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Mars & Venus On A Collision Course?

Come explore male and female roles within the context of our Sindhi community and our day-to-day lives. We'll bring up a range of issues through role-playing and frank, and maybe often biting, discussion. Come ready to rumble and burst some bubbles – boys - bring your dresses, Girls - bring your boots. This won't be a gender war, instead it'll be a way for us to see each other in a new light, which will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the pressures we face both individually and collectively. Ritika Malkani and Anil Vaswani will be your referees during this ten round heavyweight bout.

“Let’s Talk” — Culture & Conflict in the Sindhi Diaspora

This interactive workshop will challenge participants to talk about the tough issues that shape our identity and our relationships with others. Conversations about race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and religion are rarely easy and often lead to conflict. Through interactive exercises and discussions, this session will provide a forum for dialogue as well as opportunities to learn important cross-cultural communication and conflict resolution skills.

Facilitators Shilpa and David Hart will also share from their own experience in an intercultural marriage. Shilpa Alimchandani Hart is an intercultural communication trainer and consultant. She teaches courses in cross-cultural communication at American University. David Adam Hart is a mediator and peace activist. He is the CEO of the Association for Conflict Resolution (, a professional association serving over 7,000 conflict resolution practitioners.

Chaadar Jhe Haithaan – Sinfully Sindhi

Are you bound by socio-cultural boundaries and afraid to reveal your  true self? How does being Sindhi impact your lifestyle choices? Sexual curiousity is a natural phenomenon, which develops from childhood, and persists throughout most of our adult lives. Sindhis of our generation share a unique perspective that involves manipulations from our elders' generations to the outright declaration of sexual independence & freedom inherent within our generation. Join us as we explore & delve into the realm that not many are willing to visit, or daring enough to endure. Open your mind and share your thoughts as they pertain to the domain of human touch and emotion.

Dialogue between Generations

During the last decades, every field of society has experienced a certain amount of change and transformation. We have all been caught in the dilemma of following our own logic versus the traditional norm. Taking this dichotomy down to the level of cross generation interaction, can we understand the many decisions our parents have made?  While we attempt to rationalize our logic with our parents, would we end up making similar decisions caught in comparable situations? Has our way of thinking really deviated from traditional values, or has it in fact adhered to it? Come prepared with questions, concerns, opinions, and suggestions as we explore across generations. From the liberal to the conservative minded, attendees of the Retreat will get the opportunity to partake in a dialogue with a panel of leading member from the Toronto Sindhi community.

Out of the Closet, In our Community: Queer Issues

Join us for an engaging and interactive panel discussion about queer Issues in the South Asian community. This session is designed to fill the gaps in our perceptions and views with respect to homosexuality. With hopes to raise visibility and awareness of queer issues in the Sindhi community and in the larger South Asian community, our panelists will share insight from their experiences and highlight social aspects/dilemmas related to the “coming out process.”

Tuhinjo naalo chha ahay... baby?

Women this is your chance to get inside the male mind… and guys, to learn from our experienced speakers what women really want! How do today’s young Sindhi adults connect? Friendster? Do we go online to meet people? Do we go undercover when we’re dating to avoid social stigmas? Is it different for 20 somethings and 30 somethings? Getting beyond dating, is co-habitation before marriage a reality our Sindhi society refuses to acknowledge? How does the Sindhi concept of marriage and the accompanying social and family pressures to get married factor into our dating habits? We will be discussing these hot topics and many more. We even have experts who have conducted research in the area of online dating to share their findings, dating tips, and advice with regards to online hook-ups. So please join us as we explore the art of wooing the perfect Sindhi Chokro or Chokri.

Single, Sindhi, and Thirtysomething:

There are more single Sindhis in their thirties today than ever before. We’ve all heard the whispers, some louder, some softer, about an ‘expiration date’, or the missed ‘window of opportunity.’ Obviously, life today is different from our parents' and grandparents’ lives. But is this trend of being single later in life good or bad? Is it because more of us are going to Grad School and focusing on establishing a career – particularly our women - before considering marriage? Or is it because meeting someone is harder today than it was previously? Have our expectations made us more picky, so much so that some of us are too picky and end up single and thirtysomething? Or is our getting married later in life just a parallel to what is going on in North America? Are the answers different for those of us Single, Sindhi, and Thirtysomething, versus those of us Single, Sindhi, and Twentysomething? For those of us in our thirties, if you could, would you go back in time and do anything differently? For those of us in our twenties, does the increasing number of those Single, Sindhi, and in their Thirties make you want to begin your search for a spouse sooner, approach your search differently or is it all irrelevant? Help us get beyond the whispers as we try to figure out what’s in store for our Single, Sindhi, and Thirtysomethings and what’s in store for our Single, Sindhi, and Twentysomethings!

Mujhse Shaadi Karoge?

Arranged? Or Not? That is the question.

We've all heard the stories - my Dad saw my Mom at a park when both families just 'happened' to be there at the same time. They never even spoke to each other until after the wedding, and now they've been happily married for 45 years!

A sucessful age-old tradition seems to have lost steam with our generation.

Is it because of the accompanying societal or family pressure?

Is it because the concept misunderstood?

But in reality, is it any different than a friend introducing you to someone?

In this session we will discuss our generation's aversion to this tradition - when it worked so well for so many of our parents, why aren't we willing to give it a shot? Is it because we want the 'fall in love at first sight' and 'live happily ever after' fairy tale? If so, is that fairy tale even possible within the context of an arranged marriage? Join us as we explore this timeless topic with a little laughter and a little introspection.

Has Compromise Been Compromised?

Expectations. Commitment. Compromise. At one point, these three items went hand in hand. We all grew up aware of our parents' and grandparent's expectations of each other, commitment, and the compromises made for the good of the marriage and family. But is that still the norm? Today's modern Sindhi woman complains that today's Sindhi men have expectations that are out of whack. Given today's reality of an advanced education, career paths, and the accompanying financial independence, are Sindhi women no longer willing to compromise in their relationships and marriages? And is it the false expectations, or the lack of commitment or the lack of compromise that is causing an increasing number of short-lived marriages in our community? Let's explore the links between expectations, compromise and commitment among today's young Sindhi adults and see where they really lie.

My Big Fat Sindhi Wedding

We’ve all been to Sindhi weddings, but do we know what each of these rituals mean? Do we need that many excuses to party and dress up?? While these may vary from family to family, most traditional Hindu Sindhi weddings are filled with them. Join us as we share the origin and significance of each component of a traditional Sindhi wedding - from rituals to prayers, customs and tradition in unique and light-hearted manner.

Think ‘Ability’

As a modern society steeped in tradition, the responses of Sindhis to people with disabilities can be shocking. Negative attitudes and stigma held by the families of people with disabilities, and often the disabled themselves, deter these special people from taking an active part in the family, community or workforce. These people are often subjected to severe social exclusion. Many of these perceptions have been born out of ignorance and the paucity of resources in the past.  This is a particularly crucial social topic of discussion, as the number of people with disabilities amongst our population is substantial and is on the rise with advances in life-saving medical technology, increased environmental pollutants, and with so many more of us getting married later in our lives. Serving a person with a disability, as a child, parent, sibling, spouse, or a friend has become a reality; any of us can be in that position at some point in our lives. For example, the simple context of an aging disabled parent staying at home instead of a facility is an issue that our generation is increasingly experiencing with the move towards nuclear families. We should be having many conversations about abilities and how people with cognitive, developmental, and physical disabilities are perceived. It is through our endeavors to promote empathy, understanding, awareness, acceptance, and subsequent change for the better that we can continue to grow as a supportive and loving culture. Most importantly, in a culture where family and honor play a meaningful role, it our responsibility, our utmost duty (dharma) to serve our families selflessly, just as it is our responsibility to change with time and to be truly progressive in all aspects of life. Helen (Heera) Chandani, M.A. is a Northwestern University alumnus serving as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a therapeutic day school for students with moderate-profound Autism Spectrum Disorders, ages 10-35, in Chicago, IL.  Also, she has diverse experiences working in a hospital with adults (with stroke, brain injury, swallowing disorders, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other neurological diseases) and for a private clinic; and has had the first hand experience of serving her younger brother who has a disability.

The Dating Duel - Survey Says...

You'll want to play The Dating Duel, our very own version of the popular Family Feud TV show customized for young Sindhi adults! What's the top way Sindhi guys bungle up their first dates? What's the best thing a Sindhi girl can do on a first date? What are some do's and dont's people watch out for when they're being setup? We've surveyed them all. Come, play and figure out if what you do is what's in style! Sound easy? What are you waiting for? Get your team together, and earn the chance to play the game with your best friends. Or, kick back and be a part of an interactive audience that is going to tell it like it really is. No heckling allowed!

Successful Sindhi Women

What is your definition of a successful woman? A homemaker? A career woman? Join us for this informative session for men and women alike, where we'll explore the varying views on what defines a successful woman. This open discussion will allow us to query the minds of women to find out how they define success and peer into the minds of men to discover their perception and definition of a successful Sindhi woman. 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

"He's not Mr. Right.... He's Mr. Right Now."

"Ours was an arranged marriage."

"We met on a blind date."

"Our friends set us up."

"I'm dating her until Pam Anderson is available."

"We met online."

Inquiring minds want to know: Do you date? Have your parents / loved ones been trying to set you up with your friends? Have your friends / acquaintances been trying to set you up with their loved ones? What about finding out you have a profile your mom "forgot" to tell you about? Today, there's no right or wrong way to meet people.... be that traditionally through an arranged marriage, or a more modern approach - through an online dating service. This session will explore the many ways people are meeting in today's generation, and how they make it work! If you would like to participate on this panel, please contact one of the Host Committee Members.

What’s Your Deal Breaker?

Everyone has at least one, if not more; and everyone’s heard stories about the perfect couple that broke up because one of them had a crazy deal breaker…. What’s your deal breaker? Moving to her hometown? Living with his parents? Her cooking skills, or better said, lack thereof? The lack of a Benz in his garage? Taking it a step further, what does everyone else think of your deal breaker – are your expectations out of touch with reality or do your deal breakers line up with everyone else’s deal breakers? Join us for what is sure to be a polarizing and entertaining debate.

Sindhi Unity – Perception Or Reality?

Sindhi - a word synonymous with wealth, success, hard work, and entrepreneurship.  Yet beyond all these characteristics is something that the Sindhi people lack…. It is the essence of every community’s culture and without it, one’s culture may perish.  It is this ideology that binds people together to share a common goal. Join us for an open discussion on what challenges we are faced with building unity in our community and what steps can we take to bring about change.

Our Changing Reality – Pre-Nups, Divorces, & Family Law

We’ve all heard them – “Marriages are made in heaven and last happily ever after” and “You don’t just marry the person, you marry the family,” right? In a community with so many inter-connected relationships, we’ve witnessed a lot of those marriages and relationships first hand, and thankfully, they’ve stood the test of time. Even today, no one enters a marriage with the intention of exiting it. But, in a few cases - people change, circumstances change, expectations change, and while divorce isn’t something we’d wish on our worst enemies, it can become a reality. If it were to become your reality, it’s accompanied by Division of Property, sometimes by Custody, Alimony & Support, perhaps even blended family issues. The process is arduous, gut-wrenching and has a profound effect on your ones you love, even more so on the people who love you. How do you manage all of this in a way to minimize the negative impact on the people you care about the most? Join us for a candid conversation about Family Law, and learn how relevant it really is, even when your marriage lasts happily ever after.

Our guest speaker is Attorney, Certified Public Accountant & Certified Financial Planner, Navneet S. Chugh - Managing Partner and founder of The Chugh Firm, who has extensive experience in a wide variety of Corporate, Tax, Immigration, Litigation and Mergers & Acquisition matters. With offices in California, New Jersey, Georgia, and across India, the Chugh Firm focuses on issues regarding Tax, Immigration, U.S. & India law, Litigation, Corporate Transactions, Family Law, Bankruptcy, and Real Estate.

The Business Of Living – Wills, Estates, & Trusts

Science, medicine and awareness of healthier lifestyles are helping us enjoy better, longer, lives. As such, estate planning is an even more important aspect of living that better, longer, life. In fact, skilled estate planning practitioners often call it 'The Business of Living'. Because it forces us to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations, our community ignores estate planning, with horror stories often being the result of important issues being swept under the rug. We have all heard those stories, and they are painful. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to learn about this critically important aspect of living, not just for us, but so that we can help our parents and grandparents ensure their quality of life and safeguard the hard earned fruits of their labor. Join us for this enlightning conversation and learn the business of living!

Our guest speaker is Attorney, Certified Public Accountant & Certified Financial Planner, Navneet S. Chugh - Managing Partner and founder of The Chugh Firm, who has extensive experience in a wide variety of Corporate, Tax, Immigration, Litigation and Mergers & Acquisition matters. With offices in California, New Jersey, Georgia, and across India, the Chugh Firm focuses on issues regarding Tax, Immigration, U.S. & India law, Litigation, Corporate Transactions, Family Law, Bankruptcy, and Real Estate.

Reality Check: Marriage

What do you really know about marriage? Test what you THINK you know vs. reality! In this interactive session, learn how your life changes after "I Do" by leaning on the experiences of marriage bliss from married couples Amit Kathrotia & Amy Kotwani, and Sam & Manisha Nainani. They will help ensure your landing into life long happiness is a smooth one!

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