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Readers Write

July 2007
Readers Write

Loved the June issue, want more of the same!

I have to say I absolutely adored the June issue, especially the cover story titled "A Vision of Vijaynagar."

I was born and brought up in Karnataka, but I have never been to Hampi. The article completely lured me and put a desire in my heart to visit Hampi on my next trip to India. I think you guys ought to have more articles like this. Those who haven't traveled much in India can learn more about these famous sites and monuments. In fact, I think you should have a special section that focuses on India's history, ancient architecture and so on. There is a lot that Indian Americans don't know but would like to know!

To be honest, I usually read articles in Khabar only if I am in a mood for it. But I read every word of the June cover story. It was very well written. I think we tend to appreciate our culture more when we get an American perspective. If you can, I beg you, please find more articles like this one, especially for the summer issues, because I know many people will definitely read them.

 Vinutha Prabhakar

Suwanee, Ga.

Indian tea vs. Chinese tea

As much as I would have loved to claim that it is Indian Chai that made inroads into America, I respectfully dispute the claim ("How Indian Chai Conqured America" in Desi World, June issue).

The history of the presence of tea in the U.S. is older than its presence in India. The origins of tea go back to China where it is known as "cha"h ("chai" is a derivation of the word "cha"h). Tea was first brought by Portugese traders from China to Europe and was distributed by the Dutch within Europe. It was a Dutch trader Peter Stuyvesant who introduced tea into its colony settled in New York in the mid-1600s. England had founded the John Company to promote Asian trade. When England took over the Dutch colonies, it levied heavy "tea tax" among others as a justification of expenses they incurred towards the French and Indian war. Americans protested and the events led to the Boston Tea Party, where they dumped all the tea into the sea. The East Indian Company, which merged later with the John Company, started the tea plantations in India and that was when India really had the taste of tea.

The comeback of tea in America was when a few businessmen began direct trade with China soon after 1798. Later in 1904, America saw variations such as iced tea and also bagged tea, which was introduced to avoid the mess of tea leaves left in kitchens.

 Amish Shah

Atlanta, Ga.

Murali Kamma responds: The point of the article was to show how Indian tea played (and continues to play) an important role; it wasn't to discount the history of Chinese tea in the U.S. Variations of ‘chai' can be traced to many languages, but in North America today, this word has a distinct Indian connotation.

Unhappy with the Houston Indian Consulate

Since Georgia falls under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of India—Houston, I wish to share my very frustrating experience with them.

I had sent my passport for renewal to the Houston office over two months ahead of its expiration date. But two weeks before expiration, I was still waiting to hear from them. I had furnished all the necessary documents. I wasn't informed of any deficiencies on my application. In fact, there was no word whatsoever from them.

I sent four fax messages, three e-mails and left several messages in all the phone voice mails (at least 10) listed on the website. NO REPLY. I do not know why they need so many phone lines when they don't reply to even one of them! It is a waste of money. When I was finally able to contact a live person in the Houston office, her answers were very arrogant and irritating. I am very much frustrated. Unfortunately I had booked a $1500 plane ticket to attend a conference in Hong Kong, and was stuck.

From talking to several other Indian Americans at a recent visa camp in the Atlanta area, I found out that I am not the only victim of "customer [no] service" of the Houston Consulate.

Name withheld on request, Ga.

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