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«Konkani Express January 2015 2 KONKANI EXPRESS KONKANI EXPRESS EDITION 3 Inside this issue: Message from HAAS President 2 New Committee 3 New Comm. 6 ...»

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Konkani Express

January 2015




Inside this issue:

Message from

HAAS President 2

New Committee 3

New Comm. 6


Youth Board 8


Keeping up with *SPRING*WOODLANDS The Konkanis 10 Rajasthan 12 Cooking Corner 17 Diwali 18 Moments Message from the HAAS President Hello Everyone, There is always a time to come and a time to say goodbye, As HAAS President I enjoyed every minute of planning and organising HAAS events. It gives me great pleasure in introducing our new committee along with the expanded, full fledged youth Committee. During our Diwali event one of our HAAS members asked, “ Aunty, what is the secret behind HAAS success?” I pondered over it for a few days. The more I think about it only one answer comes to my mind.

“Listen to your members”. Rule No:1—Listen to your members. Rule No: 2 – When in doubt refer to rule number 1.

With this I welcome the New Committee and wish each and everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Truly Maya Prabhu 3


Welcoming the New Committee 2015/2016:

Sunil Shenoy: President Sanat Nileshwar: Vice-president Sheetal Sashital: Co- Secretary Gurudath Kamath: Treasurer 4


Surekha Pai: Co- Secretary

Meet your HAAS 2015-2016 Committee Members:

President: Sunil G. Shenoy Sunil and his wife Sandhya live in Spring with their two children Sreesh and Sneha. Sreesh is a Senior in High School and Sneha has just started middle school. Sunil has been in the Houston area for the past 25+ years and works for a large IT Manufacturing and Services Company. Sunil has been involved with the Konkani community throughout and has been a HAAS member since its inception in 2002. Outside of work life, Sunil enjoys playing all kinds of sports, cycling, working out and traveling in addition to being involved with his kids' extra-curricular activities.

Vice-President: Sanat Nileshwar Sanat Nileshwar resides in Sugar Land with his wife Vaishali. They have two children Alika and Samir, both of who are in college. Sanat has lived in the Houston area for the past 25 years and currently works for the largest US Food Service company. Before coming to the US, Sanat grew up in Mumbai. Sanat’s interests include enjoying music, traveling and working out.

–  –  –


reside in Katy. He is a Civil/Structural Engineer by profession, working for a consultancy firm serving the oil and gas industry. They have been a part of HAAS for about six years. Before coming to Houston, Guru has been involved with Konkani organizations and brings a wealth of experience on being on a committee to organize various events. Charani was most recently the Youth coordinator for HAAS and was instrumental in starting a HAAS initiated youth activity for Upaya in her high school last year.

Co-Secretary: Sheetal Sashital Sheetal and her husband, Mahesh, moved to Houston in 2006 and have been part of HAAS since then. They have a 6 year old daughter, Sahana. Sheetal loves spending time with her family and with their family dog. She likes to run and spend time outdoors. Sheetal is very excited about being part of the committee for the next 2 years as she has always been involved with a "Konkani Association" all her life. She grew up in Hyderabad with a very close knit group of Konkani families (with whom she still keeps in touch) and hopes that Sahana experiences the same here in Houston.

Co-Secretary: Surekha Pai Surekha and her husband Sudhir have been associated with HAAS since 2003. They have one daughter Serene Mahika, who is a 2nd grader at The Kinkaid School. Sudhir works for a large Oil & Gas company and has been in Houston since the early 1990s. Surekha worked for Enron & British Gas before getting married. She came to Houston in 2004 before moving to Dubai in Dec 2005 for 3 years and London in Oct 2008 for 3 yrs. before relocating back to Houston in Jan 2011. Houston is a second home after Mumbai for Surekha and her family. Attending many functions with HAAS has been a family tradition being away from home. Surekha has joined HAAS to help and be actively involved in carrying out various traditional and cultural activities that HAAS undertakes and make it a more fun place for all families to be associated with.


KONKANI EXPRESSA Message from your HAAS 2015-2016 CommitteeNamaskaru Everyone:

If you are receiving and reading this Konkani Express newsletter, you should feel proud and privileged that you belong to a very elite close-knit group from India (or of Indian Origin) who have made it in the US and are fortunate to live a lifestyle better than a lot of people! We wanted to convey the thoughts and aspirations of the new HAAS committee and seek your support in advancing the worthwhile causes that we believe will help position Konkanis as a force to reckon with, in not only within the overall Indian community, but also in the overall community that we live in.

The HAAS mission (as also mentioned on the ourHAAS.com website) is:

 To preserve and promote our culture, tradition and deep rooted heritage.

 To pass on the values and spirit of our culture to generations after us, and  To provide an opportunity to network socially and professionally with other Amchigales.

In the structural engineering field, the basic principle is that no matter how strong the structure is, if the foundation is weak, the structure will not withstand and will crumble and collapse. This principle also applies for any family, organization, and for that matter any country. This jives closely with the core values of the HAAS organization.

As per the first mission statement, our deep rooted heritage, in other words, the foundation of our heritage should be maintained well so that our family, our culture, our tradition can be preserved.

The second mission statement is about passing the baton to the next generation which is none other than our children. Our youth are the back bone of our community. They have so much energy and spirit that they can overcome and conquer any obstacles. This is probably the single most important reason why the current committee as a group decided to run for the different positions. Everybody on the committee strongly felt the responsibility to be the liaison to ensure that the Konkani culture be maintained and transferred to the younger generation. To that extent, we are glad to let you know that we have expanded the youth coordinator position to a youth committee comprising of 3 members Ria Rao, Pooja Nayak, and Rohit Kamath who will serve as Youth President, Youth Secretary, and Youth Treasurer respectively.

–  –  –


Konkanis are known for their culinary delicacies and sumptuous dishes and we pride ourselves in enjoying those whenever and wherever we meet, be it a casual or formal get-together, religious function or just a party! While there will definitely be an intention to ensure that we provide the most appropriate food fare for the HAAS functions, we sincerely wanted to change the mindset of how we can go the extra mile to accomplish our mission statements during HAAS and non-HAAS events and activities. While a lot of us, no doubt, might have some personal philanthropic initiatives (e.g. sending money to India for temples, ashrams, and the like), we need to also start thinking what else we can do as a close-knit group living in the Greater Houston Area - for the Community-at-Large that we live in. A lot of us came from India with deep and strong rooted principles that has bode us well in the areas of frugality, finance and culture. We need to expand our thinking beyond that and start giving in earnest - be it service, money, time, support - that can make or at least start to make a difference in the lives of the people who are less fortunate. We assure you that once you get involved, you will get the contentment and satisfaction of what true giving means. We are all busy with the various day to day responsibilities as well as the plethora of activities that we immerse ourselves and our family in; so the "giving" part really takes a back seat for many of us and we truly have to put in an effort to bring it to the forefront.

The charter of the HAAS 2015-2016 Committee is to make HAAS a youth oriented organization. Konkani kids should make full use of our family organization, including the numerous volunteering opportunities it offers, and reap benefits from it as a boost for their college resume. As most of you know, HAAS is a 501 (3) (c) non-profit religious organization as defined by the IRS code. In addition to conducting the regularly scheduled HAAS functions (Shri Satya Narayana Puja, Spring Picnic, Krishna Janmashtami and Diwali), we are also planning to organize youth driven activities in the coming years. So we expect every parent to make a note of this and encourage the kids to actively participate in HAAS functions and

community events. Some of the youth-driven activities planned are:

–  –  –

Dhanyavadu and Devo Baro Karo, Your HAAS 2015-2016 Committee


–  –  –

President: Ria Rao:

Hi, everyone! My name is Ria Rao, I am a senior at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, and I am extremely honored to be a part of the HAAS Youth Committee. Throughout high school I have been a part of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organization, the Youth Development Leadership Program of Houston (YLDP) and an officer for the Robotics Team. My hobbies include dance, scrap booking, and piano & through these extra-curricular activities, I have learned valuable skills that I can bring to the table. For example, dance has taught me endurance while FBLA & YLDP have helped me gain public speaking skills. Also, this organization, like all, needs a dash of creativity and outside thinking which scrap booking and robotics have taught me. Next year, I plan to apply these skills in college where I'll be studying Engineering.

As for my goals in HAAS, I plan to follow through with the activities started by the previous Youth Coordinators as well as formulate my own. For example, the former Youth Coordinator, Charani Kamath, brought the organization Upaya to our high school where we volunteer to raise money for the less fortunate in India and invest in the businesses they hope to start up. She was first exposed to Upaya through HAAS and she created the organization at school which I am now the President of. I hope to broaden the scope of the people we inform and involve our HAAS community in Upaya fundraisers started through the school. Finally, some goals I have to get the youth more involved include new games at the picnics, community service projects, and a tutoring program where older students could mentor and help out the younger children.. I hope to implement 9

–  –  –

Secretary: Pooja Nayak My fellow HAAS members, it is with great honor that I, Pooja Nayak, am able to represent the youth of our beloved HAAS association by being the youth secretary for this next year. I am 16 years of age and the daughter of Pandurang and Jayanthi Nayak. I am looking forward to being a part of this amazing committee and i am excited to see what we can accomplish as a team to better HAAS for all of its members!

Treasurer: Rohit Kamath

–  –  –

Namita Kamath MCN, RD, LD is currently a Pediatric Clinical Dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas. She was Research coordinator at Baylor College of Medicine before joining Dietetic Intern, Masters in Clinical Nutrition Coordinated Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Her expertise includes Nutritional education, Nutritional counseling, weight Management and Diabetic Education. Junior Correspondent Ms. Neha Bhat of Katy Texas brings us this forthright interview.

1. What training is needed to become a dietitian?

Accredited education program either a bachelors or masters. Bachelors take four years while masters takes 2 more years. Usually followed by a 1 year internship program followed by the National RD Exam.

2. What are the strong points of a typical Konkani diet?

Mostly plant based and vegetarian. It is low fat with no heavy curries.

3. What are its weaknesses?

–  –  –

We should incorporate complex carbs like brown rice or par boiled rice. It is healthier and fills you up quicker and does not give a blood sugar spike. When we take seconds we should go for the upkari and avoid more rice.

5. Can we actually trick our minds to make us seem full?

Definitely. If we use a smaller plate and fill it up it will makes us seem full more quickly. And by using a smaller plate, naturally the portion sizes will become smaller.

6. How can we ward off diabetes through diet?

Portion size should be changed to smaller sizes and by adding exercise to our daily lives. It does not have to be high amounts just 15 minutes at a time is a good start. We should eat more complex carbs and less starch.

7. What are the dangers of embracing a western diet?

Portion size, high calories, deep fired food, and preservatives are some dangers.

8. How can we be healthy while using the western diet?

Eat more at home and eat out once a week as a treat. If you do need to eat out, eat smaller portions, kids’ meals, or smaller entrees. Make sure to add fruit and salads as well.

9. Do you help in formulating individual diets?

Yes. I am responsible for creating meal plans and making sure that the kids that come get the right nutrition and exercise required. I especially deal with diabetic patients. I make sure their blood sugar is under control.

I hope this is what you were hoping for. Thanking you for asking me too interview her I had a lot of fun. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

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