Desi in DC

July 1, 2017

O Canada

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 3:51 pm

Canada Celebrates its 150 years today.

All I can say is thank you! Being a global citizen having lived in multiple countries and cities it has been tough to find a place that fits the good values of multiple places. Canada does- except for the weather:)

It has become the home away from home for many. When immigrants move to Canada, they encounter the first winter and say they will leave in 3 to 4 years after fulfilling their requirements, the standing joke though is by the time it’s time to leave you realize Canada has become home and you’re not going anywhere.  With their easy acceptance of immigrants, their encouragement and appreciation of diversity and their inclusiveness the immigrants appreciate and come to love this land. When patriotism is not shoved down your throat and practicing your own culture and religion  is not considered strange you start appreciating this land.

No one is saying it’s all rosy in Canada, there are cases of racism but compared to what is happening in most of the western world it is a refreshing change.

My top 10 favorites:

The land of the beautiful sunsets


One more sunset by the lake -copywrite

The welcoming signs in school hallways in multiple languages including Mandarin, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, German, Farsi and Romanian to name just a few

Having an international aisle in most grocery stores that are so well stocked that at times you can even avoid a trip to the ethnic grocery stores for long stretches.

Publicly funded language classes in the public schools on the weekends and in the summer. Where else would we find Mandarin, Arabic, German, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Dutch, Romanian, Russian offered by the public schools.

Peanut free schools. My kids thankfully don’t have allergies, but I know enough kids who do and appreciate the stance that all children have the right to be safe in their schools. It may be a little problematic for the parents to pack lunches, but the snack industry has evolved to cater to the requirements.

The easy access to traditional food options. I do realize this is because of the GTA and will be more sparse in different parts of the country.

A Prime Minister who is inclusive and a self declared feminist.

A publicly funded healthcare system.

A country with a live and let live attitude. This is still a work in progress but it was interesting to see that the fate of elections were not dependent on abortion views.

The snow cleanup system. The weather maybe horrible but the Canadians have embraced it.

The world does need more Canada.

Happy Canada Day!


May 6, 2017

Affordable Care Act – One More Story

My Father-in-Law has Parkinson’s. It took him a while to get diagnosed. He was also a new immigrant to the US. His fault lay in the fact that by the time his 12 years  of waiting in line to receive his family sponsored immigration docs were up, he was already past 64. So when he moved to the US on his green card he was almost 65.

We tried to buy insurance for him and were constantly told to apply for medicare. What the insurance companies failed to understand was that for a new immigrant, medicare was not an option since they had not worked long enough in the US to accrue points. When we were successful in convincing these companies the quotes we received were simply unaffordable. North of 1K per month and that too with a significant deductible.

When Obamacare was passed, my FIL was finally able to afford insurance. After spending 5 years living uninsured, paying out of pocket for any medical expenses, my FIL finally had health insurance.

After spending the last few years stress free, we worry that FIL may lose his coverage once again. 

It is sad that the world’s “Super Power” is unable to get its act together as far as a just medical system is concerned. Access to good quality healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. Maybe the US can learn a few things from its neighbours in the North,

April 24, 2017

Road trip season

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 2:39 am

Summer’s round the bend. It’s time to start planning road trips in North America.


My favourite ones have been

1)Montreal to PEI and Nova Scotia in Canada ( you should only attempt this in the summer, to make good use of the beautiful Canadian summer) ( 13-15 hours)

2) Palm Beach Fl to the Florida Keys ( definitely prefer doing this in the winters when the rest of North America is too cold)

3) Charlottesville to Savannah Georgia via Charleston ( though I’d rather do this in the spring and fall)

4) Montreal or Boston to Bar Harbour, Maine ( 6 to 8 hours)

5) Northern Virginia to Chincoteague Island ( 5 hours)

6) Northern Virginia to Toronto or back ( 8 to 10 hours)

7) Toronto to Tobermory (4 to 5 hours)

8) Boston to Vermont or Montreal to New Hampshire and Vermont (btw 3 to 5 hours) ( I prefer doing this trip in the fall when the foliage is in its best colours)

I know I should write the ones on the west coast, unfortunately the last time we attempted it, had to cancel it at the last minute.

We have covered the East Coast from Nova Scotia in Canada all the way down to the Florida Keys in the US.  We have done these road-trips with kids, we have done them without kids, we have done them after a month worth of planning and again within just 2 days of planning. We have done the road trips with all the stops identified, we have done the road trips picking hotels at 10 pm at night.

so all in all… been there done that..

ping us some of your favourite road trips.


Back to square one

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 1:22 am

After travelling and moving.. and then moving some more.. I kept finding the name of the blog too restrictive.. but then I realized it allowed me to write about my travel, my desiness or politics and what else could one want.. so happy reading.. will be a lot more regular now then I have been in the past.


April 15, 2017

Mardan and the death of forgiveness and education

And we call ourselves Muslims? When did it become ok to lynch mob and kill a student or anyone for that matter? What happened to if you save a life you save all of humanity and if you kill a person it’s like you killed all of humanity?

What worries me and concerns me is that the mob killing of Mashal Khan happened in Abdul Wali Khan University. Three to four thousand university “students” were apparently involved as part of the mob. University students means they have received at least a high school education most likely even a bachelors before gaining admission to the university. In Urdu students are called Talib-e-ilm ie “seekers of knowledge”.  An education is meant to open your hearts and minds, it allows you to ask questions rather than just believing in rumours. This act highlights the problem of our education system were rote learning is rampant and rote learning is rewarded over actual understanding. Are we removing the capacity of our youth to think and ask questions so that they can no longer question authority and like robots believe anything that is said to them? Are we not required to use our brains to seek out answers?

We also seem to have lost the message of forgiveness. First of all there was no conclusive proof of what this young student had done, there were only rumours. In fact media sources report that Mashal was an active and vocal voice on the campus and someone had recently created a fake social media account in his name. Even if, for arguments sake, we assume he was guilty of blasphemy (for which there is no proof) what happened to forgiveness. We didn’t even give him a chance to defend himself.

The Quran says

“Keep to forgiveness and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant” (Surah 7, Verse199).

And again

“”If you take retribution, then do so in proportion to the wrong done to you. But if you can bear such conduct with patience, indeed that is best for the steadfast.” Surah 16, verse number 126[1]

Blasphemy is an act best left for God to judge. We as humans and Muslims must not judge these actions especially since the Quran does not prescribe a punishment for it in this world[2]. Instead, we must persevere patiently and with forgiveness as prescribed in the Quran, and exemplified by the Prophet.

For all those involved in the mob, I wonder how they plan on answering to God when the question arises who were they to judge whose live should or should not be taken


[1] This translation has been taken from Zafar Ansari’s English Translation of Mawdudi’s Translation of the Quran in order to have an easier understanding of this verse.

[2] Kamali, Mohammad Hashim, Freedom of Expression in Islam







May 4, 2011

Pakistan, the International Community and OBL’s death

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 4:44 pm

we first heard the news while at a friend’s place. our first reaction :1) relief, our 2nd reaction concern for people back home.

It becomes extremely frustrating when the entire world and their family decides to believe every single thing that fox or cnn or for that matter every tom, dick and harry may say without even spending one minute to think what the news may actually mean and what are the implications and consequences.

The US meda, the Indian media and for that matter many of the politicians in both the countries have had a field day wanting to raise questions about the role of Pakistan in this whole scenario. After two days of nonstop BS on TV one only wants to say two words…….

As a student of International Relations and a follower of politics, I had no doubt that the Pakistan had played a positive role that helped lead the US to OBL, however since we seem to be the first target of most suicide bombs these days it made sense for the government to play dumb, since the first targets would be Pakistani civilians, military and government posts.. For a country that has been through so much, and seen so much violence in the past few years, its citizens are tired of all the violence and would love to go back to a life where their 7 year old will not hear a loud noise and say o it’s a bomb in a matter of fact tone. We would love to see this entire mess cleared up, unfortunately this is just one of the many more arrests/ killings that would need to take place before that happens.

It was finally in the Dawn today that the Foreign Sec made a statement hinting about the role of Pakistan. The Head of the Military has also come out saying Don’t doubt the role of Pakistan.. The government had to wait to see the immediate reaction on the domestic front before addressing some of the concerns on the international front.

Governments are not run where every single piece of information is available to the public, even though the media may wish it was so. Even in the US classified documents are released after 25 years and even then with some censoring.

In the end I think what it all boils down to is a request to people to
A) Not believe everything you hear
B) take the time to analyze what is being said
C) understand the repercussions and long term consequences.

Enough of the venting.. more later..

September 5, 2010

Pakistan Floods & the US media

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 10:44 am

As most of you are aware by now, or I hope you would be more than 17 million people have been affected by the floods in Pakistan, including another 800,000 recently displaced in the last couple of days in Sindh (CNN). It has been heartening to see the response in Pakistan where people, especially the youth, have risen up to the occasion and are working to help raise funds, run relief drives, volunteer as much as they possibly can as the country goes through its worst possible crisis. Overseas also the expat Pakistanis as well as the students studying abroad are trying to create as much awareness and raise whatever funds they possibly can.

On the international front however, things have been mixed though most times bordering on frustrating. While there have been a lot of heartwarming stories such as a little school in a small town in Switzerland has had a donation box placed in the school to help the flood victims in Pakistan, emails sent out to friends and family to raise awareness have come back with people willingly donating what they can to help the flood victims, the US government sending helicopters to help with relief efforts etc, however on the media front it makes one ready to pull their hair out.

Being in the US, I won’t comment on other international media, only on what I see. On CNN there were front page articles on the US drone attack in Pakistan and on the terrorist attack in the country, but only once I had navigated through 4 different pages did i find the following link about the UN’s appeal for even more assistance. Wall street journal may not bother to cover the floods but they won’t hesitate to put a news article about corruption.

Let’s be honest we already know Pakistan has problems, we’re not denying that, but the media constantly promoting that negative image is preventing the 8.5 million children affected by the floods from getting clean water or from receiving vaccinations so that they may survive their encounter with cholera, which is becoming a more and more likely event. The media’s reaction has been like covering the NY times bomber 24 hours while giving only 5 minutes of coverage to Katrina a day.

As for the people out there who are unwilling to donate because of the perceptions created by the media, I assure you, we both know there are enough international organizations out there such as UNICEF UNHCR, OXFAM, Save The Children, Red Cross, WFP etc etc where you can donate money and know that it goes to the people who need it, rather than being used inappropriately.

As for those who question where the Muslim world is, they have already pledged or donated in cash and kind up to $1 billion so if is what was holding you back please go ahead and do your bit. For as the UN Sec Gen has stated this tragedy is worse than Haiti and the Indonesian Tsunami combined. Even if you believe enough funds have been donated, the fact remains that they are still insufficient. The tragedy is so large that every individual donation is needed and will be used towards helping the flood victims.

July 24, 2010

Master Classes

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 12:25 am


If you have an interest in Corporate Finance, take a look at the following corporate finance courses available for free on the Corporate Finance E-education Portal


Master Classes and Short Courses


Free Corp Finance courses

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 12:23 am

Just trying to help a friend spread the word about these corp finance courses. I have heard good reviews about them, thought some of you may find them useful.

– the links are not working on this post, read the next one, those have been fixed.

Master Classes

If you have an interest in Corporate Finance, take a look at the following corporate finance courses available for free on the Corporate Finance E-education Portal

Master Classes and Short Courses

• Introductory and Intermediary Finance courses
• Corporate Finance: First Course
• Master Class: Calculating Value at Risk
• Master Class: Credit Analysis
• Master Class: Credit Process
• Master Class: Derivative products
• Master Class: Ratio Analysis
• Master Class: Risk for the Oil and Petrochemical Industry

Touch them and die Finance courses – advance courses for the more adventurous.
• Pricing Interest Rate Swaps – The valuation and MTM course
• The Derivatives Crash Course for Dummies
• Treasury Operations
• Asset Liability Management – The ALM Crash course and survival guide
• Derivative Pricing, Risk Management, Financial Engineering – Equation Reference
• Interest Rate Options – Pricing Caps and Floors

• Master Case: AMD: Valuation and Projections: Case Guide
• Master Case: Corporate Finance: LLC or C-Corp
• Master Case: Credit Process: Baldwin Piano
• Master Case: Electronic Arts: Corporate Finance
• Master Case: Office Depot: Ratio Analysis
• Master Case: Ratio Analysis: ODP and Staples

March 29, 2010

The Oprah Factor

Filed under: Starting a career,Uncategorized,US — dcdesi @ 1:08 am
Tags: , , ,

Earlier in the week I had watched Julie and Julia, a movie about a 29-30 year old new york woman who starts blogging about her love for cooking and her attempt to make every single recipe from Julia Child’s “French cooking for the servantless Americans” cook book. By the end of the experiment the woman had numerous followers on the internet and had received a book and movie contract.

Interestingly today I was watching CNBC and they were analyzing the Oprah factor to see what impact it could have on people. One woman decided to follow Oprah’s advice and live like Oprah. She bought, read and did what Oprah recommended. All in all she wants to live like the way Oprah suggests one should live for a period of a year. What do you know, after three months she too has a book contract.

Interesting chain of events for all you writers out there….Hmm who should I follow;)

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