Why do Indians dance all the time?

An American coworker once asked me why we Indians break out into song and dance all the time. At that moment I vaguely remember answering that we like to shake a leg instinctively because our streets have a lot of rabid, stray dogs which we want to shoo away when they attempt to bite us. … Continue reading Why do Indians dance all the time?

What scientists say at meetings versus what they actually mean

What they say: I’d like to thank the organizers for inviting me to this session… What they mean: I’d like to thank the organizers for inviting me to Hawaii in December. In return, I am inviting them to talk in my department’s seminar series. What they say: The raw data is in the graph next … Continue reading What scientists say at meetings versus what they actually mean

How to pronounce Hindu Bengali names

“Hi, can I speak to an Arabian?” “Excuse me?” “Hi, I’m trying to reach an Arabian.” “Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I am an Indian.” “No, I mean is this the phone of Mr. An-arabian er… I’m not even going to try to pronounce your last name.” “Ah, if you’re looking for Anirban, … Continue reading How to pronounce Hindu Bengali names

You know you’re part of the Indian middle-class when…

(Because we all just love stereotypes). Your national element is Indium (In), very malleable and soft, but not useful for building long-lasting structures. You find it normal for random people to get close on buses, but find the idea that two potential life-partners be allowed to talk unsupervised before being thrust into wedlock, preposterous. You … Continue reading You know you’re part of the Indian middle-class when…

A series of open letters

It is the season for ranting. Actually, every season is the season for ranting. Not wanting to be left out, I've decided to post a few open letters to choice individuals. Every situation is true unless it it addressed to you (in which case the resemblance is purely fictional). ____________________ Dear Paul: I appreciate your … Continue reading A series of open letters

Why are Indians so good at test-taking? India’s first competitive exam

Post-mortem: A recent article in the New York Times on pressures facing school-leaving teenagers in India brought back my own personal memories of the Higher Secondary and various competitive examinations. Some things never change. Of course, it wasn't all bad. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right? I mean, those of us that … Continue reading Why are Indians so good at test-taking? India’s first competitive exam

How to write your own biography in Wikipedia. From the renowned author of “Deconstructing Quantum Sufi-Yoga”

Last night, the benevolent god mahi-mahi came to me in a vision and instructed me in a mix of Urdu-sounding Hindi, Hindi-sounding Urdu, Klingon, and C++ to form the Khudbakhud Uttarvedantic Wikipedia Society, a charitable organization exempt from US federal income tax under section 501(c)(3). As you know, articles in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia are … Continue reading How to write your own biography in Wikipedia. From the renowned author of “Deconstructing Quantum Sufi-Yoga”

How to talk with an Indian accent

Having spent many years in the US, I have often been told that I speak "without an accent." Of course it is impossible to speak without any accent.  For example, broadly we can say that some people have American, British, or Indian accents which can be further divided into regional accents like Bostonian, Cockney, or received … Continue reading How to talk with an Indian accent