Monthly Archives: July 2012

VIDEO DISCUSSIONS: Education & Employment in US vs. India

Watch author Compton discuss the differences in education in the American system vs. system in India.  A very interesting discussion courtesy of CNBC and the NRIConnect YouTube channel:

And another video about Americans job-seeking in India.  The points brought up here highlight the entrepreneurial energy I found in India:

EDITORIAL: We Elect Morons to US Congress; Witch Trial of Huma Abedin Begins

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and friends, please go somewhere to play so the adults can do their jobs.   We have enough real and difficult problems in America that our government, which unfortunately includes you, should be working on.  Your letter/attempt at character assassination of State Department Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin shows thinking that is completely decoupled from reality and astounding for its level of ignorance and xenophobia.  This letter should have been express-mailed to your therapists, not printed on U.S. Congress stationery.

Let’s call a spade a spade.  We all know what this slander against Huma Abedin is really about: racism and anti-Muslim sentiment against a brown female with a South Asian background for being successful in the US foreign policy establishment.  Shame on you.  I would take the background check conducted by the State Department over your ranting any day.  No, Abedin is not a national security threat or part of any conspiracy.   Quite the opposite, she is serving our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with distinction.  We somehow need you to “get right” with this fact.  Wrap your head around it.

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Interview with Back to the Roots Co-founder Nikhil Arora is pleased to bring you an interview with young Indian-American entrepreneur Nikhil Arora, who co-founded the company Back to the Roots with partner Alejandro Velez while they were still undergrads at UC Berkeley in 2009.  Back to the Roots is all about mushrooms: growing them, selling them to major grocery chains including Whole Foods, and even selling boxed starter kits so that individual customers can grow their own delicious mushrooms at home for personal consumption.  More uniquely, the business grows all of the mushrooms in used coffee grounds, resulting in a major diversion and re-use of spent organic waste that has saved nearly 4 million pounds of grounds from the waste stream.  In effect, the company functions simultaneously as a grower, distributor, and recycler.

We thought it was very cool to find UC Berkeley students starting a new green agricultural business in Oakland instead of joining the ranks of drones at software companies, financial engineering firms, or consultancies which are more ubiquitous throughout the Bay.  Like their mushroom starter kits, Back to the Roots is growing and is now hiring for multiple positions.  We also wanted to get a sense of how this startup took a simple idea from a Berkeley science lecture and turned it into a national- and perhaps one day multinational- company.   Fortunately Nikhil was able to share his thoughts with us this week.  (And Nik, I got something for you on the green roof idea.)

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Indian-American Learns Shocking Truth About Pakistan on Visit

Many of us travel for business or leisure.  But few ever take a trip that dramatically shatters their entire worldview of a country and a people in one fell swoop.  I was lucky enough to have returned from just such a trip: a week-long sojourn in Pakistan.

It was a true eye-opener, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that.  Many of the assumptions and feelings I had held toward the country for nearly 30 years were challenged and exposed as wrong and even ignorant outright.

Yes, I was aware of all the reasons not to go, safety foremost among them.  As an American, an Indian, and a Hindu there seemed to be multiple reasons for someone of my background to have concerns about security.  Relatives and friends couldn’t hide their dismay and genuine fear; a frequent question was “why would you want to go?”  The subtext is that there’s nothing to see there that’s worth the risk.

The Western and Indian media feed us a steady diet of stories about bomb blasts, gunfights, kidnappings, torture, subjugation of women, dysfunctional government, and scary madrassa schools that are training the next generation of jihadist terrorists.  And yes, to many Westerners and especially Indians, Pakistan is the enemy, embodying all that is wrong in the world.  Incidents such as the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, 26/11 and the Osama Bin Laden raid in Abottobad have not helped the cause either.  Numerous international relations analysts proclaim that Pakistan is “the most dangerous place in the world” and the border with India is “the most dangerous border in the world.”

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