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Letters from Readers

May 2015
Letters from Readers

Rest in peace, Avijit Roy

Most of us have heard of the horrific murder of Avijit Roy—a free thinking Bangladeshi-American blogger. I remember reading the news on CNN.com and having a visceral reaction. It was closer to home on two fronts—he was a native of Old India (Bangladesh) and a fellow Atlantan. I had not known about Avijit until I came across the news. I recall being appalled, angry, sad, confused, proud…a plethora of emotions. My wife and I did the post-incident analysis, which ended up with us giving ourselves a mental pat on our backs for being good upstanding citizens and worrying about human foibles. Afterwards, however, we did nothing and returned to our safe suburban existence.

Reading that another Bangladeshi blogger was murdered brought those thoughts back. I wondered about the link between fear and irrationality. Was I afraid of commenting on this publicly? My wife and I hail from Mumbai and Chennai, respectively. Those cities are far from Bangladesh, but still there was a nagging suspicion. What if I am identified? Will I have to be absolutely aware of my surroundings whenever I travel back to my birth nation? I am a citizen of the United States, so was Avijit. I live in Atlanta, so did Avijit. I was born in September 1972, so was he. What separates Avijit’s approach to a life devoted to free thinking from mine? Simply, the freedom of choice and action.

When you leave the safety of U.S. soil, the bets are somewhat off. If it is a matter of getting imprisoned somewhere, I am confident that my adopted country would do the right thing and get me out of there. However, if I am dead, what good would it do? As FDR famously said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Mind you, I have taken up causes that were in the protected zone—helping Dharun Ravi, among other things. However, this case came closer to the irrational fear of the unknown.

To Avijit and his family: You were a better man than me and most of us. Your work and how you led your life taking action is inspiring. I will always abide by the tenets of peaceful living and never give in to the dogma of religious fundamentalism. RIP, Sir.

Ravi Iyer
by email


Be realistic about Indian cuisine

Instead of bragging about Indian dishes from various parts of India and about Indian restaurants in New York, your cover story (“Culinary Crusaders,” May issue) should have compared Indian food with other ethnic foods.

I was born and raised in India and have lived in America for 40 years. Over the years my taste buds have changed and I find Indian dishes too spicy and too oily, masking the true flavors of the cuisine. Some condiments such as pickles are too salty and sweets are too sweet. Indian food cooked in orthodox ways has little or no nutritional value. Examples include deep-fried food like puri, samosa, and pakoda. The fillings in samosas and dosas are nothing but spiced mashed potatoes, which are cheaper to make.

One has to develop the taste to enjoy Indian food, and that can take years of practice. Many of my American friends get turned off by Indian dishes once they try them, and they never want to go back to Indian restaurants. Indian chefs often cook their dishes exactly the same way their grandparents did, and they have not changed the techniques after coming to America. Why can’t they learn from Chinese, Thai, Mexican, and Italian chefs? Why can’t they stir-fry vegetables and make them less spicy? Why do soups like daal have to be overcooked and overwhelmed with spices?

What is funny is that McDonald’s in India serves burgers according to Indian taste, Subway makes sandwiches using Indian ingredients, and Domino’s makes pizzas using Indian ingredients. But in America, Indian restaurant owners cater only to the Indian public. They do not want to attract anyone else. We need to get out of our small world and assimilate with other cultures of America so that we can get a broader view of people’s tastes and cuisines.

Rani Bhatia
Norcross, Georgia

What’s on YOUR mind?

We welcome original, unpublished letters from our readers. You could either respond to a specific article in Khabar or write about issues relevant to our community. Letters may be edited for length and other considerations. Longer submissions by readers may be considered for the “My Turn” column.

Email: letters@khabar.com • Fax: (770) 234-6115.

Mail: Khabar, Inc. 3635 Savannah Place Dr, Suite 400, Duluth, GA 30096.

Note: Views expressed in the Letters section do not necessarily represent those of the publication.


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