Saturday, December 1, 2012

SENZ°: The Storm Umbrella which beats 70 mph winds

Courtesy: MailOnline, Daily Mail
Tired of umbrellas which blow inside-out, break, poke you in the eye or catch your fingers in the springs?

This is precisely what Dutch designer, Gerwin Hoogendoorn's countered with the creation of his award-winning, aerodynamic SENZ° umbrella. 

This design sensation is sturdy yet light, and redefines storm protection by effortlessly withstanding winds up to 70 mph without inverting, and instead, gravitates to put itself in the best position in the wind! (Watch Video Below)

The umbrella has a sleek, wing like canopy with a trailing edge, designed to maximize protection, reduce drag and keep rain off your back .

The short side is meant to face the wind and also features Eye Savers, a solid connection between the canopy and the frame, designed with the front slanted down to protect your eyes from any possible harm. The tips on the canopy are also flat and rounded to aid in minimizing injury from accidental pokes.

A foamed, rubberized handle keeps your grip from slipping. The umbrella does not pop open like traditional styles, instead, SENZ° gives users full control by allowing them to pull the opening mechanism down. A push button on the handle, closes the umbrella.

Storms aside, the protection extends to all seasons, and the umbrellas are offered in trendy colors and patterns, and also comes in a XL size for taller people. Three foldable pocket size umbrellas are also offered. 

Kid friendly you ask? With a little bit of initial instruction on handling, children should not have problems using the SENZ° umbrella.

Warranties range from 12 months or 2 years based on the style. The company has a customer friendly approach to returns. There is no need to return a problematic umbrella, instead, just take a picture during the warranty period and save your old one for spare parts.

SENZ° storm umbrellas are offered world wide. Please visit their web shop for purchase or contact customer service. Amazon has great prices on this product as well.

Winner of the 2007 Red Dot design award, along with other major design awards, SENZ° is the perfect umbrella for the perfect storm. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Press Release 1st Southern California Ms. India on November 18, 2012

Press Release by: Dilip Butani

After many of its successful endeavors in fashion shows and beauty pageants all over the world Shekhar Rahate and Finesse events & films, Hollywood, are pleased to highlight the 1st Annual Miss India California, 2012; a talent & beauty Pageant, to be held on Sunday, November 18th 2012 at 6 PM at the William and Jane Bristol Civic Auditorium, 16600 Civic Center Dr. Bellflower, CA 90706.

Shekhar Rahate
This event will be covered & broadcast by Sahara One Television. The team putting up this show includes Vijay Patil, Dilip Butani, Ramesh Ramnani, Mike Raja and Sunil Narkar.

The Miss India Southern California 2012 Beauty Pageant is intended to provide entertainment and enlightenment about Indian arts and culture to the audience; benefits and opportunities for the contestants; and an annual event for the participation of the Indian Community in Southern California. The goal is to promote the glorious Indian culture and performing arts development and enhance awareness of our arts, customs, performing arts, culture, philosophies and history through this Miss India Southern California 2012 Beauty Pageant.

In an exclusive interview, Shekhar mentioned that we are affiliated with the Miss India Worldwide Pageant. The winner of the Miss India Southern California 2012 Pageant will get tremendous media exposure and the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Southern California in the forthcoming Miss India USA 2012 pageant to be held on Sunday, December 2, 2012 in New Jersey, USA and the winner of Miss India USA 2012 beauty pageant will participate in the internationally established Miss India Worldwide Pageant to be held on Saturday April 27th, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Per rules, the contestants in the pageant should be of Indian origin, between the ages of 17 and 27, never married, and are citizens, residents, or born in USA or at least have 1 parent of Indian decent. The pageant consists of five segments - Indian Sari, western gown, Modern Indian, Talent and a Question & Answer session. For registration the contestants have to log on to missindiasocal.com. Dance performances are by Varsha Parikh group, and fashion show is by Divine Ray officially couture by Maneka and Shekhar Rahate. Outfits for the pageant will be provided by ‘Fashion By Rohini Bedi’.

The director and choreographer of the show is award winning fashion designer Shekhar Rahate. Shekhar was honored & awarded as Fashion Couturier of the Year 2012 for his outstanding achievements in fashion, in the presence of Los Angeles Sheriff Leroy Baca on Saturday, April 28th 2012 at Los Angeles Convention Center organized by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Indo American Advisory Council. Shekhar was also honored & awarded Versaface Fashion Award for Global Excellence in Fashion, in the presence of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Sunday September 9th, 2012 at Beverly Hilton Hotel organized by US Asia Business Forum.

Other prestigious award received by Shekhar include ‘The Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Medal 2012’ at House Of  Lords, London, UK on October 12th , 2012 for his Outstanding Services & Achievements and Role Of Global Indians In International Arena organized by NRI Welfare Society Of India.

This pageant will be as big and as successful as other pageants and fashion shows that Finesse events & films have produced in the past. 

Giving more details about the pageant, Shekhar mentioned that ‘Miss India Worldwide Pageant’ is produced by the IFC, an organization established in 1974 and based in New York City. The IFC is a pioneer organization in conducting Indian pageants and fashion shows in the USA and worldwide. The committee has also been conducting the Miss India New York and the Miss India USA Pageants annually since 1980. In 1990, Mr. Dharmatma Saran, Chairman and Founder of the IFC, decided to take the pageant one step further to an international level and started The First Miss India Worldwide Pageant.

For the first time ever, Asian-Indian communities from all over the world came together in New York for this event. The pageant was an instant success and was acclaimed as 'the most glamorous Indian function in the world." To the best of our knowledge, no other ethnic organization has ever conducted a pageant of this magnitude on an international level. In line with other prestigious international pageants, we have also started staging Miss India Worldwide in various parts of the world. In 1997, the pageant was organized in Bombay to salute India on its 50th anniversary of independence. In the year 1998, the pageant was organized, in association with UTV International, in the exotic and beautiful city of Singapore.

The IFC selects distinguished local organizations in various parts of the world and authorize them to conduct national pageants in their respective countries. At this time IFC have affiliates in over twenty-five countries.  New Jersey was the venue of the 1999 Miss India Worldwide and the sunshine state, Florida, hosted the pageant in the year 2000. The 2001 pageant was held in the Silicon Valley in San Jose, California.

The contestants in all the pageants are of Indian origin, between the ages of 17 and 25, never married, and are citizens, residents, or born in the country which they represent. The pageant consists of four segments - Evening Gown, Indian Dress, Talent and Question-Answer. The winners of all the various national pageants from all over the world vie for the glamorous and prestigious title of the Miss India Worldwide.

The IFC motivates and guides its winners and contestants to take up charitable causes. Many of our past winners have raised substantial funds for various charities, especially for handicapped children. The name Miss India Worldwide was registered under the trademark act of USA and has been granted Trade Mark by the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks of the United States Government.

Please visit http://www.missindianorcal.com/misc/tickets/index.php for ticket information.

Suggested Article: Priyadarshini Roy Crowned Miss India Southern California 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Indian Classical Music Festival in Los Angeles

In an era of head banging Bollywood remixes the profound, transcendental nuances offered by Hindustani classical music can never fade away. Audiences eager to experience the doyens of Indian classical music will not be disappointed with the upcoming and one of a kind all day festival entitled Raga Spirit 2012.

Film maker Gita Desai who won acclaim for her comprehensive documentaries Raga Unveiled and Yoga Unveiled along with Irvine based Ektaa Center’s President and Executive Director Harish Murthy are fusing arts with academia as they unify their efforts with the support of the Department of Ethnomusicology within the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA).

Pandit Vijay Kichlu
Honorary coordinator Pt.Vijay Kichlu who has committed his life to preserving the traditions of classical music will inaugurate the festival. Now in his 80s, Kichlu is traveling a great distance to simply support the purist ideology and “love for an authentic cause” he shares with Desai.

The first presentation of the morning begins with Thumri Ki Kahani, a lecture-demonstration symposium by Kichlu who will guide the audience through the style’s romantic and evolutionary journey. In terms of classical vocal forms, thumri has been labeled as semi-classical by orthodox followers of classical styles, as the beauty of the composition often overrides the mechanic perfection of ragas.

Kichlu will also present rare recordings of the earliest thumri composers and the “greatest thumri performances.” He serves as executive director of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, a classical music academy that possesses a rich and priceless collection of music in its archives built up over half a century.

With ease and grace, Kichlu has laced together the presentation of two gharanas of thumri called Poorab Ang and Punjab Ang. Live recitals of the different schools will be contrasted and interspersed during the lecture which will be presented by accomplished vocalists Sanjukta Biswas and Shantanu Bhattacharyya who are accompanied by Durba Bhattacharyya (harmonium).

Aruna Sairam
Each session’s design and musician selection by Kichlu is likened by Desai as a work of art “where every flower grows in the right place, with lots of love and humor.” Kichlu afforded the same reverence for each performer he personally selected with Desai’s consultation, categorizing them as the “finest that our country has.”

In the afternoon session, an array of instruments and vocal choices representing Hindustani styles are synthesized with tabla artists Samar Saha and Calcutta’s Arup Chatterjee, Durba Bhattacharyya (harmonium) and Debashish Bath (slide guitar).

The evening performances feature a juglabandi duet with Tejendra Majumdar (sarod) and Kushal Das (sitar) and Subhanker Banerjee (tabla). Karnatik vocalist Aruna Sairam will be accompanied by H.N. Bhaskar (violin) and Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam).

The evening will end with vocalist brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra and their accompanists.
Rajan & Sajan Mishra

Thoughts on the state of Indian classical music were expanded by Kichlu, who called it a “marvelous blend of academics, science and artistry.” He is wary of modern tendencies in music that seeks thrill and excitement created by skill. “Our music is not skill only, it has a deep academic background we call it Raga music, which is not just a scale, it is rules, melodic notes, and the artist’s inner condition.”

On the idea for the festival, Desai was partly inspired by the total immersion festivals people experience in India which are “common in Indian pockets such as Madras and Calcutta and often stretch as long as 10 days.”

Attendees “soak themselves till late night as the festivals begin with new comers and end with the very best.” Such an experience is like a “yatra and pilgrimage of the arts” says Desai.

Murthy, who is also keen on establishing the festival as a tradition in Los Angeles understands the complexities, “this is an introductory effort in Los Angeles, and we must take into consideration, the audience here.”

Murthy encourages lovers of world and Indian music to come and enjoy “the finest exposition of Indian classical music, vocal and instrumental where one can garner awareness and understanding of the different styles and genres of Indian music.”

Saturday October 20. 9:30 A.M. – 12:30 A.M. Ucla Schoenberg Hall, 445 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles. Tickets: All Day Concert Series Passes: $60-$125, Individual Concerts: $15-$35.Www.Ragaspirit. Com, ektaacenter.Org.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yoga Gives Back

10 Children supported by YGB
Just $25 can buy a Justin Bieber “Boyfriend” t-shirt for the average American, but for India’s destitute, the very amount is a path to transformation from poverty to hope manifested through collateral free micro-credit programs and education funds initiated by an unexpected source, the Los Angeles based organization Yoga Gives Back (YGB).

YGB will hold its second global event called “Thank You Mother India,” which is a call to action within the universal yoga community to repay India for affording the ancient gift of yoga to millions world-wide. Spearheaded by founder Kayoko Mitsumatsu in 2007, the organization realized the potential of the six billion dollars per year yoga industry, to help the poorest people in the world.

Mitsumatsu and her small troop of volunteers diligently worked to assemble nearly 100 yoga studios in 14 countries including Belgium, Portugal, Singapore and others to host a special class this September. Mitsumatsu’s credo “for the cost of one yoga class you can change a life,” resonated through grass-root ambassadors or teachers from various yoga studios. The ambassadors will offer the proceeds from the donation sessions to YGB which works with local NGO partners in India to fund struggling women with little access to capital.

Kayoko Mitsumatsu
Women are the bulk recipients for such micro loans as YGB research shows that they “are more likely to use the profits from their businesses, not just to feed their families, but to improve their families’ nutrition and living conditions, as well as to send their children to school thereby giving the next generation a much better chance to climb out of poverty.”

YGB’s inspiration is drawn from Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus’ revolutionary micro financing breakthrough in Bangladesh. YGB began by supporting micro-loan programs in India and partnered with the Grameen Foundation USA.

By 2010, in addition to supporting the Grameen Foundation, YGB sought to build direct relationships with its fund recipients, and developed a direct funding program called “Sister Aid” with NISHTHA in West Bengal and Deenabandhu in Karnataka which provide educational, vocational training and micro-credit programs to help ailing women and children in India build sustainable lives.

Mitsumatsu recalled her visits with one such recipient named Jayshree in Bangalore, who lived in a one room house with her husband Ramo and two children. Jayshree recently qualified for her fourth loan for Rs. 30,000 (About $550) from YGB affiliates, after successful repayments of her prior loans. The current loan will be fully utilized to pay for medical school for her eldest son who dreams of becoming a dentist.

Back in 2007, Ramo’s rented rickshaw barely provided food for the family. After Jayshree’s discovery of micro-loans through neighbors, she received Rs. 7,000 Which funded the rickshaw business and tripled their income. Jayshree paid back her initial loan in one year and doubled her second loan amount to purchase a sewing machine to make custom bags for clients. With a third loan Jayshree expanded her business to include a snack shop from which she continued her ongoing sewing business.

The average funding commitment is for 5 years and $25 is the usual loan amount to start a business for many recipients, which according to Mitsumatsu has ushered a positive impact in many recipients’ lives. Last year’s fund raiser raised $27,000 with 50 studios participating from 10 countries and resulted in “doubling the number of our fund recipients in India, which is now funding 103 women and children” adds to Mitsumatsu. As an example, Mitsumatsu explained nishtha is now funding 44 mothers with micro loans and 44 daughters with education funds so that they can remain in school.

By the second year, out of the 44 women, 22 women who received the loan in 2011 have reported an income increase of 400% on average. Nearly half of the daughters have remained in school to date. Loan repayments increase chances of new future loans and YGB affiliates are reporting a high success rate of roughly 90% and above in loan payback rates.

This year’s Indian themed fundraiser is geared to raise awareness within the Indian community as well as the local yoga community and aims to raise at least $50,000.

The event will take place at philanthropist Dr. Amarjit Marwah’s 14 acre ranch in Malibu. The evening’s entertainment will feature Kirtan music and Odissi dances by Sharanya Mukhopadhyay and her dance group, dinner, a silent auction, guest speeches and video presentations.

Top yoga celebrity and Mitsumatsu’s trainer and YGB ambassador Jorgen Christiansson who taught Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting will be in attendance amongst other yoga celebrities and guests.N

Saturday, September 29. 6 P.M.-10 P.M. Pre-buy tickets through www.Yogagivesback.Org/tymi.