Wow! So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Figured I would write something that has been on my mind.
So about 6 years ago, I would have a get together and celebrate my birthday with a group of friends, and all of my friends would ask me what I would want for my birthday, and at the point in life – I really didn’t want anything nor need anything, so I would tell my friends to go donate to a certain charity, and my friends did just that. The year after, when it was the beginning of January, same question arose, and then it occurred to me – why not just have a charity party. A close friend of mine from Harvard, Maneesh, who happens to have his birthday the day before mine agreed with me to throw a big bash. Now each year, this bash has grown larger and larger in size, and now this year – it happens to be only 2 days away (wow – that’s close by..*getting nervous*) – happens to be the largest we’ve ever done.
I started planning this all the way back in October, knowing that I wanted to do something bigger and different, and was trying to figure out how can I top last years (I did it at Belmont Lounge). I’ve been only living in NYC for a little over a year, but I was confident that I knew enough people in order for the word to spread (plus being known for the viral Kati Roll Parody video was a plus!). My expenses were high, and I was really close to just paying everything out of pocket, until a friend told me that – the event is large enough to get sponsors. With all the planning, logistics, catering, sponsors, guest lists, design, etc. – I knew I needed help and I needed an amazing event planner. Luckily, I found an amazing person, Rhea Ghosh, who if it wasn’t for her – this event would not have really happened the way I wanted it to be. Usually, I give everyone a chance to prove themselves as an asset to me in regards to anything “Urban Nerd” related, and she really, really proved herself. She did an amazing job, and I highly recommend her if you need an event planned from anywhere in getting sponsors to fund your event to marketing strategy.
Another thing that has been on my mind is that the feedback I have received was unimaginable. In the beginning I was worried that we wouldn’t get enough people, but we have over 780 RSVPs (including waitlists) all thanks to everyone spreading the word about it (my wonderful friends in the entertainment industry – Melanie Kannokada, Payal Kadakia, Rohan Sheth from MTV, Jay Dabhi, DJ Insomnia, DJ Bornswift, DJ Karma, DJ Flawless (aka Waseem Stark), and of course the whole UrbanAsian.com Crew! Also, really big thanks to Dhaval Bhanusali, he organized the whole SAMAR bone marrow drive for the event, and definitely got the whole AAPI community involved. He also helped out on small things here and there that is actually crucially important to the event. Now I have to figure out how is everyone going to get in when the venue only holds 500 people…LOL!
Another thing, this event would not have happened if it wasn’t for the sponsors who believed in the event! Special thanks goes out to: Shaadi.com, Luv The World, Luxemi, and Convey. Also, a very special thanks to the Indus Tuesdays Team, especially Manny Singh. If it wasn’t for him – I wouldn’t have been able to book such an amazing venue.
Wow – I can’t believe it’s two days away. I’m nervous, but also anxious and excited. I’m not sure people realize how hard it is to throw a massive free party, and all the planning that is involved with it, but in the end I hope we raise a lot of money for the charities, so it will be worth it. =)
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted up anything fun and new on this website or on Youtube, but I promise you that there’s a lot that I have been working on, and it’s all in the works. In the end, I want to still be the same person that had the mentality of doing this to only send out a positive message to the world and to raise awareness of certain global issues.
A lot has happened in my life ever since I released the “Kati Roll” music video, and became an official TV Host for UrbanAsian.com, including having my own show on there. I’ve been getting scripts for short films, tons of new comedy video skits, offers from off-broadway plays/shows (Bollywood Wedding was one of them), new music remake ideas, and much more. Meantime, I’ve been trying to balance my personal life in regards to friends, family, and work, with work being my #1 Priority. I’ve been also working on my new startup, which has nothing to do with the entertainment industry, which has been taking a good amount of my time. In the end, regardless, I WILL FIND THE TIME to release everything that I have, and try to work on my new video project.
The first thing I will be releasing on Youtube are “The Adventures of Sam Hasan & The Urban Nerd” episodes. Basically, these are behind the scene footages of Sam Hasan and I – just randomly goofing off, having fun, singing, beatboxing, making music, etc. You get to see us in our raw form, which I know you will enjoy.
The second project that I will start working on would be my dance choreo/freestyle videos on Youtube. For those who don’t know, I have a PASSION for dance, especially Hip-Hop. I used to breakdance and was part of multiple crews awhile back until I just didn’t have time to compete or showcase any of my dance talents. Recently, a good friend said I should just record myself when I go to the dance studio and post it on Youtube, and I thought it wasn’t a bad idea. So look out for that soon!
In the meantime, I just want to wish everyone Happy Holidays, and want you to remember that it only takes one simple act of random kindness to make a difference in this world of ours. Let us be the inspiration, and I hope this video makes you realize that.
Who are you?
What questions are you wrestling with?
Where are you looking for your answers?
Are you satisfied with having a safe, secure and distinguished career?
Or is your greatest work waiting for you in the infinity of possibilities?
Do you hover above the chaos looking for your answers in patterns and trends?
Or do you need to be in ground level, walking through the problem?
I used to have this photo of the Parthenon when I was a child, and one day I scribbled all over it with a crayon – until recently, I realized that I covered it with rectangles within rectangles, retracing the Greek’s use of the golden ratio. Does that speak to the mathematicians in the need to understand beauty or to the child who had to tear it apart?
John von Neumann once said that in mathematics you don’t understand things you just get used to them. I wish I could have debated that point with him – because it seems to me that in mathematics, we find the power to refuse fate, and to understand the way things are, we give ourselves the means to change them.
Our ancestors’ stories belong to us now. Each of their signatures is a self-swallowing set, a name that short-hands a body of thought. A life’s work.
In the end, the question isn’t who you are. The question is: who did I turn out to be? Who am I to you? Are faded marks and scratches on the floor the only evidence I was here?
Or did some scribbled note, some fragment of a proof, infer to your perception of the world; even confirm it, cementing what you felt in your heart to be true – with the balance of left column to right.
What footprints have I left behind? Do they endure? Or has the ocean of discovery washed them away already?
How many lives have I touched? Have I touched yours?
Groupon and other similar social sites, like Living Social and CoupTessa, are all the rage now. But is it legal for doctors and dentists to advertise their services on these websites?
Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. If a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all; if the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day. It is said that this reduces risk for retailers, who can treat the coupons as quantity discounts as well as sales promotion tools. Groupon makes money by keeping approximately half the money the customer pays for the coupon.
Some doctors see Groupon as just another marketing opportunity and offer discounts on elective or cosmetic procedures like liposuction and veneers. Others have rejected it as an unprofitable. Still others view advertisement on social sites that require customers to prepay for services as borderline unethical, citing concerns that there is additional pressure for patients to go through with a procedure when they are having second thoughts.
So is it thumbs-up or thumbs-down for Groupon?
While there is no definitive answer to that question, the rumblings emerging from medical societies and healthcare lawyers that have looked at the issue lean towards thumbs-down.
According to Sun Sentinel, “because the websites keep as much as half of the patient’s payment … the online discounts could be interpreted as the practitioners splitting their fees” which is a no-no under many state laws or regulations prohibiting the “corporate practice of medicine.” Furthermore, Groupon’s fee can also be construed as “paying kickbacks to find new patients,” which is a serious offense under federal and most state laws.
Medicare, American Medical Association, and other medical trade groups have not yet taken a position on this issue. Two medical boards in Oregon, however, banned dentists and chiropractors from giving Groupon-style discounts. Also, the Palm Beach County Medical Society has recently warned members about Groupon advertising “because the issue is still in doubt,” reported Sun Sentinel.
While the domestic reaction to social coupons for healthcare services has been somewhat modest, across the Atlantic at least one medical society, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, has strongly condemned the practice of marketing of serious medical procedures such as breast augmentation and nose jobs on discount websites. The Association’s former President, Adam Searle, expressed his disapproval, in part, as follows:
This trivialisation and commoditization of medical procedures is appalling. It seems to have come down to the level of loyalty cards, money-off vouchers, and even competition prizes. This belittling of the seriousness of undertaking a medical procedure degrades not only our specialty but also the medical profession as a whole.
Another former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons also stated, in part, as follows:
Selling surgical procedures without patients being first assessed for suitability is highly unethical and goes against every guideline and recommendation from the General Medical Council and the surgical associations.
For now, however, since the jury is still out, caveat venditor.
I wrote this back during my Freshman year of college in 2002. I felt this writing piece was suitable for sharing, since it’s the middle of Paryushan (religious period of time where Jains fast).
“Beep, beep, beep, beep….!” I slightly opened my eyes, to the blurriness of several lines connecting to form numbers on the clock. It was 6:30 am. I let my alarm clock ring for several more minutes until everyone was awake and yelling at me for not shutting it off sooner. Another Sunday at the temple, I thought.
“Mom, do I really have to come to the temple today? I’m very tired and I also have a lot of homework to catch up on.”
“You have to come today since our community has invited a very wise priest from India to give us more insight on our religion.”
“The priest is just going to repeat everything I already know about our religion. Besides, it’s going to be boring since none of my friends are going to be there.”
“Don’t give me any excuses! Instead of worrying about socializing and being bored, you need to come to the temple to understand religion not only through your head, but also through your heart. True happiness and knowledge lies within that temple, but it’s in your hands to search for it, understand it, and feel it.”
What did my mother intend to tell me through these abstract words? Could she have meant to say that I was still far behind in learning even the slightest bit about my temple and religion? For 15 years I’ve be a Jain, a pure vegetarian, I’ve been taught to believe in ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence), I’ve followed my culture and traditions, I’ve attended every program held at the temple, but she still told me that I hadn’t discovered the hidden treasures within our temple.
After intensely thinking over my situation, I realized how secluded I kept myself from my religion and culture. I’ve always had the utmost respect toward God, my religion, and temple, but I never really tried to perceive them. I never thought of how God, my religion, and temple played a significant role in my life. This absence of knowledge urged me to attend the temple…not to socialize, but to sense the pleasure in learning more about my temple and religion.
As we turned onto Cincinnati-Dayton road, I carefully observed the temple’s surroundings. The temple was newly built, about a year old. It was set off to the right side of the road, across from a street filled with rows of almost newly built houses. As I stepped out onto the black cement ground, facing the temple, I noticed the huge field of greenish-yellow weeds on my left. Rows of neatly placed trees were growing in a way that they sort of made a fence around the weeds. On my right there stood an ancient house that seemed to be built in the early 1900’s. It was the only other object that accompanied our temple on that side of the road.
The temple streched out sideways, like a ranch house, with two entrances on the far right and left ends of the light brown and white brick building. Supported by white tree-like logs, two triangle shaped sections of the roof hung out over the entrances giving our temple a warm and welcoming look. As I walked in through the right entrance door, I hung my jacket on a long, steel bar, placed along the left side of the wall. I put my shoes on one of the shelves of a large wooden cabinet on the right side of the wall.
A small, upside down L-shaped hallway led me to the middle-sized meditation room, a little kitchen, restrooms, and a large lecture hall, which our community sometimes use as a dinner hall. At the far end of this L-shaped hallway, a small table stood, holding a few religious books, titled “Life as a Vegetarian”, “Ahimsa”, and “The Seven Stages of Life”. The final room in our temple is the extremely large prayer room, which is seperated from the rest of the temple by a simple wooden door, with a shiny brass knob.
That day I didn’t want to waste a lot of time in any other room besides the prayer room. As I walked into the prayer room, the essence of sweet smelling candles tickled my nostrils. A look of simplicity was given to the room by the several rectangular windows embedded into the walls of the square-shaped room. The checker designed marble floor, liberated from any burden of carpets or rugs, sent cold electric currents through my bare feet. The milky white ceiling made an upside down V-shape, holding two cherry brown fans and a diamond shaped crystal chandelier. I finally arrived to look at the main attraction of the prayer room, the special stage where God was placed. On each side of the stage there were three hollow spaces built into the wall for pictures of God and other deities.
The first time I observed God closely, he was sitting in a position similar to the way Native Americans sit with one palm placed over the other, the inside of it facing upward. A diamond-shaped gold metal, embedded into the upper center of his milky white chest, symbolized his heart. His ear lobe barely touched the top of his white marble shoulder symbolizing his eternal life. His dark black eyes pierced across the room as if they were observing the good and bad deeds of every soul alive. God was great I thought…he had every right to be God.
I slowly sat down on top of the cold floor. Gently shutting my eyes, I imagined how God would look in reality. At first, my mind took me through a tunnel of unwanted thoughts of friends, parties, and school, but gradually I started concentrating on putting together a picture of how God would really look. The only difference between the statue and my picture was that God could speak to me. I felt as though I had flown thousands of miles away from this world and into a new dimension. A dimension that didn’t understand the meaning of sorrow, hate, jealousy, fear, anger, selfishness, death, or any evil deed our world is full of. As I felt myself slip into a mode of deep meditation, I could only sense love surround me. I had so many questions to ask and God was there to answer them with honesty.
Why are we on this planet? What mission are we here to accomplish? If you loved everyone and wanted everyone to be equal, why did you install hate, anger, jealousy, and greed in every living being? Did you really create this universe, and if so, where did you originally come from? Did you have parents? Is there a planet outside of ours that contains the same material things? Is there such a thing as reincarnation?
So many questions boggled my mind and nothing made sense to me. Somehow, when I looked into God’s eyes I thought maybe these questions didn’t matter…or maybe he was the only one who had the right to know these answers. I asked God a lot of general questions about my life and I realized how many right decisions I had made with the lessons I learned from my religion and culture. It seemed as though I was answering my own questions, but those answers were coming from his mouth. He was like a parent to me, maybe even closer, he made my life’s complications seem like a spec of dust, lying on top of a crystal table. I had never felt this wholesome before, I was sure that in life I will always have someone watching over me, to take care of me, to encourage me, to bless me with life’s happiness and to lead my path in the right direction.
My train of thoughts were interrupted when my mother called out for me to listen to the lecture on our religion. I wiped away my tears and put on a smile. I was going to come to the temple every Sunday because I had found the treasure so soon and so precious.
This sudden interest in knowing more about my religion has changed my life. I see my religion as a way of trying to figure out who I am deep inside. Now after 18 years, I believe myself to be very well prepared to answer how God, my religion, and my culture has influenced my life. Deep down inside my heart, I feel as though there is a God lying within me. God has installed hate, anger, jealousy, greed, selfishness, fear and evil around my heart, but within my heart he has installed love, compassion, and care. This is the place where God lives, and I must break the evil barriers to reach my true inner soul, and that is where God lives.