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Asadullah Baig -- From Saudi Arabia

"Once a year, go some place you have never been before"--Dalai Lama

So SriLanka it was.
See more at: CLICK HERE 
 See more at: CLICK HERE 

Sajid Rizvi from Mumbai

This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point last week.
A scene you will probably never get to see in person, so take a moment and enjoy God at work at the North Pole.
And, you also see the sun below the moon .
An amazing photo ,  pass it on to others so they can enjoy.

Saad from Mumbai

Happy Teachers Day






Sakshi Malik and P. V. Sindhu -- The Nation is proud of you.






Kishore Bhatia from Dubai

Kishore Bhatia from Dubai

16th. August 1947 First News of Independence India.

A very rare picture.
All Indians should share this.....

Salwa Sayed - Mumbai


It is 3 at night, (yes I prefer calling it night, rather than morning) and I have just had my regular midnight snack. Last night, on the dinner table, I remembered a conversation I had had with my mother some time ago. We were talking about our family, forefathers, forgotten ancestors etc. One topic led to another, from history, to origin to migration, until finally it settled on the subject of my father.  Vision to my thoughts, wind to my wings--Abbu, this one’s for you!

It’s quite normal for many of us to idolise our parents. I am not against the idea, nor do I intend on calling it the norm. No; parents  are worthy of every praise they get. It’s not that I mean any different when I call my father my inspiration, it’s  just that my memories and experiences are a bit different, peculiar and perhaps more beautiful, than those of the  others…
My father has been living and working in the Middle East for half of his life now, 33 years, to be precise. And his tale begins on the same note as that of most other NRIs.
He was the first in his clan to leave the comfort of home, to earn and live abroad, all by himself. Eventually, he got married and settled with his family, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Since there weren’t proper colleges for non-Saudis, at that time, my family shifted to Mumbai, for my elder brother’s higher education. I was just a toddler back then. I began my schooling in Mumbai, and we settled our lives here. Yes, you guessed it right. My father sent his family home, and, in order to provide us with every need and necessity, decided to stay back by himself. 
An empty porch and a noiseless kitchen, that usually kept up the clamour of children and vessels alike, greeted him when he stepped through the door. His meals weren’t as hot, and even the tea seemed too sweet, when he made it. Of course, he being the selfless person, never asked for anyone’s help, nor did he ever complain about the semi-bachelor condition.
He visited us twice every year, on the occasion of each Eid. Brace yourselves, for here starts my own personal rant! As a committed  reader, you might have come to conclusions that I completed my entire education in my father’s absence, That I outgrew his favourite shirt without him seeing me outgrow it. Yes, in a way it’s true. My father wasn't present in any of my annual functions, to watch me participate, nor was he there in any of my school PTA meetings. He wasn’t there to drop me off to my bus stop, nor was he present during my Board exams, to check out my exam centre. My father was not with me through most of my journey’s landmarks. But there is absolutely no reason I could find, over all these years, to blame him for his absences. 
Of course, all of this bothered me quite a bit when I was young. As a child, your life is self-centric, in every way. When reasons and reasoning start settling in, you see that phase slipping away. Hence, as I grew older, I began seeing through his eyes. I didn’t care if he wasn’t around most of the time. I just waited impatiently for that time of the year when I could see him, hug him. The distance, indeed, made the heart grow fonder.
It is true that many of us don’t realise the importance of things and people unless they’re gone, or taken away from us. We take them for granted, especially our parents. Because they’re always around, right? Always there to put up with  our tantrums…. always there to console us…. always pat  our backs? 
Not to be boastful, but I and my father never fought. Its’ difficult to rattle someone with such high levels of tolerance. I guess we were both aware about the little time we had on hands, to spend in each other's company and we wanted to suffuse all our love, in it.
Fortunately, after I completed my 10th standard Board exams, I got a chance to complete my high school in Riyadh. I lived with Abbu, watching him admiringly, like a little girl. I got to know him more. He got to know me more.
The last four years have stood witness to many beautiful moments that were shared between us. I shopped for groceries, planted trees (they’re his babies!), baked breads and watched retro movies. He shared with me about the stuff he did all day, and I shared mine. We had formed such a strong bond over the past years and it increased my respect and gratitude towards him.
He doesn’t even know that I am writing this article about him. We never voiced out such feelings, as we both lack in the department of expression. Expression of emotions is something we are remarkably awkward at. Both don’t know how to do it, and both don’t even care to do it.
If you have a look at the scenario, not much has changed since the first generation moved out, paving the way for their children to settle. These children will go on to become parents of bright young kids, only to send them out in the world, selflessly. It’s a cycle, a loop that connects and shifts the life of a Non-Saudi, in repeating patterns.
The entire situation can also be seen from an opposite point of view.. Parents have been at the receiving end of the distance too, with children being raised as NRIs. They have felt this longing and eagerness to see them at least once, before the year ends. They find their children missing at the important landmarks of their journeys too. Like getting diagnosed with a life-long ailment, losing a dear friend in old age, witnessing increase in levels of dependency, etcetera.
Some say it really doesn’t matter if a person is physically present in order to show his love and care. Being apart, teaches you the hard way of gratifying these emotions. I learned the art of giving from all those minute observations I made on Abbu’s life. He taught me that I have to be strong, despite being a girl, and it’s okay to not be expressive. 
Thank you for your faith in me. It drives me more than I am able to share.

Salwa Sayed is a final year Bachelor of Mass Media student, in Mumbai, who will soon be majoring in Journalism. Apart from devouring fiction and baking to her heart’s content, her writings range from reports, to features, to short film scripts! Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and being brought up in both countries alternately, she sails smoothly across the cultural difference.  

Devesh Gupta from Toronto, Canada


Sikh bikers ride 12k km, raise $60k for cancer charity
Toronto, Jul 21 (PTI) A group of big-hearted Sikh bikers in Canada have ridden a total of 12,000 kilometres for a noble cause, raising over 60,000 dollars for a Cancer charity.

Twenty-four members of the Sikh Motorcycle Club rolled into Surrey, Canada, two weeks after departing for their journey to raise awareness about the devastating diseases.

On 13 bikes, the members rode a total of 12,000 kilometres about 1,200 per day through British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, before turning around in Montreal. They completed their tour on Sunday.

More than 70 individuals and groups made donations to support their initiative, raising a total of 61,194 dollars for the cancer society. The money will go toward the organisation's efforts to fund research, prevention initiatives and assist those fighting cancer.

Along the way, the bikers met community members and appeared on local TV and radio stations to share their journey.

"Every city they went to the Sikh community, the non-Sikh communities, everyone was cooperative of them," club founder Harjinder Singh Thind was quoted as saying by CTV News.

"We thought about those kids that are in need that need that money and so that gave us energy and we kept fighting through it," said rider Charnjit Dhadda.

The ride was in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Foundation, and the funds will be used for research and prevention for paediatric cancers and also children currently undergoing cancer treatments.

Allan Mugford, the agency's regional director for the Fraser Valley, said they were "stunned and amazed" by the fundraising effort.

"This is a totally committed and passionate group of community members," he was quoted as saying.

Beyond fighting childhood cancers, the riders had another mission -- bringing communities together.

"The main purpose of this club was to build a bridge between the mainstream community and us that the Sikh next door living here is one of us. And so we were able to make that a success," Thind said.

Mukesh Mehta From Riyadh

Four flights canceled, 70 delayed at Riyadh airport

RIYADH/JEDDAH — Four international flights that were scheduled to depart from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh were canceled after a malfunction in the baggage carousel occurred.

A source said that more than 70 international flights were delayed due to the backlog of baggage at the baggage carousel area.

“Conveyer belts of the carousel are very old and have malfunctioned several times in the past forcing airlines employees to pull the luggage out and apologize to travelers for the delays. Many travelers have missed hotel bookings, hospital appointments and other plans,” said the source.

For full news click on image


Devesh Gupta from Toronto, Canada


Ali will live forever………

 Ali was born in 1942, began boxing in 1954, retired in 1981, died in 2016, but will live on forever in the hearts and minds of countless number  of people throughout the globe. Ali’s popularity and inspiration both were not restricted to any religion, caste, country, colour, sport or even a generation. Many would agree, that some of his most difficult battles, were fought and won outside the ring.

Ali was a delight to watch and hear. Although he impressed a large section of the society by boxing and winning titles,there was a larger section that was influenced by his speeches and interviews. There were  people who had not seen him land a single punch, but still respected and admired the man, just  for his oratory,  and the courage and strength he showed in each phase of his life.
He  stood up  against the might of the US military, suffered immensely when he was stripped of his license to fight, but with great  determination stepped  back into the ring, a Champion again.
Yes, he talked  trash before his fights, “If you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize.”
But it was always in humour.George Foreman,one of his opponents wrote I believe he’s one of the greatest men I’ve ever met.”
Ali was a hero for the heroes.
Pele: “Muhammad Ali was my friend, my idol, my hero. We spent many moments together and always kept a good connection throughout the years”
Ali  penned a poem,  before he won the world heavyweight championship against Sonny Liston in 1964.


“now Clay swings with a right, what a beautiful swing
And raises the bear straight out of the ring; 
Liston is rising and the ref wears a frown 
For he can’t start counting ‘til Liston comes down; 
Now Liston disappears from view, the crowd is getting frantic 
But our radar stations have picked him up somewhere over the Atlantic; 
Who would have thought when they came to the fight 
That they’d witness the launching of a human satellite?
Yes the crowd did not dream when they laid down their money 
That they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny.”
There may never come a sportsman more admired than Ali. His legacy will live on for generations to come.
Sharing a song composed by Dave Collins :

Arshad from Toronto, Canada


His quotes are many, but the one I like is what Obama too has mentioned in his statement: 
“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”
That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right.  A man who fought for us.  He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t.  His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing.  It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail.  But Ali stood his ground.  And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.''

Saad from Mumbai


Muhammad Ali was not just a great boxer. He was the greatest sportsman

No one could knock him out in the ring. No one could certainly conquer his spirit.

My generation has not seen Muhammad Ali in action. We have only heard bits and pieces about him. And there was this movie in which Will Smith played Ali’s role. So it was quite a revelation for me to read what an Indian journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai wrote. I quote him:
“I never saw Muhammad Ali fight on television, never saw his great fights with Joe Frazier on live TV. We didn't have multiple sports channels in the 1970s to entertain us. But he was permanently embalmed in our collective imagination. Some icons don't need to be seen in flesh and blood.
We didn't need to watch Ali box. The ring was only a sideshow, the world was his stage. Ali was not just the best boxer of his generation, he was arguably the greatest sportsperson ever.
We latched onto every quote of his with fan boy excitement. He was the Pied Piper who pulled us along on a never ending journey of constant thrills: when Ali said he "floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee," we believed him. When he said, "If you even dream of beating me, you better wake up and apologise," we were convinced by his talk. He wasn't just a boxer for us, he was an invincible superman.

We could argue that there have been better boxers: Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and Sugar Ray Leonard could all claim to have equally impressive records in the ring. We could claim that a Michael Jordan in basketball, a Don Bradman in cricket, a Roger Federer in tennis, are just as iconic. But none of them come close to matching what Ali achieved beyond being a pugilist. With every act of his, he became a symbol of a larger cause, an identity that went beyond just being the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Raju from Kuwait -- News for NRI's in Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARABIA  6% tax on expat remittances urged

JEDDAH: The Shoura Council’s finance committee is backing a proposed tax on the remittances of expats, starting from 6 percent in the first year and gradually reducing to 2 percent permanently from the fifth year onward.
The tax proposal was drafted by Hossam Al-Anqari, head of the General Auditing Bureau and former member of the Shoura, who said this would be a way to force expats to invest or spend their money in the Kingdom.
The tax would be on all money transfers by expats, with the collection being done through financial institutions in the country, and deposited in a special government account, according to a media report on Thursday.
There would also be limits on the amount that an expat can send abroad at any given time. There would also be limit on what expats can transfer abroad if they leave the country. The amounts that would be allowed abroad would be calculated in terms of the income of expats.
There would also be several measures introduced to prevent tax evasion and penalize those who fail to comply, and resolve disputes. The fines would be equal to the tax levied for the first offense and doubled for every repeat violation. Citizens found submitting fake statements of salaries, or transferring money on behalf of workers would also be fined. 
The finance committee stated that measures must be taken to tax expats so that the country can gain more income. The committee’s statement comes as annual remittances reportedly rose from SR56 billion in 2005 to over SR135 billion in 2014.


Asad from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


The English Premier League season 2015-16 ended last week. And what an unbelievable season it has been. Leicester City was crowned champions.  Leicester City of all teams! This is a team that was struggling to stay in the Premier league last season and no one would have given them any chance of winning the league. (Apparently, bets were placed at 5000-1 on them).
The giants, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, with all their money power and top class players suffered from inconsistent performances during the season and fell way behind. At the end Leicester became Champions having lost only three games. Sport, as they say, is a great leveler.
Claudio Ranieri, the gentle Italian manager of the club has already become a national hero in Italy (with an Italian knighthood to follow).   He was unceremoniously sacked by Chelsea in 2004 despite decent performances for the club.
 After twelve years and assignments with other clubs in Europe, he returned to the English Premier League with vengeance. His achievement is all the more remarkable because he has managed to draw great performances from a relatively unknown set of players. Players like Riyad Mahrez, James Vardy and Ngolo Kante were hitherto unknown and have now become stars.
As Ranieri said before the game which all but sealed their championship title, “This is the time to dream”. Fewer fairy tales have come true.  
The Thai owners (of King Power brand) are already planning massive celebrations back home. The victory has moved the club from the realms of small club to the Top Tier. The emergence of Leicester City also bodes well for the English Premier league as it makes the league more competitive than any other football league in the world; the league has now seen four different Champions in the last four years.
Next up for Leicester will be to challenge the world’s best in the Champions league. It also remains to be seen if this victory was a one off or will the team continue to perform consistently. Nevertheless,  Leicester’s victory ranks as one of finest achievements in the history of football.

F. Dalvi from Boston, USA

“You need Power, 
only when you want
to do something harmful
Love is enough to get everything done.”

? Charlie Chaplin

ASHWINI CHANDA from Mumbai,India

Someone sent this pamphlet, thought I'd share it. It made an elderly friend quite nostalgic. Went on to say, ''In those days, Mumbai ended at Mahim, there was a Customs post at Mahim Causeway. Andheri was very far, out of Bombay. Trains had 3 classes of compartments : First, Second and Third Class.


16 annas made 1 rupee. Remember the song,
"Paanch rupaiya,baara aana, maarega bhaiya, naa,naa,naa,naa."
Indeed, it was a lot of money!''
And he would have gone on and on, if I didn't remind him that I had to go to office.

Arif Peshimam, MD, MPH Boston, USA



Congratulations on a good start!

As an NRI, one topic that is important for me is healthcare and well being of parents and other family members who are back home. Will there be in the future, plans to include hospital/doctor recommendations for us in major Indian cities? That will be useful.
Another highlight of an Indian visit is food. There should be some content on restaurant/cuisine recommendations for major Indian cities, specially newly opened ones.
Both these topics could be included in the "Living the Life" section.
Editor: Thanks for the suggestions. Articles on Health, and Eating Out will be featured.

Abdulrahim from Mumbai:


A meeting with Ruskin Bond

My dream of meeting the famous writer came true at his home in Landour, a quaint little ‘town' above Mussoorie. We settled down for a chat in his tiny living-room filled with books, pictures and ‘ trophies'. The writer's familiar chubby face was framed by hair that was ‘ more-salt-less-pepper' and combed neatly, like a schoolboy's. His eyes were sparkling blue, his complexion a healthy pink, and his smile ever so engaging. He replied to my queries in his deep, resonant voice.

Though nearing 80, he was willing to travel to any part of India to spread the habit of reading books among children. That explained to me his fantastic career as writer since the young age of 17 years when he wrote his first book, "The Room on the Roof."

Winner of The Sahitya Academy Award, Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, he has over 100 short stories,essays, novels, and more than 30 children's books.

I always remember and quote his simple poem, 'Raindrop'. which I would like to share with you;


This leaf, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the tree.
And this tree, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the forest.
And the forest runs down from the hill to the sea,
And the sea, so complete in itself,
Rests like a raindrop
In the hand of God.
                              - Ruskin Bond








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