Thursday, August 20, 2020

Democratic National Convention - 2020 Highlights

National Anthem


Her Dad's pre-existing condition was believing in Trump

50 State Roll Call for the Nomination

Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy 80th Birthday, Dearest Grandpa

Loving messages from Family & Friends - Grandpa's 80th Birthday Celebratiions

Zoom Celebration - Pictures from 80th Birthday celebrations

Washington Senator Manka Dhingra greets on 80th Birthday

Thank you so much, Senator Manka Dhingra. We all really appreciate your affection and message on Dad's 80th Birthday. Thank you for representing Washingtonians in the Senate so well.

80th Birthday Celebrations

Dear Family & Friends,
Hearty thanks for celebrating 80th Birthday of Grandpa Somayya Kasani with all of us. Grandpa and we all felt we were in the midst of you. We loved all the messages, poems, best wishes, greetings and video messages that we received. They are very loving, kind messages based on Grandpa's life and friendship with you. Grandpa and we all will cherish them forever.
Meeting over Zoom is new to many of us. Our celebration included family & friends joining from 15+ cities and villages globally including Grandpa's birth place Devaruppala, India. Our world is truly a small village now.

Short video about Grandpa:

Messages received for Grandpa:

Zoom celebration pictures (thanks Dear friends for capturing these and sharing):

Vikram, Vinod, Pragathi, Prabhat


Happy Birthday, Somayya! Now you have joined the ranks of octogenarians like me! Somayya Kasani is one of the best friends I have ever had.  Somayya possesses some very outstanding qualities that I and others admire in him. First, he is a very affable fellow, friendly to everyone and willing to make contact with new people. Secondly, he’s extremely loyal to his friends and loves his wife, children, and grandchildren dearly. He is always talking about his grandchildren, sending them photos he has taken and giving them advice. Third, he is very inquisitive, always wanting to learn more about any possible subject whether it be politics, other cultures and customs, philosophy, religion, among many others things. When he first came to Edmonton, he went back to school to learn about Canadian society how to use as computer, keeping a I-Pad with him at all times.

I first met Somayya at a NDP political meeting around 2006 in South Edmonton. Somayya and his wife, Vijayalakshmi, came to Canada in 2000 from India, sponsored by their three children. He is only about a month younger in age  than me, so the two of us were going to celebrate a double 80 birthday sometime in June, except that the coronavirus got in the way. Somayya and his wife are snowbirds who spend the winter in United States, visiting their children, their spouses and their grandchildren and usually returning to Edmonton in spring to enjoy some of the amazing activities going on. He and his wife recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary in early May, 2020. I now thank him for sending me a 80th birthday gift. I really appreciate the thought.

Like me, Somayya is a former teacher and enjoys his retirement in a variety of ways. Once he returns to Edmonton in spring, he and I are involved together in many activities. Our most popular meeting place is Tim Hortons Doughnuts, with shops, sprinkled throughout this growing and progressive city. Our favorite one is on 23th Avenue and Rabbit Hill Road near his home. Here we drink coffee and discuss a variety of topics including politics, religion, culture, and philosophy. Somayya always carries his handy I-Pad to take pictures of friends, other people and sights, often walking up to other tables, introducing himself, talking to other people, and, of course, snapping pictures. This demonstrates two of his unique qualities: his friendliness and his inquisitive nature, showing his desire to learn more about people and society. In his search for knowledge, Somayya often turns to  the Internet and copies quotations of famous people from Aristotle to Einstein, which he sends out on Facebook to family and friends so they can comment on them. This shows his desire to continue to learn about life through the ideas of others.

We also have a coffee club that meets at McDonalds on 23rd Avenue every few weeks, where we spend hours sipping coffee, eating pastries and discussing the topics of the day. That club consist of four members, Somayya, Charan, Cynthia and me, but is open to all comers if they would like to join. COVID-19, has put a damper on these visits,and now even the libraries and museums are temporarily closed.

Once I moved to Edmonton in 2003, I began to attend the various festivals.  After I met Somayya, we began to go together to as many activities as possible. Edmonton is Festival City during the summer, but unfortunately most of the festivals have been cancelled this year, and I’m not sure if he will be able to make it back this year. So this a reminder to you, Somayya, of what we have been doing and would be doing this summer if not for COVID-19. Imagine!

The Heritage Festival, held on the long-weekend at the beginning of August, is a multicultural event, consisting of booths sponsored by the over 70 ethnic communities in Edmonton. The groups set up individual tents to display their culture, sell a few hand-crafted goods, and particularly sell delicious foods from their ethnic cuisine. Also, each group might have a stage out front where dancers, singers and actors performed to the large audiences. It was an enjoyable experience, but there usually were a couple of problems. You could purchase food tickets, but to fully appreciate the choices available, you had to walk round along Hawrelak Park, and let the delicious sights and smells of the foods sink in to make your decision.

During the last few years (2010-3019) I went early with my friend, Somayya. We left our homes at 9 am, caught the LRT at Heritage Centre and took it to the University where we caught an express bus to Hawrelak Park, on Edmonton’s Southside. We arrived around ten just as they were opening up. We might drop off some donated food in the large bin at the entrance. Once inside, we walked to a ticket booth and purchased food tickets.

Then we started our journey. As we visited the various booths, Somayya was armed with his I-Pad camera and constantly took photos, which he sent on Facebook to relatives and friends. The whole trip from tent 1 to 75 usually took a couple of hours, as we spent time inside the tents to view the historical and cultural displays. Somayya would take pictures of us, the participants in ethnic dress and the various  displays as well as sometimes purchasing the hand-crafted products that each group had for sale. The  huge Chinese dragon was one of his favorite shots as well as the Russian and Indian dancers.  Also, the hats. Somayya favored  the Mexican sombero. Somayya liked to try one on and then get someone to snap a picture of him. We bought food and drinks along the way, but when we reached the end and started our long journey back, I had to stop at various tents, after I decided what I wanted.  Somayya wanted to reach the Indian tent, which was usually near the far end  of the grounds and take pictures of people he knew there. After that, I wanted to go back and buy some food, perhaps at the Taiwan, Italian, Caribbean, German, or Welsh booths. After another hour, we were exhausted, hot, and ready to leave as the crowds grew larger. As the line-ups got huge, the waiting time for food increased. Or we could go  to the park area with trees, grass, and flowers and sit down either on the benches, chairs or grass to rest awhile.
All in all, we had a very good time, refreshed ourselves with water, pop and  Italian ice cream, before strolling back to the buses to return home.

Somayya and I also attended The Taste of Edmonton,  usually at City Centre Square, where different restaurants sold some of their favorite dishes, whether it was onion cakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, deep fried shrimp inside a tasty batter or various steak or chicken dishes.

Another big event we visited was Cariwest, which celebrated Caribbean culture. We always went early on Saturday morning by LRT, meeting under the “Globe”,  grabbed two cups of Tim Horton’s coffee at the shop on 108 St. and Jasper and then watched the colorful parade. It always started late, but there were so many participants, large trucks with West Indian bands playing, and, of course, the costumed competitors from the night before. Armed with his camera, Somayya  ventured into the parade, getting amid the marchers and snapping pictures of them. Then we would go to the grounds at Churchill Square and buy some jerk chicken or some other spicy Caribbean delicacies and drinks. One time, my friend, Ann, who was originally from Trinidad-Tobago, won the prize as the Queen of the Carnival for her wonderful, special costume, so we had to get some pictures of her.

Next to Whyte Avenue. Edmonton puts on the second largest Fringe Festival of theatre productions in the world after the famous Edinburgh’s Fringe, with close to 200 plays,  and with street performers such as jugglers, clowns, stilt people, and musicians. Also more food booths!

We also attended the famous K-Day Parade in the middle of July, at the start of a ten-day celebration, followed by a carnival, exhibition displays, various artists, and even dragon boat races. We always watched the downtown parade and a couple of times passed out leaflets for Daughters’ Day in early September.

Daughters’ Day is a special annual celebration in Edmonton, sponsored by several ethnic communities in honour of women and girls for their achievements in life. The organization is dedicated to advancing human dignity and gender equality. Several women are selected as Daughters of the Year. The celebration is held at City Hall with speeches by community leaders and politicians. Then the Daughters of the Year are presented and given awards for their contributions towards society. Entertainment with singers and dancers follows, along with plenty of refreshments, most of it East Indian food. Both Somayya and I have played an active part, attending meetings, setting up chairs and tables, and working at the booths, handing out pamphlets and selling T-Shirts. He’s always willing to help out. As usual he is also armed with his ever-present camera.

Another activity that Somayya and I were involved in was politics. I am a long-time New Democratic supporter, while Somayya  joined the New Democrats in 2006 thanks to a mutual friend, Bohdan, also a long-time member and professor at the U of A. Since then, Somayya had been very active attending meetings, serving on the executives of two ridings, taking part in party rallies and marching for societal changes for the better. The NDP has been dedicated to social justice and was the leader in developing Public Medicare in Canada. He campaigned in several key elections by knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets, attending meetings, and joining rallies on street corners or near public buildings like the Terwillegar Rec Centre.  In 2015,  our candidates, Richard Feehan and Bob Turner  won in their constituencies and our leader, Rachel Notley, became Premier of Alberta. This shows another great side to Somayya, his dedication to social justice and his desire to improve the lives of others.

If there was an activity, Somayya was sure to attend. Rachel put on a good pancake breakfast in her riding in conjunction with an art show, so there we were, eating pancakes and sausages, with wonderful Canadian Maple Syrup on top, and taking pictures of our fellow supporters and the artists with samples of their work in their private tents.

We also attended the pancake breakfast on Canada Day, July 1, on the grounds of the Provincial Legislature, and Somayya was , of course, taking pictures  of our politicians who were serving out the food. Somayya was our constitutuency’s official photographer, so if we needed a picture, we could count on him. It was a great time, and I know you enjoyed it, Somayya!  He always checked with me during the week to see what activities we would have to go to, so he kept me on my toes.

One of our favorite activities was going  together to political conventions. We went to several in Edmonton, one in Red Deer and two in Calgary. The first one in Calgary, Somayya had recently joined the party. I went down with a group of people and Somayya caught up to us, going by bus. We had a great time listening to the speeches, going to the party afterwards, and enjoying a great banquet on  Saturday. When asked to choose a hotel room partner, Somayya chose to stay in my hotel room those two nights, but  in his excitement, woke up earlier than usual, well before any activities began, including breakfast in the restaurant!
Somayya is a great friend who  keeps in contact, always encouraging me  to write, which I have done,  currently writing my autobiography as well as many articles, particularly during the last few lockdown months.

Somayya and I also visit the various markets in town, one in the theatre district off Whyte Avenue and another in Terwillegar. Here, we have met our local MLA’s, talked to them, and enjoyed free ice cream!

Two physical activities that Somayya is engaged in on his own is walking constantly amd swimming to keep healthy.

When you return, Somayya, we will have to plan some more trips such as to the Royal Alberta Museum, the Edmonton Zoo,  the Space Science Centre and  another trip to Fort Edmonton (next year as it is currently under renovation).

I appreciate your friendship greatly, Somayya, hope you and your wife and family are doing well. Have a joyous and marvellous 80th Birthday. Enjoy the cake, food and speeches while being surrounded by your loving family and friends. I am definitely one of them.

Robert Price

Friday, April 24, 2020

📚 You can tell Someone LOVES reading books 📚

Remember brighter tomorrows are always near.

Never stop caring about the little things in life.
Never stop dreaming, and don’t give into strife.
Never stop wondering are we on our own.
Never stop thinking has your spirituality grown.

Never stop building bridges that lead to better tomorrows.
Never stop trying, and don’t give into sorrow.
Never stop feeling amazed at the beauty that surrounds you.
Never stop hearing the music, and don’t give into the blues.

Never stop pushing away negative thoughts that make you feel sad.
Never stop looking at all the miracles we have had.
Never stop loving the ones you hold dear.
Never stop giving, and don’t give into the fear.

Never stop smiling, but look forward to each new day.
Never stop shining in your own special way.
Never forget that all storms will clear.

Remember brighter tomorrows are always near.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

కాసాని నారాయణ

           “ఆంధ్రవూపదేశ్‌కు చెందిన ప్రముఖ రాజకీయ నాయకుల్లో కాసాని నారాయణ కూడా ఒకరు. ఆయన స్వాతంత్య్ర సమరయోధుడు. పధ్నాలుగేళ్లకే సాయుధ పోరాటంలో పాల్గొన్న వీరుడు. నిజాం పాలనకు వ్యతిరేకంగా పోరాటం జరిపిన ఉడుకురక్తం ఆయన. ఉత్తేజ పరుచగల వక్త కూడా. వరంగల్ జిల్లాలోని దేవరుప్పుల గ్రామం ఆయనది. సాధారణ రైతు కుటుంబంలో పుట్టినవాడే. అప్పట్లో ఆ ఊళ్లో చదువుకున్న అతి తక్కువ మందిలో నారాయణ తండ్రి రామయ్య ఒకరు. అందుకే నారాయణ కూడా ఐదో తరగతి దాకా చదువుకోగలిగాడు. చురుకుగా ఉండేవాడు. ఎంతోమంది గొప్పవాళ్ల ప్రబోధాలు, ప్రసంగాల వల్ల ఉత్తేజితుడైన నారాయణ నిజాం పాలనపై వ్యతిరేకత పెంచుకున్నాడు. అప్పటి పరిస్థితుల్లో ఆంధ్రమహా సభ, కమ్యూనిస్టు పార్టీలో కీలక కార్యకర్తగా మారాడు. జనాన్ని పోగు చేయడం ఒక పనిగా పెట్టుకున్నాడు. 1946లో రజాకార్లు నారాయణ గ్రామంపై దాడిచేసి 440 మందిని అరెస్టు చేసి చెంచల్‌గూడ జైళ్లో నిర్భందించారు. ఆ సమయంలో నాలుగు నెలలు జైలు శిక్ష అనుభవించాడు నారాయణ.

అప్పటికి ఆయన వయసు పందొమ్మిది సంవత్సరాలు. నిజాం పాలనలో ఉరిశిక్ష పడ్డప్పుడు అవకాశం ఉన్నా క్షమాభిక్ష అడగటానికి కూడా ఒప్పుకోలేదు ఆయన. కమ్యూనిస్టు పార్టీ ఆదేశంతో నిజాం పాలనకు వ్యతిరేకంగా నారాయణ చేస్తున్న కార్యక్షికమాలు పెరగడం వల్ల అతనిపై నిర్భందం పెరిగింది. ఆ సమయంలో ఆజ్ఞాతంలోకి వెళ్లాల్సివచ్చింది(ఆయన జీవితంలో రెండున్నర సంవత్సరాలు జైలు, ఐదు సంవత్సరాలు ఆజ్ఞాతవాసం ఉన్నది). నారాయణ పటిష్టమైన పోరాట దళాలను నిర్మించాడు. ఆయన దళనాయకుడిగా, కేంద్ర దళ కమాండర్‌గా, జోనల్, ఏరియా దళకమాండర్‌గా వివిధ స్థాయిల్లో పనిచేశారు. నారాయణపై జెజె తిరుమల్‌రావు పీహెచ్‌డీ చేయడం, మల్లికార్జున శర్మ పుస్తకం రాయడం మరో విశేషం.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Find daily positive thoughts for each day of your week! 🎈

* Before you go to sleep at night
* And as you turn out the light
* Count your blessings one by one
* You've done your best, the day is done. ✅
  1. Monday Moreover, the greatest tool we have for tackling our grand challenges is the passionate and dedicated human mind. 
  2. Tuesday:  Mistakes are not really mistakes. Let's expect to make some errors in judgment and welcome them as part of the learning process. Being Happy!
  3. Wednesday:  The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart. 
  4. Thursday:  The good that is done for others is a blessing to the receiver as well as the giver. 
  5. Friday:  There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. 
  6. Saturday:  Repeating the same behavior will just get you the same result.
  7. Sunday:  A sense of hope and meaning - the certainty that we are part of a pattern that is purposeful and intelligent. 
  • By keeping your thoughts positive you will find life will be fuller and happier! 

Edmonton Today - A letter from Dear Friend, Bob Price

Hi Somayya,

Below is a brief article about what Edmonton is like today:

Summer festivals are being cancelled in Edmonton, the City of Festivals, due to the coronavirus. 

The latest is the International Fringe Fringe Festival, the largest one in the world outside of Edinburgh.

Also cancelled are the Jazz Festival, Rainmakers Rodeo in St. Albert, and the Shakespearean Festival. Add to that the June schedule of the CFL and the Eskimos, with no guarantee of even a partial football season.

Will the domino effect continue and take out K-Days, Taste of Edmonton, Cariwest, and the Folk Festival. No pancakes at the Legislature this year at Rachel Notley`s constituency, perhaps.

The museums, libraries, zoo, Fort Edmonton, and Space Science Centre are closed.
Add to that the closing of school, the malls closures and limited bus traffic, and Edmonton is resembling a ghost town. Our only salvation is a vaccine, to prevent a deadly recurrence if things open up too soon.

How are things in Atlanta?
I am still writing and have over 140 pages done. 
Keep up the good spirit. And best wishes to you and your family|

Bob Price.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings

* Climb the mountains and get their good tidings
* Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees
* The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy
* while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn

-------------- John Muir --------------

Friday, April 03, 2020

The Magic of Thinking Big

  • There's only one growth strategy: work hard.
  • We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started. Follow your honest convictions, and stay strong.
  1. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
  2. One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. Don't go through life, grow through life.
  3. Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are. If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
  4. Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.
  5. Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.
  6. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. The power of imagination makes us infinite. With self-discipline most anything is possible.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

My message from when I was going to be sixty

Dear Our Sweet Three: In a Couple of months on June 19, 2020, I turn 80. But here is my email written to you around my 60th Birthday I.e two decades ago. I cannot change anything still. Please receive the message, again.

Dear our sweet Three !!

I reach sixty 60th year mile-stone soon. My journey of life is fine, although there were several ups and downs in between.

Now I feel that I am more fortunate as I am in a position to learn from our own sweet kids for my further life - journey. I teach them with the virtue of my experience and learn from their knowledge. And we grow well all together.

On the auspicious occasion of my Birthday I wish our little but great ones to tell me what I need to learn, for my happy future journey of my life. I value your suggestions more than any body else’s.

I know it is quite natural for people to invite the things they want and not what they need. So most people just tell their companions only things they wish to know but never tell the things that they need to know to avoid conflicts. But we know well that conflicts are the cause to progress. They are not avoidable.

But we have to get good solutions to move on the relatively correct path. Please think for a while and write to me. I shall await for your valuable suggestions.

Yours lovingly,

* Dear Nana - The one key positive difference now as you approach 80 years is that you have 4 lovely grandchildren. We all can love and learn from each other 💓😃

**  Our Sweet Grandkids Vikram, Vinod, Pragathi and Prabhat Kiran celebrated my 75th Birthday in Edmonton AB 🇨🇦 and my 80th Birthday in advance, during our Cruise Carnaval trip to Bahamas Island. I enjoy associating with them the most.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Memories are timeless treasure of the Heart

  1. Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies University of British Columbia, August 17—23, 2007 , Triennial Conference.
  2. June 5, 2010: Nana attended Pinnacle 2010 IIM USA Global Convention at San Jose, CA. Please Click Here to read Naana's impressions of this event
  3. June 19, 2010 : AmmaNaana attended 5th California Telugu Saahiti Sadassu
  4. Nana attended the discussion on Progressive Movement in the United States by Kate Forrest and Barry Kendall organized by Democratic 21st Century Club in Santa Clara CA, USA.
  5. The Democratic 21st Century Club provides a unique venue for Democrats from all walks of life to come together, listen, learn, and increase our unity.
  6. February 2013 Nana attended Fourth Annual India Summit at Emory University
  7. January 16, 2015 Indo - American Friendship Forum Conference at Hyatt, Olive8, Seattle
  8. January 26, 2015: Nana went to Washington State Legislature as part of IAWW delegation on the invitation of Senator Pramila Jayapal (D) for the celebration of India's Republic day, honoring 60,000 Indo-Americans in the state who contribute every day to make our state great.
  9. Last but not the least attending Nobel Peace Forum Annual event in Minneapolis.