I want to explain arranged marriage to white people

A recent article in BBC.com features Pakistani designer Nashra Balagamwala and her views on arranged marriage.

When Pakistani designer Nashra Balagamwala produced a board game about arranged marriage, most news reports about her wrongly assumed she was dead against it. Actually her position is far more nuanced. And one goal is to explain to people in the UK and elsewhere how it works.

Balagamwala’s kickstarter campaign generated a lot of buzz and raised thousands of dollars more than what she was seeking.

Balagamwala was at the Rhode Island School of Design in the US when she came up with the idea.

“I was about to head home to Pakistan at the end of the year, and I had some proposals waiting for me, so I started stalking the Facebook accounts of those guys to find something about them that my parents wouldn’t approve of, so I could get out of meeting them. And then I thought to myself, ‘Why not get rid of the problem once and for all?’ So I created a list of every ridiculous thing I’ve done to get out of an arranged marriage and turned it into this light-hearted board game.”


She tested her game out on her friends, a mixture of South Asians and white Americans.
An American male friend was in fits of laughter while playing. He admitted to Balagamwala that he’d been worried the game would trivialise the subject, but said that he now had a better understanding of it.


Link to an article in scroll.in


Update on PPF account for NRIs – You can continue with PPF account now

The Indian government recently announced that Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts had to be closed when a person became a Non Resident Indian (NRI). 

A few months ago in October, the government announced that if a resident, who opened an account under this scheme, and subsequently becomes a non-resident during the currency of the maturity period, the account shall be deemed to be closed with effect from the day he becomes a non-resident.

Image result for ppf

On February 23, 2018, the government’s Department of Economic Affairs (DEA)  released an office memo  keeping its earlier notification in abeyance (or temporarily dismissed). The earlier notification was regarding the NRI’s PPF account released on October 2, 2017. According to the recent memo

Subject: Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts held by Non Resident-regarding.

The undersigned is directed to refer to this Department’s notification GSR No.
1237(E) dated 03.10.2017 regarding amendment in PPF Scheme, 1968. As per the said
notification, if a resident who opened an account under this scheme, subsequently
becomes a non-resident during the currency of the maturity period, the account shall be
deemed to be closed with effect from the day he becomes a non-resident.

2. It has now been decided to keep the said notification in abeyance till the further
order in this regard.

Man seeking Non Resident Indian (NRI) bride duped

One frequently hears of NRI brides and women seeking NRI alliances being duped by unscrupulous men. In a strange twist.

According to media reports, Sadar police in Ludhiana (Punjab) have registered a case  against a Non Resident Indian (NRI) woman’s family, for allegedly duping a Ludhiana resident of Rs 5.50 lakh on the pretext of marrying him and and sending him abroad.

Image result for indian police cartoon

Krishan Kumar Khatri had placed a matrimonial advertisement the local newspaper calling for alliances for his daughter who is settled in Australia.  After initial conversations, the  bride’s family asked the family of Kulwinder Singh, the prospective groom for 90,000 Australian dollars. They agreed to take the money in three installments, and were paid Rs 1/2 million rupees as the initial installment. After receiving that money, the bride’s family ended all connection with the prospective groom and his family.

The father of Kulwinder complained to the local police, who registered a case under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC against Mr. Khatri. The investigating officer from Sadar police station, ASI Ravinder Kumar, confirmed that although the ‘negotiations’ had taken place a few years ago, the family filed a complaint only in 2016. A case was registered recently after the initial investigation was completed.


In another unrelated news – Matrimonial website fraud: Mumbai schoolteacher claims Rs 11.5 lakh cheating by ‘NRI’


Trudeau in India: Are traditional Indian attires ‘too Indian’ for modern Indians ?

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and family, during a recent visit  to India made headlines with their flashy ‘Indian attire’ that got media and digirati debating.

One was the picture of Trudeau family in Sherwani and Sarees with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan


And then the Trudeaus were spotted at the Golden Temple in Amritsar in a spiffy Punjabi attire


And the visit to Sabarmati in somber Reds

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with his wife, Sophie, prays at the Sabarmati Mahatma Gandhi Ashram in Ahmadabad, India, on Monday, Feb 19, 2018. ─ AP

And at Akshardham like a newly wed Gujju couple



O Canada: Perhaps the only exception to the desi-photo-op,  was the Trudeau family visit to Taj Mahal where they managed to look ‘naturally Canadian’ 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, their daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien and Xavier pose in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra

Why is this making headlines?

All this left many Indians wondering if the Trudeau family in ‘traditional Indian attires’ were trying to be a bit too Indian. 

In case you are wondering: Contemporary Indians, especially in urban cities are more comfortable in t-shirts and jeans.

Image result for youth bangalore

Perhaps the only time one sees young men awkwardly milling about in Sherwanis or silk Kurtas are at weddings and melas. Same goes for the globalized bharitya nari, who is more comfortable in pants and jeans and not Sarees and Bindis.


images collated from published sources in the media:

Indian Dance schools in America – updated list

Classical Indian dance and music of different genera — South Indian, North Indian, classical, Hindustani, Carnatic, Bollywood and fusion — are taught in schools and academies across the US.

GaramChai.com has the most updated list of Indian Dance and Music academies in North America


We periodically update our databases to reflect changes in the market. We received the following mail that prompted another update this week:

Dear GaramChai team

Can you please add my listing to the website for Indian dance.
LIsa Santhanam is a professional Odissi dancer of the Srjan style.  She performs extensively as well as offers Odissi dance classes.  Class locations are Fairfax Va.   She can be reached at L2santhanam@gmail.com  For more details about LIsa please see Https:// www.lisasanthanam.com
Thanks Ms. Lisa, your listing is now live on GaramChai.com !
You may continue to visit the website to review the extensive listings.

Listings of Indian Church in Canada

There are a number of Indian churches and places of worship in Canada. GaramChai.com has cataloged an extensive list online and we continue to update the database frequently. Yesterday, a reader reached out with a brief note:

Can you please add Holy Trinity Hindi Church Brampton to your website.
Our service is every Sunday Morning at 239 Inspire Blvd, Brampton, ON L6R 0B6.

Contact number-
Pastor Rajan Salvi: 647 926 9932
Sudeep Salvi: 416 559 2886

Thank you,

This listing now appears on our database. Thanks Sudeep and visitors to GaramChai.com for keeping our listings updated and current !


#PNBScam – No, Nirav #Modi is NOT related to Indian PM, Narendra Modi

As the details of the multi-billion $ scandal at the Indian Nationalized bank, Punjab National Bank (#PNBScam) unfolds, the world is watching with interest and wondering about the implications. Many around the world are bound to see the headlines describing the involvement of diamond merchant Nirav Modi and will perhaps be wondering about his relation to the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.

Nirav Modi, Image credit: India Today
At this time, there are no indications that the two Modis – Nirav and Narendra – are in any way related though they share a common last name.

Wikipedia explains “Modi is a surname in India. The surname is most commonly found amongst people from the Northern and Western states of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is mostly associated with Baniyas, grain merchants and grocers.”

At this time, details of the mega-fraud are still emerging and journalists are trying to piece together the facts (e.g Five things you need to know about Nirav Modi and PNB fraud). According to media reports,

Indian-born diamond jewellery designer Nirav Modi is the founder of the $2.3 billion Firestar Diamond and was ranked #57 in the Forbes list of India’s billionaires in 2017.

Modi grew up in Belgium, dropped out of Wharton and moved to India where he got trained in the diamond trade under his uncle, according to Forbes.

He went on to launch his own Nirav Modi brand with 16 stores in locations such as Delhi, Mumbai, New York, Hong Kong, London and Macau.



A few recent articles on the scandal