Friday September 21, 2018
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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

  • Pritam Go Green

    That’s the amount of diversity we as a Indians possess. Divided by cultures United by Nation. Even U.S knows the worth of Indian students.

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Best Casinos In India

In areas like Goa, there are quite impressive gambling establishments, which can provide a pretty good idea as what the future holds.

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Casino Popular with Indian Gamblers. Pixabay

Gambling is hugely popular all around the world, especially in the form of casinos. People love nothing more than heading down to their favourite land-based casinos to try their luck on slot games, blackjack, poker and roulette. Nowadays, we have all heard and might have visited Las Vegas and Macau; two of the best places to experience the best casinos have to offer. In fact, there is arguably little to choose from between the two renowned places. With regards to India, gambling is currently restricted to certain regions. In spite of this gambling in this part of the world is still is a popular form of entertainment and has a growing following. So much so, that some believe, it won’t be long before we see casinos and gambling being allowed across the country; especially when taking into account revenues that will be realised through taxation and licensing.

Right now, in areas like Goa, there are quite impressive gambling establishments, which can provide a pretty good idea as what the future holds, if indeed gambling is allowed to flourish. We have taken the liberty of highlighting a few of the best that everyone needs to visit in India right now.

Casinos
We’re all very familiar with gambling websites and online casinos, where you can do anything from betting on sports events. Pixabay

Deltin Royale

The Deltin Royale is by far and away one of India’s finest, largest and most luxurious casinos. It’s a must visit venue for a reason, with gaming taking place on three levels. Whether slots or table games are your thing, your needs will be catered for, with 850 gaming positions inside the casino. Visitors will also be able to treat themselves to some fine dining, while also being able to enjoy fine wines and single malts. This place is more than just a casino, with plenty of shows, including stand up comedy, taking place on a regular basis.

Casino
This place is more than just a casino. Flickr

Casino Mahjong

Casino Mahjong is a venue with plenty to offer its visitors. It was set up by three entrepreneurs from Gangtok and aims to provide gamblers with that sweet feeling of triumph associated with winning. It’s actually one of the most famous casinos in India, spread across 7,000sqft, with 15 live gaming tables available to play at. They also offer a private poker room which sports 7 tables, with VVIP gaming and state-of-the-art slot games on offer too. Visitors will also find themselves entertained by the daily performances at Casino Mahjong, as the venue goes that extra mile to keep their players happy and entertained throughout their stay.

Casino
Mayfair Hotels & Resorts, along with Casino Mahjong support and promote responsible gambling. Flickr

Casino Pride

Casino Pride is a group of casinos within India, which are recognised as being some of the best around due to their high standard of gaming and hospitality. They currently have two five-star venues under their banner which tells you that they offer players the quality experiences they expect, every time. They’ve also been awarded the award for being the best casino in India by the Indian Travel Awards too. What you’ll find at Casino Pride establishments are slots and table games, as well as local favourites such as Mang Patta and Paplu. Casino Pride is an operator who stick close to their roots, while also recognising their international connections too.

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A landmark of Glory & Glamour. With five Casinos & two five stars under its banner, awarded the best casino in India by Indian Travel Awards. Flickr

Casino Pearl

Casino Pearl is one of the newest casinos in India, located in the 5-star resort of Bogmallo. It may be relatively new to the scene, but it’s already managing to cause a stir with it being one of the largest casinos in the area. They have everything a gamer casino goer could need and more, with plenty of slots, table games, live roulette, baccarat and Tai Sai. Visitors are also able to take advantage of unlimited food at the buffet, as well as unlimited drinks, making this a must visit venue for people looking to have a good time.