Friday, November 18 2011 | Vol. 30, No. 46
Indo American News
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November 18, 2011
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Houston Radio Hungama’s ‘Warm Gama’ Outdoor Event
By Sumana Nutalapati HOUSTON: Telugu Radio Hungama has been advertizing about the 2nd Outdoor Annual Carnival/Mela Hungama event in the DurgaBari temple grounds for more than a month now. Saturday, November 5, a day Houston had at least 7 well advertized Desi events just around the vicinity of DurgaBari Temple. People, you would think, are all exhausted, and are yearning for a quite weekend at home. The winds have turned, temperatures have dropped, and usually warm-weather loving Houston crowd has started murmuring about the chill in the breeze. The D day arrived! 6 pm: The stage is all set in beautiful white lace and blue string lights like in some heavenly movie setting by Pravallika. People started driving into the parking lot of the DurgaBari Temple on Schiller road off of Highway 6. Participants came from all walks of life in all ages in colorful costumes. Audience is being seated as the winds took another gentle turn to a cool breeze from cold chill! The Masters of Ceremony of this event were none other than the familiar hosts of Telugu Radio Hungama show - Sridhar Dadi, Pallavi Vadrevu, Hema Nalini and Pravallika. The program officially started with a pooja and then a prayer song by the all too well known child wonder, Lekha YeswantaRao. Amrutavarshini Tamarasu another little bundle of talent sang a song ‘Tirutiru gananadha’ from the movie, 100% love
Radio Hungama Team
right after that. Both the children have done such a wonderful job of praying that the crowd was assured that the rest of the program cannot be anything but the grand success that it ended up being!! Radio Hungama had created a ‘Warm-Gama’ with the Sa Re Ga Ma they produced on a chilly afternoon. The heat of the energy from the crowd that thronged the wonderful event was enough to warm up the cockles of any heart. There were games, raffles, face painting, fashion show, food contests, Bollywood and Tollywood, folk and Classical was singing and dancing. Complete in itself, this event once again reminded people of what a hard working team the Hungama team is. Especially the single minded dedication of Sridhar Dadi, the host and the owner of Telugu Radio Hungama who puts his heart and soul into each and ev-
ery one of their events whether it is an annual event like this or a short term event like Galli Galli Me Hungama. The program sheet sounded like a listing of talented children of Houston. Akhila Mamandur, Lekha YaswanthRao, Pranav Juturi, Amrutha Varshini Tamarasu, Meghana Nutalapati, Milinda Nutalapati, Ragini Konde, Amulya Peri, Laasya Dhulipala, MehaRaja and Anvitha Ganna… the expectations for a good quality program was set by then. Ajit, Ajay Ambati and Surya Indukuri danced to energetic numbers - Rooba Rooba from Orange and My love is gone from Arya and raised the pace. An amazingly cute rendition of Chinni Chinni Aasa by Lasya Dhulipala took parents in the crowd to their school days. Anusha Moturu’s Kuchipudi dance from Houston’s pride Smt.Ratna Kumar’s An-
jali Center for Performing Arts, showed the audience classical arts are not lost in the haze of hop hop in Houston even in this era. Akhila Mamandur’s rendition of Its Rocking (Kya Love Story Hai) show cased the unmistakable talent in this Houston’s favorite singing star. Aavo Chalo Samosa khayenge!! was a fabulous success as games go with 4 couples enthusiastically participating and winning the prize of eating warm samosas in the cool breeze in a fixed time reminding the crowd of the mouth watering hot and spicy food from the vending booths by Annam Indian Cuisine, Mayuri Indian Restaurant and Sankalp Indian restaurant. Another fun contest for adults “He Bhai Jara Dekho Chalo” peppered with jokes from MCs was another event that added spice to the fare. Mayya Yashoda (Jhoota Sach) by Rakshita and friends students of Katy’s own Bharathanatyam teacher Indrani Pardhasaradhi was a crowd favorite with its all time favorite story of Krishna followed by Dinkuchika from Ready by Meha Raja and friends from Sugarland. Solo hip hop Dance performance by Pranav Juturi, Houston’s own special package of energy shot the crowd’s pulse up. Superb dance performance to Ra-One dance number Chamak Challo by Madhukar and Juhi Baxi was another one the audience will not forget in a hurry.
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The crowd’s curiosity was piqued as Milinda dressed as the uniquely different little cowherd boy danced on the stage to the beat of ‘dappu’ before Meghana, Ragini, Amulya and Nishika entered the stage and set a new kind of pace to the program with their old is gold Telugu folk song Ammori Jatara from Anjali Center reminding the crowd of their own celebrity Octagenarian Avasarala Anasuya Devi. Costume Contest for about 20 kids all ranging between the divinely cute age of 4-7 years right on the stage is another element introduced this year to keep the range of variety wide. The winners were Parinika (First prize, dressed up as Indian Royal Princess), Apoorv Nednur (Second prize, dressed as Lord Krishna) and Laasya Dhulipala (Third prize, dressed up as Telugu Ammayii) Pallavi dance academy’s Sajda from My Name is Khan is a true salute executed by Meghna Rachapalli, Manisha and Samira Karanam. This is the new dance school on the block bringing fresh blood into the Houston’s cultural scene. Laya Raja and friends’ medley dance of a semi classical, folk and Disco combo highlighted the group’s multi genre talent. Dance performances by Infused Performing Arts, Abhinaya School, Anjali Performing center, Nappinnai’s Group, Katy Group and Pallavi Dance Academy were the high lights of the program. continued on page
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Indo American News • Friday, NOVEMBER 18, 2011 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com
November 18, 2011
A dozen y years of many s successes Propels IAcc ccGH Forward
HOUSTON: The 12th Annual Gala of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston “Transforming Our World” was held on Saturday, November 12, at the Legends Ballroom at the Intercontinental Hotel. Recognizing the commonality of interest in the Healthcare sector in the United States and India, with the goal of understanding the business of medicine and its future direction, the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) launched the Healthcare Initiative for the year 2011. Dr. Devinder Bhatia, a distinguished thoracic surgeon in Houston, and his wife Gina Bhatia were the IACCGH Gala Chairs for 2011. At the pre-gala reception hosted by Wells Fargo & Wells Fargo Advisors, after brief remarks by Congressman Al Green, Dr.
Houston Business Community and several Indo-American Business Leaders, including Vijay Goradia, Paul Likhari, Moez Mangalji and many eminent local Indo-Americans including Dr. Latha Ramchand (C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston ), Dr. Mohan Kuruvilla (Dean, School of Business, Houston Baptist University) and Dr. Lopa Mishra (MDACC) attended the event to welcome the Gala Chief Guest, Her Excellency Nirumapma Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States. Also attending the event were Sudhakar Rao, IAS (Retired), former Chief Secretary Government of Karnataka, India, who has also previously served as Minister of Commerce at the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. in 1999, Honorable Consul General Sanjiv Arora, Consulate General of India
The commemorative souvenir contained messages and proclamations from Senator John Corynyn, and many distinguished and notable individuals including the Mayor of Houston Annise Parker, Mayor of Sugar Land Jimmy Thompson, Congressman Ted Poe, Congressman Pete Olson, and many others. With an elegant platinum and rich blue decor, with iridescent blue lights beaming from the floor and enveloping the ballroom, streaks of blue vividly reflecting through the hydrangea centerpieces, every table hosted business leaders and executives from diverse industrial sectors. Also, in attendance at the Gala were several elected officials including, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, City of Houston Council Members Al Ho-
Top: The Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao (center in sari) flanked by the IACCGH Gala Chairs Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhatia, Indian Consul General Sanjiv Arora, members of the IACCGH Board (President S. Mona Parikh on the extreme right) and winners of the IACCGH 2011 Awards. Bottom: The IACCGH Board of Directors with Mondira Tangri (center) who retired from the Chamber after 10 years as its Office Administrator. Photos: Bijay Dixit
Devinder and Gina Bhatia presenting plaques to some of the Gala underwriters, including United Airlines, Houston Business Journal, Wells Fargo Advisors, and Wells Fargo. City of Sugar Land Council Member Jacquie Chaumette; Fort Bend ISD President, Sonal Bhuchar; Darshan Rauniyar, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, 1st Congressional District and Stafford resident K. P. George, candidate for the 22nd U.S. Congressional District had an opportunity to meet the IACCGH Executive Leaders, the Board of Directors, the Membership of IACCGH, various business Executives from Shell, Prudential, Jackson & Walker LLP, BMC, IBM, Citi, and other IACCGH Corporate Supporters. Almost 550 individuals from the Greater
Houston, and Chayya Arora. Regional Emmy Award Winner Sonia Azad of Channel 13 television, the Gala Emcee began the evening by providing a quick glimpse into the history of the Chamber, a non-profit organization which was formed in 1999 with the support of the Indian Consulate and several Business and Community Leaders. She acknowledged that over the years, IACCGH has succeeded in well serving the changing needs of the business community. Azad brought to everyone’s attention the IACCGH Annual Gala Magazine which serves as a report on the recent activities of the IACCGH, the cover of which simply revealed, Integrating: Industries, Institutions, Ideas, Innovation and Individuals.
ang, Brenda Stardig, and Stephen Costello, City of Sugar Land Council Members Thomas Abraham and Harish Jajoo, Fort Bend ISD Trustee Sonal Bhuchar. Matthew Shaler represented City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker. In his opening remarks, Jagdip Ahluwalia, the founding Secretary of IACCGH (who also serves as its Executive Director), often endearingly referred to as the cornerstone of this organization by the Executive Team, applauded the support of the Gala Chairs Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhatia, the Indian Consulate, the Gala Host Committee Members and the major 2011 Platinum and Gold supporters. Ahluwalia welcomed the delegates from sister Chambers in Dallas ( Sanjeev Khanna and Sunil Maini) and Ala-
bama (Anil Agrawal). Thereafter, S. Mona Parikh, the President of the IACCGH thanked the attendees for providing her an opportunity to represent all those who believe in the incredibly important Partnership between the United States of America and India, and also those who believe in sustaining the Greater Houston region as a metropolis of international significance. Parikh noted that nearly three million Indo-Americans who now call this country their home (out of which over 100,000 reside within the Greater Houston area) provide a powerful connection between the free market democracies of the United States and India and that bilateral trade between the two countries has more than tripled in the last decade and likewise, trade between Houston and India continues to be on the rise. Parikh explained that perceiving the extraordinary promise and potential in the ever transforming and intensifying relationship and co-operation between the United States of America and India, a relationship which aims to advance common ideals of democracy and enhanced economic engagement, while at the same time, recognizing the growing public and private collaborations world-wide, and most importantly, based upon a strong belief in the spirit of optimism, dedication and determination of the people of these two great Nations, she shared a vision: “The United States of America and India AND Unitedly, U & I shall Transform Our World.” As she thanked her entire team for working together to enable furthering the Mission of the Chamber, she reassured the audience that “Strengthening the evolving relationship between the United States of America and India, is our goal; promoting business with the Greater Houston region is our commitment; and members, enabling you to succeed remains our pledge.” The remarks by Consul General Sanjiv Arora, emphasized the close working relationship between the IACCGH and the Consulate. Sharing some vital statistics which evidence the tremendous ongoing growth in the bilateral trade between India and the United States, he congratulated the IACCGH President and the team for the ongoing efforts to promote business opportunities and also acknowledged that the IACCGH has been willing to assist and share best practices with others, which has aided in the establishment of other IndoAmerican Chambers in other States under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of India Houston. Upon thanking Mona Parikh and Jagdip Ahluwalia and the IACCGH Members for the opportunity to chair the event, with a sense of pride, Dr. Devinder Bhatia gave a quick glimpse into his own personal journey, with a father of Indian origin and an American mother, reflecting the essence of “IndoAmerican.” The Gala Chairs, Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhatia then introduced the Chief Guest, Her Excellency Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States. In her comprehensive but succinct message to the audience, Ambassador Rao shared her thoughts on India “the salience of its wide ranging growth, and opportunities and potential that it opens up for expanding India-US trade and economic relations.” As Ambassador Rao reflected on the current uncertain global environment which is full
Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A noVemBer 18 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O
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November 18, 2011
A dozen y years of many s successes Propels IAcc ccGH Forward
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of challenges, one where the pace of economic recovery world over is uneven, the Euro debt crisis remain unresolved, and a world in which the inflationary pressures and stress on currencies worldwide is further slowing down the world GDP growth, she reminded the audience that “it is in this backdrop that we should view India’s dynamic economy, its growth paradigm and its rapidly growing externalities including a rich agenda of bilateral cooperation with the United States,” and that over the past two decades, India has been the second fastest growing major economy in the world. She further expressed that the growth in the Indian economy provides potentially a large market for the US products, technologies and services. She noted that India has
Recalling her last tour of duty in the United States in early 90s to her current responsibilities as Ambassador, she noted that “… it has been a story of change. Change in the Indian economy; change in the whole space of our (US-India) bilateral ties; and change in the global environment in which our relationship has matured. Today, more than ever before, in the US, as in India, there is a clear recognition and much excitement in moving India-US relationship to a new level of higher engagement befitting of our strategic partnership.” The evening continued with the announcement and presentation of the “Transforming Our World - 2011 Excellence Awards,” the objective of which is to recognize the efforts of individuals who have made a substantial impact upon a business sector which in turn
The audience at the IACCGH Gala held this past Saturday, November 12 at the Intercontinental Hotel was entertained by two acrobatic acts and heard from the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, on her first visit to Houston.
emerged not only as one of the key drivers of global growth but also of its stability and that the signing of the India-US civil nuclear agreement signaled a new thinking in the US-India bilateral ties, a willingness to address complex issues with clarity and maturity. Ambassador Rao particularly stated with pride that India and the United States are now both partners in each other’s growth and prosperity. The substantive agenda for bilateral engagement includes: strengthening partnership in global security; deepening the linkages in fields of technology, innovation and energy; forging greater links to encourage research and innovation leading to job, wealth and value creation in both economies; jointly developing, testing and replicating transformative technologies to extend food security as part of an Evergreen Revolution; working to achieve stronger investment flows in India’s infrastructure sector, clean energy, aviation and transportation, health care, food processing and education; and expanding and deepening the bilateral trade and business-to-business links including through greater engagement between Indian and American small and medium sized enterprises.
has resulted in a transformation - either conceptual, economic, or through policy implementation. The members of the Awards Selection Committee included Richard A. Huebner, President, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council; IACCGH Advisor, Paul Hamilton and IACCGH Past President and Director Emeritus, Brij Kathuria. Kathuria who has served the Chamber for over eight years, provided a detailed description of the process which was undertaken by the 3 panel judging team to arrive at the finalselection and the pre-established criteria which included the following salient points: innovative concept; demonstration of success within the company; economic growth within Greater Houston and/or trade between US & India, involvement with the Chamber, recognition in the Greater Houston community of the individual as one with high integrity and values, ability of the individual to provide inspiration to others, and the individual’s involvement in philanthropic causes. Swatantra Jain, Vinmar International Ltd., and Avinash Ahuja, Magnum Producing Company received the 2011 Excellence Awards for Community Leadership.
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The winners of the 2011 Excellence Awards for Business accomplishments were: Hemant Goradia, President & CEO, Vinmar International Ltd.; Jugal Malani, Founder, Chairman & President, Unique Industrial; Bob Beauchamp, Chairman of the Board & CEO, BMC Software; Govind Agrawal, President & CEO, GRA Enterprise LP; Brij Agrawal, President & CEO, VKC Group; Dilip Bhargava, Founder, Chairman, & President, SDB Steel and Pipe; Samuel and Omana Abrahams, Owners - Abrahams Oriental Rugs; and Pershant & Nidhika Mehta, Founder and President & CEO, Je Matadi Inc. Interspersed throughout the evening was spectacular entertainment, presented by J & D Entertainment, who presented International Cirque star Cristin Sandu and the world Champion Hula Hoop Artist, Nicole Myint. Each performance which was a feat, captivated the audience. From juggling the galvanized 8x8 cube to the rola bola act by Sandu, an act which has been previously featured on America’s Got Talent, displayed the power of one individual and reflected the reality of the business world, i.e., in a volatile global economy, counteracting with a sense of balance and equilibrium is undoubtedly essential. Similarly, the spellbinding moves by contortionist Myint, clearly conveyed the Chamber message: The capability of even one human being is virtually limitless and that in an ever changing world, the ability to improvise and adapt is vital. Each act brought down the house! Upon briefly recognizing the key representatives of the IACCGH in attendance, including the Board of Directors - Madhukar Prasad (Immediate Past President), Ajit Thakur (Incoming President), Ashok Garg (Treasurer), Sanjay Ramabhadran (Secretary), Dr. Subodh Bhuchar, Aku Patel, Harish Kathrani, Joya Shukla, Nitin Kapadia), Director at Large Pankaj Dhume, and Directors Emeritus, Dr. Atul Varadhachary, Brij Kathuria, Deepa Thakur - the IACCGH team invited the retiring IACCGH Office Administrator, Mondira Tangri, on stage and honored her for her long term service to the Chamber. Incoming IACCGH Board members Allen Richards, Swapan Dhairy-
awan, Pankaj Dhume and Amod Bavare were also introduced. IACCGH Board Members, Dr. Subodh Bhuchar and Sanjay Ramabhadran brought the auction to life, raising additional funds which will enable the Chamber to deliver networking and focused business developmental programs. Ajit Thakur, Incoming President IACCGH, shared his vision for 2011 which includes building upon the success of the Chamber further by relying on the concept of “i Chamber - e Chamber.” He stated that every member of the business community will have an interactive relationship with the Chamber and the Chamber will in all earnest better disperse a wide variety of information to assist the Chamber membership through the web which will result in business and professional growth. As the final performance once again enamored the audience, on behalf of the Chamber, Jagdip Ahluwalia expressed his sincere appreciation to all the attendees, members and supporters. Dr. Bhatia is a distinguished thoracic surgeon in Houston and holds certification from the American Board of Thoracic and General Surgery. He and his wife Gina are strong supporters of various causes including March of Dimes, San Jose Clinic, Family Services of Greater Houston, Chil Children’s Museum of Houston, Make a Wish Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, Chron’s Colitis Foundation, Indian Film Festival, Houston Museum of Health, Hermann Park Conser Conservancy and Communities in Schools. S. Mona Parikh is a Partner with the Law Offices of Jones, Mays, Ramsey & Parikh. Her areas of practice include, Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law. She is active in the Indo-American Community and is the legal counsel for various IndoAmerican nonprofit organizations. She is a Board Member of Pratham Houston and has served her full term as a Board Member of the Houston Business Development, Inc., established by the City of Houston, to stimulate economic growth, support the expansion of small businesses, and combat community deterioration.
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Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A noVemBer 18, 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O
November 18, 2011
Houston to celebrate c s sathya sri s sai Babaâ€™s s 86th Birth Anniversary
Thanksgiving Food drive at sri s Ashtalakshmi Temple
HOUSTON: The Sai Centers of Houston will celebrate Sathya Sai Babaâ€™s 86th birth anniversary on Saturday, November 26 at the Durga Bari Society auditorium located on 13844 Schiller Road, Houston, TX 77082. The program from 4-6:30pm will be followed by dinner. The main highlight of the event
HOUSTON: Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and VT VTSEVA has organized a Thanksgiving food drive. Any contributions of canned or boxed food items are welcome to be given to those in need this holiday season. Please take note that the canned and boxed goods cannot contain any kind of meat product or meat broth. As the the Food Drive will be conducted on the Temple premises, it is also requested that the food items should not contain onion or garlic. Also please make sure the items have not been opened and are not expired. There will be a box in the Temple labeled for the Food Drive. As Swamiji says, â€œServing the Needy is our Privilege!â€? Let us take this message to heart and contribute back to the community this holiday season. For more information, email Aparna Tamirisa at atamirisamd@ gmail.com or Sahitya Gadiraju at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At an event recently, actress Sonakshi Sinha seems to have been caught on the wrong foot.
Hungama m mela 2011 continued from page
If anybody still sat asking for variety after that list, there came the time for an awesome Fashion show by 11 beautiful girls from the bayou city, sponsored by Parinaz Boutique and Apsara Beauty Salon choreographed by Arushi Garg!! Wonderful collection by Parinaz Boutique with its latest trends and classic styles demonstrated by the smoothly suave girls in the show caught the audience breath. The spectacularly elegant makeup was done by Sangita Dua of Apsara Beauty Salon. Winners of Kohinoor Diamonds Cutest Baby Contest awarded with their prizes and gifts. Not surprisingly, it was a Facebook contest where they had to upload a picture of a baby (0-3 years) and it was judged by number of Facebook â€˜Likesâ€™. Ridhi Rentala with more than 2500 likes won the first prize from among more than 75 babies and was awarded the $500 Fendi Watch by Kohinoor Diamonds. The second prize was a $200 gift certificate from Don McGill Toyota and it went to Atharv and
3rd prize was awarded to Sai Havish and it was a jewelry box from Kohinoor Diamonds and Judgesâ€™ choice a silver coin was awarded to Dhrithi Alla. Don McGill brought their new 2012 Models for display in the play ground, making this event a dream event to even car enthusiasts. Raffles were conducted by vendors at their booths and audience won several gifts from them. Radio Hungama Team thanked all the volunteers, audience, Houston DurgaBari Society (HDBS), vendors, supporters, ICC, Sulekha and Indo American News for their support.
This wonderful event was sponsored by Aliana, HCC (Houston Community College), Don McGill Toyota (Katy and Kirkwood), Green Mountain Energy, MetLife, New York Life, Prudential Insurance, Kohinoor Diamonds, Parinaz Boutique, Doctor Venkat Veerisetty, Apsara Salon, Mayuri Indian Restaurant, Annam Indian Cuisine, Sankalp Indian Restaurant, C2 Education, Desi Collection and Dollar Planet. Donâ€™t forget the next major event by this fun filled dynamic team is HUNGAMA NITE 2012 - New Yearâ€™s Eve Party at the Preet Pavilion at 59 & Beltway 8 on Dec 31from 9pm to 2am.
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Presents will be a musical dance drama performed by the Sai Spiritual Education children. The dance drama depicts the vanquishing of our egoistic enemies, such as anger, greed, jealousy, and hatred, through divine love and compassion. The program also includes devotional group singing, cake cutting, and dinner. The Sai Centers of Houston is enthusiastically preparing for the birth anniversary celebration and welcomes you and your family, friends, neighbors, and community members on this auspicious occasion. Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Spiritual Master, is well known for his simple and sweet exposition of the most intricate of spiritual truths which form the fundamental teachings of all the religions of the world. Houston area devotees meet at two locations in North and South parts of the town on Sundays from 3- 5:30pm. For more information, call Ajit Paralkar at 281-788-4786 or Raghu Amara at 832-418-3842 or visit www.saicenterofhouston.org.
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Fascinating portrayal of the unique Time-Cycle Theory in Hindustani Classical Raagas Saturday, 19th November 2011, 4-30pm, Old Stafford Civic Center, Stafford, Texas ď ś
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Indo AmerIcAn news â€˘ FrIdAy, A noVemBer 18 , 2011 â€˘ Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O
November 18, 2011
Fashioning the Future Throws s spotlight on th saks 5 a s avenue and design House dior Pratham’s Annual Holiday Luncheon to Benefit Education in India By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: The Houston Chapter of Pratham USA will host its Annual Holiday Luncheon on Friday, December 2, 2011, at the Junior League of Houston. The muchanticipated fun and swank event, Fashioning the Future, will feature high-stepping models swathed in confections and accessories from Saks 5th Avenue and design house Christian Dior. This year’s keynote speaker is Katherine Center, the celebrated Houston-
effectively upholding its dictum of every child in school and learning well. The organization that has distinguished itself on the global platform was named as the 2011 recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the $250,000 Deloitte 21 Challenge Grant to help support the launch of new centers for disenfranchised teenage girls in India. Co-chairing this year’s holiday soiree are Asha Dhume and Rema Dhamodharan,
based author of international repute whose books, written with wit, compassion, and great courage, are keen observations on the all-too-human foibles and triumphs of every day life; she will be signing copies of her books at the event. A young mother of two, she is a strong advocate of children learning and arming themselves with the best education for a stronger future. Since its inception in 1994, Pratham has reached over 2.4 million children and is
who along with a committed board of directors and a strong support team will host the luncheon. Funds raised will help serve the grassroots, non-profit organizations’ many innovative education programs benefitting underprivileged children in India. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit www.prathamUSA.org,, or write to email@example.com. or call 713-774-9599.
November 18, 2011
Ambassador r rao and Houston mayor Inaugurate new n consulate office o
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HE Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to USA and Hon. Annise D Parker, Mayor of Houston jointly inaugurated the new premises of Consulate General of India at 4300 Scotland Street, Houston, TX 77007 on November 12. Seen in the picture are (from left): Consul General Sanjiv Arora, Houston City Councilman Hon. Mike Sullivan, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Chhaya Arora, HE Nirupama Rao and Sudhakar Rao Photo: Bijay Dixit
Lalit chinoy: c new n ew IIsc scA sc A President HOUSTON: The Indian Senior Citizens Association held their elections for officers for 2012-2-13 this past week and the votes that were cast resulted in the election of Lalit Chinoy and the slate of candidates aligned with him. Of the votes cast, the official tally was Lalit M. Chinoy 146 votes, Sudhir Mathuria120, Arvind Patel120; Devendra Patel 116, Ravind Trivedi 114, Shailesh Desai 106 and Neetin Vyas 73. Following the vote, on Tuesday, November 15, a meeting was held between the newly elected Board members and the Trustees and the following officers were appointed: President Lalit M. Chinoy; Vice-President Ravind Trivedi; Treasurer Sudhir Mathuria; Secretary Neetin Vyas.
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November 18, 2011
spreading the m s message of Love and devotion on Guru nanak’s Birthday
By Jawahar malhotra HOUSTON: In a departure from the parade, prayers and cultural program that the Sikh community has held downtown in Jones Plaza for the past two years, focus once again was paid on the Sikh National Center site to celebrate the 542nd birthday of the founder of the faith, Guru Nanak. “This move was in response to the problem of getting downtown, parking and logistics,” explained Bhai Amar Singh, a stalwart of the community. Bringing the celebrations back to the SNC site in the city’s northwest on the Beltway 8 across from the Sam Houston Racetrack also allowed organizers to take a small convoy of vehicles to follow
1699) marched to the altar under the covered multipurpose area, followed by the chief priest carrying the Guru Granth Sahib on his head. The devotees filed in the area and sat on the floor, listening to the kirtan; offering bowed obeisance to the Holy Book on its dais and hearing the stalwarts of the Gurudwaras give short sermons. Aside from the somber religious services, the mood was festive as more people arrived to pay their respects and also meet others they knew and enjoy the free langar (communal meal) that so typifies the Sikh faith. A fruit stand offered bowls of chopped fruits and in a shed, women cooked up hot pakoras in a huge cauldron of hot oil. An-
a float depicting Guru Nanak and a open-air truck behind it carrying cheering volunteers between the three nearby Gurudwaras in the area where many of the community live. The convoy started on Saturday, November 12 at 11am and visited Gurudwara Teg Bahadur, Gurudwara Sahib of Houston and the Sikh Centre of the Gulf Coast before arriving at the SNC site by 3pm where they were welcomed by a large crowd of the faithful. After some short speeches, the punj pyare (or the five beloved representing the five first Sikhs designated by Guru Gobind Singh to form the nucleus of the Khlasa in
other stand run by young kids gave out bags of chips and a long line of children of all ages stood patiently in front of the cotton candy stand. Nearly 700 people came to attend the event which lasted past 6pm and as the day wore on, the mood was more of a country fair with the easiness of a Punjabi village given the pine trees and undeveloped grassy expanse of
the 35 acre site. Over the last 7 years, the SNC site has shown slow but steady improvements: it now has two buildings and a paved parking lot and street entrance and the foundation and slab work has been completed for the main assembly hall where organizers hope to hold next year’s celebrations.
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r Leela Adds complexity ram to spectacular s stage Performances s By Jawahar malhotra HOUSTON: Just like last year when the first ever production of Ram Lila – the story of Lord Ram, his wife Sita and brother Lakhsman – was staged in not a small, but a massive way, this year the play went out of its way to add degrees of complexity throughout the over three hour performance. The show was held once again at the Cullen Auditorium on the University of Houston’s Main Campus this past Sunday, November 13, eighteen days after Diwali due to availability of the hall as well as to avoid conflict with the other functions that fill out the community’s calendar during the celebration of this important Hindu festival. And the show was much anticipated after its much heralded premier performance of last year, with capacity attendance once again this year. Ram Lila (literally Ram’s play) is a dramatic re-enactment of the life of Lord Ram and ends with the ten-day battle between Ram and Ravana as described in the Hindu religious epic, the Ramayana. The play is a tradition that is staged annually all over India, mostly in the north, over ten or more nights, during the auspicious period of Sharad Navraras which commemorate the commencement of autumn, starting with Dussehra. The performances culminate on Vijaydashami, which commemorates the victory of Lord Ram over the demon king Ravana. In India, the actors go out in procession to a mela or fair ground where giant effigies of the Ravana and his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghanath are set on fire and the coronation of Ram takes place. One of the most well known productions is held at the Ram Lila grounds across the Red Fort in Old Delhi. The Ramayana is based on the life and times of Ram, the 7th incarnation of the Lord Vishnu and the story is so popular and wellknown that its values of devotion, loyalty, fidelity and righteousness are ingrained in the psyche and ethics of the Indian mainstream, irrespective of their religion. Most Ramlilas in North India are based on the 16th century Avadhi version of the Ramayana, Ramcharitmana , written by Gosvami charitmanas Tulsidas entirely in verse around 1625 AD. The dialogues are used in most traditional versions, where open-air productions are staged by local Ramlila committees, and funded entirely by the local population, the audience. True to form, the characters in the Houston play do not speak, but mouth the lines to the dialogue from a CD of the Ramayana played on the sound system. At one point, when Ravana’s brother comes to seek shelter from Ram whom he worships, the CD missed its que and went silent. Without missing a beat, several of
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the devotees in the front seats and he named, and personally went the organizers went onstage and off stage to give a bouquet to Dr. started to chant Sri Ram Jai Ram Virendra Mathur. Verma also read Jai Sri Ram to the accompaniment the proclamations of support and of a dholuk player until the CD appreciation sent in by Gov. Rick was re-qued and picked up again. Perry, Senator John Cronyn and This year’s play was once again Congressman Pete Olson. Spriya funded by the Shri Sita Ram Agarwal read the synopsis of the Foundation, headed by Dr. Arun events that would unfold in the Verma, who envisioned bringing second half of the play. this event to the Houston comMost of the major characters munity and whose vision was were played by the same actors as given shape by the creativity of in last year’s production – Kusum Kusum Sharma, the Executive Sharma played Sita, her husband Director of the Shri Natraj School Vipin played Ram and Arun Maniof Dance who brought together a kantan once again played a strong cast of 120 people and numerous and arrogant Ravana. The main props and brilliant costumes for Hanuman was played this year by the production provide by Ketan an athletic Kalpesh Patel, befitting Mistry and Anuradha of Mandap of the strong character but lacking Creations. This year several com- of the playfulness (which was also plex elements were added to the a central element of Hanuman’s play: dances to enhance the story; personality) of last year’s actor. a narrative that was projected on a The entire cast played their roles back screen to allow the audience well, after three months of conto follow the story; and the use of stant and strenuous rehearsals, and two actors to portray the beloved it’s a pity that the show only has a monkey Lord Hanuman. one-night performance for such a This stemmed from the desire stunning visual production. to show how Hanuman went to During the intermission, snacks Sri Lanka to find Sita and then from Sankalp were available outwreaked havoc there when he set side the auditorium, as well as balit on fire. The second actor (actu- loon figures for the young and the ally a professional female artist) young at heart. At the end of the “flew” across the stage (and back) play, those who wished to grace a in a harness to depict the journey visit with the main characters on to Sri Lanka, to the roar of appre- stage did so, and the entire audiciation from the audience. This ence was offered prasad prasad, along Hanuman did somersaults and with a Hanuman Chalisa CD and head stands to show his pranki- agrabattis, in a gift bag as they left ness and then, with three other An- the auditorium plaza. glo members of the troupe, performed dazzling acrobatics and dance juggling fire torches. Abha Divedi and Gopal Aggrawal again emceed the show this year and Dr. Nik Nikam, a prominent cardiologist in the community, produced the short video that portrayed the highlights from last year’s show. Verma spoke after the 20-minute intermission to show his appreciation for the From left: Dr. Arun Verma with wife, Dr. Nik support of the ma- Nikam and Dr. Virendra Mathur jor sponsors whom Photo: Jawahar Malhotra
Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A noVemBer 18 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O
November 18, 2011
India’s $35 Aakash Android Tablet Lands in America Seeing the tablet’s potential The Aakash Tablet is an example of a “leapfrog technology,” a concept where the latest innovations jump directly into areas where legacy technologies never penetrated. Tens of millions of people throughout India who never had access to a landline phone now walk around with cell phones in their pocket. Many of those likely to use or own the the Aakash Tablet will never have used a desktop computer, and it’s possible they never will. Now imagine the educational potential of the world’s lowest-cost tablet being unleashed to hundreds of millions of Indians eager to join the world economy. At the heart of the Aakash tablet
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The Indian government thinks the $35 Aakash Android tablet has the power to change the world. After testing one out, we’d tend to agree. An Aakash tablet was brought to the VentureBeat office on Tuesday by Vivek Wadhwa, a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Duke. Wadhwa, who is researching the Indian education system, and is a columnist with the Washington Post, was given the tablet by Kapil Sibal, the Indian minister of human resources and development, who has been the driving force behind the tablet project. The device (whose name means “Sky” in Hindi) was produced entirely
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indoamerican-news.com in India — a point of pride for the Indian government. The 7-inch Android-based device will be distributed at a government subsidized price of $35, making it the world’s cheapest Android device. The general retail price will be $60, which is still remarkably cheap for such a powerful device. A contract between the Indian government and Canadian development partner DataWind, should put between 10 and 12 million devices in the hands of students across India by the end of 2012, according to Computer World.
is an HD video co-processor that will connect viewers to one of the largest educational libraries ever assembled: YouTube. When the Aakash tablet reaches villages across India, an entire generation will have instant access to rich educational content such as the Khan Academy, and anything else their hearts desire. And with the Aakash tablet in hand, students across India will be free to do what their global counterparts do — or should do — with their computers. There are the educational basics such as creating documents and spreadsheets,
and browsing the web for research materials. But as with anything, young people will probably spend a fair amount of time playing games online and chatting with their friends. - Venturebeat
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12 November 18, 2011
The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi
First Victory for the Satyagraha experiment
The story thus far… a recent court decision in South Africa held that the law did not recognize Indian marriages. The women were suitably offended by this and found it an attack on their basic family values. They openly broke the law and were imprisoned in large numbers. In the coal-mines at Newcastle, in Natal, Indian workers went on strike protesting against the repression. The ar arrests, the deportation of passive resisters, and the untold sufferings of Indian families angered the people of India. A large amount of money was collected for the relief of the victims. Many protesters were beaten and flogged, and some were beaten to death. Gandhi, who felt intensely the humiliation his people suffered, took a triple vow of selfsuffering. He changed his mode of dressing, opting for the look of a poor laborer, walked barefoot, and decided to have only one meal a day, till the poll-tax and other injustices were abolished. But Gandhi found the Government to be a relentless and merciless opponent. There seemed no solution in sight. He had to take further drastic measures. In October 1913, Gandhi organized a march of over 6,000 Indian workers from the Natal mining area into the Transvaal, although the law did not allow non-whites the freedom of crossing into the Transvaal without a permit. Gandhi advised his followers, “We are going to march peacefully together across the border into the Transvaal. The Government will arrest us and put us in prison. We are to remain peaceful. This is the nonviolent way of protesting against the polltax, against the Government’s decision not to recognize our marriages, and against all the laws that are made against us. We are fighting for just causes, we will not harm anyone.” He then asked the people, “Are you ready to face arrest and harsh treatment, remaining always nonviolent?” Roars of assent assured him of everyone’s support. They were ready to follow Gandhi anywhere.
and the satyagraha movement. Gandhi had been active in South Africa for 21 years and had contributed so much to the welfare of the Indians in South Africa. Gandhi now felt that his mission in South Africa was over and he wanted to return to India. At that time Gokhale was in England. He wanted Gandhi to meet him in London before returning to India. Gandhi promised The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi is brought to you courtesy Mahatma Gandhi Library. www.gandhilibrary.org
And so the march into the Transvaal began. Late in the evening Gandhi was roused from sleep by several uniformed men, who arrested him. Gandhi and many other Indians were jailed. The mines were cordoned off by barbed wire and converted into temporary jails. The satyagrahis or protesters were beaten to force them to go back to work, but without success. The authorities could not make them return to work. Gandhi had inspired in them the spirit of quiet, dignified resistance. The movement of passive resistance, or satyagraha, spread all through Natal and the Transvaal like wildfire. The Government had no idea how to handle this phenomenon unlike any they had ever encountered before, because none yielded to their cruel treatment. The prisons were overflowing. At last General Smuts was obliged to act. He appointed a Commission to study the situation. In December 1913 Gandhi was released, but he would not give up
the struggle. Gandhi threatened Smuts that he would start another march if his demands were not met. That march, however, never took place. The European employees of the railways in the Union went on strike, and this made the Government’s position extremely difficult. Gandhi decided to drop the idea of the march at such a crucial time as he did not wish to embarrass the Government further. Gandhi ordered every Indian to go back to work, at least for the time being. His decision created a good impression on the Government and even General Smuts recognized this courtesy. The Inquiry Commission reported in favor of all the essential reforms demanded by the Indian leaders. The Indians’ Relief Bill was at last passed and signed by the Governor. It abolished the poll-tax on indentured workers, declared absolutely legal all Indian marriages, and removed penalties for crossing from one State to another. It was a huge victory for Gandhi
to do so. Gandhi announced his decision to Kasturbai. “You are going to London with me,” he said. “From England we will go back to India.” Gandhi, with Kasturbai and Hermann Kallenbach, a white South African farmer sailed for England on July 18, 1914. On August 4, two days before he reached London, the 1st World War was declared. Upon arrival in London, Gandhi heard that Gokhale had gone to Paris for reasons of health. Communications were cut off between London and Paris because of the war. Gandhi was disappointed. He did not want to return to India without seeing Gokhale, so he stayed on in London. Gandhi had no idea what to do during the war. At the suggestion of some Indian friends, a meeting was called of the Indians in England. Gandhi expressed the view that Indians residing in England ought to do their bit in the war. English students had volunteered to serve in the army and Indians should do no less. This brought forth many objections from many Indians who were of the opinion that the war provided an opportunity to get
freedom for India and that Indians should assert themselves and claim their rights. Gandhi felt that England’s difficulty should not be turned into India’s opportunity. He insisted on rendering all possible help to England. He organized an ambulance corps which, in spite of many difficulties, helped the British in their time of need. After some time Gokhale returned to England. Gandhi and Kallenbach went to see him often and they talked together about the war and other matters. Then Gandhi had an attack of pleurisy and Gokhale and his friends were worried. Dr. Jivraj Mehta treated Gandhi but there was little relief. Gandhi was still ill when Gokhale returned to India. As the pleurisy still persisted, Gandhi was advised to go back to India as soon as possible. He accepted the advice and returned to his homeland. After 12 long and eventful years, Gandhi was back in India. He was welcomed with a great reception in Bombay. Gandhi was overwhelmed by the great love and wealth of kindness shown to him by the people. Gokhale was in Poona and was in poor health, so Gandhi went to see him. Gandhi told Gokhale that his plan was to have an ashram where he could settle down with his Phoenix family. They had followed him to India and already were settled at Santiniketan. Gokhale approved of the idea and promised whatever help he could. Meanwhile Gandhi went to Rajkot and Porbandar to meet his relatives and then went on to Santiniketan. There Gandhi met poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore for the first time, as well as C. F. Andrews who was also present. During his short stay at Santiniketan Gandhi heard the sad news that Gokhale had passed away. He immediately left for Poona, with C. F. Andrews accompanying him up to Burdwan. — To be Continued
Shraddhanjali to Mahatma Gandhi Sunday, January 29, 2012 at Rose Garden Hermann Park More details in next issue
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I am Singh
Release Date: December 2 Director: Puneet Issar Producer: Sardar Peshaura Singh Thind Cast: Gulzar Chahal, Amy Rasimas, Brooke Johnston, Rizwan Haider, Tulip Joshi and Puneet Issar Music Directors: Daler Mehndi, Sukh winder Singh, Monty Sharma, Sudhakar Dutt Sharma, Arvinder Singh and Sumitra Iyer Runtime: 127 minutes Distributor: Reliance Big Pictures Release Pattern: Limited release in 50 the aters across North America Official Site: http://www.iamsinghfilm.com/ CAST LIST: Gulzar Chahal as Ranveer Singh Amy Rasimas as Amy Washington Brooke Johnston as Amelia White Rizwan Haider as Rizwan Hyder Puneet Issar as Fateh Singh
SYNOPSIS: I AM SINGH portrays the trials and tribulations of men whose stories were never highlighted. After the 9/11 tragedy in America, the Sikhs were targeted all over and were the victims of mistaken identity. The film highlights what happened to few such people and their fight against it, never losing the faith in the American judicial system. This story is about a young Sikh named Ranveer Singh, a young, confident man settled in India. Ranveer’s elder brothers are citizens of America. Ranveer’s life takes a turn when he receives a call and he comes to know that
opens december 2 one of his brothers is dead, his father is seriously injured and his other brother is missing. The cause of this is unknown. Ranveer is in a dilemma and immediately leaves for the US. He doesn’t know what is in store for him. Ranveer reaches the US and tries to find out what actually happened to his family. He doesn’t get the right answers. Further, he is more shocked and confused with the situation. However, something keeps telling him that there is more to the whole incident, what seems on the face is not the fact, the fact remains a mystery to him. Then, Ranveer meets a Pakistani, Rizwan Haider, who now is an American citizen. Rizwan tells him what actually had happened on that day. Ranveer seeks the local authorities help, but does not get any support. He realizes that he has to fight this battle on his own. As luck would have it, he meets another local citizen, a Sikh named Fateh Singh who is a police officer in the LAPD. Fateh Singh guides him on which path to choose and introduces him to Amelia White, an American human rights activist and an attorney. Amy Washington, an American Senior Attorney, further fights the case. Together they fight the battle of equality and justice for everyone in the true American spirit. A spirit rekindled by a man called ‘SINGH’.
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14 November 18, 2011
Sikh Community Celebrates
Guru Nanak’s 542nd Birthday Saturday, November 12, 2011
Floats, convoy and a huge mela brings the community together at the Sikh National Center in Houston
November 18, 2011
Paradise Biryani Pointe debuts to rave r r reviews
By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: Biryani lovers, brace yourselves. You have a new destination that will dazzle your taste-buds. India’s fabled port of call for traditional Hyderabad Nawabi food, Paradise Biryani Pointe, has come to the heart of Little India in this city. Located on the upper level of a mall at the corner of Hillcroft and Harwin, the eatery debuted to teeming, consistent crowds on November 5, 2011. The Bollywood music streaming through outdoor speakers and balloons festooning the balcony outside the restaurant, proved to be a beacon drawing the curious. Inside Paradise Biryani Pointe, waitstaff bustled about toting steaming fragrant plates of biryani; the premises that seats 100 comfortably, saw many lining up at the door awaiting available tables. How did Paradise Biryani Pointe come to this city? I chatted with owners/best friends Faiez Farishta and Akber Jiwani on a relatively quieter afternoon recently. “We were visiting New Jersey on business, and on a whim, decided to try a restaurant that we had heard great things about,” confided Farishta, who was born in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. “The food was quite exceptional, delicious. Akber told me it brought back wonderful memories of his hometown, Hyderabad. So we decided to enquire about creating
Left to right: AkberJiwani, Raj Gowlikar, Faiez Farishta, and Sultan Farishta happy with the turnout at the grand opening of Paradise Biryani Pointe Photos: Krishna Giri
something like it here in Houston,” he added. They talked at length with the Founder/CEO Raj Gowlikar, a former IT entrepreneur who along with his wife Shailaja, started the franchise in the US. He readily agreed and the contracts were written and signed. “I’m so happy we did it,” said Farishta. “It is wonderful hearing people appreciating the food and telling us that we brought a taste of Hyderabad to this city,” added Farishta, a career businessman. The franchise was birthed in India but started in the US in October 2007 by Gowlikar who is related to the family that opened the original chain of the popular eateries. They opened the first Paradise
Biryani Pointe at New Brunswick in New Jersey; today there are four locations in New Jersey doing brisk business with a steady satisfied clientele. The franchise has mushroomed in other cities with 15 locations nationwide. Farishta’s and Jiwani’s success story is not different from that of the Gowlikars’. “When we moved to New Jersey, we ate at an Indian restaurant, but found something lacking,” said Raj Gowlikar, who was in Houston for the first month of the restaurants’ opening. “I was in the market to do something different so we explored the possibility of starting a restaurant, and Paradise Biryani Pointe just came to mind quite magically,” he added.
The initial process was long and time consuming as the Gowlikars wrote copious notes about their new venture. They were determined to make it work. They talked about consistency, the reluctance to depend entirely on the reliability of chefs, about finances. But most important to them, was a secret spice they concocted and tested on family and friends for over three years before starting the restaurant. The recipe is a closely guarded secret; it is freshly made in the Gowlikars’ own kitchen at home and dispatched to the various franchises weekly. “We had to also learn how to operate the restaurant, how to talk with customers, etc,” said Raj. “We worried too much. But as we circulated around the restaurant floor and asked about the food, we got rave reviews. People started loving it. I think in our way, we’ve branded the chain locally, and our consistency of preparation is much praised,” added Raj. By 2012, he has plans to open 15
more locations. Raj also harbors the hope of taking the franchise to Europe and Japan. “We created our vision of the future as early as in 2006, but I know we have exceeded our wildest dreams with this business,” said Raj. At Paradise Biryani Pointe, the signature biryanis constitute 80% of the sales. The menu boasts a plethora of other dishes such as curries and kormas and tandoori items, and the entire chain uses only halaal meat. It isn’t hard to see why biryani is such a best-seller; walk in the door and your senses are assailed by the rich aromas of basmati rice, cardamom, and other exotic spices. The Gowlikars’ are working on adding other signature dishes to the menu that would be indigenous to Paradise Biryani Pointe. Paradise Biryani Pointe is located at 5711 Hillcroft st, Houston, TX 77036 6 . For more information, call 832-460-0128.
16 November 18, 2011
Vermicelli (Sevai ) is a type of pasta that is thinner than spaghetti and is easily found in Indian as well as other Asian Grocery Stores. Vermicelli can be made in various ways. It is very often made as a Milk Dessert called Seviyan Kheer or Payasam. It is also made savory differently in different parts of the world. Here is the quick recipe of Vermicelli Upma. It is very easy to make and can be prepared in less than 10-15 minutes. This makes a very good snack for your kids to carry to school.
Ingredients: 1 small onion (chopped thin and long) 1/4 cup green peas 1 medium potato (washed thoroughly and cut into small square pieces with skin-on) 2-3 green chilies (chopped) few curry leaves 1/2 tsp mustard seeds salt -to taste 1/2 tsp red chilli powder 1/4 tsp garam masala 3/4 cup vermicelli 1/2 cup water 2 tbsp oil Method: 1. Heat oil in a pan. Once oil is hot, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. As soon as mustard leaves
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COMMUNITY By Ashley PArker A (NYT) What’s the slacker half of the stoner duo of the “Harold & Kumar” movies to do when faced with an elaborate F.B.I. questionnaire for his White House security clearance? Turns out, the cannabis-smoking alter ego of Kalpen Modi (who is perhaps better known by his stage name, Kal Penn) never even came up when Modi underwent a background check before taking a job in the Obama administration. But his comedy credentials were a different matter. “You have to list the jobs you’ve been fired from,” Mr. Modi said, “and the two jobs I was fired from were sitcom pilots, because the executive producer didn’t believe I was funny enough. So I was looking at these forms like, ‘How do I word this in a diplomatic way, because I want to be honest?’ And I wrote, ‘Fired for not being funny enough.’ ” (The agents, at least, found that funny.) Security questions behind him, Modi quickly learned that life in the West Wing was not at all like, well, life in “The West Wing,” Aaron Sor Sorkin’s idealized version of the presidency. “I was there my first night until 11 p.m. and I was like, ‘Sweet, let’s order Chinese food,’ ” Mr. Modi said. “And everybody was like, ‘You can’t actually order delivery to the White House.’ I was like, ‘But they do it on ‘West Wing!’ ” When Modi, 34, joined the administration in July 2009 as an associ-
November 18, 2011
Kal Penn, a sstar Turn on Both coasts
Kalpen Modi, a k a Kal Penn, at left with President Obama, was an associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. Photo: Matt Roth
ate director in the Office of Public Engagement, he had always said he was taking a two-year sabbatical from acting career. In fact, he ended up taking a sabbatical from his sabbatical, to film the third installment in the “Harold & Kumar” series, and this summer, he left the White House to return to Los Angeles. Modi, who is now promoting that new film, “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” has always had something of a wonky bent. He says that he was drawn to public service having grown up listening to grandparents talk about marching with Gandhi. When he joined Obama’s quixotic campaign, he was an easy fit among
the earnest, grass-roots crowd. Arun Chaudhary, who worked on the campaign and in the administration as a videographer, remembers meeting Modi for the first time in Iowa, early in the morning. Chaudhary, who was used to filming celebrity endorsements, was expecting to film a funny, lighthearted video of Modi and two other actors, but Modi had other plans. “He was like, ‘Hey, we’re doing this and we’re doing this for real and it’s not going to be a joke,’ ” Mr. Chaudhary said, adding “I think he’s less of an ‘actor-y actor’ than other actors. When he took his job at the White House, it didn’t matter that he was an actor. He became one of us so fast.” His White House colleagues frequently mention this: the way Modi so affably and seamlessly integrated himself into the bureaucratic culture. “He did a lot of grunt work and did a lot of unglamorous work and basically did the job of a consummate D.C. staffer,” said Jon Lovett, who worked in the administration as a speechwriter, but who, like Mr. Modi, recently decamped for Los Angeles. “You’d go into his office and he’d be surrounded by stacks of paper, in the corner, on the phone, dealing with five different things at once, a halfeaten sandwich at his desk.” Tina Tchen, who worked with Mr. Modi when she was director of the Office of Public Engagement, remembers meeting him during the first night of the Democratic convention.
“He was wearing a yellow vest and passing out signs,” she said, “kind of on the floor doing ‘gofer’ work, when there were many other very famous celebrities looking for their special seat on the floor. And that impressed me: the fact that he knew these issues and cared about the president.” Jon Carson, currently the director of the Office of Public Engagement, said that. Modi was “incredibly hardworking and incredibly creative,” and credits him with starting the young American roundtables this year. The president dropped by a few of the roundtables, and administration of officials participated in many of them. Citing Austan Goolsbee and Samantha Power two academics who took leaves of absence from their jobs to join the administration . Modi said that he was just one of many people who briefly put their lives on hold to work for the president. The only real reminders that he wasn’t like every other staff member came when he was mugged at gunpoint and it became tabloid fodder, or when, early into his time in Washington, a gossip column ran an item asking where in the world he was, because he hadn’t been spotted out and about. “It was like, because I’m at work?” Modi said, laughing. “I didn’t go to Washington to pop into the White House for two hours, and then go out and drink.” In addition to his new movie, Modi also has a deal under way as an executive producer and
actor in a comedy about the United Nations. “It’s a workplace comedy about who’s sleeping with who, who went out the night before,” he said. “I don’t think many of us, myself included, really know what goes at the U.N., so creative liberties can be taken.” But he’s not done with Washington yet. He says he has already signed up to work on Obama’s re-election campaign, and added that if Obama wins a second term, “I would love to continue in some capacity.” Currently he is “doing the bicoastal thing” (he kept his apartment in Washington) and sees similarities between the two cities, which, he says, “are both company towns.” “You go out to dinner in L.A. and from the waiters and busboys to the customers, everyone’s got a script, everyone’s got an agent and you just run into people who work in the industry,” he said. “And in D.C., it’s the same. You’re grabbing dinner on your way home at 10:30pm and even if you’re just picking up from somewhere, you see a dozen Hill staffers there.” At the end of a brief phone conversation about Modi, Carson pointed out, half in jest, that it would be nice if this article also mentioned “a few paragraphs on the American Jobs Act.” When told that Modi had already brought up that very bill unprompted, Carson let out a chuckle. “Ah, that Kal!” he said, sounding delighted. “He’s always on message.”
18 November 18, 2011 An new Home for the consulate
Indo-American News congratulates the Indian Consulate in Houston in finding a building of its own. A freestanding building is always preferable to a suite in a large office building. There are, of course, growing pains. In time, we hope the Consulate will address any deficiencies such as insufficient parking, The formal grand opening provided an opportunity for Mayor Annise Parker, who was reelected last week for a second term, and for Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao to visit Houston and meet the community at different venues, including India House and both Rice and University Houston. - Pramod Kulkarni
making India credit c w worthy
Global credit rating agencies rate institutions and countries by certain performance parameters, to basically tell investors where their money will be safe. But their own functioning has often drawn flak. Failure to rap reckless investment banks drew criticism post-Lehman. More recently, Standard & Poor’s controversially downgraded US debt and erroneously suggested it had trimmed France’s sovereign rating, the latter a mistake that strengthened the European Commission’s call for a tighter leash on rating agencies. Nor did everyone support Moody’s recent lowering of the outlook on India’s banking industry to negative from stable. S&P upgraded the sector as “low risk” the very next day! No surprises then that the finance ministry wants India’s sovereign rating upgraded as well by agencies including Moody’s, which assigns India the lowest investment grade rating with a stable outlook. Making its case, the government points to India as a stable democracy and fast-expanding economy with, among other things, a high savings rate, good forex reserves and resilient capital mar markets. Relative to other downturn-hit nations, our growth rate is indeed enviable. And we have a youthful population and growing, entrepreneurial middle class. But the government’s pitch about its commitment to reforms isn’t persuasive. Most policy proposals it cites, tax reform or multi-brand retail FDI, are nowhere near a reality; those introduced are half-baked, like petrol price decontrol. India’s still to see labor reform, land acquisition revamp or greater sectoral liberalisation. As for infrastructure building or industrialisation, we’re yet to ensure quick, rules-based project appraisal and fast, cost-conscious implementation. Nor have we created the kind of solid fiscal balance sheet that reassures investors. Yes, India’s still been viewed as an attractive investment destination. But its growth story has lost much of its sheen thanks to poor inflation management and policy slumber. Let’s promote big-ticket reforms and fiscal rectitude, and rating agencies won’t need to be petitioned to pat our backs. They’ll do it anyway. -Times of India
Ideate and Innovate
By JitendrA itendrA MAlik Alik & PAnk AnkAJ nkAJ JAlote Alote In decades past, research & development in India was not really tied to the economy; an isolated industry didn’t feel any need for it. Now, the integration of the Indian eco-nomy with the global economy has created a dependence on R&D for some segments. And in the future, its value will only increase as countries that have the ability to innovate will be better placed to compete in the global marketplace. Due to this changed scenario, there is a need to strengthen our R&D ecosystem. R&D is globally done in three types of organisations - universities, government-owned labs and company labs. The last is outside the purview of public policy (except per perhaps fiscal incentives), but the first two are influenced a great deal by government policies and investment. Global experience tells us that out of the two, except for some focussed R&D related to defence, space etc, the efficiency and effectiveness of the university is higher. Most research output comes from there, and most of the Nobel prize winners work in academia. Furthermore, besides the direct R&D output, universities also produce PhDs and Masters who form the main resource pool for corporate as well as government research centres (and, of course, for the universities themselves). Unless this university nucleus does well, it’s not possible to build a strong R&D ecosystem in a nation. In the US - which has the most vibrant R&D ecosystem - the impor importance of universities was clearly ar articulated in a seminal report in the late 1940s by Vannevar Bush, which led to the creation of the National Science Foundation. Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase in federal funding to R&D in academia: of a total of $110 billion, academia gets the lion’s share of more than 30%. In India, the critical importance of R&D in academia is not appreciated and investment is extremely inad-
equate. Of the central government expenditure on R&D, only about 5% goes to higher education, while government bodies get about 90%! This lack of funding is a key factor in even our good universities being teachingonly places, and the continued weakness of our R&D ecosystem. This must be remedied. Large investments in R&D in universities must be supplemented by methods that will push these or organisations to excel. And the best way to do that is fostering competition. Consequently, the second area which needs reform is strengthen-
ing of competition at all levels in the R&D set-up. While it is known that competition gets the best out of business organisations, it is not fully appreciated that it is also extremely important for universities. In the US, competition has been built in at all levels. There is competition to get good students - all the main universities vie for them. There is strong competition to attract the best faculty - universities go out of their way to get good faculty and vigorously compete even with corporate research labs (incidentally, they often win this competition). And there is strong competition for research funding. Contrast this with the system in India. There is little competition for getting research funding - government labs simply get their funds while the number of academic institutions with the capability to truly conduct
R&D is so small that there is no pressure. Now, with the emergence of corporate research labs in India, there is at least an emergence of external competition for recruiting faculty in some sectors. Competition among universities can be strengthened considerably by having independent and rigorous evaluation on a regular basis using a proper framework that compares Indian universities and their departments with each other, as well as with universities across the world. These evaluations (perhaps with rewards like government grants tied to them) will generate a sense of competition between the universities and, if done in a proper manner, can also provide universities with some directions for improvement. Establishing a centre like the Centre for Measuring Univer University Performance in the US can be a major step in this direction. It should be clear that supporting a competitive spirit among universities will necessarily require them to have much more autonomy and control. An or organisation cannot compete if it does not have basic tools like the ability to decide compensation, incentive structure, etc. Here, the argument that since the government provides most of the funding, it must exercise control, does not hold; universities in the US, Europe, Singapore, Australia etc are heavily funded by the government, yet they are very autonomous in deciding their salaries, their incentives and processes. It is essential that we build a large and vibrant R&D ecosystem in the country. This requires universities to be at the epicentre of that ecosystem - and that in turn requires a large number of research universities that are autonomous and well funded for R&D. It also requires that an independent and rigorous evaluation framework be built for assessing university performance, which will push them to compete and provide the much-needed drive for improvement. - TOI Malik is Arthur J Chick professor, University of California, Berkeley, and Jalote is director, IIIT-Delhi.
IndoAmerican Indo Am American News Founder: dr. K.L. Sindwani
editor: Pramod KuLKarni BuSineSS manager: Jawahar maLhotra managing Partner: KriShna giri Community rePorter: KaLyani giri Community editor: manaSi goKhaLe adminiStrative manager: vanShiKa viPin BuSineSS & reCreation: JaCoB david graPhiC deSign: SaqiB rana correspondents chicago: nand Kapoor, UK: aseem KUlKarni new delhi: raj Kanwar ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: indoamerican-news.com
November 18, 2011
chinmaya Prabha shines during Dipavali 2011 c
By PAd A MAshree rAo HOUSTON: Dipavali at Chinmaya Prabha was celebrated on October 30, 2011, with the shining spirit of prayer, gratitude, love and light. Nearly 600 families came together as part of a greater Chinmaya family, to invoke the blessings of Goddess Laksmi and Lord Visnu. The Chinmaya Smrti hall sparkled with bright, festive decorations, very carefully arranged with an aesthetic style that is almost a hallmark of Chinmaya Mission, Houston. The beautifully adorned idols of the Lord Mahavisnu and Mahalaksmi had a commanding appearance on the stage amid an elaborate puja setting with flowers. Outside the Smrti Hall, the pratima of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda glowed in the light reflected from many lamps arranged in an exquisite formation at his holy feet. Then as a crowning glory, the deities of Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya shone with added luster across the Chinmaya Prabha courtyard. Everywhere, there was the sheer joy of Dipavali on that crisp October morning. Young and old, dressed in their festival best, sat in rows in Smrti hall and Sarasvati Nilayam. With their lamps, the decorated Arati plates and other puja essentials, they awaited the beginning of the Dipavali puja amid the sweet beginning of devotional singing. Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty, who guides Chinmaya Mission, Houston since 1982, addressed everyone before the formal puja began. He pointed out how Dipavali is a time to look inward and find the true light of understanding. “If we observe our life closely this past year, sometimes things went well and in some instances, we had to face difficult and trying times. While facing these trying times, we may find it very painful. Yet, if you look closely, these are the times that give us the opportunity to introspect, grow within, and emerge stronger. These are the situations that the Lord puts us through, to smooth out the sharp cor corners of our personality,” explained Sri Gaurangbhai, affectionately known as ‘Uncle” within the Chinmaya Houston family. In his Dipavali message, Acarya Gaurangbhai also reminded how a Guru truly lights up the path to God
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The priest of Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Shri Ganeshji, conducted the Laksmi puja, in the presence of Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty. Photo: Jay Deshmukh
and asked the entire Chinmaya family to walk on the spiritual path laid out by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda and Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda. He conveyed his love and wishes for a great new year ahead to everyone present, praying for the prosperity of all. Following the spirit of his guiding words, the Dipavali puja began with invoking Lord Ganesa. The priest of Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Shri Ganeshji, conducted the whole puja, in the presence of Acarya Gaurangbhai. After the Ganesa puja, the devotees participated in the Laksmi puja, chanting the 108 names of Goddess Laksmi. The whole atmosphere felt energized when the Visnu Sahasranama puja was performed. All voices blended in the devoted chanting of the 1008 immortal names of the Supreme Lord.
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The true meaning of Dipavali became clear when everyone rose up with their lighted Arati plates and offered their prayers. At Chinmaya Prabha, Dipavali glows brighter with the moments of gratitude during the Gurudaksina ceremony that marks the conclusion of the festivities every year. So, every family found that special moment to give thanks to the Guru Parampara, that lives on in the guidance of Acarya Gaurangbhai. In all aspects, it was a fulfilling Dipavali where the Chinmaya family came together to cherish blessings and celebrate a resolve to keep the spiritual goodness burning bright in all hearts. For more information, visit www. chinmayahouston.org or Call Jay Deshmukh at 832-541-0059
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slumdog million aire has th helpe movie ed o in ndiar hurt ’s im age ?
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The Queen is Dead
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2009 | Vol. 28,
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BollywoodShow EXPLOSION 200 s4U Brings 9 to Houston HOUSTON: Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan and Hard to make a stunning Kaur are set the Explosions eventappearance in Bollywood Shows organized by 4 by Moid Khan. The U conducted event be held at the Reliant is set to Arena on August 7, 2009.
ers to Houston thus
making Houstonians dreams organizing “Explosion come true, by 2009” Concert. “Explosion 2009 will Houston residents be giving a night non-stop session long of rock rocking Bollywood melodies, promising one of the most memorable musical treats like never witnessed before. For tickets log on to www.bollywood odshows4u.com or call 281-2354711.
Moid Khan informed
that Houston residents have been waiting for a long time to see the live performance of Sonu Nigam. Bolly Bollywoodshows4u is bringing the performperform Houston. The Foundation could not have chosen to raise awarenessa better topic among IndoB P Americans in Houston K about its HOUSTON: If there’s one recent Indian studies programs. Prior movie that has to polarized opinions the discussion of the film, Parul about India, it Fernandes is lionaire. The movieSlumdog Mil- explained and Krishna Vavilala has all the elthat the Foundation ements of entertainme nt designed is currently conducting Hindi to glue you to Level I and Level your II courses as awe, amusement, seat – shock, well as love and inspiration. disgust, true Jainism classes on Hinduism, and the Anthropolog have seen movie Some people India. y of The each time moved several times, received Foundation has also to tears and joy. support from There are a few Indian others, however, government’s Ministry of Overwho could not get past the slum seas Indians to fund a Chair for kid’s jump into Indian studies at the UH. blinding of a child. cesspool or the An 11-minute clip of Slumdog More than 120 people with prob- Millionaire, edited by Anil Kuably 200 opinions about the movie mar, was screened to stimulate assembled at a the discussion. The town clip included held at India House hall meeting scenes depicting negative last Sunday afternoon. aspects of India such as religious The town hall mony, child prostitution, disharmeeting was or organized by the and Foundation for lice brutality. These scenes poIndia Studies at were the University of followed by uplifting scenes in
Ambassador Ambassador MeeraMeera Shankar Shankar visits Houston Visits Page 11
Houston Page 11
Central Texas Temple Grows
NRI nvestors LoseChilled Money IACCGH to Maytas Waterm Helps elonto Propert in Soupies Hire India Page Page 5 26
NRI Investors Lose Money to Maytas Properties in India Page 21 Indo-American
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July 31, 2009
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20 November 18, 2011
why I came ‘Home’ to India w
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By rAJini AJini VAidy AidyA idyAn AnA nAth AthA thAn An UK, and you’re sure MUMBAI: (BBC) India was want to stay?” a country which had an almost I am sure, and I’m mythical status in my childhood. not alone - many of The place we heard about from our my friends here in parents, but rarely visited. Mumbai have made Stories about India fascinated the same journey. me as a child; tales of my mother They’re running playing games as a child in Delhi, their own companies, where she grew up, recollections making money workof my parents beautiful wedding, ing for big corporaor the tale of the cow who used to tions, or spreading arrive at my dad’s house in Madras social good with char char(now Chennai) every morning to ities. The sense of opdeliver fresh milk. portunity is palpable. I was born and brought up I was surprised at the in Milton Keynes, a city only numbers of educated, ever known for cows of the Decades after her parents left India, the BBC’s Rajini articulate young Indiconcrete variety, but right from Vaidyanathan is making the return journey ans born in America, my childhood I felt a strong connection to India and its culture and customs. We celebrated Christmas, but we also got new clothes for Diwali. We went to see Hollywood films but we also watched Bollywood movies on VHS, with mum translating in real time. We ate cottage pie, but we also ate chana masala. Our lives were delicately balanced between two time zones, two countries and two cultures. The hardest part for all of us was being away from our grandparents and relatives. A crackly phone call Rajini’s parents married in Chennai 1975 every Sunday, or the arrival of a blue airmail envelope would delight me for at least a week. I’d reply, writing smelt so much,” said one girl in the the UK and Australia who have come to family whose appearance I wasn’t class, unaware perhaps, of the dagger here to tap into the opportunity. ‘Best place to be’ even familiar with, let alone their she had landed in my stomach. At dinner parties it’s normal to I went home and cried to my mum personalities. I went to India for the first time about it. I couldn’t understand why discuss the business opportunities or at the age of three, a trip I barely people would have such a nega- ideas we will launch onto the Indian remember. The next time was when tive perception of such a beautiful market to make our millions. It’s not just us “outsiders”, there I had reached the more “grown up” country. I’d often ask my parents why they are dozens of educated Indians who age of 10. It was after that visit that I first truly felt the pull between East ever left India, the life they had there are no longer leaving to make their always seemed far more exciting and millions. A good chunk of my friends and West. I recall landing back at Heathrow, interesting than the Buckingham- here are entrepreneurs setting up their own businesses, just in the same way holding my dad’s hand as we walked shire suburbs. My grandfather worked for the thousands once left these shores for through immigration. “Dad. I’ve just realised that everyone looks different United Nations and met India’s first the UK to set up some of Britain’s Prime Minister Jawarhlal Nehru, the most successful firms. again.” There is a sense among all of us He laughed, but the naive realisa- President of India (Venkataraman) tion that I also “belonged” some- was at my parents’ wedding, and we displaced Indians, if you can call us that, that this is the best place for us where else, a place where everyone had a large and interesting family. to be in the world. The fact we have Yet despite the personal pull they had the same skin tone and cultural had to India, they saw far more op- cultural ties adds to the idea that we mannerisms, continued to bug me. can be more productive, and make portunity in the UK. Surprising contrasts My parents left India decades ago, more of a difference here. India as a 10-year-old surprised me. Coming to live here is in some way I ate pizza, I drank Pepsi, I went to a and now call England their home; they revoked their Indian citizenship attending to unfinished business. theme park, I visited the Taj Mahal. You can meet a person a few times, Every time I visited I wrote a diary. for UK passports a long time ago. It was a kind of ode to the land I never They did that seeking a better life for speak to them on the phone, or online, really knew, but the place my parents their unborn children. And now, one but only when you live with them do you really know them. of them has chosen to head back. called “home”. My flirtation with India is now real. India is more dynamic and vibrant “Really modern, like London,” I wrote, “Millions of shops, hotels, res- than it has ever been. Its economy, I’m about to make this place my home population, brains and spending for the next few years. taurants, markets and skyscrapers. My dad left India in May 1966 “It’s not rare to see a cattle stand- power are being courted by the enand landed at Heathrow as a brighting in the road and occasionally its tire world. But even with a narrative which eyed student. My mother followed droppings. is set to propel India’s power on a decade later. They both live in the “People portray India full of villages, there are, but cities too,” I the international stage even further, UK, are integral members of the locontinued, with my pre-pubescent the decision to start a life here, and cal community, and have raised three extend my posting beyond the initial successful daughters. observations. Forty-five years on, and I’m doing When I returned and gave a class six months I’d signed up for, baffles the reverse. I share the same fears as presentation on the trip, I remember my parents. “You really want to live in India?” my father did as he stepped off the excitedly explaining what I had done, exclaimed my mother when I told plane with only £75 in his pocket, but and how much I loved it. “My dad went to India and said her. “Hundreds of people are going to just as he found new success and a he wouldn’t even get off the plane it great lengths to come and live in the home in England, I hope to in India.
November 18, 2011
INDIA 22 November 18, 2011 Google celebrates c c children’s day with special s doodle
NEW DELHI (TOI) : Wondering how Google’s doodle with Sitaar, Tabla, Shenaai and other musical instruments celebrates Children’s Day? The doodle on Google’s India page today has been created by Varsha Gupta, a Class III student from Ryan International School, Greater Noida. Varsha is the winner of this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition organised by Google India. Google had announced that it would put the winning Doodle 4 Google entry on the Google India homepage on Children’s Day - 14th November 2011. Interacting with media after the event, Varsha told mediamen, “India is a land of different cultures. In India, music plays a very important role. India has given many musical instruments
to the world. Goddess Saraswati plays Veena, God Shiv plays Damaru. According to our mythological stories musical instruments used to be played on all the occasions. Even during war musical instruments were played. Lord Krishna’s flute is known in the whole world for its magical music. In modern days Zakir Hussain is world famous as Tabla Maestro and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is known as a great Santoor player all over the world.” Over the years, doodles on the
The doodle on Google’s India page today has been created by Varsha Gupta, a Class III student from Ryan International School, Greater Noida.
Google homepage have made searching on Google more fun and enjoyable for its users worldwide. Doodles are known as the decorative changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, special events, the lives of famous artists and scientists and more. Every year, Google invites students from across the length and breadth of India to design their version of its logo based on a theme. The competition is open to all students in India from standard 1 to 10.
coke, Partners to Invest $2 Billion in India o over 5 years y
GURGAON (TOI): In one of its single biggest investments, beverage major Coca Cola and its partners will invest USD 2 billion (around Rs 10,000 crore) over the next five years to enhance its operations in India and set up a new plant. “Along with our partners, we will invest USD 2 billion in India in the next five years. Apart from China and US in the past, this is one of our single largest investment in a country,” Coca Cola Eur Eurasia and Africa group president Ahmet C Bozer told reporters here. India is one of the most important growth markets for Coca Cola and the investment is being made as a part of the company’s 2020
vision of doubling system revenues globally, he said. Since its re-entry into India in 1993, Coca Cola has pumped over USD 2 billion into the country. “This investment is part of our commitment to invest in innovation partnerships, portfolio of brands and enhancing infrastructure,” Coca Cola India and South-West Asia president and CEO Atul Singh said. A part of the planned investment will go toward setting up a companyowned manufacturing plant. Singh said the firm is currently scouting locations in Karnataka for establishing the new facility.
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November 18, 2011
s satirical ssong, a y youTube Hit, challenges c extremism in Pakistan
By sAl A MAn MAn MAsood ISLAMABAD (NYT) A satirical song that takes a tongue-in-cheek swipe at religious extremism, militancy and contradictions in Pakistani society has become an instant hit , drawing widespread attention as a rare voice of the country’s embattled liberals. The song, “Aalu Anday,” which means “Potatoes and Eggs,” comes from a group of three young men who call themselves Beygairat Brigade, or A Brigade Without Honor, openly mocking the military, religious conservatives, nationalist politicians and conspiracy theorists. Their YouTube video has been viewed more than 350,000 times since it was uploaded in mid-October. The song is getting glowing reviews in the news media and is widely talked about and shared on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The name of the band is itself a satire of Pakistan’s nationalists and conservatives, who are often described in the local news media as the Ghairat Brigade, or Honor Brigade. Local musicians have produced work in the past vilifying the West, especially the United States, but rarely do they ridicule the military or religious extremists, and none have had Beygairat Brigade’s kind of success. Sung in Punjabi, the language of the most populous and prosperous province, the song delivers biting commentary on the current socio-political milieu of the country, in which
religious radicalism and militancy have steadily risen over the years and tolerance for religious minorities is waning. Just this year, a governor who opposed Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy law was killed by one of his guards. The assassin was then celebrated by many in the country, including lawyers who greeted him with rose petals and garlands. The song rues the fact that killers and religious extremists are hailed as heroes in Pakistan, while someone like Abdus Salam, the nation’s only Nobel Prize-winning scientist, is of often ignored because he belonged to the minority Ahmadi sect. “Qadri is treated like a royal,” wonders the goofy-looking lead vocalist in the song, referring to Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the elite police guard who killed the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, in January after he challenged the blasphemy law. Another line in the song, “where Ajmal Kasab is a hero,” makes a ref reference to the only surviving Pakistani gunman involved in the 2008 terror terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Still another line, “cleric tried to escape in a veil,” alludes to the head cleric of Islamabad’s Red Mosque — which was the target of a siege in 2007 by the Pakistani government against Islamic militants — who tried unsuccessfully to break the security cordon by wear wearing a veil. The song even makes fun of the
“MASALA WOK IS HOT. IT’S COOL, IT’S WOW” Dallas Morning News
The members of Beygairat Brigade, or A Brigade Without Honor, openly mock the military and religious conservatives.
powerful army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, for extending his role for another three years. Potatoes and eggs “never tasted so good,” wrote Fahd Husain in a commentary in The Daily Times, a newspaper based in Lahore. “They will always be credited for being politically incorrect when most needed, and giving voice to all those Pakistanis who live in fear.” The popularity of the song on the Internet has made it a sensation across the border in India as well, surprising the band members, who have been incessantly asked whether they feel they have put their lives in danger by ridiculing the mighty. There are certainly enough provocations to rile nationalists and conservatives. At one point in the music
video, the lead singer holds a placard that reads, in English: “This video is sponsored by Zionists.” The band members chose to upload the song on YouTube instead of handing it to television networks because they said the work was too offbeat and might be censored. Not surprisingly, some have criticized the song and its taunts as pedestrian and in bad taste. “We were not expecting such a huge response,” said Ali Aftab Saeed, 27, the lead vocalist, who lives in Lahore, a city that is often considered the country’s cultural capital. He said the assassination of Taseer was the inspiration for the song and its lyrics. Resistance poetry and literature are not new to Pakistan, and they raised spirits during the somber years of
military dictatorships. During the protest rallies of the seminal lawyers movement in 2007, when they led the campaign to oust the president, Pervez Musharraf, the lawyers would sing and dance to a poem written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, considered a giant of Urdu literature. Habib Jalib, another famous Pakistani poet, wrote several poems against Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, the military dictator in the 1980s. But “Jalib is irrelevant to the generation of urban, young, middle-class kids that Beygairat Brigade is addressing,” said Nadeem Farooq Paracha, a culture critic based in Karachi. “This band is offering an alternative narrative to the one this generation has grown up on, and provides a counternarrative to establishmentarian and conservative notions of politics, history and society advocated by televangelists, conspiracy theorists and, of course, the right-wing electronic media,” Mr. Paracha added. “And what better and more effective way to do this than by using satire and pop music.” The band members, on the other hand, have no pretensions of being revolutionaries, activists or intellectuals, though they do feel that the song represents those who do not believe in extremism and want to live peacefully. “At the end of the day,” said Saeed, the lead vocalist, “we are just musicians who raised some questions.”
“THIS WOK ROCKS WITH INDIAN AND CHINESE FLAVORS” SAYS THE GUIDE
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24 November 18, 2011
Understanding m medicare edicare Glossary and managing your Health Information o online nline
By sudhir MAthuri AthuriA thuriA Assignment: An agreement by your doctor, other health care provider, or supplier to be paid directly by Medicare, to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for the service, and not to bill you for any more than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance. Benefit Period The way that Original Medicare measures your use of hospital and skilled nursing facility (SNF) ser services. A benefit period begins the day you are admitted as an inpatient in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when you have received any inpatient hospital care (or skilled care in a SNF) for 60 days in a row. If you go into a hospital or a skilled nursing facility after one benefit period has ended, a new benefit period begins. You must pay the inpatient hospital deductible for each benefit period. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods. Coinsurance An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for ser services after you pay any deductibles. Coinsurance is usually a percentage (for example, 20%).
decide to enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage later. Critical Access Hospital A small facility that provides outpatient services, as well as inpatient services on a limited basis, to people in rural areas. Custodial Care Non skilled personal care, such as help with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, eating, getting in or out of a bed or chair, moving around, and using the bathroom. It may also include the kind of health-related care that most people do themselves, like using eye drops. In most cases, Medicare doesn’t pay for custodial care. Deductible The amount you must pay for health care or prescriptions before Original Medicare, your prescription drug plan, or your other insurance begins to pay. Extra Help A Medicare program to help people with limited income and resources pay for Medicare prescription drug program costs, such as premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. Formulary A list of prescription drugs covered by a prescription drug plan or another
NEW: Medicare’s “Blue Button”
MyMedicare.gov has a new “Blue Button” feature that lets you download your Original Medicare claims. The Blue Button also allows you to enter information such as emergency contacts, names of pharmacies and providers, self-reported allergies, medical conditions, and prescription drugs. After logging on to the secure www.MyMedicare.gov site, you can click the Blue Button and download a computer file of your claims data and add personal health information that you can share with health care providers, caregivers, and family members. • Having access to information from Medicare claims and selfentered personal health information can help you better understand your medical history and partner more effectively with providers. • The Blue Button data file can also be imported into other health management tools, such as one of the PHR tools described in website, a PHR that can upload the blue button file, visit www. myphr.com. • The Blue Button is safe, secure, reliable, and easy to use. Visit www.MyMedicare.gov to sign up for your account and use the Blue Button today! Copayment An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doctors visit, hospital outpatient visit, or prescription. A copayment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage. For example, you might pay $10 or $20 for a doctor. Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage Prescription drug coverage (for example, from an employer or union) that is expected to pay, on average, at least as much as Medicare is standard prescription drug coverage. People who have this kind of coverage when theybecome eligible for Medicare can generally keep that coverage without paying a penalty, if they
insurance plan offering prescription drug benefits. Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility A hospital, or part of a hospital, that provides an intensive rehabilitation program to inpatients. Institution
You can Manage your Health Information Online Here’s what you can do to help manage your health information: Personal Health Records (PHRs): A record with information about your health that you or someone helping you keeps for easy reference using a computer. These easy to use tools can help you manage your health information from anywhere you have Internet access. With a PHR, you can keep track of health information, like the date of your last physical, major illnesses, operations, allergies, or a list of your prescriptions. PHRs are often offered by providers, health plans, and private companies. Some are free, while others charge fees. When you use a PHR, make sure that it’s on a secure Web site. With a secure Web site, you usually have to create a unique user ID and password, and the information you type is encrypted (put in code) so other people can’t read it.
For the purposes of this publication, an institution is a facility that provides short term or long term care, such as a nursing home, skilled nursing facility (SNF), or rehabilitation hospital. Private residences, such as an assisted living facility or group home, aren’t considered institutions for this purpose. Lifetime Reserve Days In Original Medicare, these are additional days that Medicare will pay for when you are in a hospital for more than 90 days. You have a total of 60 reserve days that can be used During your lifetime. For each lifetime reserve day, Medicare pays all covered costs except for a daily coinsurance. Long Term Care A variety of services that help people with their medical and non medical needs over a period of time. Long term care can be provided at home, in the community, or in various other types of facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most long term care is custodial care. Medicare doesn’t pay for this type of care if this is the only kind of care you need. Hospital Acute Care Hospitals that provide treatment
for patients who stay, on average, more than 25 days. Most patients are transferred from an intensive or critical care unit. Services provided include comprehensive rehabilitation, respiratory therapy, head trauma treatment, and pain management.
Do you know your Medicare Choices? Do you have right plan that serves your need? Is your Medicare Plan competitive and cost effective? Review your current Medicare Health Plan. Call me today for your best 2012 Medicare options
(To be continued)
Time is Running Out. Have you Chosen Right Medicare Plan? Two Weeks Left
Medicare Advantage Plan for Medicare/Medicaid member or Suplement Plan with Plan D
Sudhir Mathuria Mathuria Associates
Medically Necessary Services or supplies that are needed for the diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition and meet accepted standards of medical practice. Medicare Approved Amount In Original Medicare, this is the amount a doctor or supplier that accepts assignment can be paid. It may be less than the actual amount a doctor or supplier charges. Medicare pays part of this amount and you are responsible for the difference. Medicare Health Plan. A plan of offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits to people with Medicare who enroll in the plan. Medicare Health Plans include all Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Cost Plans, Demonstration/Pilot Programs, and Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Medicare Plan refers to any way other than Original Medicare that you can get your Medicare health or prescription drug coverage. This term includes all Medicare health plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. Premium The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company, or a health care plan for health or prescription
mammograms). Primary Care Doctor Your primary care doctor is the doctor you see first for most health problems. He or she makes sure you get the care you need to keep you healthy. He or she also may talk with other doctors and health care providers about your care and refer you to them. In many Medicare Advantage Plans, you must see your primary care doctor before you see any other health care provider. Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) A group of practicing doctors and other health care experts paid by the Federal government to check and improve the care given to people with Medicare. Referral A written order from your primary care doctor for you to see a specialist or to get certain medical services. In many Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), you need to get a referral before you can get medical care from anyone except your primary care doctor. If you don’t get a referral first, the plan may not pay for the services. Service Area Geographic area where a health insurance plan accepts members if it limits membership based on where people live. For plans that limit which doctors and hospitals you may use, it is also generally the area where you can get routine (non emergency) services. The plan may disenroll you if you move out of the plan’s service area. Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Care Skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services provided on a continuous, daily basis, in a skilled nursing facility. Examples of skilled nursing facility care include physical therapy or intravenous injections that can only be given by a registered nurse or doctor.
drug coverage. Preventive Services Health care to prevent illness or detect illness at an early stage, when treatment is likely to work best (for example, preventive services include Pap tests, flu shots, and screening
Sudhir Mathuria, a Houstonian for over 30 years, has been an active participant in various community associations. He is a licensed proffesional for Medi Medicare and Medicaid related health care plans. He can be reached by phone at 713-771-2900 or via email at sudhir@ MyMedicarePlanning.com. For more information, visit: www.My www.MyMedicarePlanning.com
HOROSCOPE ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20: Every cloud has a silver lining. Stress and pressure will decrease in your life and job. You are likely to enjoy the fruits of your hard work, and monetary gains will be the icing on the cake. You are likely to be appreciated at your workplace. Family ties, too, are likely to strengthen, especially with your spouse/partner. Going on a long drive to a lush-green hill-top and spending a romantic day with your beloved would be a great idea! As you revel in the glory of romance, you enjoy a healthier, wealthier and happier week! TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 You are back to work with renewed zest. Highly confident and motivated, you are ready to take up challenges headon. You think big, in terms of money and business. Megaprojects and joint ventures are likely to be your short-term goals. Your determination and dedication are likely to inspire the people around you. You are likely to enjoy good times with the family. There are chances of strained relationships and illness. Things will be back to normal soon. GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: You will revive old relationships and friendships, and make new ones. New contacts may yield good business in the future. Although your contribution at work has been noticed and appreciated, you continue to toil. You push your limits and accept challenging tasks. This will help you explore new avenues and prove your calibre. You desire material success as you wish to provide a healthy, comfortable and financially secured life to your family. You will accomplish professional and personal goals with great ease. CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23: There will be lucrative opportunities for you this week, but you will have to travel far and wide in order to explore them. You are likely to meet people from different walks of life and interact with them. You incur expenses, but your gains are likely to grow two-folds during this phase! Don’t panic if you have setbacks at work. These are minor glitches and will be over soon. You will have a ‘double-bonanza’, and have success. Your personal and professional graph is gradually, but consistently, moving upwards. Kudos to you! LEO July 24 - Aug 23: This week you may need to be extra cautious, as the ground beneath is likely to be shaky. Your family is probably going to be your biggest concern. Conflicts may arise among the family members. Strained relationships stress you out. You need to act maturely and cool-headedly. Think twice before you speak, so as not to hurt anyone. At work, although profits are pouring in, you may feel a pressure on your pocket as limited funds may become a hurdle in business expansion plans. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: This week too, your job or business is going to be the top prior priority in your life. The hard work and sincere efforts of the previous week are carried forward to this week as well. You may require to voice your opinions to resolve some family issues. Spend quality time with your near and dear ones to keep the home environment peaceful and harmonious. A series of events may leave you with very little time to unwind or party. Socialise or catch up with your friends as monotony or routine may cause lack of motivation and drain your energy. Meditation and yoga can prove beneficial. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: Your mood will be very upbeat this week and you may spend
November 18, 2011
your time surrounded by family and friends. Your children are likely to give you plenty of reasons to rejoice. In short, your life on the personal front is likely to be filled with love and warmth. If you are single, you may soon find your soul-mate as your cards indicate the ringing of wedding bells! You are super charged-up and look for adventurous excursions. Health, fitness, sports will keep you occupied and fit. It is surely a memorable phase. SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22: Monetary matters come to the fore, this week. The focus will be mainly on shares and stocks, mutual funds, and savings. There is a lot more on your platter, and you may have to juggle them around. In fact, ranking them according to priority will be a smart thing to do. While you are busy multi-tasking, the spotlight remains on you. Rise in social prestige is likely to boost your confidence and ego. You spare some time for yourself. You turn to meditation and spirituality in search of inner peace and mental well-being. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 22: Something bothers you constantly. As a result, not only does your work take a back-seat, but your family life also gets neglected. The power and success may have gone to your head. Right now, you are in an ‘I, me and myself’ mode. Your near and dear ones could see the change in you, as you become more impatient, and at times irritable. There are chances of heated arguments or conflicts at home during this period. Your arrogance and bitter words may hurt someone. Be calm, considerate and cool-headed. Think before you speak. CAPRICORN Dec 23 - Jan 20: You try hard to strike a healthy balance between work and home this week. Professionally, you are enthusiastic to begin new projects and crack new deals. You make dedicated efforts to overcome obstacles. Working round the clock may take a toll on your health. Don’t get into heated discussions or arguments that may give rise to misunderstandings. Also, you are likely to be too flamboyant and may be tagged as ‘over-confident’ by people around you. You may be on a high, but, at the same time it is also important to stay grounded. Be good and the good shall return to you. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19: This week is pleasant as a series of interesting activities may keep you occupied. Your commendable performance at work continues as you channelize your money and resources in a proper way. Strengthen your bond with family and friends. You are active in social gatherings and become the cynosure of all eyes. You fix an appointment with an interior designer to redecorate your home or office. A hectic week leaves you fatigued; take a book in one hand and a coffee mug in another and relax! PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20: Work dominates your schedule. You have expectations to meet, targets to achieve and you plan to work without taking a break. You may be constantly travelling from one place to another to form new associations. There is an increase in your travel budget, and expenses may mount. However, you know that the money spent is only for the expansion of the business. On the home front, family members are quite supportive of you. Take a breather and spend some time with them. Growing business and harmonious home front are indicating good times ahead.
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26 November 18, 2011