 The
the Houston audience by Rajan Radhakrishnan, who conceived
and directed
enactment was
staged on behalf of Udavum Karangal (Helping Hands), a charity organization in Chennai founded in the 1980s in NSK Nagar and run by Steven Vidyaakar.

‘Blind Justice’ Play: Successful Fund Raiser for Udavum Karangal

Pearland: As the curtain opened, the first set came into view: an Indi an court with the high bench for the judge and dockets for the accused and the witnesses on either side. Two Indian flags and the national tri-lion emblem attached on the wall above the judge completed the scene in all its austerity, but appealing in the stage lights.

As the curtains opened up fur ther, the two other sets – a doctor’s exam room on the left and an attor ney’s conference room on the right – came into view to complete the framework within which the story of a corrupt political system that does not allow the truth to come through but throws an innocent doctor into jail for 6 years for well-intentioned deeds that at first appear to be mali cious crimes. Though the advocates have proof of his innocence, the politicians taints the witnesses tes timony for his own purpose and for their personal enrichment.

Set concept and Design was by Alpa Shah (another co-owner of In dian Summer), and the Set and Am biance was by Nalini Kannan of De cor One. Lighting, sound and stage management by Partha Krishnas wamy and Vishy; Sound engineered by Joe; front office management by V.K. Dorai, G.V. Krishnan and Mal athi Sundhar. Promotional artwork was by Kasiverman in Chennai and promotions concept by Ganesh Ra ghunandhan. Music and Live Rere cording by well-known Guru violin ist, Mahesh Iyer.

Written by the famous playwright Sujatha, the play was serialized as the popular drama Dr. Narendira nin’s Vinodha Vazhakku in Tamil about the life of a doctor. The play was translated into English by Dr. Saranathan, who plays the doctor’s role on stage, for the purpose of this enactment to reach a larger audi ence.

The play was brought to the Hous ton audience by Rajan Radhakrish nan, who conceived and directed it. Rajan, as he is universally known, is a co-owner of the Indian a Summer restaurant but he is well regraded for

his flair and sense of the theatre. He come from a family of theatrical and film background, as his mother was an actress and dad a choreographer.

Rajan himself acted in more than 15 south Indian films as a hero and is well versed with every aspect of technology of filmmaking.

The play was produced by Dr. Padmini Ranganathan, an oncologist by profession and well known com munity leader who has headed vari ous organizations like the Meenak shi Temple Society, Bharathi Kalai Mandram, Tamil Nadu Foundation USA, Daya,and others.

The Houston enactment was staged on behalf of Udavum Karan gal (Helping Hands), a charity or ganization in Chennai founded in the 1980s in NSK Nagar and run by Steven Vidyaakar, Mangalore, uni versally known by his affectionate name Pappa Vidyakar. The drama publicized two days in advance and brought in a full house of 500 people. Over $100,000 was raised to support UK in Chennai.

Guests of honor were well-known immigration attorney George Willy who spoke glowingly about the out standing work that UK does to save young girls and other poor people in Chennai and Sanjay Rambadaran, the Board Chairman of METRO, who described how his family has been involved with UK for over 35 years and how he strongly he roots are for supporting the charity.

All the actors are well-known thespians in the Houston commu nity known for their passion in the theatre, and rehearsed their parts for several months. Actors were Dr. Saranathan as Dr. Naren; Sesh Bala as Judge; Sundy Srinivasan as Sr. Advocate Ganesh; Alpa Shah as the Public Prosecutor; Ganesh Ragh hunandhan as Junior Advocate Vas anth; Krishnaswamy Parthasarathy (Partha) as Dr. Bala; Rathna Kumar as grandmother; Uma Nagarseth as Mrs. Iyer; Mahesh Shah as Ram lal, the Politician; Sanchali Basu as Nurse Leela; Gayatri Rao as Miss. Manjula; Padma Iyer as Dr. Shar adha; Varsha Vasu as an adopted Daughter; Master Balaram as young boy Ravi.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • November 18, 2022 2 COMMUNITY
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Indian Student Enrollment in US: +19%

new delhi:

The number of Indian students studying in the United States in creased 19 per cent over last year to nearly two lakh compared with a 13% drop in the previous year, ac cording to an an nual Open Doors report released by the Institution of International Education on Monday.

China and India represent the majority (52%) of all international students in the United States. China remains the top sending country in 2021/22, with 290,086 students on U.S. campuses (-9% year-over-year). India, the second top-sending country, sent 199,182 international students in 2021/22, an increase of 19% year-over-year. Even though China sent the most students in 2021, the numbers decreased nearly 9 percent from the 2020-2021 academic year. At the same time, the number of students from India increased nearly 19 percent, to almost 200,000.

Quarantine norms and travel restrictions made it harder for Chinese students to ac quire visas.

The 19% increase in Indian students studying in America was largely driven by graduate students.

Math, computer sciences, engineering and business management were the three most popular fields of study among international students.

As in previous years, over half (54 per cent) of all international students studied in STEM fields in 2021/22. This year, math and computer science surpassed engineer ing as the leading field of study.

Just over 200,000 international students

studied math and computer science (21 percent) and over 188,000 studied engi neering (20 percent). Other popular fields include business and management (16 per cent), social sciences (8 percent), physical and life sciences (8 percent) and the fine and applied arts (5 percent).

New international student enrolment in the US shot up by 80% in 2021-22. welve of the top 25 places of origin in creased the number of international stu dents enrolled in the United States by dou ble digits in the 2021/22 academic year. In addition, other places of origin, includ ing India, Canada, Mexico, and Nigeria, returned to pre-pandemic international student numbers. Notably, Nigeria saw its largest increase (+12% year-over-year) in international students studying in the U.S. since the 1980s

In 2022 so far, India has reportedly emerged as the top recipient of US student visas this year.

A record number of 82,000 student vi sas have been issued to Indian students this year beginning from May to August, according to data shared by the US Con sulate of India. Last year, too, the United States had issued a record student 62,000 visas as travel opened up after the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • November 18, 2022 5 IMMIGRATION
For Advertising in Indo-American News call: Jawahar Malhotra 713-789-6397

When was the last time you asked yourself this question - why can’t we do this event as a com munity?

Overall, the community at large never stood behind any organiza tion in achieving all goals towards unifying the community. Even liv ing in USA, we as a community always struggle, in giving up our old ways of fighting with each other and undermining all efforts by others.

Our community has never learned to come together even po litically. This fact was confirmed by one of the senior Senator from Texas at one of the Indian func tions. The Senator said that Indian origin people donate lots of money to the various campaigns, but have never asked for any kind of favors in return. In general, the communi ty members are happy to get their pictures taken with the politicians as mementos for their donations. This is not helping us unite for a common cause as a community.

After all what is community?

The word, “community” is de rived from the old French word comunete – which in turn is de rived from the Latin communitas (from Latin communis – things held in common), a broad term for fellowship or organized communi ty. A community is a unit of large number of people that shares com

mon values. In any typical com munities – intent, belief, prefer ences, needs, risks, resources and number of other conditions may be present, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

One Indian organization started raising funds for a new commu nity center but soon realized that not every member of the commu nity at large was committed to this goal. It was also around this time that Indian Consulate opened their doors in Houston under the direc tion of our first Consul General Mr. Swash Pawan Singh. After be ing in the city for few months, Mr. Swash Pawan Singh called (Early 1996) the committee handling the details of new community center that he would like to get involved in establishing the basic param eters around establishing details of the community center. By the way Mr. Swash Pawan Singh was responsible in coming up with the name, “India House”, for this community center. The committee had a list of 6 different names but he was instrumental in steering the committee in the direction of the current name for this building. It was indeed a pleasure to be work ing so closely with our Consul General as he was totally commit ted to the concept of community center.

India House (Community center) was a dream of the first few Indian

American immigrants to Houston which started taking shape in June 2000, when a parcel of little over 10-acre land was purchased by India Culture Center in Southwest Houston. After a few challenges, it became obvious that a separate en tity will have to take charge if we were to succeed in building a true community center to serve our own Indian American community as well as the mainstream commu nity. That is when India House Inc. was born in 2003 and the entire community got behind the proj ect. Here are the basic goals of this community center.

India House provides the “fa cility and infrastructure to sup port the broad needs of the Indian community” and the disconnected organizations providing services to this community. Recognizing these facts and to provide most essential services and participate with the American community at large, it was the desire of the IndoAmerican community to build a facility to receive and share values among all who wish to participate.

The new facility is located in the Southwest part of Houston at 8888 West Bellfort Avenue, Houston, TX 77031. As of now the follow ing programs and services catering to the needs of the community are being offered.

Free Food Distribution

Virendra Mathur Medical Clinic

Family and Immigration Law Consultation

Relationship Clinic Parai Music Classes

Sareen Harris Health Clinic

Yoga BollyX Fitness Programming Classes for Be ginners

Art & Craft Classes

Soccer Classes

Personality Development Class

es Technology Classes

English Learning Shabdh Yog

Sanskrit Classes

Dance Classes

Table Tennis

Taped Ball Cricket at India House Cricket Ground

Youth Taped Ball Cricket Clinic India House Library

In order to provide these pro grams and services, India House decided to build these facilities in phases.

Phase - I India House

Addresses immediate need for a facility providing assistance to se niors, families, adults, recent im

migrant populations and medical clinic. Phase 1 was completed in 2008 and the building has been in full usage serving the needs of the community. I would like to urge every person within our commu nity at large to get involved with India House activities and make full use of this facility. As a com munity, we need a cultural change within our thinking to come to gether as a community and be responsive to our surroundings.

In order to achieve this goal, let me conclude with these famous words from Swami Vivekananda - Take up one idea - our commu nity. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to bring the entire community together under one roof and a fu ture power house to be reckoned with. One more thing, always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrows a fresh opportunity to make it better.

Phase - 2 India House planned for a future date consists of the construction of a Cultural Center to conduct additional com munity activities. This will pro vide adequate additional space to host all community events by all organizations with well-planned infrastructure to match the needs.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • November 18, 2022 6 COMMUNITY
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Teach for America Alumnus Spearheads Health Science and Career Exploration

houston: When Nabeel Ahmad, of Houston, taught at Sharpstown High School as a Teach For Amer ica (TFA) Houston corps member, he was surprised by the lack of Science, Technology, Engineer ing, and Mathematics (STEM) related opportunities available to his students.

As a corps member with TFA Houston, Nabeel was dedicated to spending two years teaching in a low-income community, an expe rience that opened his eyes to the reality of educational inequity in public schools.

Now an alumnus of TFA Hous ton and a third-year medical stu dent at the Tilman J. Fertitta Fam ily College of Medicine (formerly the University College of Medi cine), Nabeel is watching a pro gram he spearheaded change the trajectory for high school students interested in pursuing careers in the health sciences.

In 2021, with the help of sev eral other TFA Houston alums, he successfully launched a medical school-high school partnership with Jack Yates High School, a new chapter of the Health Career Collaborative, a national pathway to health career program. In this initiative, medical students serve as year-long mentors to a cohort of 10th graders interested in pursu ing the health sciences as a career. The 10th graders then matriculate into the 11th and then 12th-grade programming.

Nabeel re members fond ly during the first year of the Collaborative, letting some of the students borrow his white lab coat.

“For the first time, many of these students began to rec ognize their true potential and visualize themselves as doctors, scien tists, and re searchers,” he said. “The pro gram has been transformative for both the students and the mentors in

volved. It’s been gratifying on so many levels,” said Nabeel.

The program consists of handson learning opportunities, a public health learning module, and even creating a health fair where stu dents have the chance to become health advocates and health lead ers in their communities.

Earlier this year, the Ameri can Academy of Pediatrics and Healthier Texas Summit invited Nabeel to give an oral presen tation on how other healthcare academic institutions can launch

similar initiatives with local high schools.

“We are incredibly proud of Na beel for being a true catalyst for change and transforming the lives of students through the Health Ca reer Collaborative,” said Tiffany Cuellar Needham, executive direc tor of TFA Houston.

Nabeel looks forward to seeing the program grow and continue to provide guidance to more students interested in health and science ca reers.

“The Health Career Collabora

tive has taught me, the other men tors, and the students who par ticipate that the sky is the limit, and anything is possible,” said Nabeel.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • November 18, 2022 7
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Nepalese Artist Lain Singh Bangdel Paintings on Exhibit at Asia Society

houston: Asia Society Texas (AST) an nounces its newest exhibition, Lain Singh Bangdel: Moon Over Kathmandu, featur ing the abstract modernist work of poly math, novelist, art historian, preservation ist, academician, and painter, Lain Singh Bangdel. Made up of approximately 20 works, the exhibition is the first solo show by a Nepali artist at any Asia Society site, and highlights Bangdel’s pioneering pur suit of abstraction that would help define a modern Nepal – shaping the history of art in South Asia. Lain

Singh Bangdel: Moon Over Kathmandu is FREE and open to the public beginning Wednesday, November 30th through Sun day, April 30, 2023.

Born on a tea plantation in Darjeeling, India, into a community of Nepali migrant workers, Bangdel remained culturally connected to his homeland of Nepal until his first visit in 1961.

The collection of works on view explores how his signature vocabulary of abstrac tion crystallized upon his homecoming to Nepal at the behest of King Mahendra and B.P. Koirala, the country’s first democrati cally elected prime minister.

Informed by the architecture of South Asian cities like Kolkata and Kathmandu, as well as the exalted peaks of the everpresent Himalayas, Bangdel’s abstract paintings like Moon over Kathmandu (1962) and Abstract II (1969) advanced his belief in the sublime and rugged maj esty of the world’s tallest mountain range. As such, the barrier that once separated Bangdel from Nepal became the subject that most connected him to his homeland, nourishing his artistic sensibility.

In the years leading up to his trium phant return to Nepal, Bangdel lived a remarkable life, embedding himself with intellectual circles in Independence-era Kolkata, London, and Paris. In 1939, he left the tea fields of Darjeeling to enroll in Kolkata’s noted Government College of Art & Craft. Here, Bangdel studied with Zainul Abedin, who would become one of Bangladesh’s foremost modern artists and an important documentarian of the Bengal Famine (1943-45), a cataclysmic event that would affect Bangdel’s art and writ ing for decades. After graduating, Bangdel found work as a commercial artist at the Kolkata-based firm D.J. Keymer, where he formed a lifelong friendship with ac claimed Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray. During this period, Bangdel produced

paintings of everyday life in Bengal, includ ing Kolkata’s impoverished suburbs, and focused his attention on writing in Nepali, publishing several novels, and founding the literary journal Prabhat (Dawn).

In 1952, Bangdel left Kolkata to further his education and training in London and Paris. In connecting with the Asian diaspora’s ar tistic community, he hosted dinners in his Paris flat, where he engaged with the noted Indian modernists M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, and Paritosh Sen. Eager to study the work of European modernists and old masters alike, Bangdel traveled extensively throughout Eu rope while publishing Nepali-language books and travelogues for audiences in his home land. His experiments in abstract painting be gan in Europe, as seen in the exhibition’s cub ist-inflected Transformation (1956), as well as Himalaya (1954), an ethereal imagining of Bangdel’s homeland. In 1961, after a formal request from King Mahendra, Bangdel and his wife left London for Nepal. The experience cemented his desire to, as Koirala implored him in a 1957 letter, “organize [Nepal’s] aes thetic movement.” This call to action would ultimately lead to his 1962 solo exhibition in Nepal, his first in the country.

Moon over Kathmandu thus brings to life the many notable contributions of Bangdel to the global history of modern art.

Lain Singh Bangdel: Moon Over Kathman du Fast Facts:

• Dates: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 –Sunday, April 30, 2023

• Admission: FREE

• Hours: Wednesday–Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Satur day–Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

• Location: Asia Society Texas, 1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX, 77004 (in the Museum District)

• More info: asiasociety. org/texas/ exhibitions/ lain-singhbangdel-moonover-kathman du

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • November 18, 2022 8 _____________________________ I:%4'+!D!JJJ!*'!K:!%'2?@:*:8!KL!&)*(+*',"!(-)"(.*/"!0,!JJJ I:%'+8:8!KL> _____________________________ _________________________________ I:%4'+!M!JJJ!*'!K:!%'2?@:*:8!KL!!"#$!**!JJJ !?"*********************************************************"'22)3("(-&4"#$%&#'5$#6"!"'@,))"($"'9&0)"9A" (-)"!.."/AB'C4"'#0"C&BB"0&42B$4)"'#A"2$#D&2("$+"&#(),)4("3,&$,"($"(-)")B)25$#6 1'2$+::>" _____________________________ _________________________________ E,)"(-)4)"(-,))"3)$3B)",)B'()0F"!+"A)4?")G3B'&#"-$C>"*************************** H'&B"I$%&#'5$#"J$,%"'#0"'"2-)2K"&#"(-)"'%$:#("$+!NDO!($> L'C'-',"H'B-$(,'?"H)%9),?"MB)25$#".$%%&N))?"OPPQR"S)4(%),)"1, 8$:4($#?"<)G'4"RRQRR J'G>"7ROT="RUVWXTVR"'#0")W%'&B>"Y'C$2-)ZA'-$$62$% 1'()""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""E00,)44 M%'&B]J'G I'%)"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""[&@#'(:,)"\"0'() 1'()""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""E00,)44 M%'&B]J'G I'%)""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""[&@#'(:,)"\"0'() 1'()""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""E00,)44 M%'&B]J'G """#$%%&'()*'+*,#'-. /00!1'2$+34'+!5'-2!6'-!7'3-8!'6!9$-:%*'-)/Trustees!;')$4'+ <=3)*!83*:!*'!-:%:$>:!3??@$%34'+)A!1'>!D7*&C!DEDDC!G@:%4'+A!9:%#!4*&C!DEDDH Election for Directors (8 positions for 2-year term) & Trustees (2 positions for 3-year term) I:%4'+!F!JJJ!*'!K:!%'2?@:*:8!KL !"#$!%&"' !"#$%&#'()"******************************+$,"(-)"!.."/$',0"$+"7circle one="1&,)2($,]<,:4())""3$4&5$#6 1'2$+3*'-A 78'4"($"9)"'"2:,,)#("!.."/;1"$,"<,:4())="7Check one=>""/;1"*****"<,:4())"***** I'%)"""" """""""""[&@#'(:,)"\"0'() For Nomination Forms and Details President Malla Mekala Secretary Santosh Verma For Board positions (Directors and Trustees) please mail omination orm and a check in the amount of $25 to: Jawahar Malhotra Member, Election Committee 12207 Westmere Dr Houston, TX 77077 Phone 713 789 6397 Email FINE ARTS AUTO GLASS WINDSHIELD INSTALLATIONS IN HOUSTON, AUSTIN, DALLAS & FT WORTH • Owner wants to retire • All work is on phone & computer • Will train in all aspects of the business • Prior auto glass experience not needed Contact website: Home Based Business 14 YEARS IN HOUSTON FOR SALE Investment: $30K to $70K Annual Return: $50K To $100K ONLY SERIOUS INQUIRIES PLEASE

World Population at 8 Billion, India to Pass China

new yorK: The human population touched 8 billion on Tuesday (No vember 15), a mile stone that heralds both opportunities and challenges — especially for India, which is set to become the world’s most pop ulous country next year by surpassing China.

While the United Nations hailed the 8-billion figure as “a testament to hu manity’s achieve ments”, it also sounded a note of caution.

“The growth of our population is a testament to humanity’s achieve ments, including reductions in poverty and gender inequality, ad vancements in health care, and ex panded access to education. These have resulted in more women sur viving childbirth, more children surviving their early years, and longer, healthier lifespans, decade after decade,” the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said.

However, in a report, Liu Zhen min, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said rapid population growth can make challenges of hunger and poverty steeper. “Rapid popula tion growth makes eradicating poverty, combating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult,” the UN official said.

The UN population report said the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, hav

ing fallen under 1 per cent in 2020.

The world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050. It is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 bil lion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.

“More than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Re public of Tanzania. Countries of sub-Saharan Africa are expected to contribute more than half of the increase anticipated through 2050,” the report said.

India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most popu lous country in 2023, “with pros pects to reap the demographic dividend as the median age of an Indian this year was 28.7 years, compared to 38.4 for China and 48.6 for Japan against a global value of 30.3 years,” a PTI report said.

The population prospects report

Indo American News

Founder: dr. K.l sindwani

PuBlisher: Jawahar Malhotra editor: PraMod KulKarni

CorresPondent: sanChali Basu

had said that India’s population stands at 1.412 billion in 2022, compared to China’s 1.426 bil lion. India is projected to have a population of 1.668 billion in 2050, way ahead of China’s 1.317 billion people by the middle of the century.

According to UNFPA estimates, 68 per cent of India’s population is between 15-64 years old in 2022, while people aged 65 and above comprise seven per cent of the population.

As per UN estimates, over 27 per cent of the country’s popula tion is between the ages of 15-29.

At 253 million, India is also home to the world’s largest adolescent population (10-19 years).

UNFPA has noted that India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population. According to UNFPA projections, India will continue to have one of the young est populations in the world till 2030 and is currently experiencing a demographic window of oppor tunity, a “youth bulge” that will last till 2025. -- Indian Express

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, november 18, 2022 • November 18, 2022 9 For Advertising in Indo-American News call Jawahar Malhotra @ 713-789-6397 Pradeep Sulhan, P.C. Certified Public Accountant Over 25 years of experience 14340 Torrey Chase Blvd. | Suite 110 | Houston, Texas 77014 281-583-2993 | 281-580-8700| Call Sid or Pradeep ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. Deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 212, Houston, Texas,
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Akshaya Patra Hosts Fund Raising Happy Hour

san antonio: The Akshaya Patra Houston Chapter hosted a Happy Hour to help raise funds and awareness for the charity that is centered around ending child hunger for school children in India at The Great Heights Brewing Co. on November 11th, 2022. Many young professionals attended and donated generously while net working and enjoying some bites and beverages.

The event took place in the beautiful Barrel Room and was attended by dozens of supporters of the Akshaya Patra. The event was hosted by Janardan Thakkar, Mayur Shah, Sanjeev Yamdagni, Samrat Bera, Shridhar Negaman than, Naveen Kochoth, and Ashok Shah.

Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest mid-day meal program that serves hot nutritional hygienic school lunches to over 2 million children, out of 65 kitchens, in approximately 20,000 schools, across 14 States and 2 Union Ter ritories in India every school day.

These meals are area specific to the region with spice profiles and ingredients consistent with the children’s local cuisine.

These children come from lowincome families who typically make less than $2.00 per day and are unable to afford vegetables, grains, and milk – basically the bare necessities a child needs to grow.

Akshay Patra provides nutri tional meals that are specifically engineered to be dense in vitamins and nutrients to support the brain

cognitive functions and the body during the most vital stage in a hu man’s development. These chil dren are given the opportunity to have as many servings they want until full. As a result, the data in dicates:

• The children have improved re tention and focus

• Strength in Social develop ment

• Attendance and enrollment in school increases

• Substantially Fewer Dropouts (especially in the female popula tion)

• Provides a more restorative sleep that helps cognitive abilities Akshaya Patra’s goal now is to feed at least 5 million school chil dren everyday by 2025. With a do nation of just $100, you can feed 5 children for a whole year.

It almost sounds too good to be true but by minimizing overhead, every dollar that is donated, on average $0.91 makes it directly into the child’s mouth. Akshay Pa tra prides themselves on absolute transparency.

Akshay Patra is a 501(c)(3) and a 7- time consecutive recipient of the goldshield award of excellence in Financial reporting. The gold stan dard in this sector internationally. So when you donate to Akshay Patra you have the confidence and peace of mind knowing the major ity of your donations go directly to the kids.

To learn more, donate, or to vol unteer please visit us at: https://www.akshayapatrausa. org/chapters/texas-houston-chap ter/

Sanjeev Yamdagni (left) and Mayur Shah at the Akshaya Patra Happy Hour

‘Uunchai’: A Heartfelt Ode to Friendship

This is as far as it gets from a Sooraj Barjatya film. It also avoids the melodrama that movies of this kind tend to lapse into, though it can’t resist the temptation to stretch the length to at least an hour more than it should be.

Still, how often do you get to see a road film about three old men and two old women, whose one lesson is about change being the only constant? Life is not a oneway street, is the surprising and refreshing message that the three friends Amit (Bachchan), Om (Kher) and Javed (Irani) learn on their bid to climb till the Everest base camp. You can learn every step of the way, very often look ing backward but also sometimes looking forward.

Parents aren’t always in the right, children not often in the wrong, marriages can require dis tance, and love can often succumb to worldly comforts.

That’s some of the many life lessons packed into this road trip, from Delhi to Kathmandu, via Kanpur, Lucknow and Gorakhpur.

Neena Gupta as Javed’s wife Sabi na and Sarika as Mala Trivedi who takes a ride with them complete this travelling company.

While Bachchan is the star, it’s not his doing this time, with the script thrusting him repeatedly forward when his own character is actually content being one among the many. As the loving couple

Javed and Sabina, Irani and Gupta have the film’s choicest moments, while Kher as the grumpy friend has the most laughs. While they are on the road, the film is actually at its smoothest.

The Everest trek, however, is not dismissed as a by the way, with some effort having gone into making it genuine — down to the peeling skin and chapped lips, and the day-to-day itinerary involved. There is a scene of real terror on a bridge across a stream that we

might remember from other Ever est films, though it lasts a bit too long.

Given the boost Everest tour ism might get should this film be a hit, a lot of emphasis is put on safety, being in the right medical health, and on warnings about all that could go wrong. But there are also surprising, warm and small touches regarding how it can be done, by people who are repeat edly told that life is basically over for them.

A bit fewer of several stretches towards the second half where the film meanders into more than one man-made crises, and this Uunchai would have been mission truly ac complished.

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Anu pam Kher, Boman Irani, Danny Denzongpa, Parineeti Chopra, Neena Gupta, Sarika

Director: Sooraj Barjatya Rating: 3 stars -- Indian Express

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