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Talk is Cheap!

Your Take – Comments over the months

Over 50 comments for Racism or Storm in a Chai Cup are right after the posting at Time Article- Racism or Storm in a Chai Cup?

The offended are a variety of people, those who have been taught that it is intelligent/enlightened/morally superior to be offended, and therefore rush to be that way, plus those who want a minute’s worth of intimidating power by impulsively hurling the R-word at a giant like Time. These people are all disconnected from the concept of a going off on a rant.

That’s what Stein’s column is, a rant, and I laughed out loud at his loose cannon of a brain. I applaud his honesty, that he had the nerve to write what he thinks, and that he accurately reflected the raw thoughts of so many others on street level. What information!

I could be wrong. Is there any real chance that a column like Stein’s, in 2010 America, would motivate truly racist behavior ..or are we free to joke now?

- Michael Parker

I admit I was a bit peeved at Stein’s characterization of Indians. Perhaps the only reason I wasn’t incensed is the nature of the forum (satire) where he was equally obnoxious about his own kind. On the other hand, I could also empathize with him.

Let’s face it, we too, as Indians, have complained about the ghettoizing ways of some Indians. There is a distinct crudeness amongst those of us who don’t hesitate to dot public streets with paan spit. I don’t grudge Stein a bit for lamenting that his once quaint hometown has been overtaken by such obnoxious kinds who don’t give two hoots for civic niceties.

That said, Indians do have a genuine complaint on their hand against Stein for stereotyping an entire nation of a billion people, and for borderline xenophobia targeted towards Indians.

But peeling yet another layer of this “onion,” I find the degree of sanctimonious reaction against him to be out of proportion. It’s one thing to write to Time to register our complaints, but to petition all over town to boycott the magazine? Chill, people!

Parthiv N. Parekh


A comment from Abraham Verghese on mail from readers for ‘Cutting for Stone’.

Thanks Lavina, for the wonderful page and for sharing the comments from Emilie and Sophy and Chris with me. It is great to visit this page and see all the comments. I am most grateful.

This week will be the 20th week that CUTTING FOR STONE has been on the New York Times bestseller list, and I am thrilled. It seems to be entirely fueled by word-of-mouth, which is lovely. Many thanks to you and to your readers for being at the heart of that word of mouth.

I enjoy your website very much and thanks for all you did to spread the word about C for S.

all best,

Abraham   (Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone)

Dear Dr. Verghese,

I would like to express my joy and appreciation that a person who was born in my country of origin, Ethiopia, could turn out to be a renowned medical doctor and writer.

I am grateful that you brought to the surface the most burning issue of the procedures of patients’ treatment in this country, where the human touch has been “sterilized.”  Every time I visit a clinic due to an ailment, the doctor has only about 15 minutes during which he/she asks me some questions, looks at my medical history on the computer and never touches me and eventually leaves.

In many years of clinical visits, I never got healed.

We sometimes feel that we need to go back to our country to get a proper and more humane treatment, where doctors touch you thoroughly to locate the spot of  the pain; talk to you in detail and try their best to heal you.

Perhaps you could establish such clinics in America to help people in a genuine way.
Kano Banjaw  (Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese)

Dear Dr. Verghese

I am a nurse who studied in one of the Christian missionary nursing schools in Kerala. Now I work as an operating room nurse in Greenwich Hospital, Connecticut.

Your book ‘Cutting for Stone’ was recommended to me by one of the surgeons who was born and brought up in Zambia and migrated to USA. I started reading it on a Friday evening and never put down the book till both my shoulders started aching.

I traveled with Mary Joseph Praise, I lived in Hema’s household, I cried and laughed with them. My heart burned to meet a doctor like Ghosh. When I slept few hours on the nights of Friday and Saturday, I dreamed about them.

I lived near Chennai for 20 years before migrating. I could connect and identify with every one of the characters in your book.

Please continue writing.

My whole OR now is either reading the book or is in the process of getting one.

Sophy John  (Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone)


Most of my social friends take the destiny route while I find myself alone most of the time as I firmly believe ‘destiny opens doors for us but it’s our choice that makes the difference in life being a success or a failure.’ Ironically, like it or not, it’s a choice which one makes whether to follow the destiny route or think of your life in terms of choice.

Pratap (The Art of Choosing)


The only choice we have in this life is the choice to accept who we are or believe we are victims of something we have no control over. Accepting who you are does not come without a price and a certain degree of loneliness comes at times.

Life is kind of a paradox…you must feel in control to get through it but that very control must be given up in order to grow spiritually. Anyway, you inspired me. Thank you

Niki McDonough -  (The Art of Choosing)

Delightful article. Learning Kathak and Bollywood moves from Madhuri would be the experience of a lifetime. I am a twenty year old American of European descent who would love to learn the classic folk dances of India, and I am not alone. Go for it Madhuri!

April Vuncannon  (Madhuri Dixit’s Wonderful Life)

The fact the Hare Krishnas can still go to the airport and distribute books but not ask for donations is slightly confusing, especially if they are citing security issues as the reason for the ban. It just sounds like bureaucracy gone mad to me.

Akhila   (Lax Grounds Hare Krishnas)

Dan Nainan is hilarious, and is also an extremely nice guy and very down to earth. I met him after the show and he was extremely nice and talked to everybody.

Ami Patel (Dan Nainan’s Funny Money)

Excellent article on the effects of the “Great Recession” on the Indian-American community.

Indian in New York -  (The Blurring of the American Dream)

Thank you for this most interesting piece. The revival of the Bene Israelis by the Cochinis is most intriguing. Why did the Benes stop practicing in the first place when they were so large in numbers? Or were there some curbs on them at an earlier time?

Food for thought.

Atul Chatterjee   (India – A Nurturing Sanctuary for Judaism )

Yes, true: the Nano is brilliantly priced and adorable yet with 100s of 1000s more car users/gas consumers, India’s already very bad pollution issues will decidedly become much, much worse. Perhaps Tata can throw a shoulder into developing a Nano that at least meets current standard Bharat Stage IV emission norms.
Pritha   (Tata’s Nano Comes to the Big Apple)

No worries about the pollution alarm, there’s a compressed air version in the works!
Amrita  (Tata’s Nano Comes to the Big Apple)

Very nice article indeed. It is very rare that a super hit and most popular star has such down to earth behavior and simple attitude. There can never ever be Madhuri’s replacement. No real Bollywood without her.
Shahbaz Khan  (Madhuri Dixit’s Wonderful Life)

Nice article. Madhuri eats meat? Didn’t know that.
Veggie

Nice Writing
Bhaswati Ray ( Javed Akhtar’s Love Poem)

LOVE LOVE LOVE this story on the Obama dinner! I have been looking for coverage in the mainstream press about the PM’s visit and not finding anything. I especially like the angle you took of interviewing the public policy advocates for their POV rather than the big muckety-mucks, which we hear enough about already.

Komal (Breaking Bread with Barack Obama)

Great to see the faces that make a world of difference, like Bhairavi Desai of NYTWA and Maneesha Kelkar of Manavi. I am familiar with both of their contributions toward a working class movement and gender violence within the South Asian American community respectively. I am extremely excited to see that people like them who envision a different world that is more inclusive made it to the guest list!

Diditi Mitra   (Breaking Bread with Barack Obama)

Wonderful interview, MFH is a legend!

Priyanka  (M.F. Husain’s Birthday Bash)

I love this story – Bulldog Gin is one of my faves and I am so proud that an Indian is representing such a high end liquor and introducing successfully in ALL markets.
-Bijal Patel ( post on Plumdog Millionaire)

Mango is very important for Indian culture. I love all my memories, growing up in India and Canada. Thank you Lavina for this beautiful post. I like the chef’s smile as he holds mango lassi…
Dhriti Rao (Mango Magic)

Lavina,
Great article. I remember once you had written about my sister Rich before. Nice to see that journalists like yourself are still around. First article I have read on the Internet which is so accurate.
Enna Sharma (Article on Nargis Dutt Memorial Gala)

Loved your site…both humorous and informative about Indian culture outside of India. It has been a long time since my last visit to India! Anyways..miss it and I try and keep in touch by reading about it and updating myself through sites like yours. Keep it up!
Priya Singh

I am learning so much about our Indian American community, particularly, in arts and non-high-tech world from reading your blogs that it has now become a part of my daily read. Please keep this up.
Hemant Kanakia

What a comprehensive comment on how important the digital social networking world has turned out to be! i agree with you, and in fact, I’ve found that my old life, the one I thought I’d had to abandon when I immigrated, has found its way back to me!
I love it, like the rest of the world, esp. the desi world!
Jai Ho, FB!
Shefali

I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,
A definite great read…

Tony Brown

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