In a story that seems to mirror that of Tom Hanks’ plight in the hollywood movie “The Terminal,” a Non Resident Indian (NRI) living in Bahrain, Satyendra Singh was stranded at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport for over 48 hours.
Mr. Singh had traveled to India to meet his parents in Lucknow. While returning to Bahrain, he arrived in the national capital from Lucknow on Saturday. After he went towards the international security check in Delhi, he put his handbag with his passport in the security scanner. While clearing security, he realized his bag was missing. Another Canada bound passenger had mistakenly taken his bag and boarded an Air Canada flight.
By the time Satyendra Singh discovered his loss, the Canada bound flight had departed. Satyendra was not allowed to leave the terminal due to ‘security reasons’ since he had already cleared immigration check.
Singh had to spend two days at the airport while the airlines tracked his handbag and routed it back from Canada!
He finally reached ‘home’ in Bahrain after a 48-hour ordeal at IGI airport. “My wife was crying and was relieved when I finally reached. They panicked and I just want to thank my wife and her relatives for rallying around me,” said Singh.
Moral of the story: Head the oft-repeated warnings you hear at Airports around the world “Keep your documents and valuables with you at all times”
“The Terminal,” is a moving tale, where Tom Hanks plays the victim of the modern world. That a man could spend months stuck in diplomatic limbo living in an airport may seem far-fetched, but in fact, the movie is inspired by a real-life character who is living at terminal one of Paris Charles De Gaulle airport.
As per media accounts, at least 14 Indian Americans — including four incumbents — are running for the US House of Representatives this year. The list of Indian Americans who have announced their candidacy from various congressional districts across the country include:
Candidate: Aruna Miller District: Maryland’s 6th congressional district Party: Democrat
In May 2017, Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller became one of the first Indian Americans to jump into fraywhen she filed a “Statement of Candidacy” form with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress from Maryland’s 6th congressional district. The incumbent John Delaney has announced that he’s not seeking reelection.
Miller, who is a civil engineer by profession, came to the United States at age 7. She first got elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in November 2010. She is a member of the Ways & Means Committee and its subcommittees on revenue, transportation, and education. She is the second Indian American delegate from Maryland to run for Congress in two years. Fellow Democrat Kumar Barve ran unsuccessfully from the neighboring 8th district in 2016. Miller and her husband, David Miller, live in Darnestown, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.
Miller has said her focus areas will be jobs, economy, and infrastructure.
Candidate: Dr. Hiral Tipirneni District: Arizona’s 2nd congressional district Party: Democrat
Dr. Tipirneni, an emergency room physician, first announced her candidacy from Arizona’s 8th districton July 19, 2017. A special election was announced for the seat after the incumbent Rep. Trent Franks resigned on December 8, following a House ethics panel decision to investigate him over sexual harassment charges.
The primary is scheduled for February 27 and the general election for April 24.
Tipirneni’s family immigrated from India when she was three. She grew up in suburban Cleveland and obtained a medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University. After serving as Chief Resident of the University of Michigan’s Emergency Medicine program, she and husband, Kishore, whom she met at the medical school, moved to the Phoenix, AZ, area. The couple has three children.
Candidate: Anita Malik District: Arizona’s 6th congressional district Party: Democrat
Businesswoman Anita Malik is running for the US Congress in the 6th congressional district of Arizona. The daughter of immigrants from India, Malik is running for the seat held by three-term Republican, David Schweikert.
Malik believes in fair tax reform that benefits both individuals and small businesses. She is assuring quality, low-cost health coverage for everyone and support to immigrants by policies that unite families and bring diverse talent. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Malik was 7 when her family moved to Arizona where her father worked as a mechanical and computer engineer.
She went on to graduate summa cum laude with degrees in both computer information systems and finance from Arizona State University. She later earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California in 2002.
Candidate: Jitendra Diganvker District: Illinois’ 8th district Party: Republican
Jitendra Diganvker announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Illinois’s 8th congressional district race in November.
If nominated by the Republican party, Diganvker will be facing another Indian American and Democratic incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi, and it will be the first time two Indian Americans will be facing each other in the congressional general election.
Diganvkar is campaigning on the issues of security, affordability, fairness, and entrepreneurship.
Born in India, Diganvker’s father was a government officer and his mother a teacher. According to his website, he graduated from Shah N. H. Commerce College, in Valsad, Gujarat, with a degree in Business Management and Advanced Accounting.
In 1995, Diganvker immigrated to the United States to pursue his American dream. He got a job working at a small retail store in Chicago, then worked as a ticket auditor for United Airlines. He became an American citizen on February 4, 2003, and after years of hard work and saving money he launched his first business, of renting cars, which he ran for years.
After closing down his car rental business, Diganvker launched his credit card processing firm based in Schaumburg.
Candidate: Vandana Jhingan District: Illinois’ 8th district Party: Republican
Another Indian American running for the Republican Party nomination from Illinois’ 8th district is Vandana Jhingan, a journalist by profession. She is backed by the Republican Hindu Coalition.
Jhingan, a Chicago-based journalist, is the Midwest Bureau Chief of the Indian American cable network TV Asia. Like Krishnamoorthi, she also lives in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Jhingan, who is from New Delhi, came to the United States after graduating in Business Administration from the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi. She also studied philosophy at University of Delhi.
Candidate: Sapan Shah District: Illinois’ 10th district Party: Republican
A physician by profession, Shah is running from Illinois’ 10th congressional district seat as a Republican.
The 37-year-old candidate from Libertyville mainly plans to focus on the areas including healthcare crisis, taxes and spending; and championing the role of citizen legislators as intended by the nation’s founders.
The seat is currently held by the three-term incumbent Democrat Brad Schneider.
The Republican primary is scheduled for March 20. Shah is competing against two other Republicans, Jeremy Wynes and Doug Bennett, who have already announced their candidacy earlier.
Shah is the founder of Flagship Healthcare, a Chicago firm that supports some 800 physicians and several hospitals across the country.
Candidate: Harry Arora District: Connecticut’s 4th congressional district Party: Republican
Businessman Harry Arora is running for Congress from Connecticut’s 4th congressional district.
Arora, who is seeking the Republican nomination, filed his paperwork with the state to register as a candidate in December. His focus would be on reviving the economy of Connecticut, lowering the cost of healthcare and improving government.
Born in India, Arora came to the United States as a graduate student. After his graduation, he worked for large corporations for a decade.
After working with Amaranth Advisors, LLC, a Greenwich-based hedge fund that collapsed in 2006, Arora started his own investment management firm, ARCIM Advisors, LLC. In 2012, he co-founded Northlander Advisors, an investment firm with a focus on European energy.
Candidate: Abhijit ‘Beej’ Das Party: Democrat District: Massachusetts 3rd congressional District
Abhijit Das, “a constitutional lawyer by training, but an entrepreneur at heart,” as he calls himself, is the first Indian American congressional candidate to run from Massachusetts. He is one of the 13 candidates who have so far entered the race to succeed the retiring Democrat Niki Tsongas, the wife of former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas.
Son of immigrants from India, Das — popularly known as “Beej” — grew up in Lowell, MA. After earning his bachelor’s in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, he worked as a lawyer for a few years. He went on to work for Hilton Worldwide, where he was responsible for the development of its brands on the Indian subcontinent. Das left Hilton to launch his own hospitality business, Troca Hotels & Yachts.
Das says he is running for congress because politicians in “Washington have become overgrown unruly children who can neither get along nor get out of each other’s way.” He says on his website, “We all want an American government as worthy as its people. ”
The primary in the state is on September 4.
Candidate: Sri Preston Kulkarni Party: Democrat District: Texas 22nd congressional district
Sri Preston Kulkarni, who worked as aide to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is running from Texas’ 22nd congressional district, which has the largest Indian American population in the state.
The former Foreign Service Officer has spent time in Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan and Jamaica during his 14-year career with the Department of State.
The Democrat says he is running because “hostility and conflict are being inflamed in our own country, through the politics of anger and demagoguery, demonization of specific ethnic and religious groups, threats to rule of law, degradation of women, and an undermining of democratic institutions like a free press.”
The Texas 22nd district, which is in the Greater Houston area, is currently represented by Republican Pete Olson. It has a highly diverse population with 25 percent Hispanics and 18 percent Asians. Having served the country as diplomat, he says he knows how to “push back the tide of fear” and offer “a positive vision for the future that all groups can believe in.”
Candidate: Chintan Desai Party: Democrat District: Arkansas 1st congressional district
Chintan Desai moved to Helena, Arkansas, from California in 2010 to teach fifth graders as part of Teach for America. Seven years later, he’s preparing to take on the three-term incumbent Republican Rick Crawford.
Desai grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, and earned his undergrad degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. “My unlikely story began when my parents moved to this country with little money and even fewer friends,” he says on website. “They lived the American Dream working hard every waking moment to provide their only child a bright future. I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams — going to college to earn a degree and launching a career in education.”
Desai is running on a progressive platform. Among issues that he’s advocating are making higher education more affordable, closing the income and wealth inequality, sensible gun-control legislation and slowing climate change.
Once a Democratic stronghold, the district is reliably Republican now.
A 34-year-old man of Indian-origin Prabhu Ramamoorthy was arrested by federal authorities in Michigan after a woman co-passenger complained of being sexually assaulted by him after falling asleep on the flight.
Prabhu allegedly groped the 22-year-old seated next to him on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas which landed in Detroit early on January 3, the Washington Post reported.
The man, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, who prosecutors said is an Indian national living in the United States on a temporary visa, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.
The victim told investigators that she woke up to find her pants and shirt unbuttoned and the man’s hand inside her pants.
Federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad said that Ramamoorthy sat between his wife and the victim. He stopped after the victim woke up, and the woman went to the back of the plane to report the incident to a flight attendant, the criminal complaint said.
Two flight attendants told federal investigators that the victim was crying and that her shirt was untied and that her pants were unbuttoned when she reported the incident at about 5:30 a.m., 40 minutes before the plane’s landing, Jawad said. The attendants kept the woman in the back of the plane and offered her a different seat, and while they were talking to the victim, Ramamoorthy’s wife came to the back to see what was going on, Jawad said.
Ramamoorthy was arrested after the plane landed, according to court documents. He told agents in a written statement that he had taken a pill and fallen into a deep sleep, Jawad said, and that he hadn’t done anything besides learning from his wife that the 22-year-old woman was sleeping on his knees.
Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen, who said it was a “very unusual case,” ordered Ramamoorthy to be held pending trial after Jawad successfully argued that he was a flight risk and a potential danger to others around him. The prosecutor said that Ramamoorthy’s wife, who was also living in the United States on a temporary visa, would not make a suitable custodian for him.
Prosecutors said Ramamoorthy, who hails from Tamil Nadu was living in the United States on a temporary visa. He was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.
In another unrelated news, Times of India reported that an Indian doctor has been sentenced to 10 months behind bars in the US for groping two teenage female patients and faces deportation to India after the completion of his jail term.
Arun Aggarwal, 40, was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to four counts of gross sexual imposition.
Subhi, an Indian-American singer, songwriter, composer based in Chicago has released her debut album ‘Shaitaan Dil’ on September 15th.
The album release show was hosted by Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago and The Jazz Institute of Chicago. My show was a part of the Jazz Club Tour 2017 and World Music Wednesdays series.
On a hot summer afternoon in 2016, Subhi was riding back in a rickshaw from a meeting with a Bollywood film producer in Mumbai, stuck in traffic. Outside, kids played on the street and she was overwhelmed with the feelings, the memories of her own childhood in Delhi. She started singing a melody and the lyrics just flowed with it. That’s how the song “Bachpan” (“Childhood”) happened, right there in the rickshaw.
Later that year in Chicago, she collaborated with pianist and arranger Joaquin Garcia and made a music video of the song. It resonated, especially with South Asians who savored the fun list of favorite games Subhi trips through. The response led Subhi to record an entire Pop album of original Hindi songs with influences of Jazz, one of the first.
That lesson lies at the center of Subhi’s debut album Shaitaan Dil (Naughty Heart), that the heart runs and leaps where it will. Inspired by Chicago jazz, by Hindi and Urdu poetry, Subhi’s playful, melodious songs chronicle the delights and downsides of romance, but with a twist. Her tales reflect the torments of separation and transcontinental migration, experiences both deeply Indian and deeply American.
In Chicago, she has performed at several other venues including Miller Lite Beer Garden Stage at Navy Pier, SoFar Sounds Chicago, Martyr’s, Sabor A Cafe, The Whistler (Star Align Series) & Elastic Arts (Anagram Series) to name a few.
We continually update GaramChai.com with new listings. In a new section for “Elderly NRIs” of GaramChai.com , we feature issues and listings featuring elderly and aging for Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and people of Indian origin.
A recent article in New York Times by Sandip Roy, Old and Lonely in New India, makes for an interesting read. The author highlights pertinent topics impacting the aging population in India including
According to the Global Age Watch Index, a survey by Help Age International that measures the quality of life — using income security, health, personal capability and enabling environment — for people age 60 and older, India ranked 71 out of 96 countries in 2015.
An aging specialist once told me that in the West, development came before longevity, but in India aging has come before development. The problem is not the 100 million seniors. The problem is they do not have enough savings. There is little by way of a social safety net and health infrastructure. Too few have health insurance or pensions.
Old-age homes still carry the stigma of abandonment and destitution. Adult day care centers are too few. Many old-age homes do not accept patients with dementia. Public transport is not senior friendly. Physicians who do home visits are hard to find, though cataract and knee replacement surgeries are booming.
What my generation can offer our parents is money and technology. We install Skype on their phones so that they can talk to faraway grandchildren. What did you eat today? How is school? We fly back and forth to do our duty, propelled by equal parts love and guilt. An uncle pretty much commutes from New Jersey to Kolkata to arrange for his mother’s cancer treatment. A grand-aunt insists her grandchildren take exemplary care of her. Her old family retainer scoffs at the face-saving lie.
About a year ago, I was at the crossroads, wondering about work-life decision I had to take. My dad, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer a while ago was starting to gradually slow down. My aging parents lived alone in Bangalore, and I got the dreaded phone call from my mother on the verge of breakdown herself, asking for help.
After a rushed trip to Bangalore to assess and assist – I arranged for a caregiver to help them at night – I began to reflect on the course of action to take. I was living the American dream thousands of miles away – a well-paying job with a multinational, a cozy house in the suburbs of Anytown, USA and our pesky six-year old enjoying the early years at his elementary school.
Fastforward a year. I have come to appreciate how those diagnosed with terminal illnesses and their caregivers quickly learn to appreciate the glass half-full. Thanks to the “extended family” being around, my parents seem much more relaxed. Little Vijay, now Seven, gets to spend quality time with his grandparents and is learning a couple of Indian languages with his new school pals. As for Suja and me, we are learning to enjoy and re-live a bit of the contemporary Indian-dream; till the winds of change blow our way again.
Level 1: Go Wi-Fi Only – Good news: You can go “off the grid” and still update your feeds by using your phone in Wi-Fi mode. Just toggle off cellular data or leave your phone in airplane mode from the moment you board the plane. This is a very practical tip for a couple of reasons
Wi-Fi has become commonplace and pervasive across the globe. When you travel to any major metro across the world you are bound to find cheap or Free wi-fi service at hotels, restaurants, malls and offices.
Thanks to services like Whatsup and other VOIP chat software, high-speed Wifi can be used to for voice calling and you don’t need a data and voice plan during the trip!
Level 2: Take Your American Plan Abroad – “If you need better connectivity to, say, hail a Lyft from the Acropolis, simply add a global package to your current service. It’s shockingly easy. For example, AT&T offers a service called Passport, which gets you 200 MB of data and unlimited texting in more than 200 countries for just $40 tacked onto your current monthly plan. (Calls abroad still cost a buck a minute, so talk quickly.) Verizon offers a similar service, Travel Pass, that costs $5 a day to extend your plan to Mexico and Canada and $10 per day for service in more than 100 other countries.
Tip: One thing to keep in mind with a plan that you can easily run out of bandwidth or data plans while traveling. Use this service with caution; or be willing to shell out the big bucks.
Level 3: Talk Like the Locals: Flexing that unlimited vacation policy and staying abroad for more than a week or two? Consider replacing your SIM card and using a local service provider. First, make sure your phone is unlocked. You can do this by swapping your SIM card for another one and confirming that your phone still works, or simply calling your service provider. The FCC requires that providers unlock all devices so you can use them on any network, so simply ask your provider for an unlock code.
Power Up: Luckily, almost all smartphones will work plugged into outlets between 100 volts and 240 volts, so you probably don’t need a voltage converter to charge your phone. However, you will need a phone adapter plug.
Indian and foreign students aspiring to study in the US do so with a clear goal – to eventually land a job in Corporate America. Graduates who complete an advanced degree need to seek out an employer that will sponsor their H1B work visa. However, recent trends indicate that such sponsorship are harder to come by.
President Trump has promised tightening of H1-B work visas, a topic we have reviewed a few times in recent times.
Now comes news that an increasing number of Indians are flocking to Canadian Business Schools in Canada and not the US.
Canada, which has been courting international students aggressively for about a decade now, seems to be gaining from Trump administration’s protectionist rhetoric in the US. Canada has been able to attract 20-30% more MBA students from India this year in Business Schools alone.
At the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, 56 of the 350 MBA students in the class of 2019 are Indian. At Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, applications from India rose by about 30% in fall 2017 while 51% of the applications to the full-time MBA offered at the Alberta School of Business in Edmonton came from India. The University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business told Economic Times that 60-70% of its international MBA students are Indian.