Merry Christmas Toronto Desis. Here’s a list of Dec. ’18 events happening in your city

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Toronto Desi Diaries wishes you all a Merry Christmas and a dhamaka year ahead. Check out these Dec. 2018 events curated just for you.

A photo of a blue autorickshaw

Gerrard India Bazaar will be hosting a walking/food-tasting tour, Saturday, Dec. 22.

Saturday, Dec. 22

 

Event: Gerrard India Bazaar Walking and Food Tour

Details: This one-hour tour will start at 5:30 p.m. outside the Dollar Tree entrance doors near Coxwell and Gerrard Streets in the neighbourhood known as “Little India.” The walkers will get fascinating insights about the area’s history as they stroll down the lanes dotted with storefronts displaying colourful items such as clothing, jewelry, art, religious artifacts and more. The tour will also include a sampling of Indian and Pakistani food.
Contact: For more information visit here 

Monday, Dec. 24

Event: AR Rahman: A spiritual Music Experience

Details: Indian maestro AR Rahman’s name is synonymous with numerous chartbusters but what many people don’t know is that the legendary singer/composer has a spiritual side. This will be at the forefront at the Metro Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Blvd. at 5:3- p.m. The concert will also feature Javed Ali. The audience will be able to listen to Sufi compositions and Bollywood hits such as “Khwaja mere Khawaja, maula and others.
Contact: For tickets visit here

“The philosophy and teachings of Sufis brought a change in my life,” Note Rahman. “It has influenced my music. It has made me look at my inner self and meaning of my existence in more depth.”

 

Tuesday, Dec. 25

Event: My Jolly Bolly Christmas

Details: Once you have unwrapped the presents and tucked into a hearty lunch, afterward, why not head to 866 Bloor St. W. at 7 p.m. to celebrate, “My Jolly Bolly Christmas” with The MAD Band as they belt out some cheery Bollywood and Christmas classics, then laugh as Zain Ali, a standup comic performs his sketches, all this while enjoying delicious food and drinks.
Contact: For more details visit here.

Thursday, Dec.27

Event: One Mic Nights

Details: This event hosted by Broadening Horizons is happening at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. in Brampton at 7 p.m. It will feature Brampton’s dynamic artists, musicians, changemakers and trendsetters. The evening will feature hard rock, hip-hop, R&B and more.
Contact: For tickets and other information, visit here.

Monday, Dec. 31

Event: PGA International: NYE 2019

Details: You may want to head to Bovaird Banquet Hall, 190 Bovaird Dr. W. for this New Year bash by PGA International.
Contact: For tickets and other information here.

**There are several NYE happening in and around the GTA*** it wasn’t possible to list them all here.

 

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This Toronto love story has Farah the Jatti yearning for her Jatt

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This blog post has two stories of exceptional Toronto desis.

A snow-woman created to look like a South-Asian bride

This desi snow-woman created by Jassu Kingra, 19, Daljit Warraich, Navi, 15, and Bini, 9, created quite a stir on social media on account of the unorthodox take on Frosty the Snowman. Photo: Jassu Kingra (@jamsbyjassuk)

It’s winter and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has had some snow activity, including one a few weeks ago when Ma Nature dumped several centimetres of white stuff on unsuspecting folks, Remember that one? Creativity is when you take the raw ingredients nature throws at you and you turn it into a viral work of art.

Everyone, meet, Farah the Jatti aka Saddi Juliet, snowwoman extraordinaire.

Rotund Saddi Juliet was decked in wedding finery. She wore an eye-catching crimson dupatta, accessorized with heavy gold (fake, obviously) jewelry, including a necklace, earrings, and maang (forehead) tikka and even fake eyelashes.

Her creators? A couple of enterprising Brampton teens– Jassu Kingra, 19, Daljit Warraich Navi, 15, and Bini, 9.

It was Daljit’s first winter in Canada. She wanted to stack the packed snow into a winter-tradition—a snowman so that she could show off to her relatives in India. Except, the empowered girls decided Frosty the Snowman was passé.

There’s a hint of mystery to the whole exercise that will only likely be revealed when Brampton gets another substantial showering of snow (at least enough to build, I presume a desi “Jatti” a male counterpart). We can’t wait.

The desi snow-woman literally broke Twitter (84,000 tweeps “liked” her and hundreds of others showed love on Instagram and Reddit).

Art is art, even when it’s fleeting.

Here’s to the girls who warmed the hearts of everyone with their cool creation.

                                              ****

A Mother’s Love: This cookbook has South Asian recipes with a flavourful twist

Jasmine Dayal, Toronto lawyer and cookbook author

Jasmine Dayal, a Toronto lawyer’s recently published a cookbook, JD In the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys features several South Asian recipes with East African flavours.
Photo submitted by Jasmine Dayal

Jasmine Dayal, I imagine, is always happy to swap the black robes—she wears to court as a lawyer— for an apron.

In her book, JD In the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys, released some months ago, Jasmine shares Indian appetizers with East African influences.

There are several familiar and some unfamiliar starters and entrees such as samosas, spicy crepes, beet and arvi bhajias, and others.

“As an experienced home cook, I have always loved collaborating in the kitchen with my mother, Shan,” Jasmine admits. “My mother is a creative and inspiring cook
and I learned my way around the kitchen by looking over her shoulder. It was a no-brainer to join forces with her to produce my first cookbook that reveals many of our family recipes. I cannot wait for everyone to get a taste of all the flavourful and delectable meals I grew up eating.”

Jasmine is also the founder of a lifestyle website JD in the Kitchen. Here you can check out recipes, learn about the spices that make Indian cooking bold and flavourful, and browse through an online store where you can buy her three books, yes, she has three of them, and some of the fresh spices she uses in her recipes.

A photo of skewer of kababs.

Jasmine Dayal’s cookbook: JD In the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys, features several appetizers and starters with East African flavours. These skewers of Ismaili Bhajia made with chickpea flour, potatoes, and other spices are a true definition of comfort food. Photo supplied by Jasmine Dayal.

JD in the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys, is a slim 81-page cookbook with recipes that are not elaborate. They are ideal for both novices as well as aspiring cooks.

Jasmine started JD In the Kitchen website, as a portal to shares her love for cooking. Despite juggling a hectic schedule, it appears Jasmine carves time to make meals for her family. What’s more, she’s generous enough to share the recipes.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Jasmine’s career as an articling student started in 2005 at Fireman Wolfe LLP. She became an associate at the same firm and is now a partner in the firm that now carries her name – Jasmine Daya & Co., Impressive no?

JD In the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys is now available on Amazon and on her website.

A bowl of green chutney

This green chutney prepared with cilantro and green chilies is a perfect dance partner to almost all appetizers. Toronto lawyer, mom, and cooking enthusiast Jasmine Dayal creates several recipes in her just-published cookbook, JD In the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys. Photo supplied by Jasmine Dayal.

Here’s the recipe for the Ismaili Bhajia (featured above)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 teaspoons of green chili puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch round slices
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the potatoes and oil to create a smooth batter.
  2. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Note: There should be enough oil for the potato slice to sink to the bottom and become submerged.
  3. Take one potato slice at a time, dip it into the chickpea batter, coat well and then place it gently into the oil. Cook for about a minute and then flip it to cook the other side.
  4. Remove, place the Bhajia on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  5. Enjoy it with green chutney (recipe in Jasmine’s book).

Wishing you a very Happy Diwali, Toronto!

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A copper idol of Goddess Lakshmi in midst of red flowers

Hindus worldwide will celebrate Diwali on Nov. 7. The festival is marked by prayers to Goddess Lakshmi.

Friday, Nov. 2

Event: Diwali Dhamaka

Details: Celebrate Diwali Dhamaka with the KC Group. Celebrations are happening at the Bombay Palace, 200 Advance Blvd. in Brampton at 6 p.m.
Contact: For tickets to Diwali Dhamaka visit here

Saturday, Nov. 3

Event: Diwali Dance Night

Details: Head to the party room at the Greenbriar Recreation Centre, 1100 Central Park Dr. at 7:45 p.m. Organizers are promising music, food, and fun to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
Contact: For more information visit here

Event: Hindu Heritage Month Celebrations

Details: November is Hindu Heritage Month. Commemorate the month at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd. on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Contact: For more details visit here

Event: Anokhi Media anniversary event

Details: Anokhi Media will celebrate its 15th anniversary in a two-day event taking place at the Sheraton Centre, Toronto Hotel at 123 Queen St. W. on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Contact: For more information visit here

Friday, Nov. 9

Event: Standup Comedy Live

Details: Indian comics Rahul Subramanian and Kunal Kamra will perform at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, John Bassett Theatre, 255 Front St. W. Toronto at 7 p.m.
Contact: For tickets visit here

Saturday, Nov. 17

deepavali

Hindus and Sikhs in Toronto will celebrate the festival of lights, Diwali, Nov.7.

Event: Music Festival

Details: The Vraj Canada Intercultural Music Festival will celebrate Canada’s multiculturalism through performances by several artists. The event will take place at the Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr. Toronto at 6:30 p.m.
Contact: For tickets and more visit here

Sunday, Nov. 18

Event: The Kishore Kaka Show

Details: Kishore Kaka aka Smit Pandya is an actor, radio jockey, comic and YouTube sensation with more than 100,000 subscribers. The well-known standup will be performing at the SVBF, 80 Brydon Dr. Etobicoke at 6 p.m. Sanjay Raval is the special guest.
Contact: For tickets and more visit here

Event: SOCH workshop

Details: Supporting Our Community’s Health (SOCH) an initiative aimed at educating and creating awareness about mental health will be hosting its workshop, “Addictions- A Rising Concern in the South Asian Community,” at the Cyril Clark Library (20 Loafers Lake Ln.) in Brampton at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18
Contact: For more details visit here

Wednesday, Nov. 28

Event: Mental health conference

Details: Supporting the Mental Health of South Asian Youth and Families: Navigating Intergenerational Challenges within the South Asian Community, a one-day conference will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the YWCA, 87 Elm St.
Contact: For more information visit The Collaborative for South Asian Mental Health

All month-long

Event: Plays/workshops

Details: Under Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Managing Director Owais Lightwala and Executive Producer Kelly Read, Why Not Theatre presents a season of award-winning, pioneering, and thought-provoking theatre, created in Canada and around the world, for 2018/19.

In November, Mouthpiece will begin the final leg of its international tour. The award-winning play recently premiered as a feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the 2018/19 theatre tour begins in Halifax and ends in Berkeley, CA!
November sees a new incarnation of Like Mother, Like Daughter, a funny and emotional show where real mothers and daughters create and perform it, using their own lives and stories in an improvised format. Originally conceived in Montreal by Why Not Theatre and Complicité London UK, Like Mother, Like Daughter is being produced all over the world with local mothers and daughters. There will be eight performances of Like Mother, Like Daughter at the 918 Bathurst Centre, each one culminating in a communal meal, presented by the Koffler Centre of the Arts.

For more information visit Whynot Theatre, visit here.

 

 

Thanks to SOCH, South Asians in Toronto, are now talking about their mental health

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First off, apologies to Toronto Desi Diaries readers, for my inconsistent posts lately.

I was juggling at least half-a-dozen projects and these blurred my priorities and tested my resilience. Suffice to say, I did not emerge from it all unscathed. I am emotionally exhausted.

Which brings me to the conversation I had with a remarkable woman a few months ago.

Photo of Jasmeet Chagger and Maneet Chahal, two Brampton nurses who co-founded SOCH, a mental health initiative for South Asians in Toronto.

Maneet Chahal, 28, (L) seen here with her best friend Jasmeet Chagger, 28. The two nurses co-founded SOCH (Supporting our Community’s Health), an initiative to educate South Asians in the GTA about the resources and mental health system. Photo courtesy SOCH.

Jasmeet Chagger, 28, is a nurse working with the Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Dufferin’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team.

In 2015, Jasmeet and Maneet Chahal, 28, a nurse as well, started SOCH (Supporting our Community’s Health), an initiative to educate the South Asian community in the GTA about mental health.

Jasmeet and I talked about self-care, and how it was important for folks— caught in the frenzy of life—to take time to recharge, refuel and reset their emotional wellbeing.

“SOCH has a lot to do with our passion for mental health,” Jasmeet told Toronto Desi Diaries. “When Maneet and I work on SOCH stuff, it doesn’t feel like we are working. It’s something that we really want to do. What SOCH has taught us was; we preach self-care but we need to practice it ourselves. So, in a sense, it has been a learning curve for both of us…”

Let’s rewind this story and start from the beginning, shall we?

SOCH: Two nurses/BFFS wearing many hats

“Soch” in Hindi and Punjabi means, “thought.” An apt name for a mental health initiative that has strived to tirelessly untangle complex layers about mental wellbeing to the South Asians in Toronto by demystifying terms such as counselling, psychology, depression, physical health and its connection to mental health and more.

The two advocates—who live in Brampton—carve time from their hectic life to host workshops and events while managing full-time jobs and studying for their master’s degrees.

Maneet and Jasmeet, who are childhood BFFs, said SOCH was borne from the realization that even after being in the system for five, 10 or more years, many South Asians had no clue about the resources available to them or tools they needed to manage their symptoms. Worse still, there was no culturally relevant information available to family members, who helplessly watched their loved ones suffer.

“SOCH started because growing up both Maneet and I have seen mental health issues within our families and friends,” Jasmeet explained. “As teens and young adults, we struggled on how we could help people navigate the system. And when we became nurses, we thought about how we could help both individuals and families.”

“We wanted to use our knowledge to educate the community on the basics: what’s the difference between mental health and mental illness, how do you access the system? How can you get help? etc.”

The Brampton duo were the proud recipients of the Brampton Board of Trades’ 40 Under 40 for 2018 for their work.

Jasmeet Chagger and Maneet Chahal stand next to the signage.

In this photo, Maneet Chahal, 28, and Jasmeet Chagger, 28, (R) co-founders of SOCH celebrate Maneet getting a nursing research award for her thesis. SOCH (Supporting our Community’s Health)is an initiative that educates South Asians in the Greater Toronto Area about mental health through workshops and events. Photo courtesy SOCH.

So, what does SOCH do?

SOCH hosts monthly workshops in Punjabi at community centres and Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Brampton and surrounding areas.

When they first launched, they wanted the topics to resonate with the South Asians as well as the general population. With some help from LAB-B co-founder Harman Grewal, Maneet and Jasmeet found a physical address (LAB-B) from which they could host the information sessions.

The workshops are designed to be more facilitator- style than lectures.

In Feb. 2017, SOCH did its first South Asian-focused event and took the conversation into the Gurudwaras. Since then, the sessions are held in Punjabi/Hindi.

“Instead of presenting a deck, we try and get the audience engaged by asking questions, listening or having them discuss a topic or issue amongst themselves first and we fill in the gaps,” Maneet explained.

  • SOCH’s main mandate is to offer linguistically and culturally-appropriate information.
  • SOCH acts as a bridge or conduit connecting and educating individuals from the South Asian community to information and resources available in the community.
  • More importantly, SOCH has been instrumental in getting people (South Asians) to openly talk about mental health.

 “There’s a negative connotation with mental health,” Maneet explained. “Through SOCH we are trying to promote that everyone has a mental health and you can take steps to take care of your mental health and by practicing self-care, people can prevent themselves from reaching the rock-bottom.”

Some takeaways

Maneet and Jasmeet shared a few insights they had learned as mental health advocates.

“Change takes time and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Jasmeet said. “We noticed, the community does want to talk about mental health. For example, we did a One Brave Night initiative where we partnered with the Sikh Heritage Museum. We had over 100 South Asians. People were telling their stories, crying and supporting each other. The key thing to remember is people do want to talk about mental health, they just need a platform.”

One Brave Night, an initiative by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) happens during April. Participants stay up all night to experience what someone with mental health challenges is going through.

 

 

Toronto desis celebrate 2018 Navratri with Garba, Golu and so much more

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Navratri

Saturday, Oct. 7

Event: Disco Dandiya Dhamal

Details: Sonal Vala will belt out foot-tapping Garba tunes in this event taking place at the Brampton Soccer Centre, 1495 Sandalwood Pkwy. E. at 7 p.m.
Contact: For tickets and other information, visit here

Event: Brampton Robotics Disco Dandiya Fundraiser

Details: Team Disco Bots is organizing a Dandiya fundraiser in Brampton at the Harold M. Braithwaite Secondary School, 415 Great Lakes Dr. at 7 p.m.
Contact: For more information, visit here

Sunday, Oct. 8

Event: Mahaloya 2018

Details: Bangladesh Canada Hindu Cultural Society will be hosting its Maholoya 2018 at 16 Dohme Ave East York, Ont. M4B 1Y9 at 7 p.m.
Contact: For more details

Thursday, Oct. 11

Event: Odissi dance recital

Details: Odissi Dance, is a temple dance style, performed in honour of Lord Jagannatha. In this concert taking place at the Downward Dog Yoga Centre, 735 Queen St. W., GuruJi Devraj as well as well as Malini Guha will perform Shyameshwari. There’s a special debut solo performance by Meenakshi.
Contact: For more information

Friday, Oct. 12

Event: Diwali Razzmatazz

Details: Indo-Canada Arts Council will present its 4th annual Diwali Razzmatazz at Mississauga’s Celebration Square, on Friday, Oct 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13. The event includes Bollywood dance performances, food vendors and kids’ bazaar.
Contact: For more information, visit here

Saturday, Oct. 13

Event: Brampton Navratri Festival

Details: Friends of Gujarat will be hosting a Navratri/dandiya event at the Brampton Soccer Centre, 1495 Sandalwood Pkwy. E. at 6 p.m. with well-known singer Nilesh Parmar.
Contact: For tickets contact here

Event: Parmesh Nandi’s Raas Garba

Details: This dandiya/Garba event is taking place at the Trio Sportsplex (Turf grass), 01 Cityview Boulevard Kleinburg, Woodbridge, Ont. 4H 0T1 at 7 p.m.
Contact: For information about this

Friday, Oct. 19

Event: JSK Cricket Camp

Details: Do you love cricket? Well, then head to the Brampton Sports Centre Oct. 19 – 21 for the JSK Cricket Camp. You can get professional coaching and tips from yesteryear cricket star Mohammad Azharuddin and others.
Contact: For more information, visit here

Saturday, Oct. 20

Event: Thoda Saaf Bol (Stand-up Comedy)

Details: Abishek Upmanyu will be performing a stand-up routine at the John Bassett Theatre (Metro Convention Centre), 255 Front St. Toronto at 7 p.m.
Contact: For tickets visit here

Saturday, Oct. 27

Event: Hindustani Classical Music Recital

Details: Raag-Mala Music Society of Canada will be hosting a classical music concert with Josh Feinberg (sitar) and Manjiri Asanare (vocal), Ashok Dutta (table) at the Glen Gould Studio, 250 Front St. W. Toronto at 7 p.m.
Contact: For more information

Tuesday, Oct. 30

Event: Speed dating

Details: This Mississauga Speed Dating event s geared towards young professionals with an Indian / South Asian background looking for a classy and fun way to meet other like-minded individuals within their culture. It will take place at The Port House Social Bar & Kitchen, 139 Lakeshore Rd. Mississauga from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Contact: For more information

For a complete list of Dandiya events happening in the GTA, visit here.

Wait, it’s only September, but how is it that there’s Garba in Toronto already?

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garba dance

Saturday, Sept. 1

Event: Rahat Fateh Ali Concert

Details: Paramount (formerly Hershey) Centre, 5500 Rose Cherry Pl. Mississauga is the place to be with well-known singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The Pakistani singer (nephew of Nusrat Ali Fateh and son of Farrukh Fateh Ali) is known for several chartbusters such as Jag Ghoomeya, Tere mast mast do naain and more. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m.
Contact: For tickets to Rahat Fateh Ali concert, visit here.

Sunday, Sept. 2

Event: Krishna Janmashtami Festival

Details: Celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday at the Shree Jagannath Temple, 9893 Torbram Rd. Brampton at 6 p.m.
Contact: For more details on Janmashtami, visit here.

Sunday, Sept. 9

Event: Seerat Fashion Show + Expo

Details: A global fashion show + expo featuring Indian as well as international designers is taking place at the Galaxy Grand Convention Centre, 200 Advance Blvd. in Brampton from noon to 6 p.m. Highlight will be a special ramp walk endearing bijis (Grandmas) will walk with their granddaughters in threads by Dinesh Ramsay, Anshul Mathur, Kesaj Couture and more. The event is by Laadliyah.
Contact: For tickets to Seerat, visit here.

Saturday, Sept. 15

Event: SNA ONAM Celebrations

Details: Sree Narayana Association (SNA) Toronto will be hosting its annual multicultural event to support Kerala Relief Fund. Festivities will take place at Chinguacousy Secondary School, 1370 Williams Pkwy. At 5 p.m.
Contact: For tickets and more visit here.

Event: 6th Annual Arohi Festival

Details: Malhaar Group Toronto is hosting an evening of classical music and dance at 4 p.m. at the Salvation Army Meadowlands, 187 Church Rd. Ancaster.
Contact: For more details on the Arohi Festival, visit here

Sunday, Sept. 16

Event: Gujarati Jalso

Details: Swar Sadhana is hosting a jalso at Castlebrooke Secondary School, 10 Gardenbrooke trail, Brampton at 5 p.m. The event will feature Gujarati folk music, sugam sangeet as well as Navratri/Dandiya.
Contact: For tickets to the jalso, visit here

Saturday, Sept. 22

Event: Garba Dhamaal 2018

Details: Sur Prem Entertainers are taking over Brampton Soccer Centre, 1495 Sandalwood Pkwy. E. starting at 7:30 p.m. for the Garbaa Dhamaal 2018.
Contact: For tickets to the Garba Dhamaal, visit here.

Wednesday, Sept. 26

Event: South Asian Speed Dating

Details: Single in the City is hosting a speed dating event for South Asians at the Duke of Somerset, 655 Bay St. Toronto at 7:30 p.m.
Contact: For tickets and other information about the South Asian Speed Dating, visit here.

Sunday, Sept. 30

Event: Must Be Kismet wedding show

Details: Must Be Kismet, a South Asian wedding show is happening at the Universal EventSpace, 6250 Hwy. 7 in Vaughan from noon to 6 p.m.
Contact: For details about the wedding show, visit here.

Hey there, Atul Khatri, welcome to Toronto

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Atul Khatri holding a kid's bullhorn.

Atul Khatri, a well-known standup comic from India, will be performing at Brampton’s Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln., Sunday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. This is Khatri’s first ever show in Canada. Photo courtesy of Only Much Louder

Ever wondered what would happen if a Sindhi aka Atul Khatri got hold of a calculator?

Quite simple, really. His fingers would fly over the buttons as he crunched the numbers; then he would quit his job (CEO of an IT company in Mumbai) to become a standup comic. What’s more, he will make this life-affirming decision at 45.

Midlife crisis or pure madness? who knows, but Atul Khatri, India’s famous comic, appears to be at peace having swapped the 9-to-5 rat race for the mic. And if his YouTube subscribers, Twitter, and Facebook followers are any indications, his calculated move has paid off.

“I am a Sindhi, so I had to calculate the risk of everything,” he deadpanned when asked about the switch in careers. “I realized I was making more money doing six months of standup than what I was earning at my job. The comedy scene is growing in India and I realized it would be foolish of me not to ride the wave.”

Today, Atul’s among the top 20 comics in India. And guess what? He’s coming to Toronto as part of his first-ever North American tour.

“Standup comedy is very personal and every comic has a unique voice,” Atul told Toronto Desi Diaries. “Making people cry is very easy, but making them laugh is difficult.”

After a couple of sold-out shows in the U.S., the “Horny Sindhi” as he refers to himself is coming to Canada.

Atul will be at Brampton’s Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln., Sunday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. Grab your tickets here or by visiting www.rosetheatre.ca or by calling the box office at 905-874-2800.

Atul Khatri holding a bullhorn

Atul Khatri, one of India’s most well-known comics will be performing at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln., Sunday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. Photo courtesy of Only Much Louder.

The Desi Family Guy

“I am Sindhi, married to a Punjabi, two of the hairiest communities in India,” he says in a hilarious sketch about meeting his wife. “It was a love marriage, we both had a common love for hair. We met a medical store while buying Gilette…”

And so it goes for the next hour with Atul poking fun at himself, his family and life as a middle-aged man.

In an exclusive chat with the Toronto Desi Diaries Atul gamely answered questions his upcoming visit to Canada and this and that.

Atul’s wife Shaguna, a professional hairstylist, traveled with him to lend him to lend him moral support during the U.S. leg of the tour.

He need not have worried. His packed shows in the U.S. brought the roof down.

Atul’s resolve to grab life (comedy) by its throat happened on Dec. 31, 2012, at the stroke of midnight.

“Everyone has this one friend that’s funny, so, growing up, I was that guy but I never imagined I would get into comedy,” Atul explains. “I think it was a mid-life crisis. That year (2012) my new year resolution was that I wanted to do something different with my life. I was 45-years-old. I signed up for an open mic, wrote a set, asked my wife to come along with me (in case I bombed terribly). But it went well and the audience voted me the winner of “CEO’s Got Talent,” I really enjoyed being on the stage and making people laugh. Within nine months I realized there was even money in it.”

In 2016, Atul quit his IT job to pursue comedy, but he tested the waters first. He was one of the early adopters of Facebook. His observations, wry sense of humour and apt take on the political happenings in India tickled people’s funny bone. Emboldened, he faced a live audience.

Is laughter the best medicine? Not to the Indian politicians

Atul’s routines are peppered with swear words and he’s unapologetic about the language.

“That’s the way I talk to my friends and I am who I am,” he says. “Yes, those words come out whenever they choose to, it’s not planned or rehearsed or written in the script. I think people laugh at the content, not the swear words.”

Taking offense to everything has become a national pastime in India. Anyone with a smartphone has an opinion, Atul observed.

The censorship has made Atul’s writing smarter and exciting because he’s able to deliver the message without stepping on the toes of the indignant netas (politicians and religious zealots).

Atul Khatri, wearing underwear with a Superman logo and carrying dumbbells

India’s well-known comic Atul Khatri. Photo courtesy Only Much Louder.

If you are ready to be shocked, awed and entertained, you might want to buy those tickets, pronto.