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Its all about the taste of India!

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Today, thousands of young professionals build their careers in cities where they were not born or raised. A study conducted by LinkedIn in 2014 found that Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Gurgaon are the top cities recruiting young talent from across India.

I hope such transplantation has led to greater exposure to and appreciation of different regional cuisines, customs and languages. In fact, many Indians who leave home for further study or job opportunities first experience India’s linguistic and culinary diversity on foreign soil.

Before leaving for the United States as a graduate student, I had never lived outside Kolkata. As a new graduate student in Florida, I experienced India’s diversity for the first time. What I write next is my personal experience. I have changed names and states of origin not because my friends can get offended but because my experience was not a unique one. Most students from India can attest to similar experiences.

India tends to rank second to China in sending student applications to graduate schools in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2015, US schools received 676,484 applications from India. Most university campuses in the USA have Indian student organizations. Composed of students and led by students, these associations work as a cultural grounding for students who have recently left their country behind. The executive committees organize and celebrate major Indian festivals, like Diwali and Holi, and special days, like Independence Day and Republic Day. On the west coast of the US alone, there are two such organizations in Washington State, two in Oregon, and 16 in California. Members of the student organizations typically receive students from the airports upon arrival, make temporary accommodation arrangements with roommates, and help the new arrivals get their bearings in the first few weeks when the new country and a new academic system seem slightly disorienting.

In Florida, we were four girls from India and were all new to our new home. Excited and glad to be in our comfort zone (we’re all Indians after all), we sat down on the carpet in our yet unfurnished duplex apartment and tried to get to know each other.

What language would we speak?

Priya spoke Bengali. Chetana spoke Marathi. Sunita spoke Hindi. Gayatri spoke Telugu. English was the only common language. Everyone understood Hindi, but only one spoke it fluently.

According to the New World Encyclopedia, there are more than 400 languages in India and several hundred dialects. The Constitution of India recognizes 23 official languages. The currency is printed in 15 languages. Any job application form is printed in 3 languages–English, Hindi and a regional language. Most of the languages have their distinct alphabets, scripts, and vocabularies and can be as different from each other as English is from Chinese. (In later years, I have shared the meaning of diversity in the Indian context with my American friends and colleagues. Many of them working in college admissions offices can’t wrap their minds about the challenges such a range of diversity tends to pose.)

Now that English became the apartment’s lingua franca, as in urban India, we turned our attention to apartment rules and cooking turns.

Why not cook together?

Two are vegetarians and two are not.

Gayatri–a strict vegetarian from southern India–does not know the taste of onion and garlic. She has grown up eating dosa, sambhar and chutneys.

According to The Hindu-CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey, conducted in 2006, 31% of Indians are exclusively vegetarians. Their food habits stem from “inherited cultural practice rather than individual belief.” While Brahmins in many states tend to be vegetarians, this study shows “regional location” often determines food habits; hence, coastal areas have more fish-eating communities than land-locked central and northern areas which have more vegetarian communities.

Since everyone ate vegetarian food in the Florida apartment, we decided to inaugurate our shared kitchen by cooking dal and rice on day one.

Once the dal was boiled and ready, each girl suggested spices for tadka, chhok, baghar, phoron… all meaning “seasoning” in their respective languages.

What would be the seasoning spices?

Gayatri suggested cumin and mustard seeds.

Sunita chose cumin seeds and green chillies.

Chetana brought mustard seeds and tomatoes.

Priya brought dry red chillies and ‘panch phoron’ seeds.

These were only four ways. If potatoes can be cooked in at least three hundred ways, as Shashi Tharoor writes in From Midnight to the Millennium, imagine the multiple seasonings possible to add flavour to an otherwise bland dal.

Soon enough Gayatri’s mustard seeds and Sunita’s green chillies locked horns. To dispel a gathering storm on the very first day of our comfort zone, Chetana and Priya called up Papa John’s and ordered a large all-veggie pizza with no onions.

Bhalo. Achha hain. Bagundi. Good. The evening ended well.

This was my first experience with the multiple ways an Indian identity can be understood. If language and food are essential traits of identity, then there are multiple ways of being Indian.

Credits: The Huffington Post

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Recovery Rate Rises and Case Fatality Goes Down in India

Recovery rate is rising, case fatality is going down, says Health Ministry of India

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The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent which has decreased from 3.30 per cent as on April 15. Pixabay

The Union Health Ministry on Monday said that two specific trends were noticed in the Covid-19 situation – while the recovery rate is increasing on one hand, case fatality is going down on the other.

The ministry said at least 4,835 Covid-19 patients had been cured in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured patients to 91,818.

“The recovery rate in the country is progressively increasing and has reached 48.19 per cent amongst Covid-19 patients. On May 18, it was 38.29 per cent, on May 3, it was 26.59 per cent and on April 15, it was 11.42 per cent,” it said.

The Health Ministry also said that presently there are 93,322 active cases in the country, which are under active medical supervision.

The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent. On May 18, it was 3.15 per cent, on May 3, it was 3.25 per cent and on April 15, it was 3.30 per cent.

“A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country. The relatively low death rate is attributed to the continued focus on surveillance, timely case identification and clinical management of the cases,” the ministry said.

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“A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country.”, the Ministry was qouted saying. Pixabay

Also Read: COVID-19: MakeMyTrip Lays Off Nearly 350 Employees

It also said that the testing capacity increased in the country through a total of 676 laboratories including 472 government and 204 private laboratories.

“Cumulatively, 38,37,207 samples have been tested so far for Covid-19, whereas, 1,00,180 samples were tested on Sunday,” the Health Ministry stated.

According to the data the ministry cited in its press statement, the case fatality rate in the world is 6.19 per cent. It is highest in France, at 19.35 per cent, followed Belgium with 16.25 per cent, Italy with 14.33 per cent and the UK with 14.07 per cent. (IANS)

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Xiaomi to Unveil Mi Notebook on June 11 in India

The launch event is all set to kick off at 12 noon IST

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Xiaomi is all set to launch exclusive Mi Notebook in India on June 11 via an online event. Wikimedia Commons

Xiaomi on Monday said it is going to unveil an India exclusive Mi Notebook on June 11 via an online event.

The launch event will kick off at 12 noon IST and will be streamed across Xiaomi’s social media platforms and Mi.com as well.

In a tweet, Manu Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, confirmed that upcoming Mi Notebook model is exclusively made for the Indian consumers.

Xiaomi’s Mi last week announced that it will enter the Indian laptop market in June.

“We are ready to introduce the next big category in India with the Mi Notebook series. We will broadly have two series under Mi Notebook that we are going to launch. It will be a minimalistic design, a power-packed device with latest technology to fulfill the requirements of our Indian users,” Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Xiaomi India, told IANS in an interaction.

He also said the company also intends to introduce more products under the Mi brand, like Internet of Things (IoT) products and Smart TVs.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi RedmiBook 13 features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution anti-glare display. (Representational Image). Pixabay

According to a recent report, Mi’s first Notebook will be a rebranded version of RedmiBook 13 which launched in China in December last year.

Xiaomi RedmiBook 13 features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution anti-glare display with narrow 4.65mm bezels on three sides.

Also Read: Here’s How You Can Keep Dark Circles Away

The display offers 178-degree wide-viewing angle with 250 nits maximum brightness. It is 16.3 mm thin and weighs around 1.23 kilogrammes.

The laptop comes in two sets of configuration options– with 10th gen Intel Core i5-10510U processor and 10th gen Intel Core i7-10510U chipset

The RedmiBook 13 comes fitted with a chiclet keyboard with a 1.3 mm keystroke travel along with Microsoft PTP supported trackpad. (IANS)

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My Menu: Redefine Your Online Food Ordering Process

Here's a new way to order food online with 'My Menu'

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'My Menu' -- an International digital menu company on which a restaurant can take care of all its digital menu needs. Pixabay

By Puja Gupta

Tablet menu or digital menu has been around for over 10 years, but they never became popular, why? Unfortunately until two years ago, every digital app/product was not design oriented and all it did was just show plain pictures of the food. Today, it’s not only about showcasing pictures, but also a beautifully designed and printed menu can do a much better job than any app.

‘My Menu’ — an International digital menu company currently live in over 1,600 restaurants across countries in over 142 languages – is all-in-one platform on which a restaurant can take care of all its digital menu needs – tablet menu, QR menu, QR ordering and online ordering. It recently announced a complimentary QR ordering solution to restaurants worldwide.

As restaurants are preparing to open across the country from June 8, ‘My Menu’ helps tackle dining the post COVID-19 era to prepare the industry for the socio-economic changes that make ‘contactless’ service the new normal.

The QR Ordering system allows guests a complete contactless, self-ordering system, table service to communicate with the wait staff. Its online ordering and restaurant delivery module can interface with any restaurant POS thus making it the perfect add on module for restaurants to start accepting orders directly and avoid paying hefty commissions to third party aggregators/delivery portals.

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A beautifully designed and printed menu can do a much better job than any app. Pixabay

“Our objective remains the same from the time we started conceptualizing the product — to increase the average check value and guest satisfaction. As a by-product, we also see increase in efficiency and reduction of operational costs. We have multiple case studies which show that restaurants see an immediate increase in the average check value of 25 – 30 per cent,” says My Menu CEO Abhishek Bose.

Also Read: 60% Decrease in Pediatric Fractures During Pandemic: Study

He adds: “We have also announced a complimentary QR ordering solution to restaurants worldwide for tackling the post COVID-19 era to prepare the industry for upcoming socio-economic changes post the pandemic. In order to contain the single most reusable and essential item ‘food menu’, digitalized menus supported by QR code is a strategic solution that will prove to be successful for active prevention.”

My Menu has been made a corporate standard by Accor hotels and Bose hopes other hotel chains will follow soon. It is already being used across popular restaurant chains such as Nandos, Wagamama, Carluccio’s, he informs. “Being a self-managed product we have seen a lot more uptake from countries where hoteliers/restauranteurs are considerably more IT savvy,” he concludes. (IANS)