Dear Didi,

In our large extended family, I have always taken the lead in hosting events – be it for festivals or birthdays and anniversaries, etc. It began when we moved into a spacious home, larger than that of my siblings, and I was happy to have everyone over. But lately, I have begun to feel like they are taking advantage of me. Why can’t I go to someone else’s home as a guest for once? Is that asking for too much? I feel very ungracious, but also don’t want to be grumpy on all happy occasions.  – Ready for a break

You seem like you have earned your hostess with the most-ess reputation! I, too, come from a large extended family and everyone has a role to play in the family. I’m sure that growing up you were always excited about festivals, birthdays and anniversaries... you counted down the days and couldn’t wait for the day to finally arrive. You probably have all the dates in your calendar and never miss a chance to celebrate and send out your best wishes. This is the role you have grown up in the family with and I’m sure many of the people in your family rely on you to be the one leading the way at these events. But don’t worry, you can always change it up and extend the opportunity to others in the family.

Sometimes family just goes with the flow of what has always been the case in the family – which in your case is that you host in your big spacious home. However, if things have changed and you want to take a break, send out a note to the family and let them know that you would really like someone else to host. You can offer to share some tips and tricks to hosting but say you want to pass the baton to another. If you position it as an opportunity rather than a chore you are trying to get away from, you might be able to encourage the right person to start a new tradition for the family. Also let them know it is a great thing to host, you just have a lot on your plate and wanted to spread it out to others.

I live far away from my family so I tend to host a lot of events because there really isn’t anyone else to do so; however, I too have started to feel like it would be great to have someone else organize things. A way that I have been able to get some more invites is to let others know that I love hosting but it’s the same food and everything all the time so it would be nice to mix it up. I’ve also started asking others to participate more in the planning and the food – making it more of a potluck and that gets them thinking about things a bit more about how they would do it. You aren’t being ungracious, you just want a break and if you get one, once you decide to host again, you will come back bigger and stronger. Something that I’m sure your family would love to witness. Here’s to many more celebrations and happy occasions ahead.

I may be able to help! Is there something that you wish you could talk to someone about? Email me at or follow me on Twitter and Facebook at @Dear Didi_KSC. Want more Dear Didi? Listen to my podcast – Generation Immigrant – on all major platforms. Listen, rate, review, repeat. Hope to hear from you soon!


An honest day’s wages



There is no better feeling of satisfaction than having worked a full day, and knowing that the money you made was earned honestly. 

But a strong work ethic is compromised in one of two ways: either by being lazy and not working at all or not working as you should for your wages. But it also happens by committing fraud and cheating in the work place. This happens in different ways: paying under the table, abusing your student card, avoiding taxes, or working illegally.

Sad to say, there is a lot of this happening at the workplace in our city. The net effect of dishonesty in the work place is the erosion of trust. Only on the basis of honesty and trust can we have a sound, healthy economy.

Without God in the centre of our lives, economies collapse. I think of what God says in the Bible. The whole law of God is summarized in two ways: loving God first of all and then loving our neighbour as ourselves. There is no express command to love ourselves. We love ourselves too much already. Greed, coveting, and deception show the true nature of our heart. It’s not good. We can’t change ourselves. We love ourselves too much. That’s the problem.

We need a new heart that only God can give through Christ. Only then will we desire to love God and our neighbour. Only then will change begin in the workplace. Our habits begin to change; so does the work place environment with the building of trust and respect between fellow workers and the boss.

God knows how economies should work and how the work place should be. One of His commandments is “You shall not steal”. As you discover God’s will from His Word, you realize there are three legitimate ways of making money: 1] through working, 2] through receiving gifts, 3] through inheritance.

With that in mind, we know what an honest day’s work is. You trust that God will provide for you and your family. He will provide your needs for the future. In this way you also teach your children what it means to work in God’s way and you become an example to them. And you are also an example to others. And it begins not with others, but with me.

 • Reverend Tony Zekveld can be reached at 416-740-0543 and tzekveld@primus,ca.

All the power under the sun


The world celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi last year. To mark the occasion, I would like to remind the desi diaspora of the following quotations attributable to him:

“One must care about the world one will not see.”

And: “Earth has enough resources to meet people’s needs, but will never have enough to satisfy people’s greed.”

India is one of the most vulnerable countries with regard to the impacts of climate crisis. It is real and imminent, not something which may happen in the distant future. Many signs point to the fact that the effects of change of climate are already being felt in India. 

Back in 2015, India laid out to the world its ambitious plan of action with regard to mitigation of climate crisis at Conference of Parties  21 (COP) in Paris. Use of solar energy by India in many ways in order to mitigate consumption of fossil fuels to reduce emission of greenhouse gases and thus reducing global warming was one of the cornerstones of this plan. The optimistic target put forward was 100 GW of installed solar energy capacity by the end of 2022. (1 GW equals 1000 MW equals a million KW).

There are, of course, various types of solar energy projects for generating electricity, such as:

Utility-scale solar installations occupying large barren land areas and water surfaces.

Rooftop solar installations in cities and towns fed directly to the electrical grids.

Rooftop or ground level solar installations for micro-grid system feeding multiple houses.

Rooftop or ground level solar installations for the purpose of charging all sorts of battery operated electric vehicles, especially in urban centres in India suffering from extreme air pollution primarily from car exhausts.

Solar installations on top of railway coaches.

Solar installations on petrol station roofs to charge electric vehicles.

Ground level solar installations in farmlands for running agricultural pumps.

Small solar installations in villages still without access or unreliable access to grid electricity to provide basic LED lighting and charging solar lanterns.

It is heartening to see that the overall progress since 2015 in the field of solar energy has been very satisfactory in India. As of the end of 2018, the total solar energy installed capacity is 25 GW. It is almost definite that the 100 GW target by the end of 2022 will be achieved.

A few of the major solar energy accomplishments include:

The largest solar park in the world in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu. Installed capacity 648 MW.

Cochin International Airport,  Kerala. Installed capacity 40 MW.

However, certain areas have been left behind and are still lacking such as villages with no electricity at all or no reliable access to electricity.

The number of people without electricity in India is close to about 250 million.

This extreme and unfair inequality must be addressed and remedied as soon as possible.

Solar energy is the way to go, but the effort must be more intense.

• Anupam Bagchi is a retired professional engineer interested in climate change issues, particularly the technological mitigation by the use of renewables such as solar energy. He is also well known in the community as the founder of  The Malhar Music Group.

Desi News