Local Profiles

Young talent: Cruz Albuqerque
Toppick Media Editor   May-2019   273 Views   5 Comments
Performance Award (Youth) Best Actor in a Musical at the Broadway World Dallas awards. Best Actor - Art Centre Theatre.

This polite, well mannered, talented 6th grader belonging to Pioneer Heritage middle school in Frisco / Texas, is a bundle of joy with a heart of gold. Always positive and ever willing to help a friend in need. His innocent spontaneous laughter can brighten up the darkest room.

At the age of 5 he exercised his musical talent, singing and dancing while doing a cover song/video ‘Be bop a Lula’ on You Tube as part of a mom & son production.

That enkindled a fire in his belly to perform on stage. Although he was exposed to gymnastics, swimming and soccer, he preferred the arts and enjoyed sketching. He started learning the piano and later took up hip hop lessons for a short while and learnt a bit of dancing with his mom also a former singer/dancer.At the age of 7 he won the 1st place at an all Dallas talent hunt ‘ Audition America’. Loved by his colleagues in elementary, Cruz was voted student councilor for two consecutive years by his fellow students. Cruz admits it gave him a sense of responsibility and a boost to his self confidence.

He later went on to act in the musical ‘Cats’ where he played the role of ‘Munkustrap’. Little did he know that he would be nominated for the Performance award (Youth) Best Actor in a musical in the Broadway World Dallas Awards, including over 100 cities across America, Canada, Central and South America, Europe and Asia, and WIN it !!!

Cruz then went on to win the Best Actor (Youth) at the Arts Center. When asked what he would like to become when he grows up ? He excitedly replies,” An animal Doctor and an Actor!” He also happens to be the nephew of The Bollywood actor Arshad Warsi and former MTV VJ/ Celebrity chef Maria Goretti Warsi, so I guess acting runs in the family .We will just have to wait and watch.
Read More...

Young Achievers - Ishaan Sharma
Toppick Media Editor   Mar-2019   383 Views   0 Comments
Ishaan Sharma, a senior at Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX, was selected to perform at TMEA convention on 16-Feb-2019.

Begun in 1920 as the Texas Band Teachers Association, the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) is an organization of over 12,000 school music educators dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. TMEA is comprised of five divisions: Band, Orchestra, Vocal, Elementary and College.

Every year students from schools and colleges in Texas compete at different level to secure one of the prestigious positions in bands, orchestra and ensembles, which perform in front of a packed crowd of 3000+ spectators. In 2019, more than seventy-two thousand (72,000) students competed and only around 1400 students were selected after extremely tough competition. Ishaan Sharma was selected from his school along with few other very talented musicians. Based on his performance, Ishaan was placed in the top Philharmonic Orchestra to perform at very prestigious Lila Cockrell theater in San Antonio.

Ishaan has been playing music since the age of five when he started playing Piano. In the middle school, he joined school band and started learning Trombone. Music has become his passion and he started scaling the heights in his performance. In 2018; Ishaan begged all the awards from his school band competitions and earned extremely high divisions in different performances. Ishaan is part of the Hebron High School Marching band and served as a section leader for Trombone in 2019. Ishaan will be performing in International Trombone Festival (ITF) in July’19 in front of world-renowned musicians and composers. Ishaan will be pursuing his college education in music as a performer. He lives with his parents, his younger brother, and the family dog.

Here is wishing Ishaan all the success from Toppick Media for his musical career.

Listen to the Philharmonic Orchestra performance
Read More...

Young Achievers - RISHAB PULUGURTA
Toppick Media Editor   Jan-2019   270 Views   0 Comments

Hello everyone, my name is RISHAB PULUGURTA and up to this point of fifteen years of my life, I have always lived by one mantra. “Dream It. Believe it. Achieve it”, and this has taught me how to succeed and achieve my accomplishments. Everyday I am inspired by the environment around me, namely my beloved parents, teachers, and friends. They push me to be better and better every single day, especially my parents. I look up to both of them to one day become as successful and caring as they are. 

I began one of the driving influences of my life, Taekwondo, at the young age of 8 years old. This sport has taught me the life skills of respect, self-control, and discipline. Over the years I practiced and refined my skills and then when the time came, I was ready to compete in tournaments of the highest level.

I began competing in Taekwondo tournaments in the 2015 Texas Open Taekwondo Tournament and won 2 Gold Medals. And in the 2015 U.S. Open Taekwondo Tournament in Colorado I won 5 Medals. 4 Gold Medals (1st place) and 1 Bronze Medal (3rd place). This was my first national level Taekwondo tournament. It was a challenging competition with approximately 1200 competitors from USA and 10 countries.

In the 2016 U.S. Open Taekwondo Tournament in Colorado I won a total of 5 Medals. 2 Gold Medals (1st place) and 3 Silver Medals (2nd place). In the 2016 Texas Open Taekwondo Tournament I won 5 Medals. 2 Gold Medals, 2 Silver Medals and 1 Bronze Medal.

In 2017 I competed in two National level Taekwondo Tournaments. The 2017 U.S. Open International Taekwondo Tournament in Colorado and the 2017 AAU Taekwondo National Championship in Florida. In the 2017 U.S. Open International Taekwondo Tournament I won 5 Medals. 2 Gold Medals (1st place), 1 Silver Medal (2nd place), 1 Bronze Medal (3rd place) and the Best Spirit Award. I also competed in the 2017 AAU (American Athletic Union) District Championship and won 3 Gold Medals and 2 Silver Medals. In addition I competed in the 2017 Texas Open Taekwondo Tournament and won 5 Gold Medals.

Read More...

Nupur Rishi Author of Nature in my heart
Toppick Media Editor   Jan-2019   198 Views   0 Comments

Nupur Rishi, a high school student, a certified Indian classical dancer, a green belt in Taekwondo but more than that she is passionate about Nature Poetry and Nature Photography. She is the author of the book “Nature in my heart” which is a collection of her inspiring poetic pieces.

She believes that life is all about getting inspired and keeps going on the way to success. But due to harsh life struggles and challenges we sometimes get demotivated and decide to quit. The purpose of this poetry book is to get self motivated by just peeping into the nature around us and listen to their silent stories. The poetry also has original illustrations which are captured by her phone.

She is confident and aspire that these stories of nature which are close to her heart can become a life changer for others and be a guiding torch for others.

She also shares her artistic poetry and photographs through her Facebook and Instagram page “Fantasy Artsy Nupur”. 

In addition she is an active volunteer with “We The Navigators” and Zbyte.

Read More...

Tanveer Arora: Local Stand-Up Comedian
TP4U Editor   Nov-2018   209 Views   0 Comments
Born and brought up in the land of Bollywood, I have always been a Mumbai(Bandra) boy. I am, however, often confused to be someone from Punjab and most people get very disappointed to know that I am from Mumbai. They often react as if I said I am from Lahore, which in fact, would be better as then there would still be some 'Punjabi' aspect to me. There is nothing Punjabi about me, except my face. My spoken Punjabi is a mix of Hindi, Marathi(Jai Maharashtra), English and a little bit of Punjabi. Unlike most Punjabis, I am slender (at the moment!), vegetarian, a Teetotaler and don't guzzle down gallons of milk or Lassi (yogurt drink) as I am lactose intolerant. I do love Paneer though. How can a lactose intolerant person love Paneer, you ask? Well, that's what I call living on the edge.
 
Growing up in Mumbai and breathing the Bollywood air, I was very fascinated with stardom and always wanted to be a part of it. I am a born writer as well. Right from childhood, I remember having written countless 'will you be my friend?' letters to girls at school or obituaries for my friends (all alive and kicking). Comedy came naturally to me and I tested out my skills at the age of 17, when I auditioned for the Great Indian Laughter Challenge. I was brutally rejected, much like by those girls returning my letters saying, 'we don't like you right now, try again in a few years!' The dream died. I didn't write an obituary for the dream though because a part of me feels that the dream can be resurrected.

My friends and family have always asked me about my dream in life - my goal. I love material things, so they did automatically assume my dream to be to rake in big bucks, live in a mansion and drive a luxury car. But my real dream is to leave a mark in this world through my writings and be remembered even after I am gone. To this, my friends would joke and ask how would i know if I am being remembered after my death? To which I reply, “Believe you me, when I die, I am not directly going to heaven (yes, I am confident I will be going to heaven, I have already bribed the gatekeeper). I will stick around for a couple of months to see if people are remembering me.” I will also use that opportunity to audition for horror movies.

After the laughter challenge incident, years passed and life happened. I moved to Texas and have been working in IT for over 8 years. If you ever ask my friends from school or my teachers or even my coworkers they would agree about me being a very quiet person, almost an introvert. I believe there was a lot of stored energy in me that was waiting for an opportunity to make use of.

3 years back, my wife stumbled upon a Stand-Up Comedy class and signed me up for it. I thank her for doing so, else I wouldn't have been where I am now. Also, if and when I make it big, I will owe all my success to her. By that, I mean that I'll write a heart melting publication thanking her, extolling her virtues and telling the world what a perfect wife she has been. My money though ,will still be mine. Let's be absolutely clear about that.

In the next paragraph, it may sound like I am boasting and being arrogant. But that is mostly because I am.

In the past 3 years, I have performed all over Texas like San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, Austin, Houston, Dallas as well as New York City, Hawaii and even Mumbai, India. I run my own showcases in San Antonio: Ten Beer Comedy Show.  I am also a co-producer of the JOKES OK PLEASE - A Hinglish comedy collaborative in Austin, Texas. I have also been a two time finalist in the Funniest in South Texas Competition. I have recently opened for famous Indian comedians like Zakir Khan, Amit Tandon, Atul Khatri, Varun Thakur and Abhishek Upamanyu and received accolades from all these big comic stars. 

My comedy sheds light on my religion, my origin as an Indian and anecdotes from my life. I absolutely love talking about my dad, mom and wife. In these 3 years of comedy, I have become a local favorite with over 50 hrs of stage time. As, I am now on this journey to entertain people and to make my name in comedy, I certainly need all your support and love. So, catch me perform in Dallas and other Texas cities. For upcoming shows and daily dose of laughter, you can follow me on:

Read More...

PROUD PARENTS OF SUSHMA AND SUDIKSHA
TP4U Editor   Sep-2018   590 Views   0 Comments

The stars of the evening, Sushma and Sudiksha, joined Natyanjali Kuchipudi Dance School 10 years ago and have been training under Srimathi Srilatha Suri since then. The Pai sisters have also attended Jai Kishore Mosalikanti’s dance workshops for the past 4 years to help shape their skills.

Sushma and Sudiksha Pai were both introduced to Kuchipudi at the age of 8 and 6 by Guru Srimathi Srilatha Suri. Kuchipudi has had a huge impact on their lives for the past 10 years at Natyanjali Kuchipudi Dance School. Sudiksha is a sophomore at Imagine International Academy of North Texas, and Sushma recently graduated and earned her IB diploma. The Pai sisters are the first in their family to pursue classical Indian dance as an interest and present a Rangapravesa m.

They both have been attending Chinmaya mission for the past 5 years and continue to learn more about their culture and religion. Sushma will be attending Austin College this fall to pursue her ambition of becoming an Orthodontist. Over the past year, Sudiksha has spent countless hours volunteering at her dance school and teaching younger students. They performed at the Irving Arts Center and it was a beautiful, gracious performance. Thanks

Read More...

What is FENGSHUI ?
Vijay Warman   May-2018   229 Views   0 Comments

Hello Readers, my name is Vijay Warman and I work for my company – Mystic Mandala, located in Plano at 3131 Custer Road (Ste 265) where I guide people on mindfulness practices and many eastern concepts of creating a vibrant energy in the homes of my clients. Along with my team, we also offer Yoga Classes, Sound Healing and many other ancient modalities of healing. Although the advancements in science, technology and communication have made life very comfortable and connected for us, however we as a generation have never been so “disconnected” to ourselves – Life is moving at a frantic pace with no time to sit back and enjoy ourselves, our families and our homes – isn't it so? Our services, our workshops help people reconnect to their true, essential selves. We work on the mind body connection to guide our clients to a happier healthier self. With that intention, we do the bi annual free admission event called the Holistic Festival of life and wellness, or our next big event at the Plano center on 22nd April The Plano Health Fair (www.PlanoHealthfair.com)

What is FENGSHUI?

Feng shui literally means wind water. It is a system, a traditional chinese concept linking the destiny of man to his environment it is a process, a belief system of universal laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy called chi or life force, and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when designing buildings and decorating homes.

Why is feng shui important in a home?

Your home is a place where you come back to rest, to rejuvenate and to relax. It is your safe haven. The quality of your work in the outside world always depends deeply on the quality of your rest. If you are well rested, more energized, then you can do a lot, isn't it? So good Feng Shui in the house will help remove negativity and create a peaceful yet empowering environment. A good feng shui house has to be nourished by fresh, clear and freely flowing energy. There can be no stagnant, old or blocked energy anywhere in the house. Everything around us in life is in constant flow, in constant change and the same energy dynamics apply to our house as well. Stuck, stagnant energy in a specific area of your house will sooner or later express itself in stuck, or completely blocked energy in a specific area of your life.

How does the position of furniture, colors used, and balance impact one's home through the philosophy of fengshui? 

Life has a flow, and the philosophy of Feng Shui believes in making sure that one's home has an easy flow. The three major concepts of Feng Shui are the flow of energy, the balance of yin and yang and the interaction of the five elements in the universe namely - fire, earth, metal, water and wood.Each element has its own unique characteristics as to how it is expressed in the world. Each element also plays a vital role in the cycle of life. The placement and design of furniture isn't just a physical matter; it also helps to maintain the balance of yin and yang within the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual realms leading to a healthier life. We lay a lot of importance on not having obstructions in the flow of energy in a house. Hence placement of furniture in the home is of tremendous importance. Just like we have traffic congestion on the roads similarly sometimes we get energy congestion in the home. A good DIY is to make sure that there is room to move around the house. De-cluttering is an importance concept – In Feng Shui we want the entire house to be clutter free and obstruction free.

And once we have worked with the elements and the physical objects in the house, we consider colors carefully as in Feng Shui we divide the house into 9 equal parts called the Bagua. Here, each Bagua or area is designated a certain color. Now, colors are of equal importance in Feng Shui. Imagine the associated feelings with a bright red rose or a beautiful white lily. While the Red rose fills your heart with love, a white lily fills your mind with peace and serenity. There are Yin colors in Feng Shui which induce a gentleness and Yang colors represent the elements of Fire and Wood elements and provide enthusiasm and positive energy required to be motivated and energetically charged.



Read More...