Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends!

–Lachman Balani

For classic rock lovers, that is a saying that is reminiscent of the iconic band Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP).

Carl Palmer, original band member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, is making sure that is the case as he tours the world with Paul Bielatowicz and Simon Fitzpatrick keeping the ELP legacy alive.

Earlier this week , Palmer , looking as fit as a fiddle, walked onto the stage at The Rose Theatre in Brampton and without further ado showed the audience the stuff he is made of with thunderous beats of his drums at lightning speed leaving the patrons awe-struck right from the start!

“Man he just came on like a bat outta hell!” exclaimed a fan.

After the death of his former band mates Keith Emerson and Greg Lake within a few a months of each other last year, Palmer has been touring hard under the banner “Emerson, Lake and Palmer lives on : Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy” . The concert consists of two totally instrumental sets of ELP’s greatest hits. Continue reading “Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends!”

Tune the Thought Channel!

Thankfulness makes us content. That’s what most customs and traditions   have us believe. Is there truth in it? Absolutely! It’s been proven scientifically that an attitude of gratitude is good for mental health. Consequently our physical health. For instance, if you try to keep a buoyant mood, even though you experience challenges – personal or professional you won’t be defeated and deflated by any of the negative issues.
Just like a TV remote which is used to change the channel you do not wish, tune your mind to switch to positive thoughts when things don’t go your way. When you think about what you are grateful for and count your blessings, you automatically feel happier.

Scientific studies have proven that grateful people display higher levels of optimism, enthusiasm and less importance for materialism. Such people are more compassionate, generous and report fewer physical symptoms.

Initially, tuning your thought channels may take practice and may take effort. Eventually, it becomes second nature. As a family, if we set aside sometime during dinner when each member can share what went well with them that day, it would be a great ritual.

It could be anything- a sale, friend’s success in school, a party, beautiful weather or whatever it maybe. Tuning it in a positive direction can be – luckily you had an umbrella with you while walking back from the grocery store and it started pouring! Now you do not complain about the lousy weather! Perhaps there was too much traffic while driving, but you had the opportunity to listen to your favorite C.D! If you are single, you could maintain a journal in which you record your positive thoughts. Continue reading “Tune the Thought Channel!”

Fish Eyes Trilogy: Teenagers Viewpoint

Written by Anita Majumdar. Directed by Brian Quirt. Until Oct. 15 at Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St. FactoryTheatre.ca

Anita Majumdar, the award winning playwright, dancer, choreographer and performer presents this coming-of-age play at the Factory Theatre, at the launch of their new season ‘Shaping Stories’. Corresponding with the back-to-school season, this Trilogy ‘Boys with Cars’, ‘Let Me Borrow That Top’ and ‘Fish Eyes’ depicts beautifully, through the eyes of three different teenage girls who attend the same school (Port Moody Senior Secondary) in small town BC.

In this fascinating story, the actor portrays the fish-out-of-water experiences of self-doubting teenagers, with an additional viewpoint of a student from a different ethnic background. The generation gap between the older people and the second generation is beautifully dealt with, by the multi-talented artiste.

The play, which although humorous, speaks to serious issues regarding racism and multiculturalism, and the advancement we’ve made in discussing these sensitive issues.

Boys with Cars is about sexual violence, blaming the victim, the young girl Naz. The naïve, love-lorn girl is misunderstood by the object of her admiration. In Let Me Borrow That Top,  a blue-eyed blonde, who’s interested in Indian dancing  gives  makeup tutorial to her Youtube subscribers. In Fish Eyes, Meenakshi, a student training in traditional Indian dance aspires for teenage freedom and  a boyfriend. Her dance teacher or ‘Aunty’ has her own take on these topics! Continue reading “Fish Eyes Trilogy: Teenagers Viewpoint”

Royals and Rockstars honor Invictus Heroes at Closing Ceremony!

Last night, the Invictus Games capped off a weeklong event of sports competition at a closing ceremony in Air Canada Centre. The ceremony celebrated war-wounded athletes’ successes and passed the torch to the 2018 hosts from Sydney, Australia. The two-hour show brought out two famed rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams together on stage for the first time ever.

Prince Harry presented a participation medal to the captain of each team after the 17 country parade of nations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau delivered a warm message saying “These Invictus Games are a celebration of your fearlessness,” she said.

Video screens across the theatre displayed highlights from the week and musical performances by Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Coeur de pirate, Kelly Clarkson and Bachman & Turner were interwoven between speeches.

United Kingdom’s Mark Ormrod was the winner of the Jaguar Award for exceptional performance, determination and dedication. Team Afghanistan won the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for sportsmanship, commitment and spirit.

Ontario’s Premiere Kathleen Wynne also thanked the volunteers and introduced the flag handover segment as Invictus Games Foundation chair Sir Keith Mills passed the flag to the Australian delegation. Continue reading “Royals and Rockstars honor Invictus Heroes at Closing Ceremony!”

Invictus Games 2017 Opening Ceremony: Fusion of Salutations and Celebrations!

Toronto’s glittering culture and its talent for visually striking performance powered the Opening Ceremony of Invictus Games last night, at Air Canada Centre. Organizers unleashed parades, bands, drums, singers and dancers in a display aimed to delight a worldwide audience.

Prince Harry, the founder of the games was present at the spectacular ceremony   to initiate the proceedings and mark the official opening. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was the first speaker, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Melania Trump joined him at the festivities.

The evening was abounding with inspiring speeches and entertainment, starting with Luca “Lazy Legs” Patuelli, a Montreal break dancing performer with arthrogryposis, a neuromuscular disease that affects the use of his legs.

The show   kicked-off with a parade that celebrated the arrival of more than 500 athletes from 17 countries in the stadium.  In the Parade of Nations, where the athletes walk through the stadium, the delegations were announced in alphabetical order and the Canadian Team, led by flag-bearer Phil Badanai made a grand debut amidst loud cheers at the end.

Mike Myers, a Canadian comedian and Ambassador for the Games said “he was Brit by birth, American by God’s Grace and Canadian by divine intervention.” He spoke about his military family as both parents served in the Second World War. Rick Hansen and Captain Trevor Greene also gave emotional, awe-inspiring speeches. Continue reading “Invictus Games 2017 Opening Ceremony: Fusion of Salutations and Celebrations!”

Charming Cleveland: Clan, Culture & Cuyahoga!

 Are you gone again this weekend? To Cleveland? Exactly!

That’s been a ritual for the past decade or so. It’s more of a family visit than a getaway. This city, which used to be known as urban decay for the longest time is actually a haven of culture and cuisine. And close enough to Toronto for a quick drive, a short trip.

Our visits to this city-even though not a dream vacation- always ends up being a lot of fun(not to mention our loving family!). The road trips, when we go practically tech-free are a perfect time for catching up with our teen-adult kids.  We don’t need two-dimensional images to be happy. We could talk.  The route is very simple, we all know it like the back of our hand.

Our car would be packed with samosas, sandwiches, water and all kinds of snacks   from the Indian grocery store. Even with years of   experience, we of the opinion that there is no food available off I-90. That doesn’t prevent us from taking a mandatory break at Angola.

It’s a highway, after all, and despite being lined with beautiful trees and rolling green fields. When you’re surrounded by a storybook landscape, a road trip doesn’t feel like one. The drive is always fun as we go through New York and Pennsylvania to reach Ohio.

The word Cleveland may conjure up images of derelict factories and shuttered steel mills, rather than a   delightful break. But this city formerly key notch in America’s Rust Belt, has come a long way back from industrial oblivion. It is now a city with attractions, culture and cuisine. Continue reading “Charming Cleveland: Clan, Culture & Cuyahoga!”

Love for life and learning from it is a beautiful reality!

-Rima Das, Film Director ‘Village Rockstars’

Rima Das’ Assamese film, Village Rockstars had its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2017  on September 8th. It  is the only Indian film to be screened in the competition section, DISCOVERY, which features directors from across the world to watch out for.

The movie is about a girl, Dhunu, who has grown up in deprivation. She learns to fend for herself in the hostile surroundings while nurturing her dream to own a guitar  for her tiny band of village Rockstars someday.  She and the gangs of boys want to form a rock band. But later the boys slowly stop perusing their dream, whereas Dhunu continues dreaming to own a guitar. Her faith becomes strong when she reads about law of attraction in a newspaper article. Her unconventional and nonconformist mother raises her with steadfast determination, giving her full freedom of expression and encouraging her to fulfill her dreams. Continue reading “Love for life and learning from it is a beautiful reality!”

‘Miami’ is filled with colors and glitter, dramatic turns and great music

International Premiere @ tiff’17

ANGELA (29) blows into a small town in the Finnish country side, dazzling the locals with her exotic dancer troupe, sequined swirls and mega-watt smile. After a nasty encounter backstage she leaves town just as fast, only now with her estranged half-sister Anna (21) in tow.

AFTER SOME INITIAL HESITATION, Anna embraces exotic dancing and life on the road. She even steps up to the

plate when thugs follow Angela around to collect a large debt. Having started as a drama, MIAMI shifts into higher gear as a thriller-driven road movie.

SEDUCED BY Angela’s way of life, believing in daydreams and last-minute bailouts, Anna devises an ambitious and dangerous black mail scheme to help her out. The journey brings the sisters together and they make up for the lost years.

HOWEVER THE DARKNESS that Angela’s troubles arise from is too deep to handle for Anna, who is just starting to

find herself as an adult. She’s trying to protect Angela with the little bit of maturity that she just found, but none of the bubbly champagne and sequined costumes can save her now. The sisterhood has become a complex mine field in which Anna can either find – or lose – herself. Continue reading “‘Miami’ is filled with colors and glitter, dramatic turns and great music”

Children, in their innocence, can find beauty in the world despite facing great odds–Juraj Lehtosky

Interview with the Director of NINA, World Premiere at TIFF’17

Nina is 12. Her parents are getting a divorce and her world is falling apart before her eyes. Her mom and dad say they are only doing what is best for her, but in fact, they act as though they only cared for themselves. Nina doesn’t understand them. She feels abandoned and deceived. It’s like there is nothing left in the world that she could

believe in. Her only remaining security in life is competitive swimming. At the pool she finds calm and support and everything else she lacks at home. When it looks like she won’t be able to attend a swimming competition, she makes a radical move.

Presenting an interview with the director, Juraj Lehtosky:

How did you pick the main protagonists?

We discovered Bibiana Nováková at the auditions, which was surprising. Usually at auditions you get children who really want to act and they act like it, or you get parents who want their children to act. Only seldom do you

get children who are so mature. It’s very rare, finding a young talent like her. Bibiana had been in a drama club in school, but that wasn’t important for us. Continue reading “Children, in their innocence, can find beauty in the world despite facing great odds–Juraj Lehtosky”

Culinary Journey: Joys of Curry

Is all Indian food curried? Yes, No, Maybe so!

Indians today have relocated to every nook and corner of the earth. Restaurateurs’ have followed suit. Aren’t we glad??!! No matter where you travel to, you can find an establishment serving naan and daal, thanks to enterprising Punjabis who have influenced cooking in a major way. Similarly, the caterers of South India have given many parts of the globe a taste of idlis and dosas.

Obviously, cross-fertilization between cuisines takes place and innovative chefs come up with new recipes to the delight of foodies! As with all cuisines, easy availability of local produce forms the base for use of various ingredients in cooking. Similarly, preferences of the palate differ between communities which influence cuisine. But the bottom line is the ‘masala’ or the ‘curry’ is what adds flavors to Indian cuisines. Even in pizzas, pastas and such!

An authentic Indian curry is a combination of onion, garlic, ginger and spices, seasonings. Turmeric, cloves and cardamoms. Coconut in the Southern delicacies.  Not all Indian food is spicy and salty. We’re major on sweets (Bengali ones are extremely popular) and a lot of these are made with jiggery, milk and ghee. Watch your calorie intake as you consume those! Side dishes and condiments like chutneys ad pickles add to the texture of a meal and provide balance. Continue reading “Culinary Journey: Joys of Curry”