Category Archives: Entrepreneurs

MeeraMasi -Bilingual books for Indian kids

By Vidya Pradhan

Sonali Sahni Herrera had a problem common to Indians brought up in the United States. Husband Carlos was able to share his culture and Spanish language with their children with the help of many bilingual books and DVDs but she was at a loss when it came to Hindi, having grown up in the US since the age of 4. Not being very fluent in the Hindi script, she looked around for books, CDs, nursery rhymes that could bridge the gap between her knowledge and her culture but the offerings were limited and few met her quality standards. She turned to sister Sheetal Sahni Singhal, for help. After scouting around in India and here for material, the two decided that the only way to get quality books was to publish it themselves. They started MeeraMasi, a publishing company that focuses on Indian bilingual books for kids under the age of 6. Continue reading

Safari Kid

By Vidya Pradhan

There may be considerable debate about the wisdom of high level academics for children under 5, but for Indian Americans used to the system back home, it is inconceivable that their children will learn their ABC’s only in kindergarten. Like most Indian parents, if you are wondering if you are doing enough to educate your young child, look no further. In a humble strip mall in Newark is Safari Kid, a place that will satisfy the most rigorous desi requirements. Continue reading

Kahani – Once upon a time

By Vidya Pradhan

“Hey, here is a story about a girl who would rather read comic books than practice piano,” I said, hiding a grin. “Let me see, let me see,” said my 11-year old son, who is definitely guilty of the same behavior. He grabbed the magazine out of my hands. By the end of the evening the glossy pages were sticky with jam and milk and decorated in curry colors. Such is the power of Kahani .

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A piece of our Indian childhood

logo.jpgLet’s admit it – most of our knowledge of Indian mythology comes from Amar Chitra Kathas. And even here, 7000 miles away from home, most of us have a couple of those comics stashed away in our bookshelves. Indian books are our link to our childhood, a sometimes tenuous link with our culture that we would like to hold on to and pass on to our kids. Desi Knowledge, the brainchild of Monica Khosla, is one such company which aims to help us do just that. Continue reading

Curry Sutra

By Rohini Mohan

Teena Arora, co-owner of CurrySutra, conducts cooking classes around the Bay Area, while educating her students on the wonders of vegetarian cooking and the health benefits of the Indian spice pantry. She has experience from the ground-up in the food business, having been hostess, waitress and manager/supervisor at her parent’s restaurant in the Midwest. Who says that the dhaba-esque flavors of Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Di Roti cannot tempt the tastebuds of the stereotypical meat and potatoes kinda guy? Hey, you can’t knock till you’ve tried it, right? Continue reading

Swati Couture – for the princess in you

By Vidya Pradhan

Stepping into Swati Couture’s tiny studio in Milpitas is like entering a fairy tale world, shimmering and sparkling with color. All around you are gorgeous dresses embroidered intricately and embedded with gems and sequins. Even at first glance it is evident that this is not one of your run of the mill desi outfit store, but a place for the princess in you.The creator of this magical queendom is Swati Kapoor, designer and style entrepreneur. She gives me a mini tour of the studio and I am captivated. The first stop is the hand painted sari line, developed specially for a fashion exhibition at the Pleasanton library. Each sari is like a painting, with detailed images of temples and other Indian icons. The work is astonishing, unique. “What about repeat value?” I ask her. “These are pieces that people wouldn’t forget.” “If you want repeat value, buy a t-shirt from Gap!” is her acerbic reply. Continue reading

Ek, do, teen

By Vidya Pradhan
“Uh se akhbaar, aah se aam”, chant a group of kids in a classroom in Forest Park Elementary school in the Indian-heavy Ardenwood district of Fremont. Led by patient teacher Chitra Jayaraman, the kids are attempting to reestablish roots that have been diluted by exposure to an all-English environment.

The after school Hindi program is run by the US Hindi Association (USHA), the brainchild of Prerana Vaidya and Ruchita Parat.