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Happy Vaisakhi

From Bruce Kehler & Team Canex

Holi is a spring fest also known as the f or the festival of Sh

Mand Holi F canexbuilding.com | 604.858.8188

Wishing you a very

Happy Vaisakhi

Hon. Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada

Wishing you a joyous & prosperous Vaisakhi

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Best wishes & a happy Vaisakhi from all of us at AAJ Magazine THE TEAM Publishers Suki Pangalia Goldy Pataria Steve Sandhu

Editors Jessie Marwaha Matt WIlliams Investigative Journalist Salim Jiwa Editorial Alex Sangha Alexander Williams Barathi Sandhu Bindi Bains Esha Singh Jordan Bateman Kris Kalia Lima Abedin Manisha Kiran Singh Matt Williams Nalini Bhui Nina Buddhdev 4

Patrick Myers Rupert Whiting Sunny Mangat Design & Layout Brugge Design Adrian Brugge - Principle Designer Tina Thure - Graphic Designer Advertising & Sales Paul Baraich Lovedeep Samra Kelly Uppal Jyotika Jasuja Photography Neelu Garcha Suki Pangalia Imperial Photo Studio Thank You! Sandiya Prasad Sasha Ramnarine Dr. Paramjit Bhui Nalini Bhui

Dr. Raj Bhui Special Thanks Pink Orchid Studio Armaan Fashion Sandhya Prasad Mukesh Prasad Images Credits Freepik Flickr 123RF Pixabay

AAJ Magazine is published by AAJ Media Group, doing business as AAJ Magazine Inc. AAJ is a magazine that is published every two months. Any reproduction of the magazine, editorial content, images or advertisements cannot be reproduced or reprinted in any form, without written permission of the Publishers. The views expressed by the writers in this publication are not the views of the Publishers or AAJ Media Group. The Publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright 2015 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved.

IN THIS ISSUE HEALTH The Power of Chia! What is Depression? Anxiety: the silent epidemic FEATURE Vaisakhi: A Celebration Then & Now Using Stuggles as an Advantage Bindi Bains Reflecting on OCD What is OCD? POLITICS & LAW The Ongoing Mystery of Rights Infringement Four Things to Know About the 2016 BC Budget Attack Your Tax: Easy Ways to Reduce Your Overall Bill WORLD Airport Security: Does It Need to be That Bad? Suicide Bomber, Homicide Bomber, What's the Difference? Swatchh Out!

10 14 18 22 27 32 35 36

Are you Lost?

ARTS To Live, laugh & Sing: Mantras of IndianRaga’s CEO, Sriram Emani CULTURE Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption FASHION & BEAUTY How to be Perfect FAMILY Tribute to a Mother for Mother’s Day The Benefits of Meditation COMMUNITY AAJ on Scene

40 44

70 72 78 82 88

Get back on your path

49 53 57


design that builds relationships

Burnaby Square Counselling


WISHING EVERYONE A PROSPEROUS VAISAKHI Graphic & Web Design Illustration Branding Communication Social Media Strategy


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AAJ Magazine is published by AAJ Media Group, doing business as AAJ Magazine Inc. AAJ is a magazine that is published every two months. Any reproduction of the magazine, editorial content, images or advertisements cannot be reproduced or reprinted in any form, without written permission of the Publishers. The views expressed by the writers in this publication are not the views of the Publishers or AAJ Media Group. The Publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright 2015 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved.


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THE POWER OF CHIA! In the past few years, chia seeds have received a great deal of attention, and for good reason. While modest in size and appearance, these tiny seeds are powerhouses of nutrition. In fact, according to Christopher McDougall’s book, “Born to Run”, a tablespoon of chia is nutritionally equivalent to a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone! Chia seeds come from a flowering plant (Salvia hispanica) that is 10

March 2016

native to the valley of Mexico and has been domesticated since as early as 2700 BC. According to historical references, chia was a staple food for the indigenous peoples, including the Nahuati (Aztec), Mayan, and Incan peoples. In these cultures, chia seeds were greatly revered for its medicinal properties and nutritional value, were offered to the gods and were even considered currency. It name stems from the Nahuatian word, Chiapan – river of Chia, and means “energy” or “strength”. Traditionally, the seeds were roasted, crushed, and mixed with water to form a highly aajmag.ca

nutritious gel. This gel was the fuel of choice for ancient warriors and runners; one spoon of the seeds in water was considered to be nutrition enough to provide sustenance for an entire day.

Benefits of Chia

In case you are not already convinced that chia should be your best friend, here are a few more reasons:

Diabetes destroyer Chia is currently being studied as a potential treatment for type-2 diabetes. The theory is that since it can slow down digestion, it may be helpful in preventing blood sugar spikes.

Fibrous friend Just one ounce of chia seeds has enough fiber to cover 1/3 of your daily needs. As we all know, increasing fiber can positively benefit cholesterol levels, digestive issues, and helps keep you fuller, longer.

Fountain of youth Forget going to the cosmetics counter for your anti-aging cream, and just add some chia to your smoothie instead. Chia seeds are stock-full of anti-oxidants, powerful constituents that are key in fighting off free-radical damage and speeding up the skin’s repair systems.


A study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that eating chia seeds prior to activity enhanced exercise performance in workouts that lasted 90 minutes. Who needs the chemical-laden sports drink when you can have refreshing chia water instead?

Healthy heart, stronger bones and teeth, increased metabolism And the list goes on. Chia seeds are truly an amazing superfood with so many benefits for your body.

How to eat chia seeds? In my experience, chia seeds are easiest to consume when they are soaked in water before hand. By soaking your chia seeds, you allow them to sprout and release their enzyme inhibitors, which are used to protect the seed. This is beneficial because it allows for the chia seeds to be digested more easily and also helps your body access all the nutrients within the seed. Also, chia seeds can hold up to 10-12 times its weight in water, so soaking them can massively increase hydration. On the flip side, if you decide to eat chia without soaking them first, they may soak water from you during the digestive process; to prevent this from happening, ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the day.

Nutrition Profile While humble in size, chia seeds pack a nutritious punch. They are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Trust me, these are all good things! Per 28-gram (1 ounce) serving: • Dietary fiber (11g – 42% recommended daily value) • Protein (4.4g – 9% RDV)

• Omega-3 fatty acids (4915 mg) • Omega-6 fatty acids (1620 mg)

• Calcium (77 mg – 18% RDV) • Copper (0.1 mg – 3% RDV)

• Phosphorus (265 mg – 27% RDV)

• Potassium (44.8 mg – 1% RDV) • Zinc (1.0 mg – 7% RDV)

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/ nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

Other notable nutrients • Essential fatty acids: alphalinolenic acid, linoleic acid • Strontium

• Vitamins: A, B, E, D

• Minerals: Iron, Iodide, Sulphur, Magnesium, Manganese



Chia Fresca Ingredients:


• 2 tbsp. chia seeds

• Mix all the ingredients together and let it cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours

• 2 cups water

Soaking instructions: •

Soak chia seeds in water in a 1:10 ratio (1.5 tablespoons chia seeds to 1 cup water)

Stir the seeds so they are well distributed throughout the water

Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes – 2 hours

• Juice of 1 lime

• 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey

• Drink and feel instantly uplifted

Whether you are a high-endurance athlete, or simply wanting to feel better as you navigate through the day, chia seeds are a great way to boost your nutrition and super-charge your health. Plus, its fun to say… ch-ch-ch-chia! Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat. Always consult your primary care physician for advice on your wellness goals

How to add chia into your diet? 1. Chia water or chia fresca (see recipe below) 2. Replace sesame seeds with chia seeds in recipies 3. Add chia seeds to your frozen yogurt or ice cream 4. Add chia to your morning smoothie 5. Use chia seeds as a vegan substitute for eggs 6. Grind 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds, mix with 3 Tbsp. of water and let sit for 5 minutes

ESHA SINGH, ND CAND. 2017 is a student of naturopathic medicine,a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer and has worked for many years in the fitness industry, focusing on women’s and geriatric fitness. 12

March 2016





DEPRESSION? In the year 2000, the World Health abuse, and other mental health issues cost Organization (WHO) declared that

the Canadian economy 51 billion dollars.

depression was the fourth leading cause Imagine what 51 billion dollars could buy – of the burden of disease in the world. better schools, parenting programs, better They made the prediction that depression

access to mental health services, and the

would reach the number two spot in the dream list goes on. year 2020 and the number one spot in 2030. Unfortunately they guessed wrong. Depression became the second leading cause of the burden of disease in the world in 2013, and it is well on its way to reach the number one spot in a few short years. (Hmmm, this is a really depressing topic, isn't it) Depression is a debilitating condition that can sometimes lead to suicide. In 2005 WHO noted that suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death in the world, behind cancer, heart issues, and diabetes. In Canada depression, substance 14

March 2016

So what is this elusive condition called depression? Many people view depression as long term sad or unhappy emotions. But depression can involve a collection of many different symptoms including fatigue or lack of energy, lack of motivation, unusual pains or digestive problems, disturbances in sleep or appetite, concentration difficulties, lack of pleasure in things you once found enjoyable, undue crying and emotional outbursts, irritability, low self-worth or guilt, a sense of helplessness or hopelessness, self-criticism or even self loathing, thinking a lot about death, low sex drive, loneliness and social isolation. These symptoms can also describe the effects of many other physical or mental health problems. Thus it is important not to aajmag.ca

self diagnose, but instead to see your doctor and a mental health expert such as a psychologist. And what causes depression. Many would have you believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain. Logically we would want to correct that chemical imbalance by providing a counter-balancing medication. It sounds like an easy solution. However the question arises, “why is depression on the increase despite the use of antidepressant prescriptions?” Don't get me wrong, antidepressants can be useful in treating some individuals with depression. However, when Prozac (the original SSRI) first came upon the scene, it was intended to be prescribed as a short-term solution (6-18 months) in conjunction with psychotherapy. Over time, psychotherapy was relegated to the fringe and medication became the treatment of choice for depression. However, as Michael Yapko, a preeminent depression psychologist stated so succinctly, “Pills don't teach skills.” Depression is a much more complicated condition than what we are told. Depression can have many causes. Depression may arise in response to poverty, abuse, bullying, loss such as death of a loved one or divorce, lack of exercise, inappropriate diet, difficulties adjusting to a new culture, existential crisis, working too hard, insufficient sleep, chronic illness, debt, family conflict, and much more. There was even a study published recently that noted the risk of developing depression goes up the more time you spend on Facebook. Since depression can have many causes, thus it can

also have many treatments. My number one treatment for depression is exercise. Numerous studies point to the physical and mental benefits of exercise. It is thought that exercise can reduce the symptoms of depression through various means. Exercise helps metabolize the stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol, that tend to narrow your thinking processes. Exercise results in the extra release of endorphins, which are the brain's own happy / pain killing chemicals. And exercise encourages neurogenesis – the creation of new brain cells. Yes its true, exercise can build both brawn and brain. Make sure to choose an exercise that fits your personal style though – not everyone likes going to the gym. Exercise might include hiking, biking, playing a team sport such as hockey or baseball, ballroom dancing, jogging, and even brisk walking.

would help you look at your patterns of thinking and doing, and see if there are ways to alter those patterns that would bring you more hope and happiness. So if therapy, medications, and Patrick Myers is a registered psychologist at www. stresslessconsulting.com and works at Burnaby Square Counselling

In addition to medications and exercise, a psychologist may help people out of depression using a particular psychotherapy called cognitive-behavior therapy or CBT. The CBT orientation would suggest that depression is a learned pattern. Don't get me wrong, no one WANTS to learn depression. All people do their best to cope with some of the life stressors mentioned above, but in some cases the stressors become too big or too many, and some people inadvertently fall into a pattern that later becomes diagnosed as depression. The good news is that if depression is a learned pattern, then depression can be unlearned, and a more resilient and empowering pattern can be learned. Thus CBT 15

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Pupils dilated, heart pounding, feeling slightly dizzy, and everything around you seems to be a sensory overload... As you sit there concentrating on your breathing and try to collect yourself so you can finish off your meeting, feeding your child, your assignment or your public engagement; you hope no one has noticed. These are all signs of an anxiety attack, yet many don’t seem to acknowledge anxiety. We have opened up the discourse on depression, and often depression and anxiety can coincide, but not always.


March 2016


I have encountered many different people, men, women, teenagers and seniors who have all shared their stories with me of when they had their first ‘anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks may not be severe, they can have subtle symptoms such as: sleepless nights, constant worrying, poor concentration, fatigue, feeling out of breath, zoning out or a slight increase in your heart rate.

Do you find yourself constantly worrying about: •

Your relationships?

Your finances?

Your health? The health of family members?

Do you find yourself avoiding social situations?

Do you constantly feel as though something doesn’t ‘feel’ right? Or something bad is going to happen?

If you do, you are not alone. I question whether in today’s time we are all trying to do too much? We live in a time where we are surrounded by perfection, or so we think. Children as young as ten years old are committing suicide, due to a variety of reasons such as bullying to body image issues. We are living in a world where we are constantly trying to reach for the unobtainable. We spend more time on instagram, facebook, twitter, snapchat or playing games on our phones than with the people around us. Parents

are now texting their children to come down for dinner, when living within the same home. Friends gather together around a table on a night out, yet everyone there is on their phone.

y p p a hi! H k a s i Va ou a y g n i Wish urful o l o c & joyous ration celeb

Relationships have changed, because we as a society of changed. The unfortunate part is we as a community, set mental health aside. For reasons, such as ‘what will others think?’ We spend more time thinking about what others think, than focusing on ourselves. Just because we cannot physically see the damage, does not mean it is not there. The effects of anxiety on the body can be enormous and should not be ignored. I have also spoken too many people who state that when they did finally build up the courage to talk about their anxiety or depression, that they found no one would listen. More often, their loved ones would brush it aside with comments such as “Oh you are fine” or “There is nothing wrong with you.” Sadly, some doctors may not see it as well, and tell their patients that “Physically, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s all in your head.” This can be humiliating and debilitating to those suffering from anxiety especially since they already do not have the support of their family and friends. The more we discuss mental health, the more the stigma attached to it will be reduced. Unfortunately, mental health disorders, such as anxiety,

Hon. Linda Reid MLA for Richmond East/ Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

Constituency Office: 130 – 8040 Garden City Rd. Richmond, BC V6Y 2N9 604.775.0891 Email: linda.reid.mla@leg.bc.ca

lindareidmla.bc.ca LindaReidMLA @ReidforBC aajmag.ca


We spend more time thinking about what others think, than focusing on ourselves

are more common than we think. Anxiety has become a silent epidemic for those suffering from it and it is time we start openly communicating about it. Most of the people I have spoken to about their anxiety have stated that they either live with it, or have learned to cope through drugs, alcohol, meditation, exercise or just persevering through the attacks. I think those who are able to manage their anxiety through healthy measures such as exercise is great, however we need to recognize when we may need help. We need to recognize that there is nothing wrong with reaching out and we are also responsible as a society to help those reaching out. We place too much stress on ourselves and our surroundings. We spend more time competing with each other, than embracing each other, faults and all. We all just need to take a step back and just breathe.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), approximately 20% of all Canadians will experience mental health issues in their lifetime. More specifically CMHA states, approximately 49% of people who feel that they have or are suffering from depression or anxiety have not gone to see a doctor. If you think you might be suffering from anxiety, you need to find someone to talk to. If your doctor isn’t taking you seriously, then find one that will. If your family or friends are not taking you seriously, sit them down and open up to them, and if they still don’t then find someone who will. For mental health services in your community, you can contact your local CMHA branch http://www. cmha.ca/mental-health/find-help/

SUNNY MANGAT, M.A. (International Politics & Human Rights), B.A. (Psychology) , a Vancouver Islander who was raised in Surrey,is a full-time PhD student at Roehampton University in London, U.K., researching sexual violence in India.


March 2016


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A CELEBRATION THEN & NOW Sixteeenth Century Story In 1567 Guru Amar Dasji first declared Vaisakhi as one of the special days when all the Sikhs present in Goindwal would receive special blessings from him. The ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadurji stood up for the rights of Hindus and Sikhs. However, in 1699 the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb wanted to spread Islam in India therefore, he publicly beheaded Guru Tegh Bahadurji. Then, his son Guru Gobind Singhji became the tenth Guru. At the Vaisakhi celebrations at Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur, where the congregation assembled for his blessings, with a powerful


March 2016

speech he demanded that anyone willing to sacrifice his life, come forward. As the story goes, in a very dramatic manner, he chose the ‘Beloved Five’ or ‘Panj Piara’ . He then instructed them to protect anyone in need from injustice. Guru Gobind Singhji then organized the Khalsa Pantha – the Order of the Pure Ones by giving ‘Amrit’ (sacred nectar) to one and all irrespective of caste or race. Guru Gobind Singhji, encouraged total surrender of one’s life in the service of ‘Akal’ (God – the Timeless One) and created the Sikh religion. According to historians, for several centuries following that, the first born son from each Hindu family in Punjab was ordained as a Sikh. That was the first documented story of anti - racism and anti aajmag.ca

casteism and seen as a step forward towards national integration in India. He also discontinued the tradition of gurus and asked all Sikhs to accept the ‘Granth Sahib’ holy book as their eternal guide. To further empower all Sikhs and do away with distinctions based on caste or race, he gave men the title Singh (Lion) and women the title Kaur (Princess).

Festival Celebrations Vaisakhi is celebrated on the first day of Vaisakh month according to the Nanakshahi or Sikh calendar based on the solar cycle and as per the English calendar corresponds to April 13th each year. Vaisakhi is a major festival signifying the day

of ‘Thanksgiving’ for the bountiful harvest of the winter Rabi crops and a prayer for future prosperity by the farmers in Punjab. All the villagers wake up early, bathe in the river or pond and wear bright - coloured traditional outfits men wear kurtas, lungis and pagdis & the women wear salwar khameez or lehengas. First they visit the gurudwara or temple to pray and then everyone sits together and shares a wholesome meal ‘ Langar’ cooked, served and clean up by men and women together. Relatives and friends celebrate as one big happy family. Gifts are also exchanged. Acts of charity to society form an important part of this day. As the day progresses, several Vaisakhi fairs are organized and attended by aajmag.ca


More than a quar ter million people of all religions Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christians, etc. attend these events


March 2016

all Punjabis – Hindus and Sikhs. In the open fields, the very energetic and popular performances of Bhangra and Giddha traditional folk-dancing are enjoyed by men, women and children in their colorful costumes. Dancers perform daily farm activities of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops presented very gracefully and with great zest. The energetic body movements and jumps are accompanied by the singing of ballads and the rhythm of the Dhols. The songs sometimes talk about the weather, harvesting, certain social graces, some embarrassing moments between young couples, or advice for new brides to cope with different family members. Grievances are set aside and the celebrations happen in a caring and fun - filled atmosphere with cheerful banter. The fairs also have numerous stalls for games, toys, delicious food, clothing, jewellery, decorative and household items. Thus, Vaisakhi is still celebrated as a major festival in Punjab.

Twenty –

first century

celebrations In the 21st century in UK, USA and Canada, the celebrations are symbolic of all this religious & social history and then some. Most of us have never been to a farm nor are we familiar with the challenges faced by farmers on a daily basis. Gone are the days when a very young bride was married to someone in a faraway village. Then, she had to move after marriage and

start an entirely new life with total strangers. Today, social situations and value systems have undergone great changes. We do not all need to grow crops – we have grocery stores to get them from. However, some immigrants still miss those aspects of their previous lives. Some of us still believe in prayer but, ALL of us believe in fun and enjoyment. So, in the Western world we have made adaptations to accommodate different societal needs. We have huge ‘Baisakhi Melas’ in cities such as L.A., New York, Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton. More than a quarter million people of all religions Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christians, etc. attend these events in some cities. Whole areas of streets are closed off along parade routes which stretch over miles. Parades have several beautifully decorated floats. The main float carries the ‘Guru Granth Sahibji’ (holy book) and blessings in the form of ‘Kada Pershad’ (sacred sweet dish) and almonds and fruit that are generously distributed by the Granthis or priests and voluntary donations are collected. Chants of ‘Sat Naam’; ‘Bole So Nihal’ ‘Sat Sri Akal’ and ‘Wahe Guru’ fill the air as that float moves on. Following are martial arts displays by young students both boys & girls and floats with children singing kirtans (hymns) accompanied by the Harmonium and Tabla portraying great skill, strength, devotion and practice by the young ones. It is truly heartwarming to see youngsters involved in such activities. Kudos


to their Gurus and parents for all the effort to keep them as caring, productive members of society and out of trouble. Everyone partakes of the delicious free vegetarian food stalls generously donated by various businesses and families of the local Indian community. All traditional foods such as Chole Bhature, Kadhi Chawal, Rajma, Aloo Poori, Kachori, Pakodas, Chaat, Masala Tea, fresh fruits, fresh spicy lime juice, yogourt, Jalebi, Gulab Jamun, fresh sugarcane juice & vegetable or paneer cutlets are served. Nowadays, Bhangra and Giddha and other traditional Indian dances and music are performed on stages and enjoyed by all. Open teaching of Bhangra and audience participation is encouraged. ‘Kavi Sammelans (poetry readings)’, Tu r b a n t y i n g s e s s i o n s a n d contests’ and ‘Wrestling matches’ are organized at nearby venues. Attendees of all ages, races and religions enjoy every aspect of the celebrations. This is true multi – cultural tolerance, acceptance, participation and enjoyment. This popular ‘Harvest Festival’ celebration is unparalled even in modern times and brings great joy, stress release and provides a valuable source of outdoor exercise. The community spirit of togetherness & bonding and the economic benefits of such an event is a welcome bonus!

NALINI BHUI is a philanthropist, radio host, actress, public speaker and scientist who has a keen interest in a wide variety of topics. aajmag.ca


Happy Vaisakhi from your Surrey MLA's Hon. Amrik Virk MLA Surrey – Tynehead 604 586-3747 201-15135 101 Ave, Surrey Amrik.Virk.MLA@leg.bc.ca @amrikvirkbc 26

March 2016

Hon. Peter Fassbender MLA Surrey – Fleetwood 604 501-3227 15930 Fraser Hwy, Surrey Peter.Fassbender.MLA@leg.bc.ca @fassbenderMLA

MLA Marvin Hunt MLA Surrey - Panorama 604.574.5662 120 – 5455 152 St. Surrey Marvin.Hunt.MLA@leg.bc.ca @marvinhunt4bc aajmag.ca



I went to a high school where I did not know anybody else. My family had just moved and I was forced to separate from my friends, and embark on a new journey. Little did I know how hard that journey would be. I remember crying day in and day out, worrying about how and if I would ever fit in. My older brother constantly taunted me saying that it’s my fault for not going to a different elementary school, and that’s why people wouldn’t like me. As if the transition from elementary to high school was not hard enough, I found myself struggling immensely.



I was awkwardly growing up in a home that was falling apart, and I didn’t have support to ensure I was settling well in to school. Because of this I was forced to grow up way beyond my years, and all I yearned for was to make friends that I can share times with to forget all of my hardships. However, I was not sociable during the first few years, and I had a tough time making friends. Conversations with my classmates eventually became so awkward, that I decided it be best that I avoid eye contact all together. I would timidly walk the halls clenching my books and binders closely to my chest, and walk as fast as my feet could take me. Just to minimize the amount of whispers, laughs, and hollering, I would leave school right on time, and get home as fast as I could. I remember the days where I would loathe the 11:30 lunch break, and as other students frantically got up and rushed towards the door, I stayed back and did extra work just to avoid meeting my bully’s in the hallway. I was fragile and sensitive, and most of all, alone. Having friends during high school was something I always wanted, a solid group of friends to do everything with. But instead, I shuffled between groups


March 2016

and was constantly back stabbed and bullied. I tried extremely hard to fit in, but after a while I just gave up. I was constantly made fun of for numerous reasons, whether it was because of my appearance, the fact that I tried really hard in school, or that I was always alone. I fought against my insecurities, but after a while I just let it all take over. I began to eat less, and I eventually stopped caring about how I looked because hey, people would make fun of me either way. I struggled a lot trying to find my purpose and I felt as if my life would never change. I craved for the acceptance of my peers and when I didn’t get it, I broke down. After trying so hard for people not to notice me, eventually I lost myself within my own shadows. After 5 years of this constant battle with not only my peers, but with myself, I found the courage to celebrate who I became. It was my graduation day. I was waiting behind the big black curtains, and as soon as my name was announced, I marched across that stage with my head held high, shook my principles hand, and took my diploma. I graduated on the honor roll and received two scholarships and a plaque for my achievements. Waiting for me on the other side of

the stage was my favourite teacher. With tears in her eyes she opened up her arms and said “I’m so proud of you, there is no one more deserving for this scholarship than you.” To my surprise I began to cry. But this time, they were tears of joy. Throughout all of my struggles during high school, I was able to stay focused. I turned to my books to be my friends and therefore I was at an advantage. I was always in the library, learning new things and keeping myself occupied. I had very little time to spend thinking about issues. I also was a part of the school dance team, and was able to express myself with my dancing. With all of my emotions running high, I was able to channel that energy and make it in to something beautiful. What began as a way for me to destress myself became a hobby, and then a passion, and today I am a professional performer who has taught at various dance studios. I was so busy with school and dance that I really had no time to waste in following my dreams From being the “ugly, quiet” girl in high school, now I would like to say that I am very confident with myself. At the end of the day, my struggles I faced have shaped me to being the strong, courageous, and intelligent young woman that I am.






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From the point of view of an outsider I am an average girl from an ordinary Indian family; Working dad, stayat-home mom and 3 girls with a six-year age gap. Our daily lives seemed normal but our daily routine was anything but because our loving mom lived with a crippling invisible illness known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. This illness made her life very difficult and it affected everyone in our home. A simple task like 32

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preparing to attend a social function involved detailed rituals and repetitions that added hours to this otherwise ordinary routine. I recall the anger and frustration I felt while waiting for her to perfect a mental task that seemed so unnecessary and avoidable. She would even wash her hands several times a day for long periods, sometimes to the point where her knuckles appeared raw. The side effects of her illness included an inability to accomplish daily homemaker routines, an a ve r s i o n t o h u g g i n g a n y o n e including her own children and grandchildren and with that came her own personal embarrassment. Growing up with this was truly frustrating but at the same time we aajmag.ca

…all I could think about was how I could hide it.

thought it was “normal” for her and that she was just a perfectionist in her own way. It was not until watching an OCD topic on Oprah in the early 1990’s that I put the pieces together and in the mid 90’s she was officially diagnosed with the illness.

MY Story Despite the difficulty and frustration of dealing with my mom and her debilitating condition, it was still accepted as a part of our lives. My dad had such amazing patience for her that it was almost impossible to view it as anything but normal. In 2012 my dad passed away and a year later my mom followed as she often did in life. Shortly after her passing I remember having an episode while folding laundry. I was folding a towel and it took over twenty minutes, getting the edges perfectly aligned. It was so exhausting I ended up with a headache. I realized at that moment how my mom felt; it struck me how wrong I was to have been angry with her. She was so innocent yet so ashamed; she just hid and lived with her symptoms. Due in large part to the acceptance of my mom’s condition as a normal

part of life I was also reluctant to recognize my own symptoms. I was a perfectionist in school, I used white-out for mistakes, I would rewrite lecture notes and it resulted in honour roll status. At home I had a particular order for things and it bothered me if that order was disturbed but it was still order. In late adolescence I noticed an involuntary twitch with my hand. It wasn’t a muscle spasm but rather my mind insisted on telling me to move it. I didn’t understand it; I just did it. As I grew older my symptoms grew with me. My involuntary movements grew to include my head, my arm, my jaw, my foot and on rare occasion, my whole body would just tense up. The urge to twitch became so strong at times, it was difficult to control. My particular order for things became more intense to the point that I was now the one who took several hours to prepare for a social outing due to routines and rituals that consumed my attention. In many ways I became my mother and, like her, all I could think about was how I could hide it.



Healing Two of the first things I have discovered about OCD are that one, there are not many resources other than the medications; Two, the Indian community is not very accepting of mental illness in any form. Over the years I watched my mom try to keep her illness a secret and I also discovered that she was not alone. Our community is filled with people fighting this battle alone when they don’t need to. This is why I finally decided to stand up and talk about it. When people are in denial or are ashamed, they won’t get help and I myself am tired of running from it. I believe the South Asian community needs to become more aware and accepting o f t h e va r i o u s m e n t a l h e a l t h problems prevalent in our society. Only then can we move forward as a community to helping each other. The stigma around mental illness needs to be lifted and I hope to put a start to this.

Bindi Bains and her Parents

My name is Bindi Bains Mackoruk and I have OCD. Help me to help others and we all can benefit together.

BINDI BAINS is a BCRPA Registered Personal Trainer. I offer weight management training, nutrition counseling, competition training/prep, sports speciďŹ c training and life coaching.


March 2016



OCD? According to Dr. Rajpal Singh, a Clinical Coordinator in the Early Psychosis Intervention program at Fraser Health, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness related to anxiety disorders and can be characterized as obsessions which are intrusive and persistent thoughts and compulsive behaviours which can be things like repetitive washing, cleaning, checking, and doing things in a certain way or a need for perfection.

OCD can affect anyone and mostly starts in childhood / adolescent years but there are cases of adult onset. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes OCD, but there are likely many different factors involved, such as family history, biology, and stressful life experiences. Approximately one to two per cent of the population is affected by this disorder. In a child these behaviours may be seen initially as personality traits. Some people may be able to attach the behaviours to an event in their life that caused them distress. The behaviours may start out as personality quirks, but as Dr. Singh describes, “When the behaviors start to increase in amount of time engaged in the activity and it begins interfering in your daily life, relationships and school/ work schedule, it can lead to many

problems in life. If you can’t leave the house because you’re afraid of being contaminated by germs, that is a problem.” The good news is there are effective treatments for people. Cognitive Behavioural Treatment helps people deal with anxiety by teaching people about the behaviors and ways to deal with the anxiety driving their OCD. A therapist will help patients understand the cause of the anxiety and help them to try to delay their behaviours one step at a time. Support groups are another way to help by providing techniques to provide a clear understanding about the illness , relaxation techniques, how to identify stresses and giving reassurance. Some antidepressant medications have been found to be effective in reducing some OCD symptoms.






I would like to preface these are taking place in my home state term “states’ rights” that enviably statements


s o m e of Texas and the people who reside

acknowledgments. I believe that


rights of the people are infringed

Let us start a little lower on the chain of command, the state and local levels. There are no two ways about it, Texas is a large, red, conservative, rights loving state. The rural areas are vastly conservative and the urban are decidedly more liberal and cultured, for the most part (Houston is only second to NYC in number of seats in theater districts). Texas has been dominated by conservatives for decades and they are very much in love with the

upon by all political parties, it would be impossible to prove otherwise. The political parties and powers that rotate in Washington D.C. are nothing more than oligarchies that are influenced and ultimately controlled by even more elite persons and companies’ monies. I do, however, take exception to some things that 36

March 2016

ensues to any political discussion and implies that the people ultimately have power over their lives on the local level…or so they told us. Before the collapse of the oil market, fracking for oil and gas was making oil companies money hand over fist and spurring outpost locations into boom towns. Many people had concerns over the impacts it was having on the land and communities that they raised their families in and protested in their defense. Being the rights loving


people we are, the good people of Denton casted their ballots on a referendum to ban the practice within the cities jurisdiction and succeeded. Sounds like an easy win for the people rights… but before the ink could dry, the great state of Texas reversed these peoples will and made it illegal to ban fracking…anywhere. To many who are not familiar with the area, you could cast this scenario as the classic “tree hugging liberals vs. big bad oil company”. You would be incorrect. The vast majority of Denton’s population is conservative and support fracking, just not the vast number of wells located so close to their homes. Why the change of heart on the sacred right of the peoples will? I wish it could be harder to guess but of course its money. Just like Washington’s lobbyists that Texas politicians love to hate…unless it is helping their next campaign. Next up is Open Carry. Starting in 2016 anyone with 4 to 6 hours training is now qualified to walk around with a handgun on their hip. I will ignore the fact that it takes 500 hours training to become a massage therapist because they want to ensure that no one is hurt from “under-training”. I will also ignore the fact that this law was not put to referendum. I do take issue with, once again, is that they

will not let local municipalities in the biggest cities take a vote to opt out of the law in their jurisdiction. I refuse to argue the merits of the Second Amendment, it is there, and it is not going away, for better or worse. However, I have yet to hear a good argument why it is necessary to bring a loaded pistol on your hip to a grocery store. Also, I sincerely doubt that if there is an active shooter scenario that more guns held by untrained civilians will help the situation. I am not a veteran, but like any other task there is a mental acuity and muscle memory that takes place from being in the situation where you are pulling a trigger and taking a life. However, the choruses chime back from many people I know…”It’s my right, and a right unexercised is a right lost”

than me? I learned not to argue on social media long ago, it is fruitless and potentially dangerous if you offend the wrong people. Are they not actually upset about someone else ultimately exercising the rights that we are given? Maybe we will see the errors of our ways and act to save the rights we still have. It is a long road, filled with many pitfalls, but we have to walk it for the sake of the next generation. We need to find the things that bring us together and not focus on the things that pit us against our neighbor, which is exactly how you suppress a population. Fear, hate, bigotry, sexism, and racism are every man’s enemy. If we don’t, they will need the second amendment intact to tear down this government and start anew.

Ultimately what really confuses me with people who use that defense is what they say and do when hear people exercising the right built into the new law. The law states that any private business may choose to opt out and not allow an openly carried firearm if they post a clear sign at the entrance. Oh my, that caused an outrage on social media. Everything from “that sign isn’t legal!” to much more expletive filled comments. Why is it okay to only exercise a right if you agree with it? Why are you inherently more right filled and right loving

ALEXANDER WILLIAMS is a social commenter, and first generation Texan, and graduate of the University of Houston.



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FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2016 BC BUDGET The BC Liberal government, led by 1. MSP rates are going up.again. Premier Christy Clark and Finance Minister Michael de Jong, brought down the 2016-17 provincial budget, and there wasn’t a lot of good news. Here are the four things taxpayers need to know about the BC budget:

On the Medical Services Premium (MSP) tax, De Jong borrowed a marketing gimmick from the playbook of family restaurants everywhere: “Children now MSP free!” But the numbers don’t lie: the taxman will collect $124 million more in MSP taxes next year, with tax hikes for people making far less than the average provincial income. Married with kids? You may think from those budget headlines that you’ll see a break on your MSP tax next year. Not true. If your household brought in more than $51,000 last year – and remember, the average


March 2016


provincial income is $74,150 – you’ll actually pay more. Another $72 over the year, bringing your monthly MSP bill to $156. Senior couples making more than $51,000 a year will feel an even harder pinch: their monthly tax will jump from $136 to $156 – a tax hike of $240 next year. Couples without children making $45,000 per year will see the same jump. Even if you make less than $51,000 and pay less MSP next year, this reprieve is a temporary one: the BC Liberals show no sign of straying from their plan to raise this tax every single year. If de Jong had been completely forthright about the MSP tax, the line would have been: “Kids eat free, but we’ve jacked up adult meal prices for the 15th straight year. You’re welcome.” There was a glimmer of hope for taxpayers on MSP: The BC Liberals are finally admitting that there is a problem with the tax. The changes to help singleparent families and the “kids are MSP free” gimmick prove they’re feeling the heat. Next year’s budget comes just three months before the provincial election. Could we see the unfair MSP tax system changed then?

2. Operating debt is declining, but capital debt is climbing. Bottom line: More debt. While the operating portion of the BC budget is balanced for the fourth straight year, the government continues to borrow more money to build things. Over three years, the BC debt will jump from $65.3 billion to $71.9 billion. That means our provincial debt is growing more than half a billion dollars every quarter. The BC Liberals deserve partial credit for paying down to nearrecord lows the direct operational debt (the money borrowed over the decades when the operating budget was in the red). However, the continued growth of overall debt should deeply concern taxpayers. It’s time for the BC government to come forward with a truly balanced budget – one where the debt stops increasing.

3. The new, $100-million Prosperity Fund is peanuts. As promised by Clark in the 2013 election campaign, the government has set up a new Prosperity Fund, designed to capture potential Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) royalties and pay down debt.

Unfortunately, there are no operating LNG plants in BC, so there is no gas money to put into it. Instead, the province has set aside $100 million from its 2015 surplus to get the fund going. To put that number into perspective, BC’s $100-million Prosperity Fund is like a family making $90,000 a year putting $200 into a rainy day fund. While it’s always nice to have savings, it’s a pittance in the overall scheme of things.

4. ICBC lost money this year. It’s tough for government monopolies to lose money, but ICBC is doing just that this year. The final numbers are still being crunched, but the insurance corporation is projecting a $125-million loss for last year. That’s the only annual loss posted among the big four Crown corporations (BC Hydro, ICBC, BC Lotteries, and Liquor Distribution) in the past 10 years. ICBC continues to raise insurance rates year after year after year, yet it is still losing money. It’s time for the BC government to take a hard look at what is happening in the corporation – and begin to get out of auto insurance altogether.

JORDAN BATEMAN iB.C. Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation




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April shower bring May flowers… Maximize your RRSP contributions and a stark reminder of the tight deadline to file your personal income tax on or before April 30th! Income tax in Canada is based on self-assessment, meaning taxpayers are responsible for figuring out how much they owe, and filing a return with the Canada Revenue Agency by the required filing deadline. A common question I’m asked (at a ladies party, at the grocery store, in line for the bathroom at the newest nightclub?) is “how can I reduce my

Single handedly the easiest way to reduce your taxable income is to contribute as much as your income will allow into your RRSP account. The money you put into your RRSP is not taxed by the government, and the funds grow tax free, which maximizes its growth during your peak income earning years. The more you do this, especially in your younger years, the greater the effects of compounding are within the account and the greater your retirement nest egg will be; a nice side effect of the original goal of reducing your tax bill.

overall tax bill?” Below are a few helpful hints to get you started! 44

March 2016


RRSPs 2.0 – Maximize your TFSA contributions Consider your TFSA to be like simple and homely cousin of the RRSP...a nice afterthought but not quite the real thing. While contributions to a TFSA are made with after tax dollars, the growth of your money within a TFSA account is tax free! Given the power of compounding you should have more money at a later date, the withdrawal of which will not be taxed even then.

Be Aware of Deductions There are many-a-deductible expense that the average Canadian is not aware of which can help reduce the amount of income to be taxed. One example would be the additional cost of gluten-free foods for patients with Celiac disease (as opposed to those of us who thought a gluten free diet would help us look like Victoria Beckham). Another example would be orthopedic shoes, boots and inserts when prescribed, not when requested by you to make your 4 inch Louboutins more manageable for a night out. There is an all-encompassing list on the CRA website which is normally updated so a quick visit to the site would be a good bet!

Be Aware of Credits A tax credit is a tax incentive which would allow you to subtract the amount of credit from the amount of tax owing, as opposed to the income on which you will be taxed. There are certain new and innovative ones such as the Children’s Fitness and Arts Tax Credit, which allows you to claim a certain portion of the fees you pay for certain art/cultural/and or physical activities for children under the age of 16. There are some that have been available longer, like the Disability Tax Credits, which are often overlooked because the broad spectrum of what is eligible is not always typically associated with a disability. For example, learning disabilities for which extra tuition is required, mood disorders, and diabetes, while not considered a disability per se, may provide the opportunity for the use of a Disability Tax Credit. While you may not think your tax return is complicated, I always s ug g est u s i n g a p r o fe s s i o n a l accountant you trust to help you file your tax return. Accountants are required to stay up to date with the CRA regulations, so your best bet if you are unsure about something is to get some help with your filing. To a good financial future!




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Your bags are packed and it's time to go to the airport for the start your much anticipated vacation. You should be excited but you're not. And why not, because of the much dreaded airport security. Even though travelling by air can fun, particularly given that the destination is a vacation or a family visit, the process of going through airport security can be unpleasant or even intimidating for many. Whether it’s the feeling of having one's privacy invaded or the long slow moving line ups few travelers would say that they enjoy the screening process. So, given that it is often considered an unpleasant process, does it really need to be that way?



Well, the truth is that airport security is an unavoidable part of air travel and with just a small amount of preparation, it doesn't have to be unpleasant and you will be able to quickly complete the screening process. In Canada at least, the sole purpose of airport security is to protect the travelling public from security and safety threats while travelling by air. It is not to gather intelligence or to collect information on members of the public or anything else. To do this, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, known as CATSA, use a range of contracted security providers across the country to provide passenger screening services at airports. To make the process predictable and known CATSA have developed a standard process that must be rigidly followed by all of the security providers. This means that whatever Canadian airport you travel through, the security process should be essentially the same which can help you to prepare for it. Although there are a number of urban myths regarding what the screening personnel are looking for in reality, it is quite simple. They are simply looking for anything that could pose a risk to the security and safety of the aircraft and the passengers and crew travelling in it. That being said, the list of items that can be a security or safety risk is quite large and can be modified from time to time. The most up to date list is available on the CATSA website (http://www.catsa. gc.ca/whatcanIbring).


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An important point to remember here is that the screeners are looking for threats to security AND safety. So whereas you know that you are not a security risk so you feel that there is no risk in you carrying a small pocket knife in your carry on, we also need to consider what might happen if that knife were to find its way into the hands of someone else onboard. And although they may not be a hijacker we have to remember that while we are on a flight, there could be as many as 400 people contained in a confined space 5 hours or more from land, so in the unlikely event that a passenger attacks another the situation can quickly become compounded. And it is for this reason that some items that seem relatively harmless are not allowed in the aircraft's cabin. So how do you get through the screening process with the minimum of fuss? Well, the first thing to do is to make sure that you are not carrying anything you are not allowed to bring onto the aircraft. To do this simply check CATSA's website paying particular attention to what is allowed and what is not allowed in your carry-on bags, what must go in your checked bags including liquids in both cases and what is not allowed at all. All bags, both carry-on and checked baggage will be screened, so there is no hiding anything. Also remember to check the contents of your bags before you start as it is not uncommon for travelers to forget that their pocket knife is still in their backpack or similar. Time spent here can prevent hold ups when you go through the screening line and it

is also advisable not to pack your bags too tightly. Doing so can make it difficult for the x-ray operator to examine your bag which may result in a manual search. The next thing to do, after you have prepared your bag and checked in for your flight is to go through the actual screening point. This is the part that many travelers find intimidating. At this stage it can be helpful to remember that the Screening Officers are only looking for threats to the security and safety of the aircraft and the passengers and crew in it. Also, if you have prepared your bags well you have already reduced the likelihood that you will encounter any problems. When you go through the screening point you will be required to put your bags and anything else that you are carrying through an x-ray machine and to walk through a metal detector. The x-ray machine allows the Screening Officers to look for threats inside your bag and the metal detector is to ensure that no one can carry a gun, knife or other harmful object on to the plane. Just as you prepared your bag it is advisable to prepare yourself for the metal detector by putting any metal items that you are carrying through the x-ray machine. The threshold for the metal detector is very low so it is important to check all of you pockets for keys, change or anything else made of metal including belt buckles and even jewelry. Although we often want to keep these kind of items close to us as we may worried about them aajmag.ca

being stolen CATSA does have very strong procedures in place to protect travelers' personal possessions so the risk is very low. If you do set off the metal detector or your bag is pulled aside for a search just remember that the Screening Officers only want to identify and rule out the threat and get you on your way. This may mean that they will look in your bags, check you over with a metal detector wand or give you a pat down. It is also important to remember that the Screening Officers have no discretion over who gets additional screening or what is allowed to be taken on to the aircraft. The process is entirely system driven, so if you do get pulled aside, it is nothing personal. In the unfortunate event that you do inadvertently still have your pocket knife in your backpack or similar you will be given options about what to do with it. Typically you will be able to either put it in your checked baggage, leave it with someone that is not travelling or abandon it or if you have too many liquids you should be able to pour them away and keep the container. Screening Officers cannot confiscate anything and abandoned items are usually passed onto a charity or other organization and never to the screening contractor or CATSA. It is

also worth remembering that if you do have an item that is not permitted that you are not in any kind of trouble and there will be no consequences or repercussions unless the item is prohibited by law. If at any stage you are unhappy with the screening process for any reason you can complain. To do so ask for a CATSA comment card at the screening point and the staff there will be required to give you one. Although it is a security process customer service still matters and is very important to CATSA, so there is no need for anyone to feel intimidated by the process. CATSA can and do investigate complaints and will follow up where necessary. However, with that being said, with some simple preparation as described above it is unlikely that you will encounter any issues leaving you free to enjoy your trip including your time at the airport.

MATT WILLIAMS is a Geopolitical Analyst, Military Veteran, Law Graduate and a Co-Founder of Global Intelligence Solutions. aajmag.ca


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The terrorist bomb or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) has become the weapon of choice for many terrorist groups around the world. With its' ability to indiscriminately kill, injure and maim large numbers of people in a single incident, terrorist have come to use to them to create fear amongst civilian populations around the world in pursuit of their political agenda. Whether it was the prolific activities of the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland and Great Britain throughout the 1970's, 80's and 90's, communist inspired groups like the Red Army Faction in West Germany or the Air India Bombers amongst others, IED's have been a brutally effective weapon for terrorist organizations.



Originally made from household or industrial chemicals, such as agricultural fertilizer with rudimentary timing devices, sometimes as simple as a fuse, the use of IED's involved considerable risk on the part of the terrorist. Along with the possibility of accidental detonation during the preparation of the IED itself terrorists were limited in the time that they could plant their bomb and make an effective escape before the device exploded and the time that could elapse between preparing and planting the bomb as the basic explosives involved would deteriorate over time. In other cases the bombers would need to stay in the vicinity of the IED to detonate it via a command wire, significantly increasing the risk that they would be captured in the security operation mounted in response to the explosion And as time has progressed, IED's have become more and more sophisticated incorporating advanced technology. Commercial and even military grade explosives have become available through nefarious sources and high tech timing devices have allowed bombs to be planted days, weeks or even months in advance and even to be triggered at a precise moment remotely over considerable distances through the use of cell phones. In several cases terrorists have evaded airport security and detonated bombs on planes without even being on the aircraft. These advances have dramatically improved the efficacy of terrorist bombers, not just in their ability to mount precision attacks, 54

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but also in their ability to make their escape and avoid detection. But as the terrorists become more effective, so did the police and security forces tasked with fighting them. Also using advances in technology they are able to monitor communications enabling them to disrupt terrorist groups financing and supply chains and to disrupt many planned attacks before they happen, often unbeknown to us. In an ongoing game of cat and mouse both terrorist groups and security organizations are constantly evolving and developing as they each try to outwit each other. And as a result of frequently being shut down or disrupted, or as a result of lacking the sophistication and technology to mount complex terrorist attacks some groups have turned to a devastating yet simple method of attack. The suicide bomb! By strapping an IED to a willing volunteer, terrorists are able to deliver a bomb to a precise location and detonate it at their moment of choice. Leaving the detonation either to the bomber themselves or controlling it remotely via a cell phone or radio control the terrorists maintain a brutally simple method of attacking who they want when they want without the need for such complex technology causing, fear and panic in the process. Whilst many of us struggle to understand the motivation of suicide bombers, there are ample willing volunteers ready to take up the mantle. Through the use of

powerful rhetoric and other means of manipulation terrorists are able to somehow convince some, that through paying the ultimate price as a suicide bomber, that better times are ahead. And although some back out, likely as a result of the human instinct to survive, many do not, and willingly go to their certain death to further their political aim, leading others to glorify their actions. In an attempt to de-glorify the actions of suicide bombers, some commentators and security pundits refuse to refer to suicide bombers as suicide bombers. Instead they choose to use the term 'homicide bomber', effectively labeling them as murderers, not the glorious fighters that they hoped to be remembered as. Unfortunately though, the term homicide bomber doesn't tell the whole story. Whilst many suicide bombers are murders, the fact that they commit acts of murder does not separate them from other terrorist bombers. The vast majority of terrorist bombers are murderers. Although on occasion, some terrorist groups will attack purely economic targets or provide warnings before an attack allowing the target area to be evacuated, most do not. Terrorists choose to use IED's as a result of their indiscriminate nature and their ability to kill, injure and maim large numbers of people in a single incident. This, coupled to the fact that even unsuccessful terrorist bombers can be guilty of attempted murder further demonstrates that nearly all terrorist bombers are homicide bombers.


The truly defining characteristic that separates suicide bombers from other terrorist bombers is their desire and their willingness to almost certainly die during the commission of their attack. Whilst all terrorists take risks, whether they are planting an IED or mounting a drive by shooting or other attack, all of them other than suicide bombers have at least a remote chance of surviving the attack and it is likely that they expect to do so. And it is for this reason that we need to label and treat suicide bombers differently. In any fight, military or otherwise, it is essential to understand the motivation of your enemy along with their tactics and doctrine. To successfully address a terrorist threat it is necessary to not only fight them but also to disrupt them and to reach as far back as possible in the chain to remove their motivation to become a terrorist. And whether the motivation is removed by either addressing the root cause of the issue or by mounting successful security operations that remove their ability to mount terrorist attacks, terrorists can be beaten by attacking their motivation. But with suicide bombers, the motivation has reached a level that many struggle to comprehend.

As we fight suicide bombers we have to understand that their motivation has far surpassed the level that we can understand. While other terrorists will expect that they may at least hope to be able to fight another day suicide bombers have no such thoughts. In fact in many cases they relish the expectation that they will die, truly believing that they will move on to a higher level as a result of their murderous act. So as we try to understand them in order to fight them, we have to start by labeling them correctly. And while they are murderers, they are also much more complicated than that. They are suicide bombers.

MATT WILLIAMS is a Geopolitical Analyst, Military Veteran, Law Graduate and a Co-Founder of Global Intelligence Solutions. aajmag.ca




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THERE MAY BE TROUBLE AHEAD IN MEETING MODI’S AGENDA It is impossible to criticize the intent behind Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Prime Minister Modi’s Clean India Mission. The vision of a country that raises itself above open defecation and wide spread residential pollution is an idea whose time has come. Some criticism might be directed, however, at the early efforts to achieve its aims. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has the potential to both improve the health of a nation and unleash the amazing potential that is locked in impoverished communities nationwide. It has that potential but only if it is delivered to a considered plan. Initial feedback from some regions suggests that by focussing on easy to achieve metrics, the people trying to help maybe actually doing more harm than good in the long term. Take Kerala State for instance on the western edge of the Southern part of India. [Insert map of Kerala state?]. According to Dr Vasuki,

Executive Director of the Sanitation Mission of the Government of Kerala, although the state has an impressive coverage number for toilets in the state (97-98% of the population now have access to a toilet and do not need to resort to open defecation), there is now an increasing problem with the toilet contents finding its way into ground water. Gorundwater pollution is a big and increasing problem for them. “In the rush to showcase the numbers we shouldn’t be going for very ad-hoc solutions.” Dr Vasuki said recently at the SACOSAN Conference (South Asia Conference on Sanitation) . “Whatever toilets we are constructing we should ensure that it is an ultimate solution in itself.” The kinds of problems that Dr Vasuki is alluding to were recently highlighted in a the article Toilet Tales from the Field on the Guardian. com website where a visit to a Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) and Water Supply and Sanitation aajmag.ca


Collaborative Council (WSSCC) funded project in Cambodia highlighted the success of a pit latrine installation program. It also noted the lack of a plan for what to do with the waste when the pit latrines filled up. Dumping the raw waste at that point is potentially more environmentally hazardous that the original open defecation routines because the waste is now more concentrated. As Dr Vasuki said waste collection and waste disposal/treatment need to be addressed in one solution and that doesn’t seem to be happening. Coming up with that all-in-one solution is not easy. Pit latrines are a rural solution and it is impractical to consider installing typical sewage treatment plants in each community. Not only would the capital costs be crippling but there are simply not enough qualified engineers to manage and maintain the systems. Even if there was enough money to afford the civil engineering and on-going operational budgets it would be many years before there were sufficient installations delivered to make the kind of difference that Mr Modi is seeking by 2020. Fortunately there are efforts already underway in Richmond, BC to design a self-contained septic treatment system that can both capture and clean septic waste, at least to the point where the environment will not be overwhelmed by the output. “Our goal is to eventually provide sufficient cleaning capacity within

one of these units that the water can be reused within the community.” says inventor David Jones. There are no plans to create drinking water from the toilet waste but the uses of the cleaned water range from dish and clothes washing, to house cleaning and growing vegetables. “We can make a gallon of water go a lot further than it ever has by enabling it to be recycled” said Jones. This removes the need for people to choose how to use their water. For instance , they can bathe their baby today and bathe themselves tomorrow using the same water without a risk to their health. What is needed now is the piloting of technologies like Jones’ in at-need areas of India to demonstrate how water can be treated very differently today than it was in the past. The physical installations, along with sanitation education offer the single biggest step-up in quality of life for people who need it the most. From water and hygiene scarcity to abundance in one simple step. Using emerging technology like Jones’, with some ingenuity and not a little effort India has the potential to take the lessons it has learned by embracing Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a little too quickly and create a future where even the poorest communities could have flushing toilets. That’s a vision that it is likely even better what Mr Modi had in mind when he first committed to the Clean India Mission.



March 2016


Vaisakhi Greetings

from Kimmy Panesar kimmypanesar.com 604.562.0407




Sriram Emani is an admirably creative business savvy individual, an artist at heart, a philosopher in mind, a hunter-gatherer by nature and a jolly sharp button in action! Sri is a sparkling cocktail of beliefs that has taken a colourful blend from an essential personal journey. The fusion of inquiry, passion, empathy and a sense of responsibility toward the cultural arts sector has instinctively guided Sri to become a nurturing cultivator for the advancement of Indian Classical Arts.


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Meet Sriram Emani, the creator, co-founder and CEO of Indianraga. Sriram Emani’s professional journey has steered him to actualise a dream business model & strategy, specially designed for creative cultural development. In his former career, Sri was a Strategy Fellow with the President of Lincoln Center and with the President of Global Digital Business at Sony Music based in New York City. Prior to that, Sri initiated the marketing and business development team at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai, and he gave consult to Disney Theatrical Group – He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, where he was the overall coordinator of India’s largest student cultural festival, Mood Indigo. Sri is a Fellow at the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design, and an alumnus of the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was awarded the Siebel Scholarship for academic excellence and leadership. As a speaker, Sri has presented his cultural insights to global companies like KPMG, Bank of Tokyo, Akamai Technologies, MIT, and NYU. Sri is a 2015 and 2016 Global Fellow with the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) and he has represented the United States at the global creative business conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, after which, his current arts business, IndianRaga won the US Creative Business Cup.

Most recently in February 2016, IndianRaga is announced for the 2016 Arts Entrepreneurship Awards Honorees. Bravo! Now you see why I call him a sharp button!

Getting to know Sriram Emani, of Indian Raga. Sri grew up in Mumbai, his most impressionable years were devoted to learning Carnatic music from Guru P Padmanabhan. His discipline of learning Carnatic music was far from a mainstream interest, as is the case for many young aajmag.ca


individuals learning niche art forms. As a culturally orientated student, Sri found few peers with whom he could share his deep relationship with Carnatic music. Sri identified with the value of accessibility to the arts, the importance of having choices to learn beyond restrictions of location, scheduling, whilst allowing an individual pace to realise one’s unique potential within a complex learning process. This internal questioning was a seedling that reappeared itself as a calling for a system that empowers cultural interests with an invested peer focus. From here the idea of an Indian Classical Music platform began strumming in his curious mind. Sri’s core passion for the cultural arts coupled with his analytical experiences made rich soil for the germination of what we see to blossom today, IndianRaga. S r i s u b m i t t e d t h e f i r s t - e ve r business plan for IndianRaga as the final deliverable in the 'Digital Innovations' course at the MIT Media Lab, which then was prized for MIT IDEAS Global Challenge (Community Choice Award) and the US Creative Business Cup. Sri followed his academic and entrepreneurial studies at MIT, with inspiration and gregarious drive displayed all around him, only to further spark his starry-eyed imagination. In 2012, Sri was invited 62

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to represent the United States at the global creative business conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Whilst in Europe he was challenged to rethink the arts management protocols relative to traditional arts in study and practice. However, the familiar concept of a liberal, ’open-for-all’ approach which most start-ups were becoming, did not jive with him. Sri’s belief in the integrity of the arts gave rise to an abstract conflict with many education business strategies, which further affirmed his aspirations to make accessible the excellence of cultural arts and soon after directives began as a starter plan that produced as IndianRaga. Today IndianRaga is operating as a worthwhile paragon for so many young learners, mentors & parents who travel the digital road and reach the inspirers to be inspired. Sri continued his commitment and pervasively advocated for the importance of establishing unaltered quality and legitimacy of the heritage arts profile, that which lays a foundational precedent for a high bar & stands to be a consistent measure for progressive initiatives.

About IndianRaga IndianRaga is a future-generation digital gathering place for cultural arts education that gives monitored access to resources and mentorship for students who wish to excel their course in classical Indian music and dance. Since its birth, IndianRaga is proving to serve as an effective milestone-based learning tool for a self-read study that students may access online. The educational


library enables the students to c a r r y f o r wa r d a h o m e b a s e d accelerated learning practice with the erudition of authentic guide to only compliment their established groups & Gharana (school of learning). The modules encompass detailed inquiry of subject matters like voice culture, vocal projection, warm-up techniques, attention training for the endurance aspect of the art forms. Such vital topics may not always be covered by a face to Guru-Shishya class often due to the practicalities of time constraints, variable abilities and scheduling. So, such an online resource is to reinforce the Guru Shishya Parampara with ease of time management and attend to the reciprocity of the learner. All in all, making the study more wholesome, effective and applicable for the mentor-student parallel satisfaction. IndianRaga makes available a panel of judicators who award the IndianRaga certification to applicants for a measure of achievement which enables the student to take an informed perspective of their development, this promotes the turnkey learning mindset for cohesive growth above singular self-promotion. Over the last 3 years, the IndianRaga network has extended to 30 cities in North America and India, where IndianRaga fellows continue to take the shared mandate & outreach further afield. One of the initiatives that have proven to catapult from the courage

of Sri’s convictions is the IndianRaga Fellowship. The fellowship was launched in August 2013 in New York City, with 11 outstanding musicians from Carnatic and Hindustani classical music, who convened to illustrate the creative play rooted in authentic raga music as made relevant in presentation and style for a modern-day audience. The fact that most of these musicians were either professional or awarded musicians already, like winners of Carnatic Music Idol was a testament to the effectiveness of the IndianRaga selection process which continues to embark upon a very high standard of excellence and merit. The fellowship is a seeding process for the cultural arts network bringing inclusion of well-studied and accomplished young musicians & dancers from the classical Indian domain. In response to the diverse interests, the Fellowship has widened to welcome classical dance, jazz and semi-classical styles to make for a cross-genre collaboration between diverse disciplines. Students are guided with timely support by the fellowship to build a continuum of their work and take leadership commitments which aid the transition of their own practice and their fellow students. IndianRaga Fellows has since launched Raga Labs across North America and India created unique projects like RagaTone Ensemble which is now debuting at the renowned Joe’s Pub in New York City on April 1st. This has introduced the IndianRaga

One of the initiatives that have proven to catapult from the courage of Sri’s convictions is the IndianRaga Fellowship



educational platform with over 25 courses on unique subjects and performed concerts for IndianRaga in New York, Chicago, Toronto, San Jose and Washington DC. Sri tells Aaj Arts; ‘Brands get built when others talk about you more than you talk about yourself. At IndianRaga, we created community musician groups that came together to create new musical collaborations or a Raga Lab. When these were released on Facebook, it was the participants, their parents and f ri en ds w h o s h a r e d o u r p o s t enthusiastically and generated a lot of the buzz, instead of us having to promote it. This gives a lot of legitimacy to the brand. Today people want to participate as much as view the artistic process — and creating avenues for engagement with the arts can be a real win-win for entrepreneurs and businesses!’ The IndianRaga concept of explorative learning is crafted by Sri

as an experiential and experimental window for assessment, celebration and personal inquiry that students use to express individuality through their practice. The Raga Lab concept is one of instilling motivation, the will to strive for excellence, bypassing the need for self-importance and selfprofiling which in Sri’s opinion, is often sought prematurely by many emerging and aspiring artists. Sri believes such early gratification may, in fact, halt the learning curve, the ability to work collaboratively with fellows and intern manifest as a static energy for the artist's own creative language. Raga Labs is much more than the perceived business arts marketing tool, it is, in fact, a rewarding experience for peers to work toward and engage with regular interaction, commitment to their path yet with a delayed gratification for the intrinsic sense of growth and an honest representation of rhyme & reason. From the many online videos, we see the satisfaction and purposeful learning that bring varied hues to a wave of future classical artists amongst our younger generations. Raga Labs have been developed by mentors, students and parents in over 25 cities throughout North America and India where students have collectively worked with over 1000 accomplished musicians. This has a sound impact on their individual and collective journey. IndianRaga Fellows also launched the guided lesson modules, which are prioritised, concise, well-structured demonstrations that allow relatable concepts to


March 2016


be illustrated uncompromised of authentic value. The quizzes and practice exercises build a stimulating treasure trove of learning and immersion that i s j u s t a s r e wa r d i n g t o o u r instructors as is to the students. Some of the instructors who are contributing education tools are Lalit Subramanian, Jai SovaniGarud, Souryadeep Bhattacharyya, Sumhith Veda Aradhyula, Rucha Jambhekar, Divya Jayanthi, Jayadev Menon, Vinod Krishnan, Geetesh Iyer, Sindhu Shashikanth, Tanmay Bichu, Mahesh Raghvan, and Manga Emani. IndianRaga works in partnership with esteemed Gurus like the Gundecha Brothers and expects to build the bank of such valuable delivery as IndianRaga develops and appreciates instructors invested commitment with a revenue share structure. Instructors from across the world are invited to explore the INDIANRAGA Instructors education MODEL. The Indian Raga team evaluates and applies content that delivers the objectives of the IndianRaga mandate. To learn more about the Instructor plan, established mentors may connect with Indian Raga directly. Sri says ‘We are currently inviting instructors in the space of Indian classical music, classical dance, folk music and dance and film music and dance to upload comprehensive educational modules. ‘.Within the traditional framework, the art form is protected and encourages performances

without the risk of distortion to the fundamental principles which accurately reflects the past and current cultural significance. Over a million audiences have seen IndianRaga performances online which has welcomed valuable feedback. As students convey their confident articulation, they are catching the eye of recognition from touring circuits and festival platforms of distinction. This has presented global opportunities for performance and further growth. These progressive developments mark the self-perpetuating success of a seedling project that is manifesting as a celebration of the arts of our heritage nature.

And onward we go… Sri’s future vision is for IndianRaga to become a complete learning ecosystem for a wide spectrum of cultural performative arts.

Sri’s future vision is for IndianRaga to become a complete learning ecosystem

In terms of geographical expansion, IndianRaga is invited to launch Raga Labs internationally, as the network is harnessing the global partnerships Sri cares to identify Raga champions around the globe, to carry forward the IndianRaga mandate and bring fourth the chance to work parallel for what is privy to be valued and relished as a form of cultural identity. The intention is to collaborate with established organisations and mentors in Europe, Canada and Australasia and offer the IndianRaga synergy as a merger of common objectives that better serve arts excellence. Within a global context IndianRaga shapes and influences aajmag.ca


cultural production and supports an imperative exchange of artistic substance that encourages students to connect, regenerate, advance and showcase the arts as an owned medium of their heritage in harmony. Sri tells Aaj,’ ‘there can be no better time for the classical arts than today. Technology has made learning ubiquitous and exciting in so many ways - people are able to connect with authentic pools of rich talent and pedagogy to learn absolutely anything that they want. The classical arts have been liberated from the limited reach they had both due to geographical constraints and the exclusive access that certain families had to this rich legacy. It is increasingly evident that all forms of music and art can benefit from a solid, structured classical pedagogy that helps train the voice or the body for strong technique, after which it can be adapted to express oneself in any genre of our choice. You don't 'train' in Bollywood music, for example, you train in Hindustani classical and then you perform classical concerts for certain audiences, and do Bollywood covers for others. We are global cultural travelers today, and the breadth of our exposure helps us appreciate the depth of each!’ Very few students tend to have peer groups with whom they can jam, collaborate 66

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and practice - and there are aspects like manodharmam (improvisation) that definitely get a boost if you have a set of peers to practice with. Moreover, as people get busy with high school, undergrad and then jobs, the dropout rate increases because it is difficult to be available at a given time and place regularly. ‘ In BC we are giving sharp attention toward the heritage arts of our soil. We can see the labour of love that is busying up our event calendars and we must indeed applaud the universal commitment from our patrons, organisers, funders, teachers, artists, students and volunteers, who all put together the offerings of such historic symbolism for our communities to embrace, bringing the essence of what we adore and cherish closer to us. In BC, 2016 is brimming with classical arts promise. Around the annual events and festivals this year, we also have a Summer Gujarat Cultural Festival taking place at the PNE, Indian Classical Visiting artists: Anoushka Shankar at the Chan Centre on 8th April, Anupama Bhagwat presenting Sitar at Bridge & Enrich on April 10th. In May & June, we have The Gundecha Brothers presenting Dhrupad, Pt. Harvinder Sharma presenting Sitar, Pt. Yogesh Samsi presenting The Art of Tabla on May 6th at VCC, Potentially,Pt. Pravin Godkhindi presenting Bansuri with Shri Ratish Tagde on Violin & Pt. Ramdas Palsule on Tabla. On July 2nd we welcome Pt. Jasraj aajmag.ca

ji with Pandita Tripti Mukherjee, Pt. Rattan Mohan Sharma, Pt. Aditya Narayan Banerjee for the PJSOM’s Silver Jubilee Celebration. On July 30th & 31st, we have a 2 day Summer Sangeet Samelan (gathering) at the Micheal J Fox Theatre, with an ensemble of distinguished Gurujans, Classical Master Musicians & Accompanying Musicians. Bandish Bhaitak Network will certainly share event information from the organizers

on https://www.facebook.com/ groups/621979537934227/ Please do stay tuned with Aaj Arts for continued information on the classical template that BC organisations are carving out. Aaj Magazine is looking to provide an events calendar for event planners and information uploads about the BC events, heritage arts & education happenings in BC. Over the last few weeks, it

has been my absolute pleasure to learn about the work of Sri’s dream projects Indian Raga labs and the Indian Raga fellowship. I have found the many fruitful conversations to be food for thought and learning which I am delighted to share with Aaj Arts. Gratitudes to Sriram Emani, IndianRaga families and Aaj Arts for your time & the focus you have brought to the classical arts so very close to many of our hearts.

NINA BUDDHDEV is a visual artist & owner Vois Créatives and director for the India Heritage Trust 2017 Year of Culture Project.

Calling All Classical Musicians, Ga ll ery Go er s, V is ua l A rt is te s, Students Of Heritage Arts & Mentors THE ART S HAP PEN ING S IN BC AAJ ART S WELCOM ES INP UT ABO UT art creative stories, visual montages and profiles of the Aaj Magazine brings forward a platform to share the nt curre us with e Shar IRE. INSP ng for submissions to world in Canada. Our Aaj Arts editorial team is looki ectives and inspirations. works, future projects, creative processes, persp about upcoming events, help us in support the arts Help us shate and promote events, We want to know in communities across Canada. , poets, philosophers, cultural explorers, sculptors, We'd like to hear from classical dancers, musicians ive ors. Aaj Arts wishes to take a peek into YOUR creat heritage, thematic & visual artists, students, & ment s and shine! world...It’s time to come out from behind the cloud Aaj Arts editorial to: Please send your submissions headed: Attention editor@aajmag.ca and sukipangalia@yahoo.ca. ing involvement Aaj team will contact potential contributors for ongo ent. with the magazine's multifaceted arts developm



Vaisakhi Greetings from

Tanpreet Parmar

Makeup by: Pink Orchid Studio Wardrobe by: Armaan Fashion Photography by: Imperial Photo Studio

Happy Vaisakhi Paisley from


Bobby Pawar & family



A STORY OF JUSTICE AND REDEMPTION In Alabama, children as young as 14 have ever done. We are not looking at the crime been and are still being sentenced to the death penalty. This is not rare in the United

Written by Br yan Stevenson 2014, 336 Pages, Spiegel & Grau



March 2016

States, especially in the South. In the 1980s, Bryan Stevenson was a young law student looking for a purpose in law. One summer he interned at an law organization that helps death row inmates with their appeals. As he begins to talk to the inmates he can't help but internalize some of their stories. When one of Bryan's clients is denied his last appeal, it is the inmate himself that consoles him. We see Bryan go from an unfocused law student to a man working incredibly hard for so little pay to give people a chance at justice. He gives us example after example of how the justice system is letting down those that need help (the poor, mentally ill, women, children and those wrongly accused). We are judging people based on the worse thing they have

and punishment in a whole as we are not seeing the person behind it all. Bryan founds the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need. I will warn anyone who is thinking of reading this book that it will be hard to stop reading and yet so painful at times. These are real people that Bryan is writing about and to read it is difficult. Just Mercy is just so well-written as a prose sometimes you forget that this is nonfiction. Bryan is charming and idealistic but also very honest about what the problems are in the justice system and what we need to do to try and fix it. It is a powerful piece of work. Not since A Dead Man Walking, by Sister Helen Prejean have I read something that makes my heart break and also have hope that someone does care. I highly recommend this book to anyone.


Happy Vaisakhi Dr. Bhui & family

Fashion & Beauty




March 2016


Karelya Medialdea is perfect. So perfect, that she has been crowned Canada’s Perfect Woman 2016. But being perfect does not mean that she gets everything right or that she never makes a mistake, it's more complicated than that. And the good news is that we can all be perfect, in fact, we already are. Born in Havana, Cuba before moving to Madrid and then Canada at age 13 Karelya leads a busy and fulfilling life. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, French and conversational Arabic. She is passionate about culture and Flamenco dancing; and has been for

over 12 years. Taking every opportunity to dance or listen to music while also enjoying walking and meditation she keeps herself balanced while contributing to a number of worthy causes. A Criminal Justice Degree graduate with a Diploma in Liberal Arts and a French Minor, Karelya works with the Elizabeth Fry Society helping women and children that have been in abusive relationships; as well as working as the Youth Coordinator with immigration services of Northern BC, helping immigrant youth integrate into Canadian society.



Before being crowned Canada’s Perfect Woman 2016, Karelya had already participated in previous beauty pageants. In 2008 she was crowned Miss Canada America Latina, where she represented Canada in the Dominican Republic at the Miss America Latina del Mundo beauty pageant. During the pageant Karelya was successfully awarded the title of Queen of North America and the Caribbean due to her high academic achievements. When receiving the title of Canada’s Perfect Woman 2016, Karelya realized that she would o n c e a g a i n h a ve t h e h o n o u r to represent Canada at an international level. The title came with great responsibility and expectations but also with many realizations.

Makeup by: Pink Orchid Studio Wardrobe by: Armaan Fashion Photography by: Imperial Photo Studio


March 2016

Most importantly Karelya knew that the way she presented herself, that her image as Canada’s Perfect Woman, could be very influential to other women. As a result she knew that she had to present herself in a way that would provide a positive role model to other women, and not just young women, but women of all ages and cultures. Faced with the daunting prospect of being a role model to many, Karelya knew that there was only one way that she present herself in a positive and responsible manner while carrying the mantle of Canada’s Perfect Woman 2016. And it was to simply be herself.

If we look at things simply, it is fair to say that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes, and even the most gifted amongst us do not excel at everything. But ultimately, isn’t that one of the beauties of human nature. Effectively, if we all work together, and we all contribute where we can, doing what each of us is best at, we can achieve anything. As Karelya pointed out there are many pressures placed upon us in our modern society. We are expected to fit into the mold that has been created for us. We are expected to keep up with the latest technology, the latest material trends and a certain body image that is considered beauty. And so on and so on. Society has created many expectations for us to fulfill almost as though we have been given a formula that we must follow. Unfortunately however, many of us don't fit that formula or we fall outside of the criteria that society considers to be acceptable. As the title states, Karelya is expected to represent the image of the perfect woman. But what does being perfect really mean? And it is here that Karelya is targeting her message. Be yourself, because that is where your true strength lies. Or in Karelya’s words “beauty lies in the way you speak, the way you move and the way that you carry yourself. It lies in your personality, let that shine. The moment that you realize your own worth, all of your fears will disappear. And this is your power that no one else is you, this


is beauty, and this is perfection.” Right from the beginning of her term as Canada’s Perfect Woman, Karelya knew that she could only succeed by being herself because trying to be anybody else would not just be disingenuous, it would also be very hard work, just as it would be for any of us. Being yourself is the best thing that anyone can be. Using our own strengths and own abilities we can all come to realize our own self worth, just as Karelya did, initially through modeling, participating in beauty pageants and winning the title of Miss Canada America Latina 2008; and then later as Canada’s Perfect Woman 2016. And perhaps the true beauty of Karelya's message is its' simplicity. We all have the inherent ability to be ourselves, in fact it is the easiest thing that we can be. While society gives us a criteria to fulfill about what we wear and what we do, the endless pursuit of achieving that would likely leave each of us feeling unfulfilled. But by being ourselves, we can use relax in the comfort of our own uniqueness and enjoy our own perfection.

MATT WILLIAMS is a Geopolitical Analyst, Military Veteran, Law Graduate and a Co-Founder of Global Intelligence Solutions.




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TRIBUTE TO A MOTHER FOR MOTHER’S DAY It is wonderful that there is a day to parents, as well as faith in God. My Manji celebrate and honour mothers and motherhood. In Canada, Mother’s Day falls on May 8, 2016 this year. Don’t forget to thank your mother and show gratitude for all she has done for you and seek her blessings for many more well wishes for your future. There is a lot I can say about my mother, Jaspal Kaur Sangha. Sometimes I feel sad that my mother sacrificed so much to raise me and my two brothers. My mother left my father in the 70’s when it was still very much a cultural taboo for a South Asian women to leave her husband. She could not speak English well, and she had no formal education in Canada. She had little money and no job. How was she going to survive and provide for her children? Fortunately my mother had the support of her brothers and her 78

March 2016

would work in the farms and send money to my mom from England. After a period of struggle my mother updgraded her English and completed the Health Care Assistant program at Douglas College. She worked as a nurse’s aide at Fraser Health Authority for over twenty years to provide for her children. During her life journey, my mother had to deal with mental illness in the family, she herself managed to survive breast cancer, and she even supported and stood by her son when he publically came out as gay and founded an organization, Sher Vancouver, to help and support other South Asian men and women who were dealing with coming out, sexuality, and gender issues. The good news is today my mother is an independent successful women. She is retired and a member of the Indo-Canadian, Kennedy, and Fleetwood Seniors Centre and enjoying her life with her friends and fellow seniors. She has travelled to Hawaii, Fiji, Austrailia, New Zealand, and also gone on aajmag.ca

a boat cruise with her friends. She has also volunteered reading the holy scripture at the Sikh Temple for peace, seva or selfless service, and devotion to her faith. Her three children are all grown up, hard-working citizens, and successful in their own fields. The eldest son is a certified personal trainer and upgrading his education to be a bylaw enforcement officer. The middle son is a registered clinical social worker and instructor and has a double Masters degree. The youngest has an MBA and Law degree and is a corporate executive in Toronto. Best of all, my mother has three beautiful grandchildren who are all healthy and bring a lot of joy to her life. Below is advice direct from my mom to all the women and mothers out there. “My advice to other women, especially single mothers, is to be positive. If you think you can accomplish something then you can.

I am really grateful to my mother and my family for their support. My mother said to me when I needed to leave my husband that if we raised you with equal rights then if the sons can stay with us then the daughter can stay with us to. Believe in yourself and get up and talk to your neighbours and friends and ask for support. Many people will help you. There are good people in this world.

Alex Sangha is an award winning author and social worker based in Surrey, B.C. For more information on Alex check out http://alexsangha. com. His mother, Jaspal Kaur Sangha, is the recipient of the Shakti Award of Excellence for Resilience for 2016. For more information on the Shakti Society check out http:// shaktisociety.com/

In terms of raising children, my advice is that actions speak louder than words. I live my life the way I want my children to live their lives. To be honest, hardworking, caring, and courageous in the face of adversity. And remember no one can do anything for you if you are not willing to first help yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to show the world what you can do.” Well said mom! Happy Mother’s Day to you and to all the wonderful moms in the world.

My faith and courage helped me overcome many challenges. I have read the Guru Granth Sahib from beginning to end many times for spiritual support and guidance. I feel there is no exact answer to why difficult things happen to people but when they arrive you must face it to the best of your ability.

ALEX SANGHA MSC, MSW, is an award winning author and social worker based in Surrey, B.C.


May you have a peaceful & prosperous Vaisakhi ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਸਾਰਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਸਾਖੀ ਦੀ ਵਧਾਈ ਹੋਵੇ Hon. Suzanne Anton MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview

By Vancouver-Fraserview Riding Association



MEDITATION What is meditation, mindful awareness or heartfulness? They all mean the same thing: training your mind to focus without clinging to any judgements. Meditation can enhance our lives, our physical well being, our relationships and our deep sense of mental coherence. Meditation is being mindfully aware of something instead of being just aware. Being mindfully aware means to focus without preconceived judgements. As you start to practice, you understand this is more than just focusing; Meditation becomes a focus on self, self–love and self compassion. As a wonderful consequence of meditation, your family and people around you will benefit as well.


March 2016


The practice of Meditation is more than 2500 years old and has been studied for 20-30 years in the West. An ancient story describes the mind being like an ocean: deep in the ocean, beneath the surface, it is calm and clear. Let’s say you look up from that deep ocean, up to the surface. There you may see small waves, big waves, full storms, but deep in the ocean it is calm and clear. Meditation lets you to sense this deep tranquil place, even when you are surrounded by chaos. You soon realize thoughts are simply thoughts and they are not the totality of who you are. Meditation or mindful awareness is being in the here and now. Ever notice when you are doing something, you think about what you are going to do next? This is because we are rarely focused on the present moment. Lets take showering as an example: Are you mindfully showering or thinking about, making breakfast, getting kids to school, if your spouse got that email, that office meeting and it goes on! It’s stressful because our mind keeps going on and on with thoughts. In other words, we allow our minds to carry infinite thoughts, scenarios and possibilities – always focused on the ‘next’ and not the ‘now’. Most of our suffering is selfcreated because we have a tendency to make judgments of things and people around us. We may see someone with a nice car and we may start making judgments

regarding how we don’t have a nice car or why do they get to have it and we don’t. From there, the cascade of judgemental thoughts pile on one another and the end result is our own suffering. The truth is, the majority of us are on auto-pilot for making judgements most of the time. Being on auto-pilot causes us stress, which saps our energy, our health and shortens our lives. Stress makes us more vulnerable to disease, disconnection, depression and anxiety. This self-created suffering is completely avoidable t h r o u g h a “ C O A L” ( D r . D a n Siegel) state of mind. C stands for Curiosity; O stands for Openness, being open to what is without judgement; A stands for Acceptance, accepting where we are right now at this moment and L stands for Love, cultivating a tender hearted kindness toward self and others.

Immediate Benefits of Meditation

First, let’s discuss the benefits of meditation backed by science. A Harvard neuroscientist has found, through Magnetic Resonance Imaging, after 8 weeks of mediation, our brain changes its shape. There was thickening in the posterior cingulate, hippocampus, temporo parietal junction and brain stem – combined these areas of our brain are involved in self relevance, learning, memory, emotional regulation, empathy and compassion. While certain parts of our brain thickened, the Amygdala

• empathy

• an improvement in the regulation of the body in order to keep balance

• attunement; to bring into harmony; to better understand what is needed

• deep empathetic connection with family

• cultivating response flexibility meaning you are able to pause before reacting • insight, a self knowing awareness

• ability to calm down internally • being in touch with your intuition, becoming more attuned to your body’s wisdom, energy and information flow



shrank as a result of meditation leading to less stress. The Science of brain, Science of secure parent-child attachment and Science of mindful awareness practice are 3 independent fields of study that have found the structural changes in your brain correlates with various important functions toward your health and your family’s health. Meditation does not promise to fix your problems, instead it provides a window of clarity from which we can view our problems. Meditation is not something you achieve; it is a skill you practice. Through meditation you cultivate a sense of wakefulness to your surroundings without judgement and freedom from suffering though incessant thoughts. Meditation does not have to be done sitting, it can be done in everyday life. For example, while eating, walking, washing dishes and/or taking a shower. There are plenty of meditation and mindfulness approaches for consumers to buy, ranging from paid apps to paid classes. If you want to start mediation and experience all the benefits, you can start with 5 minutes and focus on Breathing. Your Breath can become an anchor to the present. All you need to do is attend to your Breath. Breath is the one thing that

immediately connects us to the present moment and to our bodies. When focusing on the Breath, you pay attention to the beginning, the middle and the end of a full duration of one Breath. You focus on the sensation of your body while you take 1 Breath. It may sound easy, but it is difficult because you will notice how thoughts can invade during meditation. Our mind will always have thoughts. Remember not to judge yourself if your focus is gone, bring in the COAL stance in to your practice. Just gently bring yourself back to your Breath. This is mediation; it is about beginning again and again. One Breath. It is about this moment and this Breath. If you are looking to learn more about meditation, I recommend watching YouTube videos by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is a molecular biologist, scientist, writer and a meditation teacher. He has uploaded numerous mediation videos to help people connect with themselves. He teaches you how to purposefully cultivate an attitude of patience and non- judgement. Through your practice you will experience a better relationship with yourself and your interpersonal relationships. Your friends and family will thank you!

LIMA ABEDIN is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with BC Association of Clinical Counsellor (BCACC), # 12213 has a Masters in Clinical Counselling and a BA in Psychology.


March 2016


Happy Vaisakhi

Sonali L Perera is the Founder of Inner Power Events and Creator of The Awakened Man. Sonali who is a Vancouver based young entrepreneur with big dreams to create a world that supports and empowers all Men and Women to embrace their dreams and co-create a better world together. She also leads a project called Hungry Hearts that brings local communities together by feeding the heart of downtown Vancouver Homeless monthly. Just one of many projects and companies she plans lead in the coming years.

Please welcome Vancouver's first T h e A w a ke n e d M a n e v e n t f o r 2016!! We welcome every man and woman from every city, culture, faith across the globe to join us for this awakening, inspirational, powerful and enlightening event. Meet other Leaders, next level change-makers, visionaries, enlightened warriors and of course other Awakened Men and Women in your city who are driven to bring more radical positive shifts to this planet.

Your time is NOW! Unleash your highest potential. Get MORE out of life. This unforgettable, inspirational event will teach you how to break-free of your current stress/blocks, explore a deeper sense of purpose, dissolve limiting beliefs while becoming your highest self. Enjoy a powerful dialogue from 5 Master Speakers, Live Music Performances and Inspirational Exercises that engage You. This is the ultimate opportunity to connect with other motivated men (and women) in your community.

GET READY TO EXPAND your awareness

STRIVE for a healthy life balance

EXPLORE the possibilities

UNLEASH your potential

GET YOUR TICKETS AT: theawakenedman.org

Happy Vaisakhi

On Scene

Arabian Night 6th Annual Team Salama Gala Benefiting Canadian Cancer Society


March 2016


Randeep Sarai MP Constiuency Office Opening

Harjinder Thind

Congratulations Harjinder Thind



Red Cross Fundraiser for Syrian Refugees Hosted By Remedios Law


March 2016


HAPPY VAISAKHI This communication is not intended to cause/induce breach of an existing listing agreement.





PICS Fundraising Gala


6th Anniversary Urdu Journal

2016 Shatki Awards

St. James CafĂŠ

15453 FRASER HWY. SURREY, BC studio7production.ca | Email: info@studio7production.ca aajmag.ca


Afternoon with Hon. Amarjeet Sohi

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Profile for AAJ Magazine

AAJ Magazine Vaisakhi Special edition 2016  


AAJ Magazine Vaisakhi Special edition 2016