Risky Road—Proceed With Caution

Vidya Pradhan and Jaya Padmanabhan showcase the difficulties faced in pursuit of the favorite American dream of “going it alone” in the August cover story (Risky Road, India Currents, August 2013).

They cite case studies from many diverse fields of endeavor by Indian Americans. The authors rightfully mention Artesia in Southern California as a typical example of a center for intense, dynamic growth among Indian American entrepreneurs. I would like to stress that even for well established businesses, vigilance is always required to survive. A restaurant, in operation for well over a decade in Artesia, faced this problem a few years ago. A city inspector, during a routine inspection, wrote up a citation requiring them to use only paper plates, cups and plastic utensils for service until the water temperature in the dishwasher was raised to code specifications. This problem is common in food handling establishments and can be quickly corrected by just dialing the temperature setting up as required or, in the worst case, by buying a whole new commercial dishwasher. The code requirement can easily be met in a day or two at the most. However, this entity was under restrictive suspension for about one year. We are occasional patrons of the restaurant and I am happy to report that the restaurant is thriving.

P. Mahadevan, Fullerton, CA

Accented Mispronounciations

Your editorial in the latest issue has been of interest and brought back my own experiences in India (Way Too Low, India Currents, July 2013). Having got the simple name Ganesh (or so I thought) it was supposed to be easy for everyone to pronounce. While at college in Calcutta, this got transformed to “Gonesh” and many times I missed the lecture calls and announcements since they called me Ghosh or even Ganguly without even reading the names fully.

Once, an old friend of mine from Calcutta asked to meet at my office in Chennai. He was turned away as the receptionist thought he was asking for Gomes! I know he must have pronounced my name as Gonesh.

North Indians while newsreading in Doordarshan or covering local news often have problems pronouncing names such as Sundaravadanam or Sugavaneeswaran or Mangayarkarasi. And while traveling abroad it is much more complex with names or surnames getting interchanged or even intersected in the middle.

K.N. Ganesh, Fremont, CA

Regarding your recent editorial (Way Too Low, India Currents, July 2013) westerners distorting eastern names is not new. Most of the city names in India were distorted to suit the western tongue—Bombay, Calcutta, Banglaore, Cochin, Calicut etc. I am glad that the original names are back at least in India. Sanskrit names are hard to spell let alone pronounce. The names get too long if one writes it phonetically—try writing “pud-mah-nah-bun” every time you spell your name!

Susri, online

Sarva-tea

The article by Sarita Sarvate (Tea, India Currents, July 2013) refreshed my own memories and experiences with this drink. So permit me to give her the nickname Sarita SarvaTea!
Tea is served in many containers, from 10-meter-tea in glass tumblers in Kerala to the clay pots in Bengal.

Once after a long journey to follow up on an oustanding bill in a remote corner of Kolkata, the employee at the office offered me tea in a broken cup as a means to pacify me before a heated argument.

I’ve had tea with malai (cream) on top in Bihar. I’ve had elaichi tea in Gujarat, one-by-two tea in Karnataka, black tea, green tea, dip tea at railway stations, and some offices, but I still prefer the chaloo-cha or “prepared tea” to pre-mixed tea which is too sweet sometimes.

As a young man, the words “tea break” provided relief and opportunities for brushing shoulders with great personalities. Standing in line for cricket match tickets at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, tea was brought by vendors to keep away the monotony.

Tea is, and will be, the favored drink for many throughout many parts of India and the world as a whole.

K.N. Ganesh, Fremont, CA

A Youthful Perspective

It was with great delight and a sense of astonishment that I read the youth column by Divya Prakash (The Asian-American Renaissance, August 2013). Delight at the ease with which Divya stitched together the best of Indian and American cultures, and astonishment that a seventh grader could write such a piece. I wish Divya all success with her dreams of becoming the Philosopher President who “lives like the people, with the people and for the people.”

Thanks to India Currents for encouraging bright young talents like her. I hope to see more of the same in the future.

Jojy Michael, Fremont, CA

A Staunch Progressive

In your July issue, it was a pleasant surprise to see the work of Rabindranath Tagore put into some context by Anita Felicelli (100 Years After the Nobel Prize, July 2013). He was a genius and a great poet, writer and much more. Too bad the west is still to discover this legendary thinker.

On other topics, I am a staunch progressive liberal, and I disagree with some of the opinions in your magazine. The editorial by Jaya Padmanabhan on Syrian intervention (Chicken Little Intervention, July 2013) was a rant against a great President, Barack Obama, and yes, I do believe he is a great President, and a historic one. I like your magazine very much, and your culture, and I agree with Jaya on the President, but I just wish she wouldn’t use the Republican talking points. Remember George W. Bush? He started the wars in the first place. Mistakes wil be made and President Obama is not a perfect man. He needs allies, not enemies.

Daniel Garcia, Gilroy, CA

Notes of Appreciation

I love IC! I have been “reading” (U.K. meaning) India for 13 years and have enjoyed this and plan to continue.

Chloe Ross, West Hollywood, CA

I just want to thank you for your interesting magazine, and to mention that we enjoy reading it! In particular, we enjoy and look forward to the Recipes in it!

Boris K via email

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