Tag Archives: Middle East

My India: The Mistaken Story – An Indian Woman’s Perspective

India the story you never wanted

Shwetha Kalyanasundaram rebuts this story which lambasts India and makes you feel the country is made up of vultures only looking for prey landing in form of women tourists. A must read for all, no matter what nationality.  

Ms. Rose Chasm’s article “India: the Story You Never Wanted to Hear” has been trending for the last couple of days, with many of my friends sharing the story on various social networking sites. The headline of the article prompted me to read and I was shocked to read about Ms. Chasm’s traumatic experience in my country. As a woman, my heart went out to Ms. Chasm. When I read your article Ms. Chasm, I was ashamed of my country (for the first time!). But pondering over your article, I realized that I cannot sit in my comfortable space and watch people tear my country down (with reference to the 1000+ comments left behind by people to your story).

As a citizen of this wonderful nation (and not a nation of snake charmers and elephants), I am writing in to clear the air and do my bit to support my country. I love my country. And I am not blind to the flaws that exist today.

India has been my home for over two and a half decades. As a woman who bears resemblance to a South East Asian (rather than having the typical Indian features), I have always been looked upon as a foreigner in my own land. I can understand how it feels to have hundred pairs of eyes follow your every move. There have been many instances when the local people have tried to sell their wares to me; with a hope their goods reach foreign shores. I wouldn’t call them advances, rather we are just a group of people who take pride in what we do and feel the need to be appreciated by somebody from a foreign land.

We have always been dubbed as a nation of brown-skinned people and I don’t have any qualms in accepting that we have an obsession for the “white” skin. That could probably explain why people stopped and gaped at you in the bazaars. And I can bet they weren’t just men who stared at you – women and children would have looked at you as well. As a foreigner, you must have been prepared to stand out in the crowd. I am sure you would have been briefed about the cultural differences between the two nations. Yes! It can be uncomfortable to be stared at and photographed but lady, you know ignorance is bliss.

Almost every woman who grows up in India has been subjected to some kind of sexual innuendoes. For the millions of women who use public transportation in India, there have been numerous cases of “accidental” brushes and gropes. There have been numerous cases where women have been stalked and flashed – at. But for every man who cannot control his libido and gives in to his over-crazed sexual drive, I can assure you that there will be ten men who will fight for you and your dignity.

The recent spate of rape attacks and incest cases that we hear and read day in and day out have definitely tarnished my country’s image. And your story just adds more fuel to the fire. If there had been an attempt to rape against you or your friend, did you reach out to the local police to lodge a complaint or did you approach your consulate for help?!? I assume, as an exchange student, you would definitely have been briefed about all these formalities in the event of any untoward incident.

In Sanskrit, we say “Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam” (translated: Mother, Father, Teacher, God). The meaning of this adage is the greatest truth and is the order in which we offer reverence. This is the basic tenet in existence from time immemorial and every man has been taught to place the womankind even above God. The Indian men know to treat their women with respect. And I cannot tolerate your generalization that Indian men are bad. You cannot blame the entire male population for the actions of few.

I have seen the best and worst of both the worlds, having spent a considerable portion of my adult life in America and the Middle East. In all the countries I have been to, I have been subjected to roving eyes and sexual overtures from men. I have been leered and heckled by cab drivers and pedestrians alike. Even a middle aged woman is not spared!! Let’s not be too dramatic here and accept that sexual crimes against women are a problem world over.

Do you know that every 1 out of 5 women in America are raped every day (This is according to a UN report published in 2011 and the same figure has been quoted in a NY times article, published December 2011). Does this mean I can issue a travel warning and tell people how unsafe America is?!? Your country is a beautiful place Ms. Chasm and a few bad moments are not going to deter me from travelling again. I just hope your personal experiences don’t make you too judgmental about our great country.

Ms. Chasm, I sympathize with you completely. As a woman, I understand the trauma of your three months stay in my country. Your problem is with that category of homo-sapiens bearing the Y-chromosome and not with my country.

It tears me apart that men and women have apologized on behalf of the Indian population and have left comments to your article. I’m not going to offer apologies. I can only offer you an olive branch and hope you visit my country again, and view this nation from a different and an unbiased perspective. 

The Yakhni Pulao

yakhni pulao

Just as the biryani, the Pilaf or Pulao, as it is commonly known as, a rice dish where the rice is slowly cooked in a broth. Depending upon the region, the colour of the dish varies —sometimes with hues of yellow or sometimes brownish. Just as the biryani, the pulao’s orgin can be traced largely to the Middle East, Balkans and the Indian subcontinent.

The earliest reerences of the pulao can be traced in the historical chronicles of Alexander the Great where he describes the Bactrian way of hospitality. Bactria is a region in present day Iran. It is believed that the Pulao was popularized in Greece by Alexnder and his men.

Even the pulao has its variations. It can be cooked without meat, making it a complete vegan delicacy or pieces of meat can add to its aroma.


Being a gourmet, I have tried my hands at concocting up this delicacy more often in my kitchen. So, this time I tought of sharing the receipe of Yakhni Pulao with my readers.


Shoulder mutton or chicken 200 gms

  • 1\2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste.
  • Salt to taste
  • 21\2 cup basmati rice (soaked and drained)
  • 1 tbsp oil\ghee
  • 5 green cardamoms
  • 2 bay leaves & 2 dalchini sticks
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1\2 cup coriander leaves (optional)
  • 4 – 5 green chilies slit lengthwise


Raw chickCook mutton or chicken in 5-6 cups of water in a pressure cooker with turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and salt for 20 minutes till tender. Strain stock and keep aside for cooking rice. Cut meat into pieces or shred them. Heat oil or ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and fry whole spices till aroma is released. Add onion and sauté till its translucent. Add rice and fry for a minute. Add the stock, meat pieces and other remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook till stock is absorbed. Pulao is made.