Saturday March 24, 2018
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Its all about the taste of India!


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.

  • 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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Acer launches new gaming desktop in India

Taiwanese hardware and electronics brand Acer on Wednesday launched its "Predator Orion 9000" gaming desktop in India

Acer releases new desktop in india. IANS

Taiwanese hardware and electronics brand Acer on Wednesday launched its “Predator Orion 9000” gaming desktop in India. Starting at Rs 319,999, the gaming desktop features powerful Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processors with up to 18 cores and 36 threads and up to two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti graphics cards, the company said in a statement. It is the first gaming desktop with Intel’s Core i9 Extreme Processor and Optane Memory to be available in India, the statement added.

It is a laptop made exclusively for gaming. Pixabay

“We are thrilled to welcome to our gaming arsenal the iconic ‘Predator Orion 9000’ gaming desktop,” said Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India. The gaming desktop also features liquid cooling and Acer’s IceTunnel 2.0 to keep the temperature down while the game heats up.

Also Read: Microsoft acquires gaming start-up PlayFab

IceTunnel 2.0 is an advanced airflow management solution that separates the system into several thermal zones, each with an individual airflow tunnel to expel heat, the statement added.

“With the launch of this, we have moved a step closer to our commitment of delivering the best gaming products for gamers at every level,” Panigrahi said. The “Predator Orion 9000” is available at select Croma stores and Acer Exclusive stores. IANS