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Indo-Canadian Community Gathers To Help Smile Catcher Chandra Bodalia

It was great to see people like R. Paul Dhillon, the prominent film maker and long-time editor of The Link. As a matter of fact, Dhillon and The Link as well as The Indo-Canadian Voice were the ones who supported Chandra  when he needed it the most.

By Balwant Sanghera

VANCOUVER – Fraserview Hall in Vancouver was overflowing with well-wishers of Chandra Bodalia on Wednesday, December 21. The well-known and respected Smile Catcher,who has been suffering from a debilitating disease, was the centre of attraction.

The entire community leadership was there to lend a helping hand to the man whose presence at every community function has been a given. Chandra is a selfless and very popular figure in the community. The presence of more than 600 persons at the Chandra Bodalia Fundraiser was a reflection of the regard that Chandra has in the community. The attendees included people from all walks of life and cream of the community as well as a lot of politicians. Allof them opened their hearts and wallets to help the Bodalia family in this hour of need.

It was great to see people like R. Paul Dhillon, the prominent film maker and long-time editor of The Link. As a matter of fact, Dhillon and The Link as well as The Indo-Canadian Voice were the ones who supported Chandra  when he needed it the most.

A brochure produced for the occasion has this to say about Chandra: “Chandra Bodalia immigrated to Vancouver in 1976and started as photojournalist. He is one of the most famous and respected South Asian journalists of the Lower Mainland. In the last 40 years, Chandra has travelled everycorner of this region to click event pictures and capture community stories….Besides being a photographer, Chandra has also made his place in the commercial art space of Vancouver… In the past he has made décor and props for many events and high profile weddings….Chandra is an artist at heart, and to him, photography is also an art. With his commitment to work, the zeal to capture maximum smiles and stories, Chandra has a massive collectionof more than three million images in his library. He has been awarded more than 20 times for his art and dedicationfor photography. Many young and upcoming photojournalists look up to him as arole model.”

An impressive 25 minute videohighlighting Chandra’s life and role as roving photographer commenced the proceedings. The Bodalia family was recognized and thanked for Chandra’s contribution. The politicians including B.C.’s Attorney General Suzanne Anton, Minister Amrik Virk, MPs Sukh Dhaliwal and Randeep Sarai, MLAs Harry Bains and Sue Hammel as well as former Attorney General Wally Oppal   paid well deserved tributes to Chandra. In a sense, Chandra has become a roving ambassador not only for the South Asian community but also for the community at large. During his forty years in Canada, there will be hardly any community function in Metro Vancouver where Chandra didn’t appear with camera in hand. He never expected or accepted any monetary compensation for his services. On a number of occasions I would phone Chandra to come to our functions at a very short notice. He never said no and promptly turned up at the right time and at the right place.  I am sure a lot of other people in our community had the same experience with him.

The organizers did a great job in bringing to-gether such a large number of our Chandra supporters under one roof. It was a lot of hard work. The hosts of the event – Sunil Khanna, Jay Minhas and SudarshanBakhshi, along with many others-were busy throughout the evening ensuring that everything went well. The donations also kept pouring in. By the end of the evening a lot of money was raised to help Chandra and his family. It is a great reflection of our community’s generosity.This was a worthwhile cause and the community came through.

Keep up the good work, Chandra. We pray for your health and happiness. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year !

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.


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