Ajay Hotchandani, Columnist
Miami Beach / Belize
Ajay Hotchandani was born in Belize (or at least that is where his spaceship landed). After spending some time there growing his mustache he then moved to Nebraska (of all places) to get his Bachelors of Science from the University of Nebraska. He followed up that degree with another; Doctorates of Medicine from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine. The pursuit of his MD took him to England, USA and Canada where he mastered the art of melting cheese using nothing more than a piece of lint, a toothpick and a picture of Amitabh Bachchan. As if all that studying were not enough, he holds several degrees including a Culinary Degree from the National Institute of Microwave Use, a Psychology degree from Our Lady of No Hope Mental Institution and a Honorary Doctorates Degree from Sindhi School of Business, whose motto is “I’m not shady, I’m just Sindhi!”
Besides writing the Humor and Health sections for Beyond Sindh magazine since its inception, Ajay has also written for several other publications and has recently published a non-fiction novel The Even Stranger Case of Dr. Ajay & Mr. Hotchandani, available on amazon.com. And if all of that weren’t enough, he also managed to create a website dedicated to underwear (check out www.nachwi.com). Being Sindhi, he is passionate about Sindhi food and girls, not Johnny Walker. By the way we are not kidding, he really is a doctor!
Amit Ganglani, Contributor
Amit Ganglani was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and grew up in Toronto, Canada with his great parents and younger brother. He is 5′ 10 with wheatish complexion. He likes to take long walks on the beach and enjoys watching B4u Bajao with Salil. He spent most of his youth dreaming about cars and clothes only to realise that he needed a job in order to get them. He studied at the University of Toronto and obtained a double major in Biology and, thinking he would be surrounded by pretty girls, French Literature.
Being a true Sindhi, he enjoys being in a sales environment and spent his university years working in clothing, eyewear and automobile sales. He pursued postgraduate studies in Philadelphia at Temple University simultaneously graduating with a degree in Dental Medicine and an MBA in healthcare. Currently, Amit resides in Charlotte NC with his four legged furry roommate, Cosmo. When not pretending to be a dentist, he actively volunteers at a number of dental-related institutes, attempts to cook and dreams about buying every hot car ever made. When bored, Amit likes to rearrange his furniture, vacuum and listen to the latest Bollywood songs.
Amit Jethani, Music Contributor
Amit Jethani a.k.a. Dj Loko was born on a tropical paradise called Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. He spent his teenage years fiddling with music softwares on the computer and organizing events, all the while dreaming that one day he’d be a “Rock Star”. His passion for entertainment, music in particular, led him to graduate with a Bachelors in Recording Arts from the School of Audio Engineering in Amsterdam and Melbourne, Australia. He sings, deejays and produces his own music and is currently moving to Mumbai to pursue a career in Bollywood.
Being very liberal and modern, Amit, like many Sindhi youngsters, acknowledges the importance of retaining his Sindhi culture and heritage and he hopes to continue connecting to others in the same community, young and old. Some of his favorite pastimes includes traveling the world, producing funky tunes, partying, chilling at the beach with a corona, being bhungy and just simply enjoying life.
Anjali Kirpalani, Contributor
Durban, South Africa
Anjali Kirpalani was born in the city of dreams, Mumbai. When she was one year old, her family moved to Lagos, Nigeria until she moved back to Mumbai with her family when she was six. At the age of 13, her parents realised that they hadn’t moved in seven long years and decided to move to Durban, South Africa. Proving that she is indeed a nomad like her parents, she moved back to Mumbai in August 2008.
After completing a Bachelor of Business Science degree with Honours in Marketing at the age of 19 from the University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa, Anjali experimented with jobs such as lecturing and being a Marketing Management Trainee at a leading corporate. However, she realised that her passion lay in media and communication so she quit her job to become a freelance journalist and get fully into radio presenting/jockeying, something she had been doing on a part-time basis since 2005.
Along with writing for newspapers, Anjali has written articles for the Oprah magazine in South Africa. She won a competition on Lotus fm, South Africa, for her short story, ‘Destiny’ and had also written the scripts for two radio dramas for Lotus fm. She is currently a TV reporter on the show ‘No biz like showbiz’ on Imagine Showbiz, NDTV’s new entertainment channel in India.
Anjali’s hobbies include reading, writing, dancing, spending long hours contemplating her awesomeness, eating the Sindhi loli/koki that her exceptionally talented mom makes – the list is endless. She lives by the motto that everything will be okay in the end. ‘If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’
Chandru Bhojwani, Columnist
With a global upbringing, Chandru has spent long stints in India, England, Africa and the US. A Masters graduate from the University of Westmintser, England, he currently runs an import business in Nigeria. Chandru recently completed his first novel, “The Journey of Om”. and his short story, “The Love Letter” was a winner in the Mirage 2008 short story competition and is due to be published in January 2009.
Dina Sabnani, Columnist
Dina Sabnani spent most of her time traveling around the globe. Being born in Manila, raised in Hong Kong and educated in California, where she received her BA in Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she went on to work in New York and has now landed in Dubai. A true global citizen in every sense with a penchant for living life to the fullest – she hasn’t forgotten her Sindhi roots where her interests lie in a deep sense of spirituality that stems from her upbringing. Working in a variety of fields like advertising sales, recruitment, client services and fashion marketing, Dina left the corporate world to become a Prosperity consultant allowing her to help people while earning wealth.
Aside from her varied career path, Dina also became the UAE Ambassador for International Happiness Day and has founded the Happiness Club in Dubai. Her purpose in life is to help others realize what a beautiful world we live in where anything is possible. A true Saggi baby with a thirst for knowledge – she is willing to try everything at least once from jumping off mountains to white water rafting to speaking in front of half a million people. Capturing nature’s beauty on film, taking bubble baths, dancing and giving love are things that make her tick.
Kanchan Shazadpuri, Contributor
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Kanchan Shazadpuri is one woman who has a zest for life, a born globetrotter, a lover of sunflowers and dolphins (she insists on wanting a dolphin for a pet because ‘they’re so cute’.)
As a Diplomatic Relations graduate, she has dipped her feet in the chaotic world of politics, interning at the Philippine Senate house to which she has only this to say: “Politics is crazy, politicians are crazier and the people who voted for them are the craziest of all.” Bored with the redundant life in Manila, Kanchan packed her bags and flew to the land of milk and honey – Dubai – where she worked as a marketing executive for Gulf News.
Her love for the heritage, the language, the ideologies of Sindhi culture (and who can forget about the food!) led her to become a contributor for Beyond Sindh magazine in her free time. Her hobbies include travelling, photography, writing and designing (fashion accessories).
Chef Kaviraj Khialani, Food Contributor
Chef Kaviraj was born in Mumbai then lived the early years of his childhood in Manila, Philippines before returning to India. He completed his graduation from Mumbai, specialising in Hotel Management & Culinary Arts. In addition, he is also certified by the Swiss Hotel Management University. He has won several awards, titles and has been recognised and appreciated for his innovative ideas with food around the world. Chef Kaviraj is the author of a book on Arabic Cookery, the first of its kind in India. Not only has he been featured on a cookery show on Star television, all-India radio, he has also been writing for over 20 publications around the globe on food & cookery.
Chef Kaviraj loves sindhi food and tries to make it with a fusion touch. He has worked with the Taj group of hotels, the Sun & Sand Hotel and the Regent International. He has also served as a sky chef with Kuwait Airways. Currently Kaviraj is a principal of a Hotel Management College in Mumbai and a hotel & restaurant consultant. He likes to travel, read and write, music, make new friends and try out new variations with international foods.
He is the recipe columnist with Beyond Sindh magazine and loves to share new recipes with a sindhi touch to them in every issue.
Kumar Mangwani, Travel writer and Photographer
Born and brought about in Pune, Kumar Mangwani, is a Bachelor in Architecture from the Pune University. After a short stint in Mumbai with Charles Correa, a world renowned Architect he got down to mind his own business. His current forte is Interior and Furniture designing.
For Beyond Sindh Magazine, he contributes as a travel writer and photographer, which has been his passion since college days. His photo essays have been featured in Discover India and Better Photography magazines. His other interests include spiritual readings and Wildlife tracking.
Manju Rughwani, Contributor
Manju Rughwani was born in Chennai and bought up in Pune. Armed with University of Pune’s Bachelors of Commerce (Honors) and Masters in Commerce degree with specialization in Business Administration; Manju began her journalistic career with a local daily as a sub-editor for weekly editions–‘Youth Herald’ and ‘Sunday Spectrum’. In pursuit of promoting extraordinary talents through her power of creative pen, she chose to pursue freelance journalism for various recognized national and international dailies including The Indian Express, The Times of India, Mid-day, The Week, Construction World and several others. Throughout her journalism career with over 3000 feature articles, she has covered diverse news and interviewed prominent personalities from all fields.
With a post-graduate diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism, she has edited two books to her credit. For her journalistic recognition, she has been honored with the prestigious award of Promising Sindhi personality in 2004 by Sindhu Seva Dal. Thus began her association with Beyond Sindh magazine and since then, there has been no looking back for her. With her keen interest to keep alive the beautiful and wonderful legacy of Sindhi culture, she feels Sindhi culture is evolving culturally around the globe. A true blend of traditionalism and contemporary outlook, Sindhi Gen-X is transforming dynamically by pursuing off-beat lifestyles, breaking away the barriers of being traders and businessmen. They follow their instincts and bring about this change—like Barack Obama’s mantra “Yes, We Can” – through their determination, passion and hard work.
Monisha Gurbani, Contributor
Monisha Gurbani was born in Bangkok, Thailand. Her adventurous nature and curiosity for worldly matters led her to leave her native Southeast Asian metropolis for postcard-perfect Connecticut where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Connecticut. Upon completing her degree, Monisha returned to her home in Thailand in order to pursue her goals in the dynamic and international world of advertising. She currently works as an Advertising Account Manager at a local company. Her love for creative writing, Sai bhaji, and the rich heritage of her ancestors (the Indus Valley Civilization, Sindhi ideologies and the manner in which our ancestors affected world history) led her to actively contribute to Beyond Sindh magazine.
Apart from this publication, Monisha has held the position of sub-editor for her school’s literary magazine in which various pieces of her work were published throughout the years. In her free time, she enjoys long walks on the beach, picnics in the park, creative writing, drawing, great food, laughing and truly enjoying life.
Neetu Mirchandani, Columnist
Neetu (Sabnani) Mirchandani was born and raised in the Northern California. Neetu attended American University in Washington, D.C. where she received a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Public Affairs in Political Science and CLEG (Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government). While attending American University, Neetu was very active in the Chi Omega sorority and participated in study abroad programs in London and Semester at Sea.
After college, Neetu went on to pursue her life long dream of becoming a lawyer. She obtained a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. After law school, Neetu went on to practice in the field of products liability litigation and is now a practicing corporate lawyer focusing on the capital markets and funds. Neetu is currently licensed to practice law in California, New York and Massachusetts.
Neetu is married is expecting her first child in March 2009. Her position with Beyond Sindh Magazine is as a Staff Writer and she is the “Neetu” behind the Nicky & Neetu Advice Column. Neetu’s interest in Sindhi culture peaked as a result of her desire to learn more about her culture and heritage.
Nicky Ramchandani, Columnist
Nicky Ramchandani was born in Pune, India and when he graduated from Wadia College, he left the motherland at the age of 17 for Hong Kong to gain working experience under his uncle. After a few months, he decided that he needed to follow the path of Gautama Buddha and take the road less taken. Hence, Nicky moved to Africa and lived in the bush for a few years in Uganda, Congo and the rest of East and Central Africa. During his travels, he felt a desire to move on yet again to somewhere new so he sailed away from Africa and ended up on the deserts of Dubai.
Nicky set up a trading booth that traded everything from matchboxes to biscuits. Not satisfied, he left the Import/Export business after a few years and set on the mission to spread love and the art of cooking meat. Combining both, he founded the Zen Restaurant and after much hard work, Nicky’s restaurant recently won the award and honor of the 2nd Place Winner at the Thai Food Festival in competition with all Thai restaurants of U.A.E.
He loves the fact that even though Sindhis do not have their own place to call home, they made the world their home yet kept our traditions alive and are evolving every day. His hobbies include cooking, diving, paragliding, and making people miserable.
Pooja Khiani, Feature Editor
Japan / Hong Kong
Pooja Khiani was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Currently, she runs a production business producing medium to high end fashion apparel.
Her position with Beyond Sindh Magazine is as Feature Editor. Pooja’s interest in Sindhi culture, more specifically Sindhi history, is a result of the influence of her grandparents, A.J. and Sundri Uttamchandani. As well known Sindhi writers, her grandparents’ love and passion for preserving the Sindhi language created an inner desire to learn more about the community as it used to be.
Pooja Kishnani, “the geek” Web Designer
Pooja Kishnani was born in Bangkok , and knew from the day she got her first computer that they were mates for life (considering she spent more time with computers and gadgets then human beings). She graduated with a degree in Business Information Systems, however, strangely (for a Sindhi) has no understanding of business whatsoever. Midway through university she realized she wanted to become a rockstar, however she had stage fright so settled for her second passion photography. Pooja now earns her living as a freelance photographer and web designer.
Pushpa Moorjani, Contributor
Pushpa Moorjani was born in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and spent her childhood and teens in Mumbai. After completing post graduation in Special education she worked in Anza Special School, Byculla for six years. She moved to Suriname (Parimaribo) in 1982, where she taught in International English School for 3 years then migrated to Tenerife (Canary Island) to help her brother in retail business. She moved back to Mumbai in 2002 and has been involved in Special education at Swami Brahmanand Prathisthan, Care for the Mentally Handicapped.
She has written 2 books on computers for young children and a set of 24 modules in Mathematics. Pushpa’s inspirational story “How my life changed its course” was published in Chicken Soup for Indian Souls in 2007. Her latest book on “Joys of Sindhi Cooking” is ready for publication – it includes all the favorite dishes of her Mom and other traditional dishes and culture of Sindhi community. Hopefully she plans to get it published before the end of this year. She has won many awards of creativity during her teaching career.
She enjoys blogging, reading, writing, painting, art work, handicraft, traveling, and everything that moves…
Rachana Mirpuri, Publishing Editor
West Africa / Hong Kong
Rachana Mirpuri was born in Philippines and spent her childhood and teens growing up in West Africa, Chicago, and Curacao. Her thirst for further knowledge led her to Boston where she acquired a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College. After graduation, Rachana went back home to her parents in Africa and searched for a way to simultaneously utilize her knowledge and contribute to the Sindhi community. Her desire to create, and her love for the ingrained beliefs and idiosyncrasies of the Sindhi community, led to an idea. Along with a team of young talented Indians from around the world, this idea conceptualized into Beyond Sindh magazine which found its base in Hong Kong.
Aside from writing for the magazine, Rachana wrote & published a 215-page memoir of a loved one for personal distribution in 2000. Her nonfictional essay “Your Smile in New York” was published in the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul in 2008. She enjoys dabbling in photography, creative writing, poetry, travelling and googling random questions that pop to mind.
Shawn Genomal, Columnist
Shawn Genomal was born on the 28th of November 1977, cranky, squishy and covered in goo. He spent much of his childhood in the Philippines until brief stints at boarding schools in England and Singapore changed his views on the world forever. He returned to the Philippines for High School eventually making his way to Rochester Institute of Technology in the frozen wastelands of Rochester NY, where he attended the College of Applied Science and Technology. Shawn credits the Sindhi ability to adapt and integrate into any environment and surrounding during his time spent all around the world. Eager to make a name for himself and find his place in the world he moved to Bangalore where he lives today and started his own Garment manufacturing company known as Page Garment Exports.
Shawn is a staunch practitioner of the “Jack of all trades” adage and has his hands deeply intertwined in such activities as blues and rock guitar, back country snowboarding, SCUBA diving, traveling (his belief: if you’re going on holiday, experience it full on -walk on a glacier, learn to surf, scale a mountain!) Shawn is a firm believer in working with his hands and has spent many hours on projects such as an actual working wind turbine, designing and building furniture and spending summers covered in grease under the hood of his car. With firm beliefs in the goodness of people and fairness in the world, he respects honesty, integrity and equality. To Shawn, it doesn’t matter what you have, it’s what you do with it. He is also credited with coming up with the title “Beyond Sindh”.
Tirusha Dave, Contributor
Tirusha Dave was born in Detroit, Michigan (USA), the home of Motown music – soul music with a distinct pop influence – and that passion for music has never left her soul. She spent her life growing up a car ride away from New York City – America’s capital of Hip-Hop and Fashion. Her passion for writing led her to attain her Bachelor of Fine Arts in English, with a concentration in Writing. After graduation, Tirusha went to pursue a career in Marketing, but never stopped thinking about the rhythm in her mind and a way to create awareness of the rhythm within her South Asian community. Her desire to write pushed her into becoming a publicist in the Indian music industry and with both her writing and PR skills, she’s had the chance to meet and interview such personalities like Mallika Sherawat, Ranbir Kapoor, Jay Sean, Raghav, The Bilz & Kashif, and many others!
Aside from the magazine, Tirusha is a published writer in a total of six countries – talk about making her mark internationally! She enjoys dancing and has also followed the footsteps of some of that artists she’s worked with and has started recording tracks herself!