Portal for Non Resident Indians, NRIs, and South Asians in North America

Are you are searching the net for a cup of homemade Indian tea in New York, a Gurudwara in Hawaii or a Bharatnatyam dancer in California? Wherever in the United States, anything Indian is located at Garamchai.com, the top Desi Yellow Pages for Indian business, Indo-American commercial and personal listings in North Amerrica.

Marketers of Indian goods and services, even mainstream businesses, are realizing the strength of Asian Indians as voracious consumers.

This is especially true when we look at the latest Census 2000, which estimates the Indian Diaspora to number 1.7 million. Indians form a part of the higher echelons of the socio-economic spectrum in the US, earning an average of $69,000 versus a national average of $49000 per annum. Most families settled here also have close ties with folks back home in the Old Country.

DIWALI 2016 : Divali falls on a new moon day in the month of October or November. Since the precise moment of the new moon falls on different dates depending on geographical location, the date of Diwali also depends on one's location. In 2016 Diwali will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, October 29th and 30th.

Celebrations begin with decorating homes with lights, Fireworks, Gift-giving Observances Prayers, Religious rituals (see puja section, and GaramChai feature on Diwali)

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GaramChai.com, Indian Yellow Pages in the US. Online Marketing to the Indian American community

With over 60 percent of Indian Americans holding a college degree and the majority in the workforce, marketers are starting to drool over the potential of this ethnic segment. We aim to provide everything Indians living in the United States may need to maintain their lifestyle outside of India. This site is a complete resource listing of 400 temples, 500 restaurants, 500 bazaars and online shops. Other listings include jewelers, wedding specialists, theaters, beauty salons, Mosques and Gurudwaras. To view a complete index of our offerings tailored to the needs of Asians, Indians, NRIs Pakistanis, Sri Lankan and other South Asians and others in the US, Canada and North America. A number of business and media streams are already successful in targeting this market segment:

  • India Bazaars, boutiques and grocery shops: Hundreds of shops in all the major cities in the US cater to this market. A few large wholesalers successfully manage a complex supply chain of ethnic groceries, vegetables and commodities ranging from Coconut oil to cumin seeds.
  • Indian Restaurants: Most major cities can boast of at least a few Indian restaurants. Even though Indian restaurants in the US are not as ubiquitous as they are in the UK where every street corner has one, they are in sufficient numbers to cater to local palate.
  • Hindu Temples, Mosques, Churches, Gurudwaras, Jain Temples and cultural centers: Over the years, several temples, gurudwaras, Indian churches and cultural centers across the country have sprung up, catering to the religious and social needs of the ethnic communities. Interestingly, even in places with smaller populations of Indians, informal bhajan groups and congregations provide a sense of ?community.?
  • Indian newspapers, magazines and publications: A number of Indian newspapers and magazines are successfully published and circulated in the US.
  • Electronic media: Saying that Indians in the US have taken to the web like ducks to water would be an understatement. A number of Web-portals, e-mailing lists, and groups already provide extensive coverage to this segment.
  • Entertainment industry: Cable channels and movie screeners provide extensive choices to this target audience. Bollywood also drools over the size of the American distribution segment as a major source of revenue.
  • NRI Services: Details on Services for Non Resident Indians

Special Feature: The Patanjali Aurved Phinomena

The Patanjali Aurved Phinomena is rocking Indian Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. The Non Resident Indian community is also going ga-ga over Patanjali products. Here is a feature including links to latest articles on the topic.

Patanjali Products

Power Yogi: How Baba Ramdev became India's swadeshi FMCG baron (India Today, July 2016):

"The sun is about to set behind the forests on the outskirts of Haridwar. The downpour of the previous night has made it a relatively pleasant summer evening. The silence in one of India's most guarded ashrams - CRPF personnel frisk you every time you enter the premises - is punctuated by the sound of a fountain in the middle of the manicured lawn, and of a swing in the verandah of an M-shaped cottage. In the saffron hues of dusk, a saffron-clad yogi is sitting on the swing. His eyes are closed, as if meditating to find the answer to the simplest, most obvious, and somehow the trickiest question posed to him: why is a self-proclaimed renunciate selling shampoo, toothpaste, detergent and anti-ageing cream?

When he opens his eyes, the lopsided smile and the mischievous glint in the eyes are gone. "When I went to the Himalayas in my youth, I saw many sadhus who had given up the materialistic life. But what were they doing? Nothing for the welfare of mankind. That cannot be the purpose of life. In India, it's believed that sadhus can't do anything; they are supposed to live on donations. It hurt me. The real goal of a sadhu is not to attain moksha for himself but to serve the masses. My business is not for profit but to spread wellness," says Baba Ramdev, 48, India's most celebrated yoga guru, who is riding high on a heady, hitherto untasted cocktail of yoga, satsang, ayurveda, business and politics.

Ramdev stands out from all other gurus on the Indian social spectrum not just because of the size of his burgeoning FMCG empire - worth Rs 5,000 crore at last count - but also because he wears his political inclinations on his sleeve. He purportedly has a direct line to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and is close to several members of the Cabinet and a number of chief ministers across the land. He was one of the key figures of the Lokpal movement in 2011, was received at the airport by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as the UPA government tried to broker a deal with its leader Anna Hazare, and cut a comical figure when he was taken into custody at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi while trying to escape dressed in a salwar kameez. He is an advocate of replacing the tax system with a single transaction tax. He kickstarted the black money drive that became one of the key campaign promises of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. And he now stands as a major support booster for the Modi-led NDA government. When he isn't slamming those who returned government awards in protest of alleged intolerance, he is threatening to chop off the head of anyone who refuses to chant 'Bharat mata ki jai'. From drug abuse in Punjab to the spiritual health of the relationship between a husband and wife, and from the purported horrors of homosexuality (which he can help "cure") to the importance of buying desi, the guru's discourses encompass a vast universe."

Link to GaramChai.com special feature on Patanjali

Book Review: The Bounce!: A Story of Love, Loss and the Life of a Global Indian

India Empire: Bouncing back!

Mohan, an IT professional from North Carolina has strong roots to India. He has moved and lived across three continents in five countries and visited dozens others. In a candid interview with India Empire's Assitant Editor, Misha Singh, Mohan talked about his journey, experiences and his debut book "The Bounce! -- A Story of love, loss and the life of a global Indian"

This is your first book. What inspired you to write the book?

I have written and blogged extensively on technology and management topics, but this is my first fictional book. I had been reflecting on an incident, back in 2008 when we lost a healthy, bouncy child while on a Jet Airways flight from Brussels to Delhi. My wife and I were relocating back from Toronto with a five and half month old child when tragedy struck. The book is an attempt at redemption, especially as writing has been very cathartic for me.

By talking about my story, I am also hoping to provide some inspiration to others facing life's challenges on bouncing back, as the title suggests.

This is a semi-autobiographical novel, what can the readers expect from the same?

Much of the story depicted in the novel is mine. I decided to write a semi-autobiographical novel since this format gave me a bit of artistic liberty to stretch my imagination while basing the outline on facts as I remembered them. A few accounts, and names have been fictionalized and I rely on the dialog style that a fiction can accommodate more than a biography.

What was your goal when you wrote the book--was it to just finish writing or getting it published and reaching out to the world?

My goal in writing "The Bounce!" was simple. I had a story that I thought must be told. It is also an attempt to show a human face to globalization and people in the dynamic global outsourcing industry who travel around the world.

How did you begin writing this book? What do you wish to convey with the book?

I began writing the book in 2012. After attempting to write it as a biography, I switched to a semi-autobiographical format earlier in 2015. There are a couple of key messages I feel I am conveying in the book. My journey is an example of living this adage, and wanted to share my life's journey and the dynamic nature of outsourcing industry with readers. The key message is about redemption. The theme of "The Bounce!" is all about the ability to bounce back, especially after unforeseen tragedies in life.

What authors do you like to read? Do any of them influence your writing?

I firmly believe in the adage "he, who reads more, writes more". My reading habits are eclectic and include fiction and nonfiction books on business and technology.

'Elizabeth Gilbert's cheerful narrative "Eat, Pray, Love" highlighting how she overcame her life's challenge was an inspiration at the time in life when I needed one.

Please tell us something about you and your connect with India?

I grew up moving across India. After completing my masters from an Engineering college in Mysore, I joined a British software firm in Bengaluru. I worked with Infosys for nearly a decade and now live the Indian-American dream in North Carolina with my charming wife Sujatha and adorable kindergartener Vijay. My parents live in Bengaluru and my in-laws in Delhi and I try and make an annual trek back there with my family. The intent is also to ensure Vijay bonds with his grandparents and cousins while retaining his Indian-ness.

A great fictional debut by a Non-Resident-Indian author (Review by - India Empire

About the Author

Mohan is an Indian American Information Technology executive with a multinational company headquartered in Switzerland. He has lived and worked in five countries across three continents, gaining a first-hand experience of working in multicultural environments.

Mohan is also a blogger, columnist and writer whose viewpoints and papers have been published in several international technical and non-technical journals. He lives in North Carolina with his lovely wife and adorable kindergartener.

Link to read rest of the blog // Book on Amazon.com

Article: New Tax Legislation in India to Help NRIs

The government (of India) has brought in a modification in the tax structure in the budget to make the participation of Non-resident Indians, or NRIs, obligatory in the economic progress of India.

The government also said that with the new foreign investment regulations the economy would regain and sustain GDP growth rates of about 9 per cent in the fiscal 2010-11.

The government said it was time to hasten policy reforms in areas that include taxation and foreign investment regulations. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget address to parliament said there was an urgent need to consider reforms to address a number of cross-border tax issues faced by taxpayers.

He said the government also wanted to make the policy in this regard user-friendly by consolidating all prior regulations and guidelines into one comprehensive document. This, he said, would enhance clarity and predictability of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment policy for foreign investors. “We have decided to give due consideration to reforming the international tax system in the budget,” he said.

It is believed that for long the Indian outbound investors faced difficulty in claiming credits for foreign taxes. Tax treaties provide a general rule that taxes paid by an NRI abroad, in accordance with treaty provisions, should be eligible for foreign tax credits, or FTC. Explicit rules for applying this principle are left to the domestic tax legislation.

The government admitted that in the absence of any specific provisions in the tax laws, a number of technical and practical issues arise and, henceforth, the lack of a well-defined FTC system results in risk of double taxation on income arising from the outbound investment. The Vijay Mathur Committee on Non-resident Taxation had highlighted the need for introducing comprehensive FTC guidelines in 2003.

The committee had also proposed underlying tax credit provisions and had said that by introducing these provisions an impetus to outbound investments can be provided. Mukherjee announced to provide considerable relief to income tax payers by raising the slabs at two levels; this includes the Indian citizens as well as the NRIs. To encourage NRIs to place their money with banks in India, the government sought lowering of the Tax Deducted at Source, or TDS, rate on interest earned on NRI deposits under section 115E to 10 per cent from 20 per cent. The TDS rate applicable on NRI deposits with a foreign bank which is currently at 30 per cent is also being brought on par with that for Indian banks.

Also as a data sharing initiative on the terror prevention measures, the government is already co-ordinating with many foreign countries, including the UAE, to collect the income data of its citizens. The NRIs will have to submit the proof of the income in the form of tax fillings etc, if any, as per the rules in their host nation.

The existing limit of Rs100,000 on tax saving has been raised by an additional amount of Rs20,000 for investment in long term infrastructure bonds as notified by the government. Contributions to the Central Government Health Scheme have also been allowed as deductions within the overall ceiling for tax rebate, besides contributions to health insurance schemes which are currently allowed as deductions under the Income Tax Act.

The basic threshold limit for income tax exemption will remain at Rs160,000. Under the new proposal, 10 per cent tax will be levied between Rs160,001 and Rs500,000; 20 per cent on incomes between Rs500,001 and Rs800,000 and 30 per cent for above Rs800,000.

Mukherjee said that rate of tax on services will be retained at 10 per cent to pave the way forward for Goods and Services Tax,  or GST. He added that all services are not being brought under service tax at this stage but announced that certain services hitherto untaxed would be brought within the purview of service tax levy.

The finance minister said the service tax net is being expanded to include domestic and international air journeys of all classes, health check-up undertaken by hospitals for employees of business entities and health services provided under health insurance schemes offered by insurance companies. The new proposal relating to service taxes are estimated to result in a new revenue gain of $650 million.

The finance minister said that certain legislative changes are proposed to be made to plug revenue leakages and to remove distortions.

Mukherjee said that the rate reduction in central excise duties is being partially rolled back and the standard rate on all non-petroleum products was being enhanced from 8 per cent to 10 per cent ad valorem. The ad valorem component of excise duty on large cars, multi-utility vehicles and sports-utility vehicles which was reduced as part of the first stimulus package is being increased by 2 per cent points to 22 per cent. The basic duty of 5 per cent on crude petroleum, 7.5 per cent on diesel and petrol and 10 per cent on other refined products has also been restored.

Central excise duty on petrol and diesel has been enhanced by Rupee One per litre each. Some structural changes in the excise duty on cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos have been made coupled with some increase in rates. Excise duty on all non-smoking tobaccos has been enhanced.

Ravi S. Jha . Published in Khaleej Times

Feature: Online Matrimonials

Indian Internet Matrimony - Dos and Donts -
By: Mrs Gayathri Sanyal (Marriage Consultant) for IndianMillionaireMarriages .com

Marriage is one of the most important decisions of your life. Be wary of matrimonial sites.

Don't s
1) Marriage is a sensitive, personal and private matter. Don't let any mass market matrimonial websites commoditize you as a product on a catalogue
2) Don't get carried away by sites that claim they have millions of members. It is immaterial to you. Multiple choices are only an illusion. You are unique and there is only one match and you can marry only one.
3) Don't get carried away by success stories they claim on their sites. It is irrelevant to you and you cannot validate their authenticity
4) Don't let automatic software matchmaker programs spam your mailbox. It will distract you and keep you single for years. Remember - most mass market matrimonial sites desire that you remain single so that they can get renewed subscriptions.
5) Don't start exchanging pictures from the beginning however beautiful or handsome you may be. You spoil your chances of finding a good match due to a focus on too superficial parameters. You will end up with the wrong person
6) Establish Trust. Furnish the facts of who you are in tangible terms so you are not a virtual identity. There is nothing wrong in sharing a traditional biodata instead of being abstract.
A generic profile says - I am a doctor. A specific profile says - I graduated from G.S Medical in 2000 with Ist class and practice as a pediatrician in Mumbai
7) Exchange each other's pictures if you feel that basic background is compatible. Don't plaster your picture on websites. You are demeaning your identity from a multi dimensional personality to a static, one dimensional image. You attract or repel someone based on your personality and not your picture.
8) Don't correspond with multiple profiles simultaneously. You will not be able to do justice.
9) Don't use Video/ SMS alert or Messenger services to exchange initial information. SMS shows how abrupt and irresponsible you are with the most important chapter of your life.
10) Instant Messenger invites parallel processing with multiple people and leads to no outcome. Use it only after you have exchanged basic info and would like to pursue a relationship with someone but have geographic constraints
11) Don't copy other people's profiles just to make the profile look fancy. Be yourself.
12) Don't just walk away but RUN from websites that offer multiple distracting popup windows when you are searching for your partner
13) Don't use websites which offer you the false ego boost of Declining someone. It is rude, immature and silly.

Dos : KYS Know Your Self

1) List your strengths and weaknesses
2) List down your key achievements in life
3) List down what you will offer the marriage
4) List down what you value in her/him and what she/he should value
5) List down your personal and professional future plans
6) List down what you can compromise on in terms of location, financial status, food habits, religion, mother tongue, field of work and the likes
7) List down what you cannot compromise on - "must haves"

Communication Tips

8) Take initiative in communication when you find someone of interest
9) Introduce yourself with a traditional biodata
10) Share the KYS with the person across
11) Request for a KYS discussion from the other person
12) Be prompt, patient and mature
13) Be Realistic in your expectations.

Read rest of the feature


Search GaramChai.com and other information


Though websites like Sulekha, Search India and others attract advertisers by providing listings, events, chat and discussions, Garamchai.com aims to be the most extensive information directory with a simple but elegant user interface. GaramChai.com is a complete resource listing of hundreds of temples, restaurants online shops, grocers and bazaars. Other listings include jewelers, wedding specialists, theaters, beauty salons, mehndi services, places of worship including Temples, Mosques, Churches and Gurudwaras. With the large amounts of information, the site is well organized dividing most listings into state categories. Sending comments or suggestions is simple with a form that is provided on the site or by emailing us [Replace _at_ with @] This section of GaramChai.com will attempt to address some of the Frequently Asked Questions on Life in the US and Canada that immigrants, visitors and others from different cultures attempt to address.



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