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NRI Pulse

March 2020

Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper March 2020

Seema Verma Named To Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force

Indian-American Seema Verma has been added as a “key member” of the the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, an official statement from US Vice President Mike Pence said. President Donald Trump has made Pence his point-person for the coronavirus response. Pence in turn has tapped Ambassador Deborah Birx as his point person. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar chairs the task force but reports to Pence and Birx. Others on the task force include Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Verma is the latest addition. Verma is the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and handles a $1 trillion budget that covers health programs for more than 130 million Americans. Trump nominated Verma to head the CMS soon after his election in 2016. She was confirmed in March 2017. In her new role, Verma will be working alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar with whom she has reportedly had such a “troubled working relationship” that Trump was recently forced to intervene. According to Axios, Trump reportedly told both Verma and Azar that he was “fond” of them and they had to smoothen things out because healthcare would be on the ballot in 2020.

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NRI Pulse Fundraiser Benefits SarisToSuits Legal Fund For Victims Of Domestic & Sexual Abuse

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE Photos by Bytegraph Events

Atlanta, GA: International Women’s Day dawned early in Atlanta, on February 15, 2020, when inspirational stories of trials and triumphs of the women of Saris to Suits 2020 permeated the Pavilion of Kingsbridge retirement home. The event hosted by NRI Pulse Newspaper, raised money for Saris to Suits to establish a legal fund for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Donation of venue, food, décor and photography meant that almost all of proceeds from the evening, save for small expenses, went to the fund. Founded in 2012 by Patti Tripathi, one of the first network news anchors of Indian heritage and a global media professional, Saris to Suits advances women’s empowerment, education, gender equality and social justice. Her personal and professional experiences have molded her nonprofit venture, Saris to Suits, a calendar featuring women role models. Sales benefit nonprofits devoted to South Asian women’s causes. The event featured 97-year-old role model Frances M. West, who graced the calendar in the month of the April, along with Veena Rao, Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of NRI Pulse. The hall reverberated to the rich vocals of Raji Venkat, who had the audience spellbound to three of the opera pieces she presented. The Coloratura Soprano, Opera singer and Bharatanatyam exponent, who featured in the month of September, Saris to Suits 2020 edition, garnered a well deserving opulent applause and standing ovation. I had the distinct pleasure of creating and rolling out a video presentation that summarized the purpose of the Calendar showcasing various role models featured in the 2020 edition.

Continued on Page 9…

Top left: Frances West with ACS Group's Cynthia Myers. Right: Patti Tripathi. Bottom L to R: Dr Subra & Dr Anu Bhat, Veena Rao and Jyothsna Hegde.


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NRI Pulse

P.O. Box 191124 Atlanta GA 31119 Tel: 404-380-1031

Email: NRIPulse@gmail.com www.NRIPulse.com Publisher NRI Pulse Media Inc. Editor-in-Chief Veena Rao editor@nripulse.com Community News Editor Jyothsna Hegde Video News Anchor Namita D. Sudan Reports/Features Mahadev Desai Supriya D.G. Columnists Dr. Jagdish Sheth Rani Sharma P.S. Lakshmi Rao Kristen Moon Navami Naik Advertising 404-664-2805 ads@nripulse.com ________________________ NRI Pulse Newspaper is a free monthly news and features publication of NRI Pulse Media Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, duplicated, reprinted or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. Disclaimer: Any views or opinions published in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. NRI Pulse Media Inc. accepts no liability for the errors and content of advertisements in this publication. Where to get NRI Pulse: NRI Pulse is available FREE at major retail locations in Atlanta. Call 404-664-2805 for more details.

.....City News .....

March 2020

Governor Kemp Meets With Indian-American Media

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: “We are the number one state for doing business in the country for the 7th year in a row,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said at a press conference held exclusively for Indian-American media on February 4, 2020 at the Capitol building. Outlining various milestones in different areas since he assumed office in January 2019, Governor Kemp was at his candid best, whether he quipped about traffic conditions or addressed issues including school systems, employment, trade growth, healthcare, small businesses, and foreign investments across Georgia. “My goal is to connect the Governor’s office and the government officials with Indian media,” said Kartik Bhatt, who currently serves as consumer member for the Georgia Board of Examiners, and also facilitated the exclusive press conference. Ritesh Desai, who serves of Georgians First Commission, Attorney Neera Bahl, and C.B. Yadav were among other Indian-Americans present at the conference. Having announced a plan to cut five mandatory standardized tests for Georgia public school students, including four in high school with state Superintendent Richard Woods earlier in the day, Governor Kemp opened his address with the plan details. At present, students between 3rd and 12th grades are required to take 24 standardized tests across a variety of subjects. The federal government requires 17 tests. By getting rid of a 5th grade Social Studies test and four tests at the high school level, Georgia students would only need to take 19 tests between the 3rd grade and the 12th grade. “We listened to teachers, educators across the board,” said Kemp, about the decision, adding that one of the problems with the high-stakes standardized tests, was that they may not be fully reflective of a student's performance in the classroom. “We designed the pay raise to help people in the lower scale,” stated Gov. Kemp, who moved in January to keep one of his most-talked-about campaign promises by proposing a $2,000 pay raise for teachers next year. Lawmakers approved a $3,000 raise last year. He added that it also addresses the issue of teacher retention. Governor Kemp mentioned the budget that includes 30 million dollars to help teachers by addressing mental health needs and doubling the funding for a program that hires more counselors, adding that the $69 million in school security grants would aid in keeping schools safe. “We have had great success with the Anti-Gang Task Force,” said Gov. Kemp, adding that the approach was twofold. “We are providing more resources and budget to help law enforcement do what they have been asked to do and the second piece is the legislative part, to put more teeth into the gang statutes.” Speaking about the Patients First Act that he signed into law, Gov. Kemp said the Act authoriz-

es the Georgia DCH to submit a Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and also authorizes the Governor to submit a Section 1332 waiver to identify innovative health insurance coverage solutions for the commercial health insurance marketplace. “We have passed over 20 healthcare bills,” he said, dealing with transparency, regulations and cancer treatment availability

for citizens of the state. “We have the lowest unemployment rate of 3.2%,” stated Gov. Kemp, adding that workforce was still required to keep the economy growing. He cited Amazon which holds promise of 1000 jobs and SK Innovation with plans of a sprawling lithium-ion battery factory in Jackson County, and investment of nearly $1.7 billion that will hire 2,000 employees by 2025. The new factory is expected to produce enough batteries to power 250,000 electric vehicles, per year at full capacity. He also cited Korean manufacturer Enchem Ltd. that will build two new manufacturing plants in Jackson County, Georgia, creating more than 300 jobs investing $61.35 million. “We are already seeing our efforts pay off exponentially.” “We been in literally all corners of the state

talking to small business owners, and now we are starting to move government out of the way of hard working business people,” said Gov Deal about the Georgians First Commission, adding that tax reform was also on the agenda. Addressing human trafficking issues in Georgia, Gov. Kemp spoke about the GRACE Commission, headed by First Lady Marty Kemp. “GRACE Commission has worked to raise awareness,” said Kemp by partnering with elected officials, law enforcement, non-profit organizations, and many more. “I believe that we need to protect the unborn and the born,” said Gov. Kemp about the Heartbeat bill. With a goal to keep the kids safe and encourage adoption, Gov. Kemp said the adoption tax credit would be raised from $2,000 to $6,000 to help new parents offset costs of adoption and also lower adoption age from 25 to 21 so more qualified Georgians can adopt and more children can be placed in safe homes. “I have great confidence in our election process,” said Gov. Kemp, adding that the new voting system that prints out paper ballots was highly reliable. Dominion Voting systems print out a paper ballot with a summary of the voter’s selection plus a QR code that is then scanned and stored. The QR code is used to count results on Election Day and the human-readable text summary is used for audits or recounts and the scanner takes a picture of the ballot that could also be used to verify results. Kemp was inaugurated as Georgia's new governor on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Indian Media included representatives from NRI Pulse, Khabar, TV Asia, India Tribune, Rashtra Darpan, TV9, TV5 and S&S Digital Media.

Shyam Reddy Replaces Chick-Fil-A CEO As Carter Center Board Chairman

Atlanta, GA: Shyam K. Reddy, chief administrative officer and senior vice president of corporate development at BlueLinx Corporation, has been appointed chair of the Carter Center’s Board of Councilors for 2020. The board comprises 215 members, who serve as a leadership advisory group that promotes understanding among opinion leaders and the broader community of The Carter Center and its activities. “Shyam has demonstrated a sincere commitment to our mission since he joined the Board of Councilors in 2014,” said Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, Carter Center CEO. “We look forward to working even more closely with him in this new leadership role.” As Board of Councilors chair for 2020, Reddy follows outgoing chair Dan Cathy, chairman, president and CEO of Chick-fil-A, and past chair Reade Fahs, president and CEO of National Vision.

Reddy is a graduate of Emory University, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and the University of Georgia School of Law. Reddy has served as chief administrative officer and SVP for corporate development of BlueLinx Corporation since June 2019 and joined BlueLinx in 2015 as SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary. Prior to this, Reddy was senior vice president, chief administrative officer, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Euramax Holdings; regional administrator of the Southeast Sunbelt Region of the U.S. General Services Administration; and a partner and lawyer in the Atlanta law offices of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. Reddy is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, and a trustee of The German Marshall Fund of the United States and The Woodruff Arts Center.


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.....City News .....

March 2020

South Asian Democrats Celebrate The Birth Of They See Blue Georgia

BY ANJALI ENJETI

Atlanta, GA: Over 150 Atlanta-area South Asians gathered at the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Saturday, February 8, 2020, for the 2020 Election Kickoff hosted by the Georgia chapter of They See Blue. They See Blue is a national organization for South Asian Democrats working to flip seats blue. They See Blue was originally started in the Bay Area in August 2018 by a group of South Asian Democrats working to flip congressional seats in California. The Georgia chapter was born a year later, in August 2019, and now has over 200 members. The chapter includes Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, and Indo-Caribbeans, who hold multiple faiths, including Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikh, and Jain, as well as nonbelievers. Anu Banerjee, Anjali Enjeti, Vyanti Joseph, Suresh Kolichala, Uma Pulendran, and Viju Rao, make up the core team. Many members are either immigrants or the first generation born in the U.S. – people with a short voting history. and the first immigrant elected Feroza Syed, a They to the State Senate. Rahman See Blue Georgia member championed the diversity of and trans activist, emceed his district, District 5 in Gwinthe event. nett County, but discussed his The keynote speaker concerns that minorities, inwas Stacey Abrams, former cluding South Asians, are not Georgia Minority Leader exercising their right to vote. and Founder and Chair of Emphasizing how one vote can Fair Fight, a voting rights make all the difference, Rahnonprofit. Leader Abrams man shared, “when I got electL to R: Anu Banerjee, Uma Pulendran, Vyanti Joseph, Stacey Abrams, Suresh emphasized the necessity ed to the Democratic National Kolichala, Viju Rao, and Anjali Enjeti. Photo courtesy: Nancy Helene. of building coalitions across Committee, I won by one sindiverse communities, inSarah Riggs Amico, and 2017 Congressional gle vote.” He closed with an cluding the South Asian community, and getting Candidate Jon Ossoff — spoke about why they emotional plea that brought attendees to their feet. out the vote. “We can change what happens in are running for office and their goals, should they “We can make a change. We can make a difference. 2020,” she said. “We can show up.” win the primary on May 19, 2020. Do your civic duty. Come out and vote.” Next, the three Georgia Democratic candiFinally, Georgia State Senator Sheikh RahThe 2017 sixth district special congressional dates running against U.S. Senator David Per- man closed the program. Rahman is not only the election in Georgia, where Democratic candidate due in 2020 — former Columbus Mayor Teresa first Muslim and first Bangladeshi elected to the Jon Ossoff challenged Republican candidate KarTomlinson, 2018 Lieutenant Governor Candidate Georgia Legislature, he is also the first South Asian en Handel, as well as Leader Abrams’ 2018 can-

didacy for governor, galvanized the progressive South Asian community. South Asian American Democrats’ engagement during these two elections planted the seed for what would eventually become the Georgia chapter of They See Blue. “We felt the need for a Democratic organization for South Asians to come together to provide a structure to our political activism,” said Kolichala, who immigrated to the U.S. from India 15 years ago. “We also wanted to provide a platform to contribute positively to preserve the American strengths of diversity and inclusion.” Past Georgia chapter meetings have focused on voting rights, municipal elections, and the state legislative session. For 2020, the group will concentrate on registering voters in the South Asian American community, and work to elect Democratic candidates at the state and federal level. (They See Blue Georgia does not endorse Democratic candidates until after the primaries.) Kolichala feels that South Asian Democratic engagement is the key to flipping Georgia blue. “This isn’t the country I once admired and fell in love with,” he said. “We need to do something.” Over one third of the South Asian population in the United States lives in the South and increasingly, South Asians are voting Democrat. Seventy-eight percent of Asian American and Pacific Islanders voted for Stacey Abrams for governor in 2018, and a sizable number of these voters were South Asian Americans. Despite this, many voters keep their political leanings quiet because they live in a red state. This is where They See Blue Georgia comes in. “We empower South Asian Democrats to get vocal about their politics,” said Kolichala. Upcoming events for They See Blue Georgia include meet and greets with state, congressional, and senate candidates, as well as voter registration drives. There are no membership fees. For more information on how to join, email tsb.georgia@gmail.com, follow the group on Twitter (@theyseebluega), request to join the Facebook group (theyseebluega), or follow the Instagram account (theyseebluegeorgia).

Vibha Presents International Community School With $39,000 Check Atlanta, GA: On January 31st, 2020, as the International Community School (ICS) in Decatur, Atlanta, wrapped up their ‘Kindness Week’, Vibha took the opportunity to present the school with a $39,000 check, which will go towards their digital education initiative to achieve a 1:1 chrome book-to-student ratio. What has traditionally divided access and quality education is also creating a digital divide where there is no access to technology or digital educational tools in schools serving populations with certain socioeconomic backgrounds that remain underserved. ICS is one such school. With Vibha’s razor-sharp focus on improving outcomes and quality of public education, and as part of their digital education initiative, Vibha saw the strategic need at ICS and decided to help close the ratio gap for chrome books. “This initiative to bridge the digital divide shows Vibha’s commitment to the community we live in. It’s in line with our mission to empower children with the tools they need to be successful.” said Durgesh Das, the Executive Director of the Vibha Atlanta Action Center.

L to R: Kannan Udayarajan, Durgesh Das, Punam Singh, Prasoona Kota, Priti Sarda, Vindali Vartak, ICS principal Julie Allen and ICS Development Director Marinella Taoushiani. The January 31st assembly of students and staff at ICS cheered the Vibha volunteers as they presented the check to ICS principal Julie Allen. A few students expressed how excited they are about getting their own device to work with. Being a volunteer driven organization, as Das reflects on the experience of giving, it is amazing to feel the excitement amongst the chil-

dren – that’s what keeps us motivated to do more. “We are so grateful to Vibha for their generous donation to ICS. This immense act of kindness is greatly appreciated. Now ICS will be able to purchase enough chromebooks so that we will have a 1 to 1 ratio of students to chromebooks. This will allow our teachers more flexibility in offering assignments digitally and will allow our students to

become better digital citizens. Thank you, Vibha!”, expressed Julie Allen, Principal of ICS. Vibha has also catalyzed the collaboration between ICS and another local nonprofit organization called PowerMyLearning that strives to bride the digital divide to provide access and training on their digital platform to parents, students, and teachers of ICS. “The learning possibilities that open up when every child has their own digital device to work with, are endless. It is world at their fingertips. We, at Vibha, feel proud we could, in a small way, make a big difference with this donation” said Vindali Vartak, Vibha’s Global Innovation Leader who is leading the digital education initiative for Vibha. Vibha and its volunteers continue to work towards closing the quality gaps in public education finding and catalyzing innovative ways to improve the opportunities for better future for the next generation. The opportunity gaps created by digital divide are no different. In that same light, Vibha is also investing in digital education programs in schools that serve underserved children in India.


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.....NRI News .....

March 2020

Surya Namaskar Yagna Held Across GA; Dunwoody Issues Proclamation

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: Mayor Lynn P. Deutch, of the city Dunwoody, Georgia issued a proclamation in recognition of Surya Namaskar Awareness period January 18 to February 2, 2020. He proclaimed the period “Health for Humanity Yogathon”. The 16-day Surya Namaskar Yagna or simply SNY was the fourteen annual nationwide campaign organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, HSS, to create awareness about Yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Surya Namaskar integrates simple Yoga postures in 10-steps that, along with easy breathing technique, and is believed to provide immense health benefits to both the body and the mind. In Georgia, four separate events were held in different parts of the state. The 24-hour SNY marathon was the highlight event where over 90 participants came together to perform over 13000 Surya Namaskar in 24 hours. A three-hour SNY marathon for the Yuva or youth of the midtown Atlanta area was held at Georgia Institute of Technology. Outreach events at the Ultimate Karate Fitness, Marietta and an event at the Balvihar, VHP, completed the four events held in Georgia.

Manavvi Voleti Crowned Teen Bharat USA

Alpharetta high school Senior Manavvi Voleti was crowned Teen Bharat USA 2019 at the National Pageant held on December 1, 2019 in New Jersey, organized by My Dream Entertainment. Voleti walked away with the coveted crown edging eleven other contestants in the category. A total of 68 contestants across USA contested for the titles in various categories, with Aditi Govitrikar, Miss World 2001 presiding. Voleti had bagged the title at the state level earlier among seventeen other aspirants, at the contest held on September 8 in Mountain View high school Lawrenceville GA, organized by Inspiration Enterprises. Voleti is a trained Bhartanatyam and Bollywood dancer. She has worked with the Alpharetta police department in the Junior Explorers program, and is a cross country and varsity track athlete. Voleti has been a part of many clubs such as Red Cross , Hosa, CURE MBD and is the founder of a non-profit ‘Live 4 You’ to help with mental health issues and suicide prevention. Voleti is multilingual and can speak Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Spanish. She enjoys painting, music, dance, piano.

The 24-hour marathon began on January 24 at 7pm at the Sanatan Mandir in Smyrna, which had over 90 participants performing over 13000 Surya Namaskars. “The Kishore and Kishoris of Georgia vibhag eagerly volunteered to perform the Surya Namaskars overnight to keep the marathon going while the elderly performed Surya Namaskar during the day time.” Said Suprabha Satyanaraya-

na, GA coordinator, HSS. The Student Center Ballroom at GA Tech had 17 participants who performed over 2300 Surya Namaskars, which was in conjunction with the 24hour marathon at Smyrna. A couple of participants performed over 250 Surya Namaskars in the allotted 3 hours setting an event record. At Ultimate Karate Fitness, Marietta, a total of 19 participated to perform 95 Suryanamaskars. A total of 55 Participants com-

prised of students from and staff of Balvihar, VHP, Cobb Chapter, performed 165 Suryanamaskars. Over the period of two weeks Georgia vibhag participants performed over 25000 Surya Namaskar which was tracked using the SNY web application. Daily video conferencing was set up to connect Surya Namaskar enthusiasts so that they can perform Surya Namaskar together. The proclamation by the Mayor thanked HSS for its outstanding job with helping to preserve and promote the ancient heritage and cultural values around the world. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. Specifically, Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, is a practice in Yoga that incorporates a sequence of gracefully linked 8 asanas or yogic postures performed dynamically in synchrony with the breath that results in numerous health benefits. HSS initiated this health awareness project in 2006. Since its inception, participants from 40 states actively took part via various Yoga Centers, community organizations, schools and colleges regardless of individual faiths and beliefs, have participated and collectively performed over 4 million Surya Namaskars.

Informative Seminar On Taxes And Financial Planning By TAMA Atlanta, GA: Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) organized a seminar on Tax Filing and Financial Planning, on February 22nd at Desana Middle School, Alpharetta, GA. Over 90 Atlantans attended this useful and informative seminar. The event commenced with an opening note from TAMA Media Secretary Hitesh Vadlamudi. He spoke about the essence and need of this seminar, especially during this tax filing period. He elaborated on various activities and seminars that TAMA regularly conducts, for the benefit of the community. Vadlamudi invited the featured presenter of the day, Hariprasad Salian, a seasoned financial and tax professional with more than 15 years’ experience. He is also Head of the nation-wide franchise, My Tax Filer. Salian started with the broad services provided by My Tax Filer, followed by 2019 tax changes. This 90-minute interactive discussion included taxes and related laws changes in 2020, tax timelines and various possible tax deductions. Some other salient features covered are, Federal and State Return, Investments and Rental Proper-

ty Return, Self-employed and Sole Proprietorship Return, FBAR, FATCA, Business Tax & Services, S-Corp and C-Corp Returns, Bookkeeping, Payroll and Audit. Simple Tax saving tips and FAQs were the highlights of the day. Salian also elucidated certain intricacies related to Tax Credits, Tax Rate Table and exemptions. How taxes work for visiting parents, kids, legal residents including citizens, green card, visa holders and students are some

of the points of interest for attendees. Everyone is appreciative of the fine details provided by Hariprasad very clearly in common man’s language and were talking about the benefits and savings they could avail. Several participants asked general questions that will benefit everyone. Even after the presentation, many doubts were clarified patiently, in one to one interaction. Snacks and tea were served to everyone. TAMA team commended and thanked Hariprasad for presenting the need of the hour seminar and felicitated him with a memento and shawl. TAMA Board and EC members Kamal Satuluru, Srinivas Uppu, Anand Akkineni, Manoj Tatikonda, Nagesh Doddaka, Sreeram Royyala, Bharath Maddineni, Suneetha Potnuru, Innaiah Yenumula, Ravi Kalli, Bharath Avirneni, Suresh Bandaru, Tiru Chillapalli, Susruth Busireddy, SaiRam Karumanchi and many others were present from beginning till the end. While proposing a vote of thanks, Vadlamudi thanked Salian, all attendees from greater Atlanta Indian Community, TAMA team, volunteers, Sri Krishna Vilas restaurant for refreshments and Desana School Management. Sairam elaborated about upcoming TAMA events, like hiking, volleyball, diabetes, parenting seminars and Ugadi.


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NRI Pulse

Soujanya Madhusudan Honored With Bharatha Muni Award

On January 26th 2020, India’s 70th Republic day, The Karnataka Nritya Kala Parishat presented Atlanta-based Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher, Soujanya Madhusudan, with the ‘Bharatha Muni award’ for her professional contribution towards preserving, nurturing and promoting the rich traditional Indian Classical dance art. Soujanya is the Artistic Director of the 30-year-old premiere classical performing arts school ‘Bharatha Darshana’. At the forefront of a new generation of Bharatanatyam dancers, Soujanya represents the future of the ancient art form - Bharatanatyam. Being a firm believer in maintaining the integrity of tradition, Soujanya explores her creativity without compromising on the classicism of the dance form. Soujanya belongs to a family of legendary artists and was trained under the keen eyes of prominent gurus in this field like Guru Nagamani Srinivasa Rao, Padmashree Adyar K Lakshman, Sri Balagopal, Smt.Kalanidhi Narayanan. She practices the Kalakshetra bani of Bharatanatyam. Soujanya’sperformances have taken her across the globe. Dance and Music festivals organized by ICCR, Ponniah dance festival, Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana-Ohio, SPICMACAY - Texas & Pennsylvania, Flute and feet- Minnesota, Natya festival- St.Louis, RASIKA- Oregon, Samanvaya, VRC dance festival, Sai Nrityotsava, NRI dance festival, Nadaneerajanam at Tirumala Tirupathi, Festival of India by IACA Georgia etc add to the colorful array of her solo & thematic performances. Bharatha Darshana holds the certificate of participation by Guinness World records for the largest Bharatanatyam dance at Chidambaram. She has performed and presented lecture demonstrations at Drexel University, Rice University, Texas A&M, Penn state to name a few. She has been actively promoting Bharatanatyam through ‘Adventure into arts’ program to school children and has been invited by various school districts and public libraries across the US. She is the member of CID (Internationale council de dance) UNESCO and is also a brand ambassador for Hidden Idol- an international platform to nourish dance forms in young minds in and outside the US. She is the Atlanta regional coordinator for SAPTAMI - an Indian classical dance and music competitions to promote the art form among children in the USA.

..... City / NRI News .....

March 2020

Neera Bahl And Kartik Bhatt To Head South Asian Republican Coalition, Atlanta Chapter

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: Attorney Neera Bahl was nominated President and Indian-American businessman Kartik H. Bhatt was nominated Vice President of SARC (South Asian Republican Coalition) USA, Atlanta chapter. Neera Bahl was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp to serve on the Judicial Nominating Commission. She is appointed to serve on the Cobb Elections Board in July 2019. She is currently the Chairwoman of the Regional Advisory Council of the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, South East Chapter (USPAACC-SE). She serves on the Board of Advisory Council for the Chairman’s Club of Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Cobb Community Foundation and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, among others. Kartik Bhatt was appointed by Governor Kemp as a consumer member for the Georgia Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts. “South Asian community is very good at being responsible citizens and well established but not really have not been paying much attention to politics. With the formation of SARC and my nomination, we can provide a platform for South Asian Americans where the communities are represented, and voices are heard. I can now create events, request our elected officials to meet and greet our community. In the coming months you

will see a lot of SARC events,” said Bahl, adding that she was happy to be part of SARC, that was created to spread awareness among South Asian Americans to actively participate in main stream American’s political life and to believe in core values and principles of Republican Party and to support and promote it. “They have done such a wonderful job starting with celebration of President Trump’s birthday, which was celebrated in the Indian way, including the pooja, and the havan. And the message reached the White house. And then they started promoting it more our values too,” she

Jain Center Of Southern California Honors Padma Bhushan Dr. Jag Sheth

Jain Center of Southern California, in an event sponsored by Sarva Mangal Family Trust, honored Padma Bhushan 2020 Awardee Dr. Jagdish Sheth. Over 250 people attended the event including the Mayor of Cerritos - Naresh Solanki, Padma Shri Ganpat Patel, President of JCSC - Dr. Jayesh Shah, President of JAINA - Mahesh Wadher, and Director of ACC – Dr. Nitin Shah. Dr. Sheth is the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University. His column, ‘Jag’s Thoughts’, regularly appear in NRI Pulse. Dr. Sheth gave a riveting talk based on his book Chindia Rising, wherein he expounded on a changing world order, with India and China emerging as the new global powers. He attributed a variety of reasons to this transition, some of the most important out of all were: 1) aging population of the previous global powers, 2) the collapse of commu-

nism, 3) the rise of social media and 4) the advent of Modi-Trump-Xi and their unique leadership styles. “The largest nation in the world today is no longer China with over 1.4 billion people, or India with 1.3 billion people. It’s called Facebook with over 2.3 billion users.” With such ingenious and thought-provoking observations, Dr. Sheth simplified the most complex geopolitical events. Finally, Dr. Sheth remarked on the optimism he sees for India, whether in terms of the growing soft power, or the increasingly influential Indian diaspora. Dr. Sheth concluded his talk with a list of recommendations for India Inc. to adopt in order to gain its rightful place in the world. The event started with high tea and snacks sponsored by Sarva Mangal Family Trust (SMFT). Mahesh Wadher spoke as President of JAINA and ACC. Professor Nirmal Sethia gave tribute to Padma Bhushan Jagdish Sheth. Madhuben Sheth was also honored with a shawl by Rika Shah. Mayor Naresh Solanki gave City's Proclamation and plaques were presented by JCSC President Dr. Jayesh Shah, JAINA's President Mahesh Wadher and ACC's Director Dr. Nitin Shah. IASH (Indo American Senior Heritage) President Jagdish Purohit also honored Dr. Jagdish Sheth with a shawl.

added. “When Hemdatt Bhatt, Founder and Chairman, SARC asked me to assume this position, I felt honored to be part of the organization that aims to keep America safe, proud, strong and wealthy. I’m a proud Republican and glad to part of the SARC that supports the party’s values.” Said Kartik Bhatt. SARC was founded in March, 2018 by Hemant Bhatt, Founder and President of TrumpMyPresident.com, Director, Immigration Relations, America Winning Coalition, Founder, President and CEO of fearmanagement.org and the Managing Director of Quick Insurance Agenc, along with co-founders Pinakin Pathak, businessman, and philanthropist and Sridhar Chillara, Founder and CEO of Mana TV, Mana TV International, TV5 International. SARC was formed with a mission to provide a platform for South Asian Americans to merge into main stream American politics and create a reckoned force in the Republican party. It aims to bring awareness of Republican party, their core goals, principles, run drives, get to register more citizens, independents, and borderline electorates as Republican voters.

Indian Uber Driver Sentenced For Transporting Illegals

An Indian Uber driver has been sentenced to a year in prison for transporting people illegally entering the US from the Canadian border, according to officials. Jaswinder Singh, 30, who had received asylum in the US, was sentenced by Judge David Hurd at a federal court in Utica, New York state and he faces possible deportation. Singh admitted to picking up several illegal border crossers between January and May 2019 for payments and transporting them inland, the Justice Department said. He was arrested last May when he went to spot near the Canadian border to pick up for a payment of $2,200 an adult and a child who had illegally crossed over. The 8,840 km US border with Canada is mostly open and lightly guarded. Canadian and US citizens can cross into each others’ countries without visas, although they would need work permits for employment. But citizens of other countries like India, who are not covered by the US visa-free entry programs, need visas to cross into America.


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NRI Pulse Fundraiser Benefits SarisToSuits Legal Fund For Abuse Victims Continued from Page 1… A silent auction featuring an array of items, donated by patrons also raised money for the cause. I also had the honor of welcoming the guests and introducing Rao- illuminating her many services to the community and humanity. In her keynote address, Frances West said, she had a desire for women to rise to their full potential and for children to live in safety. Her humble beginnings in Trenton, South Carolina notwithstanding, West embarked on an efficacious journey defying social norm of her times. “As I grew up, few professions were open to females – a secretary, a nurse which was frowned upon, a school teacher if she were unmarried,” said West. She credits her progressive mother, who, even in the 1920s, encouraged her daughters to go to college. West went on to graduate from Winthrop University, and traveled to New Orleans Seminary where she received her master’s degree. At the seminary, she met and married Ralph West, who held a PhD. The Wests’ moved to Nigeria as missionaries in 1945, having lived for two years in Benin City and Ogbomosho where they spent 28 years. West impacted the lives of many during her years in Nigeria. Her many accomplishments include starting a school for the blind that is world-renowned today. “There was much discrimination against women. There was polygamy, female circumcision, child marriage and other customs that caused me anguish,” said West. An important part of her work was teaching seminary wives practical skills like nutrition and the importance of personal appearance to enhance their self-worth. “I am pleased that women have made much progress in the US. We are on the way but have not reached the goal of equal rights for men and women,” West noted. Rao, in her address, said her journey as newspaper editor has also been a journey of personal growth. “And one thing I’ve learned, is that it is possible to turn your weakness into your strength.” She credited Frances West and Nancy Haden for encouraging her to cast aside her fears, stand up for herself and rediscover her potential. Rao also spoke about her upcoming novel, Purple Lotus which is releasing in the US in September 2020. “Purple Lotus talks about domestic violence from an immigrant woman’s perspective. It personalizes an abused woman’s trauma and lack of choices, and the ways it erodes her feelings of self-worth. It talks about the lack of family support when she finally chooses to stand up for herself.” “Domestic violence and victim blaming is common in our community. We need to create safe spaces where women can live their lives without fear of judgment and harm. And shame,” noted Rao, adding that lack of financial resources was one of the key factors that keeps a woman trapped in a bad situation. “Which is why,” she said, “we need a fund to support women who are caught in helpless situations.” Tripathi spoke about her inspiration for her SarisToSuits signature calendar. “I thought, by putting the spotlight on other South Asian women who have succeeded, despite barriers, in achieving their American dream, the calendar would in-

rita Saigal, Saathi Pads, to name a few. Rao expressed her gratitude to all sponsors, supporter and volunteers. “We just established the Anu, Subra and Kiran Bhat foundation and we are so glad to donate to a cause the helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse,” said Gold Sponsors Dr. Anu and Dr Subra Bhat of the Bhat Foundation. Bhat foundation is a not for profit organization dedicated to supporting academic scholarships, Healthcare related charitable causes and other noble charitable entities. “ACS is very happy to support this effort that is so much needed in this and other communities,” said Cynthia Meyers, representing Silver Sponsor ACS Group. Raj and Nita Sardana of ACS Group strongly believe in giving back to Gold Sponsors Drs Subra and Anu Bhat (left) with bronze sponsor Bhavana the communities. ACS Foundation initiatives run Anand (top right) & community members. Photos by Bytegraph Events. locally, nationally, and globally. To date, ACS Group has provided more than $80K worth of scholarships and technology to deserving girls. “We are here to support a very great cause for all the women in need,” said Amy Sandhu, representing Silver Sponsor Publix, adding that she was honored to represent Publix for the cause. Publix supports organizations that focus on youth, education, reducing hunger, and alleviating homelessness through its Publix Community Giving Initiative. Bronze sponsors included the Global Mall family, Dr BK Kishore of Salt Lake City, Bhavana V Anand of Anand Entertainment and Edward Jones Investments. Narendra Patel, owner of Atlanta’s favorite Indian restaurant Madras Chettinaad, said he was Marshalla Yadav (L) with the ACS Group (in black) and guests. happy to sponsor the food to support a wonderful cause. Patel was seen mingling with guests, as they enjoyed the delicious appetizers from his restaurant. Chennai Express was the other food sponsor, donating trays of tasty appetizers. Event Decorator was Vandana Malhotra, Vandana Décor. Bytegraph Events and Prashant Kollipara sponsored the photography for the event. Silent Auction donors included Atlanta artists Sivananda Nyayapathi, Swati Bedi and Sadhna Windlass, Van Michael Salon, Raneez Fine Boutique, Perpetual Gifts of Flowers, Derek Food sponsor Narendra Patel of Madras Wintermute Photography, Hamsa Collection. The event garnered a few siSoprano Raji Venkat. Chettinaad (left) with the organizers. lent donors too, who chose to remain spire women and girls to get educated and to stand “In 2007, I married a man I had been inanonymous. on their own feet. My aim was to raise awareness troduced to two decades earlier, after college. I Rao also thanked Consulate and Media about the unique nuances of our culture, to em- loaned him money to help him buy into his medi- friends including Chitra Venkat, Mustafa Ajmeri power, protect, and inspire women and girls.” cal practice, but the marriage didn’t last long, and of India Tribune, Murali Kamma of Khabar magBorn Uttar Pradesh, India, Patti (Pratibha) when it ended, I literally had nothing,” recounted azine, Anwar Ajmeri of TV Asia, Seema Garg Tripathi moved to the United States at the age of 12. Patti. of S&S Digital Media, Nisha Khandelwal and In her 20s, she became the first woman of Indian Having lost her fiercely protective mom, Shweta Dubey of Atlanta Dunia and Raju Kotak heritage to anchor a news show for CNN in Atlanta. Patti wished she had supportive women around of WOWNOW. As illustrious as her career was, Tripathi was her while going through a divorce with health She also thanked King’s Bridge for the vennot spared of her share of pitfalls. complications. Having been featured herself in ue and all attendees who graced the occasion. “There is so much pressure on girls of South a calendar of smart female students from various Attorney Neera Bahl, Raksha’s Aparna BhatAsian origin to oblige by their parents’ wishes communities during her days at NDU, fueled with tacharya, Indian Friends of Atlanta’s Lakshmi Thethat many feel obligated to give up on love for an a drive to transform lemons of her life into a lem- sam, Vibha Atlanta’s Vindali Vartak were among arrangement,” said Patti about her arranged mar- onade culminated to Saris to Suits. the empowered women who attended the event. riage to an Indian-American ophthalmologist. “I Since its inception in 2012, the Calendar has The organizing team included Jyothsna Hegwas very well educated and had my dream career, featured renowned role-models including Nina de, Ram Raju, Navami Naik, Daryl Wilcher, Priti but the three-year “marriage”, which a court ruled Davuluri, Miss America 2014, Malala Yousafzai, Bandi, and Susie Keys. was legally invalid because there was no marriage Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Kulsoom Abdulla, Womlicense, was abusive, and I had to get out.” en’s Rights Activist, Moni Basu, Journalist, Am- More photos on Page 11…


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..... City News .....

Atlanta Hindu Vivah’s Singles Spring Mixer Attracts Many

BY SUDHIR AGARWAL & MAHADEV DESAI

Atlanta, GA: On a crisp sunny Sunday afternoon, more than 70 singles gathered at Keswick Park Community center, Chamblee to mix and mingle and hopefully meet the match of their dreams. The event on Sunday, 9th February was made possible by the tireless efforts of around 20 volunteers who are the backbone of Hindu Vivah’s Atlanta chapter. They work on a very tiny budget and helped by chipping in so that the event could be offered free to participants. But, based on feedback received, future events may have to be offered at a nominal charge to cover venue rental and ancillary expenses. This was Atlanta Chapter’s 9th Hindu Vivah singles event in Atlanta, despite the chapter being fairly new. Its first event was held in April 2017 at Holiday Inn, Roswell, and followed by two more in 2017. The highlight of the February 2018 event, was that the singles who had met at the first event returned as newlyweds to share their stories and experience of Atlanta Hindu Vivah! They had fortunately just clicked at first sight, so they came to thank AHV for providing the forum to facilitate their special meeting. Encouraged by their success story and gauging the need for continuing such events, several more mixers were held in 2018 and 2019. The event began with an ice-breaker, where Sheila Devlia and her team from Z Fitness Dance and Nutrition got the participants grooving to Bollywood and Latin numbers in Zumba style. The main introductory activity was group-wise

speed dating. All the participants, who were identified by first name only, had been divided into groups according to age, starting with mid20s all the way to over 50! Vivah events use the ‘round robin’ format whereby every woman briefly meets every man in her own group first and then moves on to the next age group. As an added benefit, the format of group speed-dating allowed people to meet and make friends with attendees of their own gender as well. After the initial round came the social hour where participants informally mixed and mingled over delicious refreshments lovingly arranged by a dedicated volunteer. During the social hour, some participants paired off and went out for further chats. Those who stayed back enthusiastically participated in “Desi Chat”, an Indian version of the board game, “Taboo”. Before exiting, each attendee indicated to the volunteers the name

of the ones whom they were interested in. Only when there was a match from both sides, contact information was shared with that pair. Most of the participants were programmers, analysts, and engineers with a few doctors as well. People whose parents migrated from all corners of India showed up. Participants themselves who had grown up in many different cities and countries, also attended. While most participants live in Atlanta, a few had flown in from other parts of US. Increasingly popular and growing is the middle-aged or elderly group, widowed or divorced, empty-nesters or with grown up children off to college, now hoping to find a companion outside of their workplace or through bar-hopping. Many are prominent community members and were very glad that Hindu Vivah had taken this initiative and urged the organizers to widely publicize their events.

Hindu Vivah (www.hinduvivah.org) is a US based non-profit organization started in November of 2016 in Dallas, TX to facilitate the meeting of Hindu singles for the purpose of matrimony in a wholesome, structured, alcohol-free environment. A second chapter was organized in Houston, TX, and Atlanta, GA is the third. Currently, there are chapters in Austin, TX, Washington DC, and Bay area, CA, Michigan and New York/New Jersey. Chapters can be established in other states where the Hindu community feels the need but it should be noted that starting one requires a very dedicated volunteer force. These meets help break the ice and introduce Hindu singles to each other, at which point Hindu Vivah’s work is done, and the singles are left to decide what further steps they need to take in their search for a life partner. For the first time in Atlanta, volunteers were experimenting with facilitating a one-on-one meeting in a centrally located restaurant for the two-way matches. Atlanta volunteers hope to organize 3 to 4 such events every year provided there is enough interest and more community leaders and sponsors come forth to help. Upcoming Hindu Vivah Events: Houston, TX – February 22, 2020 Dallas, TX – March 8, 2020 Austin, TX – March 30, 2020 Bay area, CA – March 30, 2020 New York/New Jersey – April 21, 2020 The next Atlanta event, for summer quarter, is being planned in May or June 2020. Please look out for announcements in local media or visit https://hinduvivah.org/atlanta-chapter/. To volunteer, or sponsor an event, please email: atlanta@hinduvivah.org.

TAMA Celebrates Sankranti With Cultural Gaiety

Atlanta, GA: TAMA (Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta) celebrated Sankranti with grandeur on January 18 at Norcross High School, with around 1450 Atlantans in presence. Shoora Investments, Sankranti Restaurant, Magnum Opus IT and My Tax Filer jointly sponsored this mega event. More than 60 ladies participated in Rangoli competition. Around 240 kids were part of GlobalArt’s Art Competition and The Young Leaders Academy’s Public Speaking Contest. All the winners got prizes. Community Services Secretary SaiRam Karumanchi invited everyone to the event and spoke about different programs. He invited TAMA EC and Board for the lighting of the ceremonial lamp. He also talked about TAMA programs related to Clinic, Education, Entertainment, Knowledge, Charity, Help, Seminars, Service, Cultural, Literary, Sports and Games, at different times. Chief guest Lohith Kumar enthralled the audience with his mesmerizing mimicry, jokes and everyone travelled with him throughout the program. Performances by local Atlanta talent in devotional songs, shlokas, traditional dances, medleys, dramas, filmy songs etc. kept audience spellbound. Cultural Secretary Rupendra Vemulapalli handed appreciation certificates to all participants. President Bharath Maddineni, and board chairman Rajasekhar Chunduri introduced new TAMA team, thanked and conveyed Sankranti wishes to all the spectators. Maddineni emphasized TAMA’s commitment to help and serve

songs and words. Kids and adults are equally enchanted, many were seen dancing. Best thing is, they even went into audience, made them dance and relish every bit of it. TAMA team appre-

Telugu people and touched some finer aspects of TAMA past and present. Rajasekhar provided details of Free Clinic, Telugu School, Scholarships, Seminars, Life Member Benefits and recent TAMA’s eligibility for US Presidential Volunteering. TAMA team thanked event sponsors Shoora Investments, Sankranti Restaurant, Magnum Opus IT and My Tax Filer for their commitment and support. TAMA team also elaborated on what the sponsors do and how they can be useful. Sponsors Hari Prasad Salian and Suresh Dhulipudi were applauded and felicitated on the stage. They then talked about their company activities, their relationship with TAMA and appreciated various initiatives. Chief guests and Tollywood singers, Damini and Dhanunjay captivated audience with their

ciated and felicitated chief guests. TAMA’s ‘Go Green’ initiative is an enormous shift, which avoided a lot of plastic usage. All dinner cutlery was eco-friendly, including water cups. Ladies and kids were seen at many shopping stalls and free mehendi. People were talking about different things like, facilities provided are the best, event should have continued for some more time, stage decoration reminds us of movie

settings, photo booth was traditional, Sankranti Restaurant’s food is splendid and so on. Even though it is a big school, parking was not available at peak time. Hall was full and many were standing till the end. President-Elect Innaiah Yenumula concluded the program by thanking the audience, Sponsors, Chief Guests, Artists, School Management, Video and Stage Support Byte Graph, Photography Ravikumar Vaddamanu, Niranjan, TV5 Praveen Puram, participating Atlanta Music and Dance Schools, Rangoli and Raffle Sponsors, Lucky Charms Decorators, Volunteers Vinay Gopisetty, Srinivas Lavu, Ramesh Palem, Uday Kambhampati, Priya Balusu, Subbarao Maddali, Raj Kiran Moota, Sravanthi Kovela, Venkat Thota, Ravi Yelisetty, Suresh Dhulipudi, Anjaiah Chowdary Lavu, Anil Yelamanchali, Murali Boddu, Mallik Medarametla, Venky Gadde, Harsha Yerneni, Srini Peddi, Ram Maddi, Gowri Karumanchi, Naresh Yelkoti, Sridhar Paladugu, Teja Vemuri, Mahesh Koppu, Ramesh Meda, Suneel Kanth Devarapalli, Vinay Maddineni, Mahi Nimmagadda, Reema Boddu, Romit Chunduri, Aneesh Rudraraju for making Sankranthi event a thumping success.


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NRI Pulse Fundraiser Benefits SarisToSuits Legal Fund For Abuse Victims

Photography sponsored by Bytegraph Events.


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.....Health Pulse .....

A Healthy Pregnancy Begins Before Conception

As we celebrate the achievements of women globally this International Women’s Day on March 8, we should also reflect on those women who continue to die every year in the US due BY NAVAMI NAIK* to complications during childbirth. A total of 658 women in the United States died while pregnant or within 42 days following delivery, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Vital Statistics report released in 2018. That is, about 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In 2016, The Yale School of Public Health found that the maternal death rate for white women in Georgia was more than twice that for white women nationally while the maternal death rate for black women in Georgia was twice that for white women in Georgia. Preeti, an Atlanta resident, shares the story of complications during her pregnancy. “When I became pregnant at 35, I knew I was a highrisk patient due to chronic high blood pressure and made sure to choose the one perinatologist (an obstetrician with special training in high-risk pregnancy care) covered under my insurance,” she says. “I made sure to consult my general practitioner and switch over to blood pressure medication considered safe for pregnancy before I even started trying to get pregnant.”

supportive husband. I had parental support throughout my journey. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody and can have especially dire consequences for women who are not as privileged as I am,” she says. We spoke to Dr. Sharmila Makhija, Professor and Chairwoman, Department of Ob/Gyn and Women’s Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Health System, to underDr. Sharmila Makhija stand the causes behind the high maternal mortality rates in the US and what women can do to reduce their risk. how I was doing Dr. Makhija is the Board Member of Every Mother or how it was Counts, a nonprofit organization, started by Christy affecting the Turlington Burns, dedicated to making pregnancy baby,” she says. and childbirth safe for everyone around the world. Preeti developed preWhat is maternal mortality? eclampsia and The World Health Organization (WHO) had to undergo defines maternal death as the death of a woman an emergency while pregnant or within 42 days of termination -section a month before her due date. Her son, who of pregnancy from any cause related to or agwas only a little over four pounds, was immediately gravated by the pregnancy or its management. placed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We started to see maternal deaths in the US rise “My blood pressure did not stabilize for two days around 1990 and the number doubled in early after surgery and I was feeling the frustration from 2000. The CDC now estimates that 1000 new the hospital that they could not transfer me to the and expectant mothers will die every year in the regular ward, which added to my stress,” she says. United States and an additional 500,000 women Preeti and her baby are both fine now, but will experience life-threatening postpartum comthe outcome could have been much worse. “Even plications, called severe maternal morbidity or though I am an immigrant woman, I am privileged near misses. This is distressing in a high-resource and have a good education, health insurance and a Preeti says that she only saw her perinatologist about three times during the course of her pregnancy. Her care was mostly handled by other doctors, physicians’ assistants and registered nurses. Preeti developed gestational diabetes as well as elevated thyroid levels during her pregnancy. “I feel that there was no coordination by my healthcare team to see

March 2020 country, especially when we know that half of the deaths and near-misses are preventable. What is the reason for the high rate of maternal mortality in the US? Increase in chronic diseases: Studies show that an increasing number of pregnant women in the country have chronic health conditions such as chronic heart disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes which put them at higher risk of pregnancy complications. Social Aspects: Social aspects such as having a black race, low literacy rates, living below poverty level and obesity all contribute to high risk factors. Health Systems: Hospitals across the US have a variable approach to managing obstetric emergencies and complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Nationally endorsed plans to manage obstetric emergencies and updated training and guidance on implementing these plans is a serious and ongoing need. What can women do to reduce their risk of a pregnancy-related death? A healthy pregnancy begins before conception and continues with prenatal care. Good preconception health is important for every woman. It means taking control and choosing healthy habits. Pregnant women need to be an advocate in their own healthcare, and be sure to access prenatal care at an early stage. If they have a chronic health condition, they should proactively talk to their Ob/ Gyn to plan an appropriate course of care as they may need more frequent visits to the doctor. A woman should always feel respected in the delivery of her healthcare.

*Navami Naik is an Atlanta-based public health and communications professional.


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NRI Pulse

USA Cricket Announces Franchise Based T20 Competition

USA Cricket, along with American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), have announced the official launch of the Minor League T20 franchise tournament. The tournament, slated to be played later this summer, includes teams based in major metropolitan areas from New York to Los Angeles and would be a precursor to a full-scale “Major League” T20 franchise tournament scheduled in 2021. The tournament is slated to take place over the span of nine weeks starting from the July 4 with the games primarily taking place on the weekends. San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. are among the 22 locations touted for the tournament. The initial edition of the league will see a total of 170 games played. “One of the reasons that ACE was selected to partner with USA Cricket to develop a professional T20 League was that it demonstrated an understanding of the importance of addressing various fundamental issues within the domestic game in the US,” said USA Cricket chief executive Iain Higgins as per a press release on Thursday. “We welcome the significant investment and endeavor that has been put into the development of this exciting new national competition as a building block towards the creation of a fully professional T20 league in the future. “Whilst there are operational details still to be worked out, we are thrilled to see the amount of progress already made. We look forward to Minor League Cricket delivering a regular diet of competitive domestic cricket and new playing opportunities for domestic cricketers up and down the country in 2020, as the ambitious plans for Major League Cricket continue to be developed in parallel,” he added.

..... NRI News .....

March 2020

Hike In Number Of Indians Getting Store Clerk Shot Dead In LA Canada Permanent Residency

Wa s h i n g t o n : (IANS) Disenchanted by the restrictive visa policies in the US, the number of Indians getting permanent residency in Canada increased by 105 per cent in the first 11 months of 2019 alone, the Virginia-based National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) said in a report. The NFAP analysis of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees data in Canada showed that the number of Indians who became permanent residents in Canada increased from 39,340 in 2016 to 80,685 in 2019, the American Bazaar reported on Wednesday citing the report as saying. The increase also means that the full year Canadian statistics will likely show more than 85,000 Indians gaining permanent residency in Canada in 2019, according to the report. Going by the growing trends according to immigration attorneys there will be a further uptick in the number of high skilled professionals such as doctors, engineers and scientists looking at Canada as their future home, it added. On what attracts Indians or high skilled pro-

fessionals to Canada is also the fact that many IT conglomerates are facilitating this easy transition for those stuck in visa backlogs by opening up offices in major cities in Canada. “Canada gives smoother immigration transition possibilities along with the same cosmopolitan life as in the big cities across the US, which certainly helps,” the American Bazaar quoted Ravi Bhat, an Indian physician who has been living and working in smaller cities across the US, as saying. “Besides it (Canada) has a world class education system which is a boon for those who have families on H-4 (dependent) visas here and fear that their kids may age out leaving them to fend for their student visas.” Some Indians wary about racism and gun culture in America also feel relieved to look at Canada. Bay Area based Suchita M. says: “I have a daughter who goes to high school next year. I would be lying if I say that the thought of school shootings does not rattle me.”

Apple CEO Stalked By Indian-American San Francisco: (IANS) The iPhone maker has been granted a temporary restraining order against an Indian-origin man who was said to be harassing its CEO Tim Cook and has shown up at his residence in Palo Alto twice. According to reports, the man, named Rakesh “Rocky” Sharma, carrying a bottle of champagne and flowers showed up at Cook’s home. He returned a month later, entering the property’s gate without permission and ringing the doorbell. Those interactions — along with phone calls, making what Apple describes in a legal filing as “threatening statements” — led the company to request a restraining order this month against

Rakesh Sharma, a 41-year-old San Francisco man, the CNET reported. According to the court filings, a man named Rakesh Sharma has also made threats against Cook and Apple, including sending disturbing voice mails. As per Apple security specialist William Burns, Sharma’s harassment began on September 25, 2019, when he left a “disturbing” voicemail on “an Apple executive’s phone”. Sharma allegedly made another unsettling call about a week later. After that, Sharma’s behavior “escalated,” Burns said, to attempting “to stalk Apple’s CEO by physically trespassing on the CEO’s personal property” on two separate occasions.

Los Angeles: (IANS) An Indian-American clerk was shot dead during an attempted robbery in in a convenience store at a Los Angeles suburb, it was reported. Local news reports said that the victim, Maninder Singh Sahi, who was a clerk at a 7-Eleven store at the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier, was reportedly shot on Saturday with a semi-automatic handgun by a man who entered the store with the intent to commit a robbery, the India Abroad newspaper. The reports said the robber, with a partially covered face, shot Sahi even though police said that he appeared to be cooperating with the suspect in surveillance video. Sahi, a father of two, came to the US to provide financial support to his family in India, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his relatives in America. He is is survived by his parents, his wife and two children who all live in India. The fundraising page was set up to raise money for Sahi’s funeral expenses and for sending his body back to India. The page created on Sunday had raised more than $18,000 by the evening. Rupinder Kaur, the wife of Sahi’s cousin told the Los Angeles-based KTLA5 news that Sahi’s family in India will be left homeless since he was the sole breadwinner of the household. “In the short time he was in California, he never argued with anyone and never raised his voice. He quietly did all the work his boss told him and he never complained,” the fundraising page says. Meanwhile, KTLA5 reported that authorities were still seeking the robber, who got away on foot with an unknown amount of cash.

H-1B Aspirants Seek Divine Intervention Of ‘Visa Balaji’

Hyderabad: (IANS) With issues related to the H-1B visa likely to come up during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump, devotees at a temple here are seeking the divine blessings for softening the US’ stance. The devout are offering a couple of extra ‘pradakshinas’ (circumambulations) at Chilkur Balaji Temple. On the occasion of Maha Sivaratri, thousands sought Lord Balaji’s intervention. The special prayers were held on the eve of Trump’s two-day India visit, beginning February 24. The special prayers were not surprising as the temple is popular among youngsters as ‘Visa Balaji’. Students and techies believe that praying

at the temple helps them easily secure a US visa. Thousands of youngsters who want to go to the US for higher studies and jobs perform 11 pradakshinas (circumambulations) before attending the visa interview. Head priest M.V. Soundararajan told IANS that when the aspirants get visa, they come to the temple again and perform 108 ‘paradikshanas.’ “These days the devotees are offering two extra pradakshinas, praying to the Lord to change the mind of US President so that he relaxes visa

rules,” he said. The temple officials said a large number of H-1B visas aspirants or their representatives visit the temple. According to them, the number of devotees increased after Trump announced his decision to impose restrictions on H-1B visas for non-immigrants. On the occasion of Shivaratri, the temple was thronged by a large number of youngsters who offered additional ‘paradakshinas’ praying to the Lord Balaji to relax the visa rules.

It is estimated that about 5,000 visa aspirants did two additional pradakshinas on Shivaratri. The priest said the youth repose their faith in Lord Balaji by offering prayers. He was confident that their prayers will be answered and that Trump administration would relax the rules to enable the hardworking and skilled techies from India get visas without undue restrictions. According to another priest C.S Gopalakrishna, about 2,000 devotees visit the temple on normal days while the number of US visa aspirants praying at the temple on weekends and special occasions goes up to 5,000. The temple does not have a ‘Hundi’ or donation box and ‘pradakshina’ is the simple offering one has to make, he said.


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NRI Pulse

Mukesh Ambani Named World's Ninth Richest

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani is the ninth richest person in the world along with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and Larry Page of Google, each having a net worth of $67 billion, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020. Ambani, 62, maintained a place in the top 10 for the second time after a $13 billion or 24 per cent surge in his wealth to $67bn. "The only Asian in the Top 10, Ambani's wealth increased mainly on the back of a good performance in his telecom business," the Hurun Rich List said. Ambani is restructuring Reliance Industries to facilitate the planned strategic investments in group businesses - Reliance Jio, Reliance Retail, refining and petrochemicals. The conglomerate aims to be a zero net debt company in 18 months and is in discussion to sell 20 per cent oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco, at an enterprise value of $75 billion. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos retains the top spot in the Hurun Global Rich List 2020 with $140 billion, down $7 billion, mainly due to the world's largest divorce settlement with former wife MacKenzie Bezos, who makes the list in her own right with $44 billion. Amazon is one of four companies, whose valuations have hit $1 trillion, the others being Microsoft, Apple and Google. Bezos bought a $165 million home, setting a new record for Los Angeles. In February, he pledged $10 billion to help fight climate change. Bill Gates, dropped down to third place on the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, with $106 billion, despite growing his wealth $10 billion or 10 per cent. Last month, Gates announced a $100 million commitment to fight coronavirus which has triggered a global health emergency.

.....Biz Pulse .....

India Inc Hails Trump's Visit; Hopes To Raise India-US Economic Engagement

New Delhi: (IANS) India Inc said that trade and investment relations between India and the US have received a major boost with the visit of President Donald Trump. Industry body Assocham's Secretary General Deepak Sood said the two-way engagement of about $160 billion can be doubled within the next 4-5 years. "With a rising economy and aspiration of 1.3 billion people, India has emerged as a key and strategic partner for the US even as the US remains the most important and promising destination for Indian exports of goods and services. President Trump aptly described India as a 'tremendous market'," Sood said. Similarly, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry's President D.K. Aggarwal said that both the countries have significant potential to enhance trade and investment trajectory between the two economies. Based on strong complementarities and growth prospects, the bilateral merchandise trade between India and the US is likely to cross $100 billion by FY2021, Aggarwal said. "There is a need to outline the contours for a sustainable trade negotiation between the two

countries which is broad based and encompasses On its part, the Confederation of Indian Inwide ranging potential sectors of development," dustry (CII) in association with US India BusiAggarwal was quoted as saying in a statement. ness Council (USIBC) launched a '$500 billion In so far as the trade deal is concerned, As- Roadmap', a report that provides an assessment of current trends in US-India trade and the policy reforms needed to set business ties on a faster growth trajectory. Specifically, the report lists out 13 policy interventions to help boost trade between the two economies. Besides, India finalized a $3 billion defense deal with the US for the purchase of military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters. According to a Boeing statement: "We welcome India's decision to acquire six AH-64 Apache helicopters socham's Sood said, "While a structured bilateral and lifecycle services support for the Indian Army. agreement, still underway, would turbocharge the "Through our local entity, Boeing Defence economic engagement, the mutual businesses are India, we are supporting the P-8I, C-17, CH-47 progressing apace anyway. Energy partnership is Chinook and AH-64 Apache with holistic lifecya new and fast-growing area of bilateral cooper- cle support to assist with India's defence modernation while lot more is expected in exchange of ization effort and mission-readiness at competitechnology." tive costs."

“India Faces Low Downside Risk, Global Coronavirus Impact Is Buying Opportunity”

New York (IANS) India's financial market faces low downside risk from coronavirus' impact on supply chains, will instead continue trading on domestic triggers and the current global health scare represents a "buying opportunity", according to Luis Oganes, JP Morgan's head of currencies, commodities, and emerging market research. "I would say that the things to watch are the turning point in the coronavirus episode, I think that it can lead to a big rebound in emerging market equities," Luis Oganes told IANS in New York. Oganes is predicting that the next few months are going to be "very interesting" for markets and recommending investors turn to local currency bonds. Emerging market central banks

may cut interest rates further and the dollar will remain strong, he said. Asked how the cocktail of downgrades, coronavirus and supply chain disruption affects the India story, he said, "If anything, there's

Cognizant Appoints Vinita Bali As Independent Director

Bengaluru: (IANS) Global IT major Cognizant appointed former Britannia Industries chief executive Vinita Bali as an independent director on its board from February 20, said the US-based software firm. “We believe Vinita’s experience at large companies, both India-based and multinational, will make a significant contribution to our board,” said Cognizant chairman Michael Patsalos-Fox in a statement from New Jersey in the US. Bali, 64, was Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bengaluru-based Britannia Industries from 2005 to 2014. Before Britannia, Bali worked in senior general management, corporate strategy and marketing roles at The Coca Cola company and Cadbury Schweppes. Currently, she is also a board member of the

March 2020

New York Stock Exchange- listed Bunge, an agribusiness and food company, Smith & Nephew, a medical technology business and India-listed Syngene International and Crisil. Earlier, Bali served on the boards of several NYSE and India listed companies. Cognizant chief executive Brian Humphries

said, “I also look forward to working closely with our newly appointed independent director, Bali, who brings to our board her extensive global strategic and operational leadership experience and deep India business expertise.” Cognizant also said vice chairman Francisco D’ Souza will leave the company’s board on March 31. “Francisco D’Souza was elected to Cognizant’s board of directors in January 2007 and has served as vice chairman since June 2018. He co-founded Cognizant in 1994 and served as the company’s CEO from January 2007 through March 2019,” said the company in a statement. D’ Souza also served as the company’s president from 2007 to 2012, handling various senior management positions, including the role of chief operating officer from 2003 to 2006.

something positive coming from lower oil prices, which India imports." "I would say that the economic link between India and China is still rather modest. So when we talk about the beta of growth - if China's growth declines by half a point or one full point, how much that affects other parts of the world, India is not topping the charts in terms of that beta," he said. According to Oganes, India won't be the biggest "casualty" of coronavirus' impact on markets. "Even before this episode, there's been a deceleration threatening the Indian economy, but this has nothing to do with coronavirus," he said. Responding to a question on possible relocation of supply chains outside China, the JP Morgan view is that it's logical in theory but the ground reality is that China's scale is hard to replicate anywhere else in the neighbourhood. Therefore, companies may choose to take the hard knocks and stay put. Oganes said that many of JP Morgan's clients who already have a "huge manufacturing presence in China" say that scale of production cannot be easily replicated in other countries without "massive investments" of time and money. "They don't have the skill set, they don't have the resources, the manpower, basically the scale to replace", Oganes said referring to alternative locations. JP Morgan has been forced to downgrade emerging market growth a couple of times already since the coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019, "We started this year thinking that emerging market growth was going to rebound to 4.9 percent. We have trimmed that forecast; we're now at 3.8, so it's like 30 basis points below what we were expecting. Still modest", Oganes said.


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NRI Pulse

..... Interview .....

March 2020

It’s A First Of Its Kind: Choreographer Of Disney’s ‘Mira, Royal Detective’

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: “This is a ground-breaking project, first of its kind and never been done before. I feel honored to be associated with it,” said Hollywood’s favorite Bollywood choreographer, Nakul Dev Mahajan in his exclusive interview with NRI Pulse. Mahajan was chosen to provide dance choreography for Disney’s animation Series, ‘Mira, Royal Detective’, produced by Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior, and executively produced by Sascha Paladino. Set in the magical Indian-inspired land of Jalpur, the series follows the brave and resourceful Mira, played by newcomer Leela Ladnier, who is appointed to the role of royal detective by the queen, along with her friend Prince Neel, creative cousin Priya, and comical mongoose sidekicks Mikku and Chikku. The series takes young viewers on adventures across the country. Each episode features two 11-minute stories that celebrate the cultures and customs of India, incorporating food, fashion, language, and the arts of India. Reflecting their importance in Indian culture, music and dance play an integral role in Mira, Royal Detective, with each episode featuring at least one original song and dance number that showcases the diversity of the culture. So, how did Nakul bring Bollywood dance to animation? “Animation takes a lot of time, needs to be very meticulous, takes a lot of patience, very different from having someone walking into a studio and you teaching them a dance step,” said Mahajan, adding that it was quite tricky to imbibe intricate and detailed Bollywood moves to the

“For me, the biggest challenge was to stay true to myself and my choreography, stay true to authenticity of Bollywood dance itself and at the same time make sure the movement has texture...” - Nakul Dev Mahajan

fast numbers set in the series. “For me, the biggest challenge was to stay true to myself and my choreography, stay true to authenticity of Bollywood dance itself and at the same time make sure the movement has texture. If the choreography is too quick, it will look messy and if it is too flat, it gets boring after a while. So that’s been my learning experience in being creative and challenging and pushing myself.” “I honestly think that these last two years of being part of Mira has allowed me to grow as a choreographer and through the narratives and scripts I’ve been reading, it has allowed me to grow as a person as well, with all the life lessons incorporated into the show,” said Mahajan about

his experience with connecting to animation characters. Mahajan said he developed a personal connect in creating and building movements for them. “And you know, all the characters become family. These names, these characters have been a part of my life for over two years now. It is almost like I’m teaching my own kids.” So, who are Mahajan’s favorite choreographers? “Saroj Khan, without a hiccup, from the east and Paula Abdul from the west, who I had a chance to work with.” “We should celebrate east and west do it

with authenticity and not do it in a way that looks gimmicky,” Mahajan said was his message to aspiring Bollywood dancers, adding that it was important to never forget how rich and beautiful Indian culture is and to keep introducing and exposing classical dance forms such as Kathak, Bharatanatyam, etc. to the up and coming generations. The series will premiere in the U.S. on Friday, March 20 (11 a.m. EDT/PDT on Disney Channel, 7 p.m. EDT/PDT on Disney Junior). Disney Channel India will also premier a sneak-peek that same day, followed by the series premiere on Sunday, March 22. Following that, the series will roll out worldwide in an estimated 160 countries on Disney Channel and Disney Junior platforms globally. Mira, Royal Detective, which has already been ordered for a second season, stars Freida Pinto, Kal Penn, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Hannah Simone, Jameela Jamil, Aparna Nancherla, Aasif Mandvi, Karan Soni, Maulik Pancholy, Sarayu Blue and Sarita Choudhury. Leela Ladnier stars as the voice of Mira, alongside Roshni Edwards, Kamran Lucas, Karan Brar, Parvesh Cheena and Sonal Shah.


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NRI Pulse

Karisma Gearing Up For Digital Debut

..... Bollywood Pulse .....

V Unbeatable Wins 'America's Got Talent: The Champions'

Mumbai: (IANS) The Mumbai-based dance group V Unbeatable has won the second season of "America's Got Talent: The Champions". The dancers found the international glory with their victory on the US show recently. Congratulating V Unbeatables on their win, Actress Karisma Kapoor is gearing up for her digital debut with the web series "Mentalhood". She says there is meaning and learning in every episode of the show. "I am super-excited and very emotional because there is a meaning behind this show. There is learning behind this show. Each episode has a message and it's for everyone out there. Even men watching this show will be like, 'Oh my God! I didn't realize this'. In this show, we deal with bullying, gender issues, exam fever, surrogacy, health, and various other topics. So, it is actually entertainment but you also learn something at the end of the journey of each episode, which is so beautiful," said Karisma, at the trailer launch of "Mentalhood". She was accompanied by co-actors Sanjay Suri, Sandhya Mridul, Dino Morea, Shilpa Shukla, Shruti Seth and Tillotama Shome. The show's producer Ekta Kapoor was there, too, as were Aparna Acharekar, programming head, Zee5, and series director Karishma Kohli. The series explores the multitasking nature of mothers and their various effort at the best possible upbringing for their children. "I guess I am the seniormost parent over here, with a teenage daughter and a young son, said Karisma, adding: "For me, it's MOM -- Master of Multitasking. A mother is a master of multitasking," she said. "Mentalhood" streams on ALT Balaji and Zee5 from March 11.

a post on the official page of "America's Got Talent" read: "Give it up for your new #AGTChampion winners, @v_unbeatable." A video is doing the rounds on the internet in which the group members can be seen hugging each other after hearing the result. The audience even gave a standing ovation to the group. V Unbeatable, which is composed of 29 dancers from Mumbai, India, first appeared on "America's Got Talent" in 2019, winning a Golden Buzzer from guest judge Dwyane Wade. The group came in fourth place last year, but this time

around, V. Unbeatable won the trophy in "America's Got Talent: The Champions", reports ustoday.com. The group has received immense support from the Indian audience too. Even, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh wished them luck before the finale's announcement. ""I am very happy that V Unbeatable have made it to the finals of 'America's Got Talent'. This is unprecedented. I'd like to give my best wishes to the troupe. I just want to say that whatever you have achieved on the world stage is unprecedented. To do what you guys have done on the world stage in such a spectacular fashion, you have won the hearts of the entire nation." "We are so proud of you. We love you for your dedication, commitment and honesty. Keep it going till the finals. Put in all your energy and perform with your hearts and bring it home. C'mon V Unbeatable," Ranveer said in a video message. And now congratulatory wishes are pouring in for V Unbeatable. "So indians took over #agt2020 we won!! #VUnbeatable," a user commented. Another user tweeted: "I really loved their every single performance. You guys deserved this championship. @v_unbeatable, @AGT."

March 2020

Zeenat Aman: I’ve Had An Iconic Journey

Bollywood diva Zeenat Aman says she had an iconic journey as an actor, and was fortunate to work with "some really wonderful directors". The actress was last seen on the big screen in a brief role in Ashutosh Gowariker's magnum opus "Panipat". As an actor, I have had an iconic journey and was fortunate enough to have worked with some really wonderful directors. I was delighted when Ashutosh Gowariker offered me the role of Sakina Begum," Zeenat said. "He is a brilliant filmmaker and we had worked together in the past as co-stars in a film titled ‘Gawahi'. I usually don't do such roles, but my character really captivated me and I immediately said a yes. My character lives within the confines of her kingdom, aloof from the politics of the region till Sadashiv Rao turns to her for help in the battle of Panipat," she added. The film is based on the third battle of "Panipat" that was fought between the Marathas and Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Afghan emperor, in 1761. The film aired on Zee Cinema on February 29. It also stars Padmini Kolhapure as 'Gopika Bai'.

Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Taapsee: My Film Choices Are Kumar Sanu Set For New Innings The Gift Of Success

Bollywood's Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu are coming together to bring back the nostalgia of the sounds and rhythms from the 1990s musical era through an upcoming reality TV show. The singers, known for ever-green romantic songs, will soon be seen in the role of mentors in the show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs". The show was launched here with some music and lots of nostalgia. Host Maniesh Paul introduced the mentors at the musical evening, who then have a glimpse into the show. "It's a very happy thing for me to work with my close friends Alka and Kumar Sanu. In the past, we worked together a lot...Getting the three of us together is iconic," said Udit, who then took the audience back to the 1990s with his perfor-

mance on popular songs like "Papa kehte hain" and "Main nikla gaddi leke". The mentors also showed a glimpse into their camaraderie through their witty banter. "There are many memories and incidents that we will be opening on the show. It will be very interesting," Kumar Sanu said. Kumar Sanu and Alka also performed live on songs like "Dheere dheere se meri zindagi mein aana" and "Kuch kuch hota hai" respectively. The trio left the audience asking for more when they sang "Dil ne yeh kaha hain tumse". The musical press meet presented a teaser of the show with some contestants performing live. "It's getting more difficult for us to select the best. Everyone is so talented," Yagnik said while talking about the contestants. The show is on Zee TV since February 29.

Mumbai: (IANS) Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu is gearing up for multiple projects in the coming months, and she says that success has given her the confidence to make unusual choices when it comes to signing films. "Success has given me the confidence that I am heading in the right direction and my judgment on films are right. So, my choices of films are the gift of success. If I give inputs in the process of making a film and people listen to me, it is because I have managed to become a bankable actor. Filmmaking is a business and unless producers have the confidence that investing in my films will get a financial return, why would they put their money," Taapsee told IANS. The actress recently won the Best Actress (critics) award at a popular awards gala along with Bhumi Pednekar for her 2019 Diwali release "Saand Ki Aankh". Last year Taapsee also played

pivotal roles in films like "Badla", "Game Over", and "Mission Mangal". Starting her career with regular fare in the south Indian film industry, she made her debut in Bollywood with the David Dhawan slapstick "Chashme Baddoor" in 2012, but went on to become a face of content-driven cinema after her role in Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's 2016 film, "Pink". She also gained popularity with strong performances in films like "Baby", "Naam Shabana", "Mulk" and "Manmarziyaan". "How I stand for gender equality and women's right has nothing to do with success, but everything to do with upbringing. I was never told that I am any less because I am a girl. I have a sister and, whether it is education, jobs or any other choice we made, in our house my parents never questioned it because we are girls. So the choice of films that I make is a reflection of my mindset. My audience sees my belief in my choices," she said.


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..... Features .....

NRI Pulse

NAME CHANGE

I GARGI GANESH SURANGE, daughter of SURANGE GANESH BABURAO, holder of Indian Passport No. R5409911 issued at ATLANTA on Apr 03, 2017, permanent resident of India and presently residing at 3240 SAND HILL CT, CUMMING 30041, USA do hereby change my name from GARGI to GARGI GANESH SURANGE, with immediate effect.

REVIEW

Afsos: Wicked But Flawed

"Afsos" (web series on Amazon Prime); Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Anjali Patil, Heeba Shah; Created by: Anirban Dasgupta and Dibya Chatterjee; Rating: * * & 1/2 (two and a half stars) The good thing about OTT is that the platform has allowed the entry of narratives and narrative styles that would so far have struggled to find acceptance in the mainstream space. "Afsos", created by stand-up comedian Anirban Dasgupta and Dibya Chatterjee, is an in-

stance. The eight-episode limited web series is a slice of cheeky black humour that drives existential questions about life and death, and why both matter for an individual. The tone of wry wit is set right at the onset as we meet Nakul (Gulshan Devaiah), who is resolutely gearing up for suicide at a rail track. He has made 11 attempts before this, and is still trying. As an approaching train's headlight grows bigger, Nakul suddenly decides he needs to fish for a pillow as headrest on rail track. We understand he is good for nothing – the sort of guy who cries out for help while jumping into the sea. Even the neighborhood kids call Nakul a loser. Creators Dibya Chatterjee and Anirban Dasgupta, along with co-writer Sourav Ghosh, start off on that quirky note, as the suicidal hero finally gives out a contract for his own killing. And then, just when all is ready for his foolproof death in the hands of a professional expert (Heeba Shah), Nakul finds a reason to live. The catch is, the assassin assigned to ‘help' Nakul end his life, isn't giving up on her commitment to kill him. "Afsos" talks of life and death in the most matter-of-fact manner, through cheeky scenes that would define everyday humdrum. In a random sequence, a couple of housepainters perched precariously high up on a multistoreyed building's wall are discussing how a slip in balance could actually be lucrative for their families. In another scene, when a character complains to a cop about an errant assassin, the thana OC refers the case to the consumer court with a straight face. The story

gets a sarcastic edge as some people start regarding Nakul as ‘the celebrity who can never die' The problem begins as the series shifts gear to move into its middle act. The series has eight episodes of below 30 minutes each and you begin to realise, given the story, this should ideally have been made as original film of a maximum runtime of around two hours -- or, at most a limited series of around four to five episodes. Trouble is after the initial novelty of the story idea wears off, the narrative slows down around the middle episodes, and never really picks up afterwards. Although credibly acted out by its cast and offering a few interesting twists in the two final episodes, these are never enough to lift the show from the level of average to excellent. An interesting dash of humour precedes every episode if you look closely, and if you understand Bengali. The series, the casting declares, is based on a Bengali novel named "Golper Goru Chaande". Translated, that means ‘in fiction, a cow can scale the moon'. The catch is no such novel exists. It is a tongue-in-cheek assertion of the fact that the series is narrating a story that cannot happen – just like the fictional cow jumping right up to the moon. That bit of casting humour is a throwback on the famous pre-credits announcement gag in Coen Brothers' "Fargo", declaring the film is based on true events, which it wasn't. On cue, "Afsos" creators Dasgupta and Chatterjee have a van displaying a fictitious product named Fargo in a pivotal scene. Such plot vehicles reveal an intelligent slant at humour, which is welcome in Indian showbiz. It reflects an intention of good creativity, as does a narrative track that discusses the eternal tussle between science and religion. In fact, while narrating the story of a man who simply cannot kill himself, the film intelligently pitches a science-versus-religion tussle over the fantastical ‘amrit', or elixir, which can render a man immortal. And while it does so, the script also leaves you with an uncomfortable question -- if indeed there is a man who becomes immortal, wouldn't life ultimately become a terrifying trail of ‘afsos' (regrets) for him?

March 2020

Four Reasons Why Students Should Take SAT Subject Tests BY LINDSEY CONGER*

The college application process is competitive, with students trying to go the extra mile to outdo their peers. One great way to distinguish yourself from the crowded application field is to take the SAT Subject Tests. SAT Subject Tests are designed to test your knowledge in one particular subject, like physics, calculus, chemistry, or a foreign language. Altogether, there are 21 different subject areas you can decide to take. Here are four reasons why you should take the SAT Subject Tests.

1. Some Colleges Require It

Even if the university doesn’t require that you take an SAT Subject Test, it can be a great way to distinguish yourself and establish yourself as a top candidate for admission.

3. Display Interest In A Major

If you already have decided on a college major, a corresponding SAT Subject Test can help to prove your interest in the subject and show how you are qualified to handle the college-level course material. For example, if you are planning on majoring in a STEM field, you might want to consider taking a Subject Test in physics or chemistry to prove your skills.

The SAT Subject Tests aren’t always optional: MIT requires that their students take at least two SAT Subject Tests to be considered for admis- 4. Help With College Course Placement While you don’t get college credit for a sion. Other colleges, like Carnegie Mellon Unihigh SAT Subject Test score, it does versity and Emory University, recomCOLLEGE PREP help with college course placemend that you take them. You don’t ment. At Harvard University, the SAT Subject Tests can be used to pass language requirements so long as you get a 700 or better. However, even if you haven’t taken the SAT Subject Tests, Harvard will accept a Higher Level IB language exam or a 5 on an AP language exam to help you place in a more adwant to be at a disadvantage if other applicants in vanced language course. And even if you didn’t the pool are submitting SAT Subject Tests. When creating your college list, check to take or couldn’t financially afford the tests, you see if the schools require or recommend that you can take a placement test when you arrive at Harvard as well. take these tests so you can plan accordingly. Don’t think of SAT Subject Tests as just another test you need to take to get into college. 2. Showcase Your Strengths Unlike the SAT or ACT, where you can’t Instead, consider them an opportunity to add vacontrol what you are tested on, the SAT Sub- riety and depth to your college application. For ject Tests let you choose the subjects you want some, the SAT Subject Tests are another importto take. Whether you love chemistry, literature, ant piece of the college admission process. or French, there is an SAT Subject Test you can take that lets you showcase your interest in the subject matter.

Lindsey Conger is a college counselor for Moon Prep.


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March 2020

..... Feature .....

AAPI Charitable Foundation’s New Calendar Focuses On Women’s Health

BY NAVAMI NAIK

“Celebrating Women’s Health” published by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Charitable Foundation puts women’s health on the forefront this year. With a focus on prevention, early intervention and adoption of a healthy lifestyle, the calendar covers women’s health concerns through their lifecycle, from being healthy as children and adolescents to causes, symptoms and management of PMS, steps for a healthy pregnancy and management of menopause. Highlighting the top 10 causes of death among women in the US, the calendar includes information about risk factors for and early warning signs of common chronic diseases as well as a list of preventive guidelines and age-appropriate screenings and hints to help quit smoking. Also included are suggestions for weight loss, a list of healthy foods, nutritive value of common foods and guidelines for choosing a personal trainer. The calendar has been compiled and produced by Dr. Chander M. Kapasi, chairperson of the AAPI Charitable Foundation to assist in raising funds for charitable projects carried out by the Foundation. Created in 2005, the Foundation has provided assistance to victims of calamities in the US and India and has also established 17 free clinics in India. The calendar is available through AAPI Charitable Foundation, 365 Parker Street, Newton, MA 02459 for a tax-deductible donation of $20 per copy and $5 for postage. What was the inspiration behind creating this calendar? I have a background in public health and am an active alumna of the Harvard School of Public Health. For several years now, I have wanted to create something to raise awareness of critical

health issues for women. This was finally made possible through a generous memorial donation from Dr. Hansa Topiwala. We wanted to honor Dr. Topiwala in a permanent manner through this calendar, which can be widely shared and used by women to improve their health.

en and some men to offer guidance and inspiration and chose the most relevant responses. The presentation of the information was also decided after careful thought. For example, most fitness resolutions are made on New Year’s Day, so we have highlighted the physical and mental bene-

ease and stroke in the month of February. Many women face acute stress and depression during and after the holiday season, so we focus on the benefits of Yoga and Meditation in December. Can you share your thoughts on the format? A calendar is a great place to record progress. As doctors, we often focus on acute responses to disease or injury. However, research shows that lifestyle changes make a difference. When you do anything for a sequence of weeks, it becomes a habit and those types of incremental changes to diet and exercise can have a huge life-long impact. For example, those who follow healthy habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet, lower their heart disease risk by nearly 50%. Our calendar specifically includes columns to record progress towards health goals for that month and outline goals for the next month to encourage women to maintain a continuous record of personal goals.

Do you have any special message for our readers on the occasion of International Women’s Dr. Chander Day? For over 46 years now, I have had the opM. Kapasi portunity to work or witness women‘s health iniThe calendar is available through AAPI Charitable Foundation, 365 Parker tiatives and outcomes in India, Hawaii, Taiwan, Japan, Dubai, Kenya, Tanzania and here in the Street, Newton, MA 02459 for a tax-deductible donation of $20 per copy and $5 US. Women have come a long way and are drivfor postage. ing forces of the world. While traditional gender roles continue to evolve, we still see a strong fits of regular exercise in January. Cardiovascular correlation between maternal health and family Is there any specific reason for the topics in- diseases are common in the Northeast during the outcomes. As mothers, wives, daughters and siscluded in the calendar? winter months, especially from January to Febru- ters, women have a huge impact on their families. The topics have been selected on the basis of ary, so we have included information about risk Keeping women healthy keeps families and comdisease prevalence. We invited a number of wom- factors, early signs and prevention for heart dis- munities healthy.

..... What’s Cooking? .....

Apple, Carrot & Almond Halwa

P.S. LAKSHMI RAO

3 Tablespoons Ghee 1 Tablespoon raisins 3 Cups grated carrots 3 Cups grated apples (Gala, Fuji

Add ricotta cheese and almond powder and fry for two minutes. Add sugar, brown sugar, dates and raisins. Fry until mixture appears dry. Mix remaining ghee and cardamom powder, stirring continuously on low heat. When the ghee starts to separate, turn the heat off. transfer the halwa onto a serving plate. Spread the halwa with a spatula. Sprinkle almonds on top. Serve hot or cold. Makes eight servings. Stays fresh for a week in the refrigerator.

or Green) 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice ½ Cup ricotta cheese ½ Cup almond powder ¾ Cup sugar Variation: Mix 2 ½ Cup brown sugar packed or jaggery cups all purpose ½ Cup chopped dates flour, 1Tablespoon ½ Teaspoon fresh ground cardacoarse soji (ravmom seeds va), 1teaspoon rice 1 Tablespoon almond slices for decoration (optional) flour, 1 Tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and 3/4 cup warm water and make a stiff dough. Let it Mix lemon juice with grated apples to pre- soak for an hour. Make the dough into 8 balls and vent them from turning brown. roll each ball into a 13 ½” X 10 1/2” rectangle. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a heavy Cut each rectangle into smaller 4 ½” long x 3 ½” saucepan or non-stick pan on medium heat. Add wide rectangles. Put 1 full teaspoon of carrot raisins and fry until they become round. Take halwa on one end of the 4 ½ x 3½ rectangles. them out and transfer to a small plate. Brush sides and top with a little water, roll it In the same pan, add one tablespoon ghee, and close the ends. Repeat with rest of the dough. grated carrots, and grated apples. Fry on medi- Heat 2 cups oil in a frying pan on medium low um low heat until the moisture is evaporated. heat and fry the rolls until light brown.

Kala Chana Lollipops For Kids ½ cup kale channe – soak, pressure cook with 1 cup water for 20 min after the whistle 2 small potatoes – boiled and grated ½ cup grated carrot 2 tbsp chopped mint 2 slices of bread

1 tbsp tomato ketchup ½ tsp red chili powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp chat masala 2 tsp channa masala

Topping 2-3 tbsp corn flour Some green tutti fruity for eyes Break bread into pieces and put in a mixer. Grind to get fresh bread crumbs. Grind the channas to a paste with a little water.. Mix channa paste, boiled potatoes, grated carrot, mint, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt, chat masala, red chilli powder and channa masala. Make balls and insert a stick in each. Flatten the ball on the stick. Coat lightly with corn flour. Insert 2 tutti fruity as eyes. Refrigerate for 30 min. Shallow-fry in a pan, till golden along with the stick. Make mouth with ketchup and serve


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