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


Indian newspapers and publications in North America

GaramChai.com prides in having the most extensive listing on Indian Newspapers and periodicals published in North America – US and Canada. Like with other businesses, even publications change hands, transform, relocate or move.

Our team tries to keep updated on such changes and we make the updates in our database. For example, just today, Chhaya from the popular magazine, CityMasala informed us of the change to their contact number.

CityMasala Cover

Post Settings 

The details of CityMasala have been updated online, along with a few other changes to our databae.

Indian Student shot dead in California, Sushma Swaraj seeks report.

Image of the victim, Dharampreet Singh Jassar, posted on Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

 An Indian student, Dharampreet Singh Jassar was shot dead by four armed robbers at a grocery store in the US state of California.

Jassar was shot by one of the four robbers while they were leaving the service station after looting cash and goods.  At this point officials suspect robbery was the motive and ruled out hate crime.

One of the four robbers who has been arrested was a person of Indian Origin, Armitraj Singh Athwal.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has confirmed that Indian Government was following up and tweeted:

Links to articles about the incident:





NRI from Gujarat killed in a shootout at his strip club in North Carolina

A non-resident Indian (NRI) with roots in Gujarat was brutally killed in a shooting in the United States. Forty year old Akash Talati had shifted to US a decade ago. He was running a motel that housed a strip club in  Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, fire and candles

Talati was the owner of  the Diamondz Gentlemen’s Club and was apparently killed in a shootout that resulted from an altercation between the club’s security guards and a patron, who was thrown out.

According to the family, some unidentified assailants had entered the motel with the motive to carry out a loot.“When Akash tried to intervene, the assailants opened firing inside the motel leaving three other employees in the motel injured. Akash died on the spot. After the police reached there, the injured were shifted to hospital where condition of one employee is still critical.”

According to Detective J Littlejohn of Fayetteville Police, the shootout took place around 1.30 am on Saturday, local time at Fayetteville, when Talati was present inside the club. Littlejohn said, “The incident was a result of a verbal exchange between the security guards hired by Talati and a patron, who was asked to leave the club due to his behaviour. He was upset about being asked to go, there was an argument and he opened fire. Talati was shot from close range and died on the spot, while three other employees were injured.”

Littlejohn said no other Indian was injured, while one of the injured is critical. Probe is on to identify the accused, officials said.

Akash is survived by wife Mital, who hails from Surat and eight-year-old son Jay. His last Facebook post, hours before his death, read, “Life is too short for fake connections.”

Other articles about this incident:


Book Review: Kindle eBooks of Indian origin

Here are a couple of Kindle eBooks that are currently FREE for download on Amazon.com

Amish Tripathi’s Raavan (A Preview): Orphan of Aryavarta

Raavan (A Preview): Orphan of Aryavarta by [Tripathi, Amish] Book Blurb:

3400 BCE, India

The mighty Lord of Lanka, Raavan, sets out to avenge the insult of his sister, Shurpanakha at the hands of the younger prince of Ayodhya, Lakshman. Aware that the Ayodhya royal trio are in exile he flies to Dandakaranya in the Lankan military aircraft, the Pushpak Vimaan. His mission? To capture the Vishnu.

For far will Raavan go to seek revenge?

Review by our Editor  on Amazon: “Nice preview” 

I downloaded this free-kindle version of the ‘booklet’ from Amish Tripathi hoping it was a novella. The author’s note in the first section clarifies “This booklet is being distributed only among a select few. If you are reading this, you are one of those who get a peek into the story I am still writing!”

The booklet of few pages is certainly readable and perhaps a taste of the book-3 – Orphan of Aryavarta.

Maha-bharata The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse

Maha-bharata The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse by [Dutt C.I.E., Romesh C.] Book Blurb:

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers.

You may find it for free on the web.

Review by our Editor  on Amazon  “Nice, readable translation of a great epic”

Ramayana and Mahabarata are classic Indian epics that have been studied, translated and transcribed for generations. This kindle version is yet another addition to the wide selection out there and should be useful for English speaking readers interested in Mahabharata.

Do US consular officers in India take bribe to offer visas to big Indian companies?

Do US consular officers in India take bribe to offer visas to big Indian companies?

This was an interesting question that came from an online forum recently. The person adds: “The reason for question is that I have seen some third party individuals claiming that “their” company has setting with the consular officers and hence higher acceptance rate etc.”

Here is the response from our editor, Mohan

Are US State department and embassy officials corruptible? Sadly, yes they too are humans as these news articles indicate [USA Today: State Department official indicted on bribery charge | ABC News: Embassy Officer Admits Taking $3M in Bribes for Visas ]

With this backdrop, here is the fact: These cases of corruption are too few and far between to be statistically relevant. The U.S immigration system and State Department have sufficient checks-and-balances to quickly identify bad-apples and make sure justice prevails.

Think; if there were allegations of ‘big Indian companies’ bribing US consular officers, Wouldn’t Mr. Trump have already tweeted about it?

Here is how the process works at top companies that apply for H1 visas – e.g Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Accenture, IBM etc

  • These companies have extremely strong ‘visa departments’ with efficient processes and people. The visa department representatives work with line managers and applicants to ensure the right paperwork is submitted accurately, with the right references, supporting letters, credentials etc.
  • The visa-departments and their consultants continually seek the latest updates on visa processing from embassies and consulates, and are quick to update their processes when new requirements are identified.
  • Visa departments also have a closed-loop with candidates to ensure they learn from success, and a few rejections.
  • Visa departments also work with line managers to plan ‘demand’ for resources, especially timed around the ‘H1 Visa’ lottery filing deadlines. These steps ensure an extremely low rate of rejection of visas (compared to rest of the applicant pool).

Hard, grunt work at a large scale is the secret of success, and not ‘corruption’ or ‘bribery’

How do I know? I experienced the efficiencies of Visa Department @Infosys many years ago.

Last week we also blogged about “Immigration Fraud: Indian to lose US citizenship after being convicted”