Archive | February, 2010

The Cricket Champions League

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

The Cricket Champions League launched the ‘LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti’ February 20, 2010 at the North Albion Collegiate Institute and February 21, 2010 at the Malvern Community Centre to ensure a citywide Cricket initiative to raise awareness and funds for Haiti.

Cricket for Haiti NACI

Approx 200 people including Under-19 and Women cricket players, participated and attended the launch on the West-end and East-end of Toronto.

Present at the launch were Mohan (Mike) Kendall, President, Ontario Cricket Association, Jim Persad, Secretary, Ontario Cricket Association, Rita Jethi, Director, Ontario Womens Cricket, Lorne Marr, President, LSM Insurance, Aman Kapur, Sr. Consultant, LSM Insurance, Priti Lamba, Candidate for MP, Conservative Party.

Cricket for Haiti Malvern.jpg

LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti at North Albion Collegiate Institute will be played over 8 weeks with its final game April 24.

The LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti at Malvern Community Centre will be played over 3 weeks with its final game March 7.

The contests over the weekend were exciting and the intensity is expected increase.

Two photos are attached, one taken at the launch at North Albion Collegiate Institute (NACI) and the other taken at the launch at Malvern Community Centre (Malvern).

Author:Atul Ahuja

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Canada Cup T20 – Creating Cricket Stars of Tomorrow!Cricket Fever Takes Canada by Surprise!

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

Here’s your chance to represent; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies, England, Bangladesh or World X1 in Canada. If you had a dream of representing your home country one day, and if that dream was shattered as a result of your parents moving to Canada – we’ve got some great news for you;

The Canada Cup T20 will help you dream and dream “BIG” again as we pave the way for some talented cricketers to reach International stardom in the Cricketing arena. The tournament will no doubt energize cricketers from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, England, Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa,etc to follow in the foot steps of their Cricket Stars whether be Sanath Jayasuriya ( Sri Lanka), Sachin Tendulkar ( India), Shaid Afridi ( Pakistan), Brian Lara ( West Indies), Graeme Smith ( South Africa), Mike Hussey ( Australia) or any other Internationally recognized top cricketer. 

Although Cricket has being played in this great nation for well over a century, the recent influx of immigrants from cricket playing nations especially, from South Asia and the Caribbean have made the game the fastest growing sport in Canada. Almost every ground has some Cricket activity although the necessary funding has not kept up with the pace of its rapid growth, in Canada.

Organizers. In March 2008 we initiated a very important meeting between the Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Hon. Arjuna Ranatunga M. P. and the Canadian Cricket Association officials which in turn paved the way for much needed funding to the Canadian National Cricket Side and more importantly Canada’s biggest cricket tournament worth $2 million dollars in October, 2008. The relationship that the Canadian Cricket Association built with Sri Lanka Cricket also saw the Canadian Cricketers arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka for a high performance coaching camp and more of these training programs will take wing in the coming years.

Now, we are ready to undertake this exciting venture that will see Canadian Cricketers gain the knowledge and the experience needed to win the Cricket World Cup for Canada, in the near future.

Here’s How It Works;

CANADA CUP T 20 will allow cricketers who have arrived in Canada from:
India,Sri Lanka, Pakistan, England,Bangladesh,Gayana,Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Babados,Leeward Islands,Windward Island,South Africa, Zimbabwe,Tanzania,Kenya, Uganda,Afghanistan,UAE, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland,etc to come alive and represent their favourite team in Canada.

The Teams that will take the field are as follows;

Team Canada India
Team Canada Sri Lanka
Team Canada Pakistan
Team Canada West Indies (Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Leeward Islands, Windward Island) Team Canada England (England- Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand) 
Team Canada Bangladesh
Team Canada World X1 (South Africa, Zimbabwe,Tanzania,Kenya, Uganda,Afghanistan,UAE)

The Selection Process Interested parties are requested to register online by visiting and a nominal Administration fee of $10 is in place to encourage cricketers who are serious about representing their home country participate. Once the registration process is in place the “Canada Cup T20 – Organizing committee” will schedule a suitable location to screen every player on their ability to represent the team of their choice.

We will select a pool of players for each team and the Coaches, Captains and their Managers will then select the Top cricketers off that pool to represent their country in Canada. No player will be encouraged outside our normal selection process and we encourage only serious candidates to be a part of this exciting venture.
Plans are underway to include 2 international players to represent each team, should budgets permit. We hope that this will allow Canadian Cricketers to gain much needed experience to make their dream a reality in the world of cricket. 

The games will take place in Toronto, Canada and entertain scores of South Asians, Caribbean’s and all other Canadian cricket fans in July 2010. 

What should I do? If you are the cricketer that we’re looking for then simply fill out the registration form and once the registration is approved by the Canada Cup T20 -organizing committee, you will receive an online confirmation. Please keep this confirmation handy as you will be required to present it to the Team Manager at the selection process and there after.

We welcome you to be a part of this exciting moment in Canadian history and wish you all the very best as you step into your cricket future in style by being a part of Canada’s hottest cricket tournament the CANADA CUP Twenty20 – 2010.

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Olympics: A Defining Moment for Canada

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

Canadians aged 18 to 34, those who would be least likely to remember some of these events of the past, are more likely to believe that the Vancouver games are more of a defining moment than the Calgary Olympics (70%), Montreal Olympics (60%), 1972 Hockey Summit Series (60%), or Expo 67 (55%). Three in ten (28%) Quebecers believe the Vancouver games are more of a defining national moment than the Montreal Olympics, and two in ten (21%) Quebecers say the same about Expo 67. Four in ten (41%) Albertans agree the Vancouver games are more of a defining moment than the Calgary Olympics.

Since this is Canada’s moment to shine, Canadians aren’t being bashful about putting their pride on display: seven in ten (71%) ‘disagree’ (39% strongly/32% somewhat) that ‘there is too much Canadian nationalism on display during the Olympics’. In fact, many Canadians are showing their pride for their nation in various ways. For example, four in ten (40%) agree they’ll fly/display the Canadian flag during the Olympic Games, and one in three (34%) agree they’ll wear Olympic/Canada clothing during the Olympic Games.

Moreover, 14% of Canadians – which could represent roughly 3 million adult Canadians – agree (4% strongly/10% somewhat) that they’ll miss work to watch the Olympics!

When Canada Wins…

While Canada has put a lot of money into its Own the Podium programme, most (84%) Canadians ‘disagree’ (49% strongly/35% somewhat) that ‘if Canada fails to win the most medals of any nation or lead in the medal count, the Games will be a disappointment’. Only 16% ‘agree’ (3% strongly/13% somewhat) that that result would be a disappointment.

In the areas where Canadians truly dominate – Women’s hockey, for example – Canadians are not being humble about their dominance. Just one in three (32%) ‘agree’ (9% strongly/23% somewhat) that they ‘feel uncomfortable’ when Canada wins 18-0 at women’s hockey’. The vast majority (68%) ‘disagrees’ (46% strongly/22% somewhat) with that position.

Canadians aged 18 to 34, those who would be least likely to remember some of these events of the past, are more likely to believe that the Vancouver games are more of a defining moment than the Calgary Olympics (70%), Montreal Olympics (60%), 1972 Hockey Summit Series (60%), or Expo 67 (55%). Three in ten (28%) Quebecers believe the Vancouver games are more of a defining national moment than the Montreal Olympics, and two in ten (21%) Quebecers say the same about Expo 67. Four in ten (41%) Albertans agree the Vancouver games are more of a defining moment than the Calgary Olympics.

Canadians are Showing their Pride…

Two in three (66%) agree that the opening ceremonies reflected Canada as they knew it, but some Canadians had a higher propensity to believe that this is the case:

Atlantic Canadians (77%) are most likely to agree, followed by residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (72%), British Columbia (69%), Ontario (68%), and Alberta (67%), while Quebecers (57%) are least likely to agree. Women (71%) are more likely than men (62%) to agree that the opening ceremonies reflected Canada as they know it. Those aged 35 to 54 are most likely (72%) to agree, followed by older (66%) and younger Canadians (59%).

A Sense of Belonging…

Nearly one half (45%) of Canadians say they belong first and foremost to their country, while significantly fewer say that distinction belongs to their town/city (20%), province (19%) or the world (16%). But allegiances change slightly depending on who you are:

Ontarians (57%) are most likely to say they belong first and foremost to their country, followed by those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (50%), British Columbia (48%), Alberta (44%), Atlantic Canada (40%)

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10 days for Love of Cars…The know-how and future direction of automotive creation…

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

Valentine’s Day comes with a promise of infecting everyone with love but with no flowers, no chocolates and no candle light dinners, the effect of love seems a little bizarre. Well, I think love has no definition or boundaries and that is why my Valentine’s Day is without promises or candy. It is this boundless love that made me step in to Metro Toronto Convention Center, AGAIN this year, for the 2010 Canadian International Autoshow. I know that mid-February is usually a time for flowers, love and romance and not for car-nuts but this 10 day love for cars is a better definition of love than Valentine’s Day, for any car enthusiast.

The Auto show that ran from Feb 12-21 was a little disappointment this year. Rather than “concept cars flooding the exhibit” or “new model launch ceremonies”, the manufacturers rolled out more compacts and subcompacts in a push for better fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. The venue, this year was also dedicated to global economic recession, I guess. With shrinking floor of Canada’s biggest auto show the organizers said, they have shaved off about 130,000 square feet, or 15 percent of presentation space by confining the auto show to Metro Toronto Convention Center and eliminating the need for Rogers Center for the first time in several years. With absence of brands like Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce it wasn’t the best exhibit this year.

In a whole day of wandering around Canadian International Auto show at the Convention Center, riding endless escalators and passing and re-passing exhibits, here is a subjective list of top ten without any order, that caught my eye:


·        Chevy Volt: Mark Your Calendar, the first Volt rolls out in November

I saw the volt last year at the Canadian International Autoshow. It is nothing new this year but the launch date is something that will get your attention. The brand that killed electric car is relying on an electric car for its revival, what an irony!

Volt is an electric car that can create its own electricity. Plug it in, let it charge overnight, and it’s ready to run on a pure electric charge for up to 40 miles — gas and emissions free. After that, Volt keeps going, even if you can’t plug it in. Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas.

Chevy Volt is a true electric hybrid coming to Canadian market by the end of 2010. Some dealer reps have confirmed the launch of the volt at the auto show. One representative at the show said, “ Obviously, this is all preliminary but the great news is that it is in writing which marks a milestone to seeing first road version of Volt.” Well, official GM representatives were hedging GM’s bets and wouldn’t confirm the November 1 date. The exact date may fluctuate in preparation for launch but we will see that soon. There is still no word on price, and it still looks like the car will come in at around $40,000 before the $7,500 federal EV tax credit.

·        Honda CR-Z: The intersection of Sport and Hybrid, REALLY!

CR-Z seems like an impressive little car from Honda. Honda is trying to bring a sporty image to the hybrids, a label that is usually associated with gas guzzling V8 coupes. A hybrid that’s more fun, really! Front end seems in sync with Mazda’s new philosophy of zoom zoom smiley face. I can see where the design is being copied for CR-Z. The estimated mileage of 36 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway is impressive.

One of the CR-Z’s more unique features is its 3-mode drive system: Sport, Normal and ECON. This allows the driver to tailor the driving experience to actual conditions or personal preference. Some drivers may prefer to conserve fuel at all times. Some drivers may prefer to have all of the CR-Z’s power on tap at all times, while other drivers may prefer to have a combination of the two but with the option to pick either, depending on the situation.

The CR-Z’s 1.5-liter i-VTEC® is estimated to generate 122 hp. Which won’t set any land speed records. The point of the CR-Z was never to produce outrageous horsepower numbers. Honda is more interested in squeezing every last ounce of performance out of a vehicle.

The CR-Z strikes a unique balance and will broaden the appeal of hybrids. It’s a hybrid for drivers who enjoy driving and are unwilling to sacrifice handling and exhilaration for mpg and environmental accountability.

·        Lexus LF-Ch Concept: Lexus is in the lead of hybrid’s war

Detroit and Frankfurt auto show caught the first glimpse of this exotic hybrid concept. For Canada, Toronto Autoshow is the first showing of this advance hybrid propulsion technology built in to a premium compact car. Lexus is now a segment leader in the hybrid technology and with luxury manufacturers moving in to subcompacts, Lexus wants to put a reality to the real definition of subcompacts. It is hoped that Lexus will use this concept as the foundation of a new compact hybrid vehicle. I must say Lexus has done an amazing job with this concept, featuring blacked-out B-pillars, an integrated spoiler and rear door handles that blend into the C-pillar’s trim. Of course, the uniqueness of the LF-Ch comes from the latest generation of Lexus Hybrid Drive, which gives the driver full control as well as the choice between Normal, Eco, EV and Sport modes, the latter function improving throttle response. It is rumored that the same hybrid engine that powers the current HS 250h will be found in the Lexus LF-Ch.  Even though this is a model that will most likely go in to production soon but the official title of the LF-Ch is a concept therefore we’ll have to arm ourselves with patience in the meantime and simply admire the vehicle’s spectacular style, reflecting the sportier lines of the more aggressive Lexus models.

·        Infiniti Essence Concept: A hybrid least expected

Again, not a new launch at the Toronto auto show. The first official showing of the Essence in Canada took place at the Montreal Auto show last month. The Infiniti Essense concept served as the blue print for the new M designers and engineers which was also on hand at the show. Infiniti featured this stunning hybrid super car concept at the Toronto auto show in celebration of its 20th anniversary, the concept showcases the brand’s future styling direction and its dedication towards developing hybrid technology beyond its gracefully bizarre styling. The Essence features a powerful hybrid drivetrain, the heart of which is a 3.7-litre direct-injection V6 that develops 434 horsepower. On top of this, an electric motor adds 158 horsepower for a total just shy of 600 HP. Despite its performance credentials, Infiniti predicts that the Essence could achieve an average fuel consumption of about 8L/100 km. For now, there are no plans to produce the Essence, but if the public reacts positively, Infiniti might change its mind.

·        Mini Beachcomber Concept: All about being cute, standing apart and having fun.

When it comes to being cute and glamorous, Mini owns the podium. The Mini Beach comber combines fun and retro styles and it is the ultimate expression of the beach bum’s car. The folks at BMW understand the definition of glamour perfectly fine and had it piloted by a Shark-boy and two bathing suit-clad beauties at the Canadian International Autoshow Launch. The Mini Beachcomber takes us back to the disco era of the original Mini Moke with this four seat, open body concept. Today’s Beachcomber pushes the 60’s Moke to the limits of contemporary design. It is of course equipped with a four-wheel-drive system that allows it to roam off the beaten track with that exhilarating wind-in-your-hair feeling. This is a dream car for Barbie and Ken generation, with the lack of doors and open roof, you sure will get a golden tan while Mini won’t produce an exact copy of the concept, it will be making a toned down road version called the Countryman. The concept’s removable doors and fabric roof won’t make it to the road version design table however the all-wheel-drive and turbocharged four-cylinder is most likely to make the cut.

·        Mercedes SLS AMG: “I will be back……”

The new SLS AMG’s signature design element is its “gullwing” doors, a tribute to the original 1950s 300SL Like the previous SLR, the SLS is a front/mid-engine design, jammed with the latest high-tech goodies AMG could find in its well-stocked cupboard. Following its Canadian debut at the Montreal auto show, the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG replaces the outgoing SLR McLaren (that debuted way back in 2003) as the German automaker’s flagship performance offering. The new SLS will offer AMG’s naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 with 563 hp and 479 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox via a carbon-fiber driveshaft. Performance is SLR-like: 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. Yet compared to the $500,000 SLR, the new SLS AMG looks like a deal at its expected $198,000 price tag when it goes on sale in Canada later this year.

·        Mazda 2: Zoom Zoom Concentrated

Mazda 2 is featured as 2Evil and Mazda 2 Surf concept at the Canadian International Autoshow. The 2011 Mazda 2 which will roll out in to the showrooms somewhere this summer pushed the zoom-zoom philosophy a little bit further.

A more aggressive set of front bumpers sets the Mazda2 Surf apart. It’s also shod in Yokohama Advan tires fitted over 17-inch wheels and equipped with a roof rack (for your surf board) and an H&R suspension kit. It is indeed stunning.

The 2Evil concept is said to be a tribute to Mazda 787B racing car, winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans race back in 1991 (Mazda’s only victory there).

Building on what is essentially a subcompact world car for Mazda, the new Mazda 2 is a “watch out car” when it hits the showroom this summer.

·        Ford Focus: Ford finally learns the compact car segment secret.

Even though the next generation of Focus is almost a year away from hitting the showrooms but it is definitely worth the wait. For 2012, Ford is making the Focus a world car, and what’s more Ford is promising that it will cross the Atlantic intact. Unlike the current model, which is a warmed-up version of the late ’90s original, the 2012 model is entirely new, designed and developed in Europe. The 2012 Focus will be available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. This car is definitely worth the wait.

·        Fiat 500: Sex and the City, this is the real deal…..

One of the most sexiest cars at the auto show is the Fiat 500. Chrysler Canada unveiled the Fiat 500 at the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow this year. Featured for the first time in Canada, this vehicle will provide Chrysler Canada with an expressive new entry into the small car segment.

The Fiat 500 offers a unique balance of style, youthfulness, and fun, combined with the outstanding fuel efficiency Canadian consumers demand. Named European Car of the Year in 2008, the Fiat 500 will arrive in Chrysler Canada showrooms within a year.

To tease the senses of the Canadian consumer, Chrysler Canada is displaying two European versions of the 500: a stylish white Fiat 500 model and a powerful black Abarth 500.

·        Ford Fiesta: It’s Fiesta time ….

As the first new car in Ford’s global ‘One Vision’ strategy, the Fiesta has to accommodate the smallest 2.5 percentile female up to the lardiest 97.5 percentile male, everywhere from Beijing to Baton Rouge and all points in between. Displayed at the Canadian International autoshow, this is a must see car. For now the engine pick is the 1.6L Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) I4 engine. This sporty power plant delivers an estimated 119 hp and 109 ft-lbs, mated to a 5-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic. I think all the basics are done neatly, it sure is a Fiesta for Ford. It’s a sweet little car. Not sweet in a cute way, but sweet in a crisp and sharp way. I think if good looks could kill then everyone is going to die.

Author:Sohaib Zahid

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Getting Financial Assistance

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

How Will You Pay For Your Education?

A college or university education is a big investment. If you want to attend college or university, but need financial help, you have a number of options.

  1. Ask your college or university
    The college or university you plan to attend may offer grants, loans and scholarships. You’ll often find these listed in the course calendars of colleges and universities.

Find information on the Ontario Student Assistance Program, check the status of your OSAP application, or even apply online at the OSAP website:

  1. Apply for an OSAP grant or loan
    Students from lower- and middle-income families in Ontario may qualify for grants and loans from the government. These are offered through the Ontario Student Assistance Program, often called OSAP.

What’s the difference between OSAP grants and loans?

Some students may get OSAP grants, which do not need to be repaid. Students may also get loans to help pay for their education. You must start repaying your OSAP loans 6 months after you graduate, leave school, or stop being a full-time student.

Getting a loan from OSAP, or any other lender, is a big decision. Be sure you understand the total amount you are borrowing, and how and when you must repay the loan.

Grants, Bursaries and Other Forms of Non-Repayable Financial Assistance

In addition to student loans, OSAP also provides grant, bursary, scholarship and fellowship assistance, which students are not required to repay.

What is it?

Grant/Bursary: A grant or bursary is an amount of money you receive to help finance your education that you typically do not have to pay back. A grant or bursary is usually awarded based on financial need and other factors. Some are designed for special student groups, like students studying in French.

Scholarship/Fellowship: A scholarship or fellowship is money you receive that helps finance your education and that you typically do not have to pay back. It is usually awarded based on academic merit and other factors.

Is it taxable?

The full amount of scholarships, grants and bursaries that are received by students with respect to their enrolment in a program that entitles them to claim the education amount are not taxable and are no longer reported as income on tax returns.

Scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, study grants, and artists’ project grants

If the scholarships, fellowships and bursaries you received do not include artists’ project grants, then the following applies.

The full amount of scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries that are received by you as a student with respect to your enrolment in a program that entitles you to claim the education amount are not taxable and are no longer reported as income on your tax return. See the section Tuition, education, and textbook amounts for details.

If you are not eligible for the education amount, and have no artists’ project grants, report on line 130 only the part of the post-secondary scholarships, fellowships or bursaries that is more than $500.

For 2007 and subsequent years, elementary and secondary school scholarships and bursaries are not taxable and are not subject to the requirement that they be eligible for the education amount.


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“Working” Students

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

Questions come at students, like seasons come to land: different situations ask different questions which are answered differently.  However, having aged through two years of student life, I have realized that there is one such question which seems to be a question for all seasons, one such question that students regularly ask themselves  or get asked – to “work” or not to “work” while studying?

From a distance, this question seems to lead to an obvious answer and the student who “works” while studying is seen to be headed in the path of success: I am quite sure that many people have already told you the greatness of the student who studies and does a job simultaneously.

Hence before I embarked on my university degree, I came at it from a distance and immediately planned a course schedule to make room for a job. The plan seemed to be planned to perfection and from my view, I saw the chance to foot my own bills and learn to literally walk in the world. Classes began and so too did work and as I moved with my newly found feet, I eventually came to a stop, a stop at all ways, a stop at which I began to critically asses the progress of my movement.

It was awesome that I was able to make a buck or two and that I was complimenting my education with an education in work experience. But the toll could not be dodged and I began to feel as though I was breaking the limit on the highway of life. I have just completed my second year as a “working” student and it was in my “Sociology of Work” class that Professor Stephen E. Bosanac introduced me to an idea that summed up the rocky roads I was speeding on.  The idea was that of “Socially Reproductive Labour”.

Now before I open up the idea, it must be said that my aim here is not to scathe the idea of a student studying and holding a job simultaneously. However, I do not aim to shower praise at such a student, praises which we all know about. My aim is to stress the idea that different folk work with different strokes and that it is not necessary for a student to hold a job in order to matter.

With the idea of “Socially Reproductive Labour” ( SRL ), Stephen elaborated that students often forget that their education in and of itself suffices as labour, i.e. work – we invest our minds, our time, our bodies and so much more to acquire knowledge and sets of skills that hold the potential of making society’s matters move. Our role as students not only shapes our future roles but gives a set of roles to millions around us and if it was not for our work in the classroom, the labour of professors and the university itself would be non existent. The student who studies is engaging in work, work which involves working with knowledge and deploying it wisely. The difference here is that we pay to work  and this often blinds students to the reality of their work status. Stephen warned us to realize that work is not work because it brings in a special paper called the dollar. Work is about exercising the mind and body, it is about putting an effort to make matter move and unless a student pays no attention to academics, then each student at university is a “working” student! The idea is powerful, so simple yet subtle, obvious yet obscure. Stephen was not blind to the demands of the dollar and he realized that students have to make ends meet. But the onus of his explanation was that students need not see themselves as any lower on the achievement scales, if they are not holding a job while at university.

I know this for a fact that each semester, ideology and finances will get you to consider taking up a job. Take the opportunity to consider and do so wisely. If you can take studies and a job hand in hand, then hats off to you and if you choose to get your hands into your studies only then hats off to you too. There is no dictionary definition of the successful student. The journeys of success are adventures for you to unravel and far from following the footprints of those before you, carefully chart your own course and live to tell and hear many more from both yourself and those around you.

Enjoy the journey and the seasons of the semesters!

Author: Ali Abbas

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The International Year of Youth

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

Many of my previous articles in Generation Next have focused on specific dates and what they mean to the larger society as a whole.  This one might just be the most important.  In an effort to harness the energy, imagination and initiative of the world’s youth in overcoming the challenges of our world, the United Nations proclaimed the International Year of Youth for 2010.

Throughout the year, the UN is calling for the full and effective participation of youth in all aspects of society.  The celebration encourages all sectors to work in partnership with youth and youth organizations to better understand their needs and concerns and to recognize the contributions they can make to society.

In its resolution proclaiming the Year, the UN General Assembly called on governments, civil society, individuals and communities worldwide to support activities at local and international levels to mark the event.  It also encourages young people to dedicate themselves to fostering progress, such as the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals, which seek to eliminate a host of social ills, including extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, and lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015.

It is interesting to note that young people today enjoy a level of freedom and individual empowerment that youth throughout the centuries could have only dreamt of.  It wasn’t too long ago that adults regularly believed that young people should only be seen in public, and not heard.  Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond these outdated forms of thinking.

They say that youth are the leaders of tomorrow.  I actually kind of disagree with this statement, because it essentially says that kids have to grow up first to really make a difference.  I don’t think you have to wait until you’re an adult to make change.  Why can’t you start right now?

In fact, history is filled with examples of young people working together to create positive change.  This includes the vitally important youth participation that took place in the Civil Rights movement, the peace and environmental movements, and the struggle for the rights of students all over the world.

Currently in the early 21st century, we see tens of thousands of kids using personal blogs and such networking sites as Facebook and YouTube to spread the word about making positive change.  Whether it’s about poverty, human rights or global warming, knowledge and information can be shared among millions of young people all over the world with just a few clicks of a mouse, and is propelling kids into action with an enthusiasm never seen before.

Several international events are already scheduled throughout the year, including the Fifth World Youth Congress from July 31 to August 13 in Istanbul, and the World Conference for Youth in Mexico City from August 24 to 27.  Both gatherings will focus on youth and sustainable development.

So what are we waiting for?  This is our year to make a difference!

Author: Bilaal Rajan

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H-DHAMI :Your Culture is Very Strong, Keep it Alive!

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

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Holi Hai!!!!!

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

With winter almost tucked up in the attic, it’s time to come out of our cocoons and enjoy this spring festival. Every year it is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March and glorifies good harvest.

Holi is now a symbolic tribute to a legend from Hindu Mythology. The story is about an arrogant king who resents his son Prahlada worshipping Lord Vishnu. He attempts to kill his son but fails each time. Finally, the king’s sister Holika who is said to be immune to burning, sits with the boy in a huge fire. However, the prince Prahlada emerges unscathed, while his aunt burns to death. Holi commemorates this event from mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation.

This exuberant festival is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna-Radha, and hence, Holi is spread over sixteen days in Vrindavan and Mathura – the two cities with which Lord Krishna shared a deep affiliation. It is believed that when Lord Krishna was young, he often whined about his dark complexion and wondered why Radha was so fair. One day, his mother Yashoda playfully suggested that he can smear colour on Radha’s face and change her complexion to any colour he wanted. Fascinated by the idea, Krishna proceeded to do so and thus, introduced the festival of colours. Lord Krishna is believed to have popularized the festival by playing pranks on the gopis.

“It`s once again a time of the year, when you can holler, howl and scream, ‘Holi hai!’ with full social sanction. Holi demands big time planning. Buckets and barrels of strongly coloured water have to be concocted and water balloons filled to greet friends and neighbours. The gala time starts in the morning itself. People go around smearing each other with gulal (coloured powder) and coloured water. Children shoot jets of water from their pichkaris. A lot of people spend the day alternating between getting drenched and coloured, and consuming thandai (a marijuana-based drink) in large quantities as the day progresses. Singing and dancing to the beat of dholaks (drums) completes the picture,” says Sheela Sara, housewife. So get going, fill up your water guns to the brim and go on a wild shooting spree, this Holi.

“Adventures begin when one splashes coloured water, water balloons or simply turn the water pipes on!! My husband generally makes others squirm. So he uses pukka or fast colours mixed in water – or even paint. But it is a fact that this festival is enjoyed the most if there is a large gathering echoing with laughter, gentle pranks and jokes,” says Sheela.

You name the color and it is there. The more multi-coloured or horrible you are to look at, the better you feel. If only the eyes and teeth are visible, it is ideal. Then after we are done with playing colours at home we go house to house. The good thing about going from house to house and greeting neighbours and friends is that you get to eat special flour-based sweets like gujiya and malpua, and other savouries. It does not matter that you don’t really know the person in whose house you are wolfing down so many things.

And then comes Bhang! jai jai shiv shankar…. it’s that time of the year — when lusty voices of holi hai rent the air and bhang flows as high as cloud nine.  Culled from the leaves and buds of cannabis – the very intoxicating bhang helps to escalate the spirit of holi.

Thandai: “The name says it all! Thandai is part and parcel of Holi celebrations. This refreshing and healthy drink is to be served amid the play of colours. In fact, Bhang thandai sets the mood for the festival of colours. Drinking thandai in this season also goes with the weather, as it acts as a coolant for people in North India, where the temperature is usually high at this time,” says Atharva Khanna, a store owner at Gerrard street.

“There are no two ways about it — Bhang has become the official Holi drink. Lip-smacking bhang pakoras and bhang vadas are some popular snacks people look forward to on Holi,” adds Atharva. Sweets and kulfi made of ‘bhang’ known as ‘bhang ki barfi’ and ‘bhang ki kulfi’ are amongst these special preparations.

Colours of the cuisine:

Holi is also celebrated along with several interesting delicacies. Though the traditional recipes vary from family to family and place to place, one thing that remains the same is the zeal with which these delicacies are prepared for this occasion. Sweets are the vital element of Holi celebrations in any part of India. In fact, the festival of Holi is renowned for the umpteen varieties of sweets prepared on the occasion.

There are some universal sweets and dishes that are prepared throughout the length and the breadth in the country on this occasion. “One of the most popular desserts of Holi is ‘Gujhia’, which is a must for every Indian home during the season. Then, there are ‘papris’ and ‘dahi-bhalles’ that are prepared in majority of Indian homes on the occasion.

“The evenings are not as exciting. A good part of what’s left of the day is spent in that special room of the house – the bathroom. Scrubbing and scrubbing, and then scrubbing some more. It is an exercise that is repeated for days as it’s a normal sight to see people with patches of pink skin, green hair, purple hands and silver nails, for days and even weeks after Holi. Even the neighbourhood cows and buffaloes get their share of colourful patches, says Mrinalini, a resident of Brampton.

So let your hair down and do what you like, say what you like, meet, tease and play with colours with the people around you as Generation Next wishes you a colourful splashy Holi.

Author :Ramya Maheshwary

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Holi in Light of Science

Posted on 24 February 2010 by .

We need to thank our forefathers who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time, also for incorporating so much fun in the festival. In India, spring season, during which the weather changes, is believed to cause viral fever and cold. Thus, the playful throwing of natural colored powders has a medicinal significance: the colors are traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi (Tumeric), Bilva, Red Sandlowood powder and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors.

Haldi, Red sandlowood and Neem are used to make face packs in India. Traditionally, the dry colors used in Holi were prepared from Tesu or Palash flowers, which are first gathered from the trees, dried in the sun, and then ground up, and later mixed with water to produce orange-yellow coloured water. For wet colours, traditional flowers of Palash are boiled and soaked in water over night to produced yellow coloured water, which also had medicinal properties. Tesu colors help in improving the skin complexion, and makes the skin smooth. Legends say Lords Krishna use to play holi with Tesu flower colors.

There’s another interesting reason. By playing Holi one can increase his bodily capacity to withstand the scorching heat of the summer. Holi marks the end of winter. In winter the body experiences tardiness and people tend to get lazy. Holi is like a siren to get up from this laziness and brisk the movements for summer. Holi rejuvenates the human body. The dance performances and the music played during the festival rejuvenate the mind and soul.

Then there is Holika Dahan – which is another reason to play Holi. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces bacteria in the air and in the body too. So when Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees. And when people perform Parikrima – (making circles around the fire), the heat from the fire kills bacteria in the air as well as their bodies thus cleansing it.

During Holi, it is a custom for us to clean our house and remove clutter, thereby ensuring flow of positive energy. Therefore, it can be said that apart from rejuvenating the social ties, Holi provides a wonderful opportunity to let loose all the tension and de-stress the mind.

Author: Piyush Maheshwary

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