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Relatives, friends mourn family killed in Brampton house fire

Posted on 25 February 2017 by admin

Relatives of three people who died in a Brampton house fire are in agony as they scramble for more information.

Speaking from Pakistan, family members said they are most worried about 8-year-old Zoya Kapadia, whose parents and sister died in the early morning blaze on Madison St., near Dixie Rd. and Williams Pkwy.

Officials haven’t released the names of the family members, but friends and relatives have identified them as Amina Kapadia, 19, and her parents, Iftekhar Niazi, 48 and Jyoti Kapadia, 45.

Zoya’s uncle and cousin, who live in Toronto, were with her at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she was in serious but stable condition, said Zeeshan Niazi, a nephew of Iftekhar Niazi.

Niazi said the family had spoken to police at the Canadian Embassy in Pakistan but there were very few details available.

He said Iftekhar’s 80-year-old father and 70-year-old mother have been hit hardest by the news. “In this age, how can they bear this kind of loss?” Niazi asked.

Iftekhar’s parents treasured their granddaughters, Amina and Zoya, as they were the only girls among their many grandchildren, he said.

Their hope is that Zoya will be able to live with them now that her parents are gone. They called Sheldon Teague, the 19-year-old man who was staying in a basement apartment and rescued Zoya, “an angel.”

Niazi said the family of four was planning to visit Pakistan next month. He said Iftekhar had immigrated to Canada in 1998 and married Jyoti there.

Iftekhar, who Niazi said was nicknamed Guddu, which means “little one,” was a businessman and Jyoti worked at Rogers, Niazi said. Jyoti returned from work at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday and spoke to family in Pakistan on the phone. She had just celebrated a birthday on Monday and was describing the dinner, cake and family time.

The University of Guelph said it would fly its flags at half-mast and hold a memorial service on Friday for Amina, a first-year undergraduate science student. Her death was confirmed on the school’s website.

“Our heart goes out to the friends and family of Amina,” Brenda Whiteside, the university’s associate vice-president of student affairs, said in the statement. “This is a tragic and incredibly sad event, and we are here to support the U of G community.”

Jemaya Balkarran, a Grade 12 student in Brampton, said Amina was like a big sister to her. She said they became close during a school trip.

Balkarran gushed about the friend she called a “role model,” describing Amina as incredibly smart, full of school spirit and always well dressed.

Niazi said Amina dreamed of becoming a doctor and that she enjoyed drawing and painting.

Amina had been in a car accident five days before her death, Niazi added, saying the car was badly damaged but she was not injured.

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Needs of Cyber Security Awareness Program Highlighted In Mississauga

Posted on 01 February 2017 by admin

Uttam Makaju

 During an informal gathering of friends, a member looking very panicked, rushed into the group and explained his worry because of an email he received recently.

Another friend who put forward a problem faced by his sister because of fake Facebook account handled by some one else on her name.

A parent brought into discussion about the problem of surfing the nets and inappropriate sites by his children.

 These are some of the conspicuous examples of problems encountered by people caused by present day cyber gadgets they are using.

In order to create awareness on these and other issues, Cyber Security International (CSI), organized a day long workshop in Mississauga.

 Speaking at the program keynote speaker Mr. Ben Sharma stressed on the need of knowledge to break the barrier.

 Initiating the workshop CIS founder and cyber security expert Dr. Ramhari Subedi disclosed that every second 14 people are being victimized by cyber attack in the world.

Dr. Subedi also emphasized the effective role of law enforcement body along with user alertness to avert the cyber threats.

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Lohri: How Did the Festival Get its Name?

Posted on 19 January 2017 by admin

Traditionally, the festival of Lohri celebrates the onset of the harvest season in Punjab. People offer thanks to god for the precious crops before they begin harvesting them. It is also believed that the Lohri night is the longest night of the year known as the winter solstice. It marks the end of the coldest month of the year as the earth now starts to turn towards the sun.

Rituals and Traditions around Lohri

The traditions around the festival are appropriate and soulful. You build a bonfire, preferably a community bonfire as everyone gathers around it. The bonfire symbolizes Agni, the God of Fire. People warm up to the sparkling flames, sing songs and throw in foods like gajak,chikki,puffed rice, popcorn , rewri, sesame seeds, jaggery, peanuts and sugarcane to pay homage to your roots, in a matter of speaking. These offerings are fed to the fire to appease the gods and to ask them to bless everybody with abundance and prosperity.

Lohri celebrates the harvest of rabi crops, those which are sown in the winter. It thus follows that winter foods like sarson (mustard leaves), sesame, whole wheat and spinach are an integral part of the festival. As part of the festivities, dinner is served after the bonfire ritual. The dinner typically includes ‘Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki Roti’, a Punjabi winter treat loved everywhere in the world.

How did Lohri Get its Name?

Til and rorhi (jaggery) are eaten as traditional festive foods. The words til and rorhi together make ’tilorhi’, which eventually got rechristened to Lohri. These belly-warming foods are known to cleanse our bodies and instil renewed vigour as we step into a seasonal change.

According to folklore, the flames of the fire are known to carry messages to the sun which is why the day after Lohri is warm and sunny bringing an end to gloomy, winter days. The following day is celebrated as Makar Sankranti to mark the beginning of bright days ahead.

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North York resident wins right to move city-owned tree based on religious belief

Posted on 11 January 2017 by admin

Toronto’s tree canopy may carry important economic and environmental benefits, but city council is willing to extend a maple branch when it comes to moving trees to accommodate religious beliefs.

“It was a very sad struggle for my family,” North York resident Sanjeev Joshi told the Star, following a more than yearlong fight to get approval to move a city-owned tree on his front lawn to another part of the property at his own expense.

“But my experience has brought forth the entire true glory and majesty of multicultural Canada. My story illustrates how our Canada today is probably the last bastion of true cultural diversity.”

In November, following a lengthy debate, council voted 19-7 to allow Joshi to move the tree.

The case began in April 2015, when he requested that the city remove the 17.5-centimetre-diameter Freeman maple tree entirely.

According to a report by the city’s forestry department, Joshi requested the tree’s removal to prevent future damage to his driveway by the tree’s roots and to mitigate “the negative effects on the tree’s esthetics due to the future canopy pruning to accommodate overhead wires.”

After the city’s forestry department denied his request, he appealed the decision, requesting religious accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code, according to the city report.

In consultation with the city’s Human Rights Office, it was determined Joshi had not established in good faith that his request warranted religious accommodation by the city.

Yet Joshi continued to argue that the position of the tree in front of the main door of his home violated his belief in vastu, which he defines as “the architectural science of harnessing nature’s energy for well-being of family.” Joshi, who’s retired, says he cited his religious belief from the beginning.

“It was a really reasonable request. He’s not somebody who doesn’t like trees,” said Councillor John Filion, who represents the area where the property is located.

“It’s just so absurd. It was such a ridiculous discussion that the guy does have religious reasons for needing to move the tree at his own expense a couple of feet to one side on his lot.”

Vastu, an ancient Hindu system of architecture involving home design, holds that trees shouldn’t be planted directly in front of a home’s main entrance in order to harness the flow of good energy into the house.

Councillor Gord Perks, who voted against the motion, said he trusted city staff’s determination that Joshi’s request didn’t meet the standards for religious accommodation.

“Anyone saying that there should be a religious exemption is ignoring the people who test our policy against human rights and religious needs,” said Perks, adding that the city receives tree removal applications “all the time.”

“This particular instance was, in my view, nothing more than that,” he said. “There’s a fairness argument here. If we have a series of tests that every Torontonian can rely on being applied equally, why does this guy get an exemption and the next person who makes an application not?”

There are about 600,000 trees on city streets in Toronto, including those on city-owned land between roadways and private property. The city, which has a goal of increasing its tree canopy to 40 per cent, maintains these trees to help grow Toronto’s urban forest, due to the ecological, recreational and health benefits of trees.

The motion at council, moved by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, includes a two-year guarantee for the health of the tree in question. If the tree dies following the transplant, Joshi would be required to replace it.

Alex McLeish, general manager of Kontiki Landscaping, said transplants of the type and size of tree in question have a very high success rate, adding it would cost about $1,000 to move the tree.

“A (17.5-centimetre), we wouldn’t even break a sweat,” McLeish said. “You would be in the high 90s in percentage of living. If you moved 100, I doubt you’d lose one.”

But Perks said there was “no sense in taking a risk,” no matter how small.

“The thing that you can do that best meets the city’s policy goals of having a healthy urban forest, reducing our costs and improving air quality in the city of Toronto is to leave trees where they are when they’re healthy,” he said.

Filion said his vote in favour of the transplant was the first time he had gone against a city forestry staff report, which had originally recommended against removing it.

“When the city is going out planting trees, which I’m all in favour of, maybe don’t stick it in the middle of a lot, because there are people with religious beliefs about the tree being right in front of their door,” said Filion. “Just put it off a bit to the side because people’s front doors are pretty much always in the middle of a lot.”

Filion said he opposes requests to move trees for convenience and said any suggestion that this vote set a precedent for such requests to be approved was an “absurd characterization.”

“The whole discussion was absurd,” he said. “It was like a Monty Python skit, it was so absurd. Obviously it only sets a precedent for somebody wanting to do the exact same thing. That’s not a precedent I would be concerned about.”


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A physician killed, her neurosurgeon husband charged with murder: ‘How could this all happen?’

Posted on 08 December 2016 by admin

The last time Mike Sullivan saw his friends Elana Fric-Shamji and Mohammed Shamji for dinner, the Toronto couple — both respected physicians — filled the room with laughter and finished each other’s sentences.

It was their typical loving, supportive persona, both in life and online.

Just last week, Shamji, a 40-year-old Toronto neurosurgeon, tweeted support for his wife’s work with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

And in 2014, he posted about his 11 years of “married bliss” to 40-year-old Fric-Shamji, a family doctor in the city’s Scarborough neighbourhood and mother to the couple’s three children.

“She is the moon of my life,” he wrote, quoting the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.

“And you are my Sun and Stars,” Fric-Shamji tweeted back.

But the couple’s public persona is at odds with a tragedy that’s shaken Ontario’s medical community.

On Thursday, Fric-Shamji’s body was found in a suitcase near an underpass in Vaughan, Ont. She died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma.

Her husband is charged with first-degree murder in her death and remains in custody following a Saturday court appearance.

“A special person is murdered, three kids will never be the same, two families are devastated and a world-renowned [neurosurgeon] who did very specialized work in the area of neuropathic/chronic pain is also lost to thousands of future patients,” Sullivan said.

“How could this all happen?”

‘Looking forward to a new beginning’

Friends, colleagues and patients are now struggling to comprehend the circumstances surrounding Fric-Shamji’s death.

Colleagues say she was a vibrant, dedicated family physician at the Scarborough Hospital who juggled roles as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and a member of the health policy committee at the OMA.

She was “adored by patients” and was an avid runner who tried to be the “perfect wife and mother,” Toronto physician Dr. Allyson Koffman said.

Fric-Shamji met her future husband during her medical school days at the University of Ottawa while he was there for a neurosurgery residency, said Sullivan, who has known Shamji since Grade 6 and called him “incredibly smart” and a ”terrific guy.”

Shamji’s career as a neurosurgeon brought him accolades and television appearances. An assistant professor of surgery at the University of Toronto and a staff neurosurgeon with Toronto Western Hospital, he holds a master of science degree from Yale University and attended medical school at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

From a professional perspective, Shamji and Fric-Shamji were a medical power couple.

But at a dinner with OMA colleagues in Toronto on Nov. 25, Fric-Shamji confided that she’d filed divorce papers.

Two physicians who spoke to CBC News, Dr. Nadia Alam, a family physician and anaesthetist in Georgetown, Ont., and Dr. Darren Cargill, a palliative care physician in Windsor, Ont., both confirmed hearing Fric-Shamji speak about her impending divorce to the man she married back in 2004.

“She said she was looking forward to a new beginning,” Cargill recalled.

Police previously said the couple were having marital problems and believe Fric-Shamji’s death was “a deliberate act.”

‘I feel hopeless now,’ says patient

Shamji’s patients are now trying to reconcile the gravity of the neurosurgeon’s alleged crime with how he was seen as a medical “hero” and sought-after specialist in spinal surgery.

Aylar Mousavi, a patient of Shamji’s who appeared in court for his Saturday morning appearance, was “traumatized” and “shocked” upon hearing the allegations against him.

Mousavi was supposed to book surgery with Shamji to treat a Chiari malformation, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal and can cause pain, dizziness or weakness.

“I feel hopeless now,” Mousavi said.

On a “personal story of gratitude” found on the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation’s website — which has since been removed since CBC News first located the post — Toronto resident Joe Grossman praised Shamji’s care.

In 2014, Grossman suddenly developed excruciating lower-back pain. He spent the next 10 days in such severe pain that he couldn’t stand, and was eventually diagnosed with a spinal epidural abscess caused by a staphylococcus aureus infection.

“On May 7, 2014, the day after my 47th, birthday, Dr. Shamji did a multi-level laminectomy, removed the abscess and saved my life,” Grossman wrote.

When contacted by CBC Toronto, Grossman said he is in “utter shock and disbelief” regarding the allegations against Shamji.

“This doesn’t make sense on any level,” he said in an email. “This is a man to whom I literally owe my life and a man who I truly believed was a hero.”

The hospital where Shamji works is part of Toronto’s University Health Network. In a statement, UHN vice-president, public affairs and communications Gillian Howard said the organization is “shocked and saddened by the news but our concern is our patients going forward.”

A ‘Hollywood couple’

Amid ongoing media coverage surrounding the case — and speculation among friends and colleagues about what was really going on between Fric-Shamji and her husband before her death — Sullivan and his wife keep looking back to that last dinner with their friends.

During their evening out in Toronto’s Distillery District 10 months ago, Sullivan said nothing seemed amiss between the seemingly happy “Hollywood couple.”

“I joked many times with my wife saying I wished we had the kind of marriage they had, the kind of relationship they had, the way that they looked at each other,” Sullivan said.

Shamji’s next court appearance is on Dec. 20.

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Family bids emotional farewell to Oakville brothers who drowned in Mississauga pond

Posted on 17 November 2016 by admin

Malik Sikander can’t shake the memory of shouting at his two little brothers, Hamza and Shahrukh Khan, for disturbing his sleep as they noisily got ready for school in the mornings.

On Friday, Sikander was among hundreds of family and friends who gathered to lay to rest the two young men, whose bodies police recovered from a Mississauga pond on Tuesday evening.

“I would get angry at them for waking me up so early,” a grief-stricken Sikander told CBC News. “But yesterday when I went to see them, I shouted and cried in front of them to wake up and they didn’t wake up.”

Hamza Khan, 22, and Shahrukh Khan, 20, had been missing since Friday, after they visited a Mississauga gym. On Tuesday, police located their silver BMW submerged in the pond near Ninth Line and Thomas Street. Not long after, divers recovered their two bodies. An autopsy confirmed both men drowned.

It was a nightmare outcome for family members who, only hours before the two went missing, were having lunch together at their Oakville home.

As police investigated, Sikander and his family held out hope the brothers would be found safe. ”We are praying for them to come back safe. Wherever they are, God keep them safe,” father Mohammed Khan told CBC News on Monday, adding that the two had never gone missing before.

Hamza and Shahrukh were two of seven children in the Khan family. Shahrukh, a high school student, went to White Oaks Secondary School, while Hamza was studying architecture at Sheridan College, their father said.

Sikander, who spent long periods of time abroad to pursue graduate studies, said at the funeral Friday that he would call and send text messages to his two younger brothers to keep in touch so often that they sometimes wouldn’t answer.

“They used to not pick up my phone calls,” Sikander said. But on Friday, just hours before going missing, he said they talked via video for an hour and a half.

“If I had known that they would go, I would have talked to them all day,” he said.

“They were not just my brothers, they were my best friends.”

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Posted on 09 November 2016 by admin



The reception lobby was inundated with artists displaying various forms of art.  A media wall with a red carpet held interviews from various media.   Tuxedos and ball gowns dotted the Crystal Banquet Event Venue in Markham where Markham Arts Council (MAC) held a successful Fundraising Gala, raising thousands of dollars that will go towards supporting diverse arts and cultural programs in the City.

The sold out event was glitzy and glamourous and began with a reception and a red carpet walk by Mayor Frank Scarpitti, City Councillors, MAC Board members and models.   Dressed by Silver Tulip in colourful and dressy gowns, the red carpet was a fashionable walk up the ramp and on to the stage at the themed Gala – AN AFFAIR WITH THE ARTS AT THE OSCARS – held on November 4 in Markham.

“Thanks to all the artists, businesses, sponsors and community stakeholders who participated and supported this fundraising initiative,” said Gala co-chair Deepti Aurora, who has in the past raised funds for CNIB, AWIC, Lions Club and The Scarborough Hospital.  “The funds raised will go a long way in facilitating the diverse and creative contributions made to the arts and empowering the community with arts. The participation and generosity of donors and sponsors has been tremendous and I would like to thank each and every one who dedicated their time, energy and creativity to the event.   I also wanted to thank the volunteers who provide valuable support, without which this Gala would not have been possible. “

”Arts brings great benefits and plays a unique role in community developments,” said Amanda Collucci, Markham Councillor and co-chair of the Gala Committee.  ”The Markham Arts Council has done an excellent job in promoting arts exchange and in nurturing creative talents, as well as supporting the work and development of visual, literary and performing arts.”

The highlight of the evening was Mayor Frank Scarpitti who raised over a thousand dollars by singing songs in Chinese to performances by Sisters Club of Qi Pao that had the crowds applauding and cheering.

“I commend the Markham Arts Council for their dedication in enhancing our community by promoting and fostering the arts, in all its forms, “said the Mayor, also Honorary Chair of the Fundraising Gala.  “The development and support of the arts is important to our community and arts and arts organizations are an important resource in our path to building stronger communities.  The arts have a long history of bringing people together across boundaries as the arts provide an opportunity for discussion amongst individuals and groups which lead to insight and  a shared sense of community.“

A Bollywood dance medley by Sanskriti Arts completed the evening with a Flash Mob where founder Puja Amin led participants through a dance workshop.   Mayor Scarpitti, Councillors and others wholeheartedly participated in the workshop, creating cheer, energy and enthusiasm.

“Your support of this fundraising Gala will allow us to continue to pursue our mandate to build a stronger, more unified arts community that encourages cultural exchange and includes all ages and all forms of the arts, “said Jane Milrose, Chair of the Markham Arts Council.  “Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your support of Markham Arts Council.  This fundraising Gala will create the necessary recognition and awareness of the Markham Arts Council and of the talents and passion of local Markham based artists and arts organizations,” “All funds raised through this initiative will be used towards supporting the Arts and Cultural programs facilitated by MAC.”

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Bay Street stalwart Sabi Marwah make list of Senate appointments

Posted on 02 November 2016 by admin

Two Bay Street stalwarts are on the list of new Senate appointment recommendations Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Monday: Howard Wetston, former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Sabi Marwah, who was a longtime senior executive of Bank of Nova Scotia.

Dale Lastman, chair of Goodmans LLP, said he doesn’t yet know whether Wetston will be able to continue working with the law firm.

“If he can stay, we’ll be delighted to have him, and if he can’t stay, then we’ll be sad from one perspective but he’ll be helping our country from another,” Lastman said in an interview.

He said the former regulator has primarily been providing internal advice and mentoring at the firm.

“If smart and classy and nice and decent and caring and being passionate are qualities that would make a good senator, then Mr. Wetston will make a good senator, as would Mr. Marwah, who I also know,” Lastman said.

Marwah, who joined Bank of Nova Scotia as a financial analyst and climbed the ranks to the positions of vice-chairman and chief operating officer, retired in 2014 after 35 years at what is now Canada’s third-largest bank. The influential former bank executive has also served as a director on the boards of Torstar Corp., Cineplex Inc., George Weston Ltd., and Telus Corp.

Marwah’s official biography posted online by the Prime Minister’s office notes that he is from India, and that he has worked extensively over the past 15 years “to showcase the rich diversity of Sikh and South Asian art and culture.”

Warren Jestin, who was chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia until his retirement in February, said Marwah’s range of experience in the business, health, and education sectors, including sitting on the boards of the Hospital for Sick Children and Ryerson Futures at Ryerson University, make him an obvious choice for the Senate.

“You think of him as a guy who ran the day-to-day operations of Scotiabank, be his interests and skills are far wider than that,” Jestin said in an interview.

Marwah has been active outside the workplace, serving on the boards of non-profit organizations, such as the C.D. Howe Institute, the Royal Ontario Museum, the United Way Campaign, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Hospital for Sick Children. He is a founding member of the Sikh Foundation.

Marwah and Wetston were recommended for Senate appointments alongside, Lucie Moncion, chief executive of the Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, Gwen Boniface, the first female commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, University of Toronto School of Public Policy professor Tony Dean, and Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Trudeau’s six recommendations to the Governor General were chosen using a new merit-based process, which is intended to ensure that the Senate is “independent, reflective of Canada’s diversity, and best able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country.”

For the first time, the process was opened to Canadians to apply, which generated more than 2,700 applications. The submissions were reviewed by an independent advisory board for Senate appointments, which then provided “non-binding” recommendations to Trudeau.

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When Did My Parents Get So Cool?

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin



This past December, I was finally home for the holidays, after missing two years of the holiday season with my family and friends in Toronto. In fact, in the past two years, I have only been home for a total of three times and each of those three times, there’s been an emerging trend: “When did my parents get so cool?”

It’s a thought I seem to immediately and consistently have while I’m in town. And I don’t mean cool in the sense that they are dressing hip and starting to know urban dictionary better than me (I would actually find that more disturbing than cool), but I mean cool in the sense that, they are just super easy going and actually kind of fun to be around — not to mention, my 64-year-old dad is learning Spanish and travels to Cuba on the regular — whaaaat?!! Cool x 1000.

For me, this is a major breakthrough. With someone with severe youngest child syndrome, I wouldn’t say I had the best relationship with my parents growing up in comparison to my siblings. I was always breaching traditional code of conduct in my parents’ eyes from what a “proper Tamil girl” should be doing. I felt they didn’t get who I was and weren’t on board with my life decisions.

But this past trip, I had what Oprah calls an “aha” moment. I was sitting in my old room, lying on my bed and staring at the wall opposite of me. The rooms in my wall are magenta. Yes, magenta. This was the decision of an 18-year-old me who had some savings from a summer job and decided to redecorate.

Well, “redecorate” was the polite phrasing I had pitched to my parents who probably thought that meant buying some furniture and choosing a nice light colour paint for my walls but no — it was a magenta “how will we sell the house again?” madness sort of redecoration, carried out by the inexpensive (free) and inexperienced help of my best girlfriends.

I got all-white IKEA furniture to go with it and the finishing touch was the wall across my bedroom where I had the word “Dream” sprawled across it.

Now almost seven years later and still alive to tell the story, I was staring at this wall and I started thinking, “How did I manage to get away with this?” On one hand, did the charm of my cute youngest child self have anything to do with it? *Bats eyelashes* Maybe. But there was something else at play here — I did something that my parents normally wouldn’t find acceptable and they learned that maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I had taught my parents that this was okay to do.

This seems quite trivial, but I think about all these little things that added up; from me pushing curfew, to speaking up on things that I didn’t agree with, to pursuing the studies I wanted instead of what they wanted. I was doing a lot of things that my parents initially had trouble wrapping their head around to accepting it and even supporting it.

Last year I interviewed Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of Tricycle Theatre, and she said something along the lines of this realization:

“I remember my dad saying something really interesting. He said, ‘Your generation always complains about our generation being old fashioned and not knowing things but it’s up to your generation to inform us and open our eyes.’ I think it’s very true because for them they came from Sri Lanka to Canada or England or wherever with a different set of expectations, values and culture. They came as immigrants. Why should they know what our experiences are, being born and brought up here?”

And that’s the thing — my parents have always meant well, even if I didn’t see it at the time. They wanted to give me a better life than what they had and they did it in the only way they knew how from how they were brought up. I began to see it as my job in some ways to show them that things can be different.

Of course, this is easier said than done. In my case, there was sometimes tension and some arguments but this eventually led to some progress and change. My mother went from, “A girl has to be married before she moves out” to calling me in London with, “Are you eating? Make sure you lock your doors at night. Where do you buy your spices from over there?”

But of course, what I can begin to teach my parents is nothing in comparison to what they have taught me. At the end of the day, I am my parents’ daughter; I am my father’s strong-minded, determined girl and my mother’s sassy, drama queen and thanks to them, and the support of my other loved ones, the 18-year-old me was able to turn all that “dream” from within the four walls of my magenta room to a reality I’m living seven years later.

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Saravanaa Bhavan fulfills social responsibility to the community

Posted on 21 September 2016 by admin

Saravanaa Bhavan, World’s No: 1 Vegetarian Restaurant Chain, offering unrivalled quality and taste, is now in the verge of creating a new vision to fulfill its social responsibility to the community.

The restaurant’s strategic priorities are grounded in a fundamental sense of responsibility that includes all customers, employees and communities. Right across the restaurant, the staff and the management take the opportunity to come together to help Scarborough Hospital Foundation to fight the odds.

Sugumar Ganesan, President and CEO, Saravanaa Bhavan, says being a good corporate citizen not only impacts the quality of life in the communities where we conduct business, but it demonstrates that we care about the health and well-being of children and their families.

Staff says generosity runs deep at Saravanaa Bhavan, Canada. It’s part of a long standing tradition-one that is reinforced each year. Our giving campaign represents something to which we attach a great deal of importance.

In 2015 the customers and management of Saravanaa Bhavan achieved unprecedented generosity where they together donated $100,000 (Dollar Hundred Thousand) to Scarborough Hospital Foundation to help them purchase modern medical equipments for better healthcare facilities for general social well-being. Supervisors at the restaurant says the tangible metrics of social responsibility that support them, speak to the value that guide every aspect of how we do our work and frame every decision we make for the future.

Every bit of the donation to the foundation will result to revolutionary treatments and cures, piloting new technologies that improve early detection and diagnosis, and improving quality of life by giving people the tools and support to manage their health from the comfort of their home and community.

Another feather to the cap is the restaurant’s step to be part of an innovative health initiative. Saravanaa Bhavan has now tied up with South Asian Autism Awareness Centre (SAAC) for recruiting, retaining and promoting employees with autism.

Staff says under this new initiative we have been advocating for effective job training and community support to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families living with autism.

One of a loyal customer since the beginning says “to see such social initiative to grow has just been amazing”. One of the special parts is seeing the autistic recruits, their faces light up. They take a lot of pride in their work and having a job. I think a lot of us take for granted that we have jobs and forget how special it really is, what it means to us as a person. The fact that Saravanaa Bhavan can employ these folks and teach them skills, and they really enjoy it and are proud of it , is an amazing thing.’’

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