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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

California Diary

Indians make their presence felt in Silicon Valley
Shalini Kathuria Narang
California, April 06, 2007
First Published: 15:48 IST(6/4/2007)
Last Updated: 15:39 IST(7/4/2007)

The number of Indian employees in American corporate in the Silicon Valley despite the off shoring, in shoring and home shoring trends show no sign of slowing or stopping and despite the knowledge of staggering statistics, the critical mass of the employees of Indian origin is one of those things that have to be seen to be believed.

A casual stroll on any floor of an office building of an American corporate in the Bay Area, especially at the behemoths of Cisco, Oracle, Google etc are a true indicator of the power and presence of the intellectual capital of this community.

A slow and steady climb up the power chain in the American corporate by the members of the Indo-American community is also clearly visible in these offices and Indian names outside exclusive side offices are becoming a regular sight.

Without delving into statistics, let me enumerate some significant traits and trends that the American corporate have slowly adopted to cater to the needs of this community.

Beginning with the basics-Indian culinary concoctions have become a regular fare at the cafes of American corporate. Commencing with offering Indian culinary specialties once or twice a week, many cafeterias in large corporate houses in response to the staggering demand, have begun serving full course Indian meals on all five days.

Some years back during my tenure at Oracle headquarters in Redwood shores, I remember an enterprising Gujarati couple selling boxed lunches from their van at the company's parking lot during the lunch hour.

Several months into the business, because of dwindling sales in the company cafes, the couple was halted from selling near the software giant's buildings and in response to the opportunity, one of the six cafeterias in the company begun offering Indian cuisine.

Presently, delicious and delectable free Indian food at the café at Google headquarters is one of the many magnets of the company especially for the Indian employees.

Some of the other popular by products of the presence of the large number of Indian employees in an American company is the appearance of colorful incredible India posters and paintings on the walls of cubicles and offices of the employees.

From the legendary Taj Mahal and Char Minar to the awe-inspiring Himalayas and Ganges…the range of geographical, historical and cultural offerings of India are as vast and varied as the nation itself.


Besides Indian posters and paintings in their own office spaces, regular trips of employees back home also result in presents of bric-a-bracs of beautiful Indian historical structures for peers and managers and no prizes for guessing which knick-knack is most popular.

From exclusive glass figures to marble marvels- beautiful representations of the monument of love in the offices of corporate America is a trend in itself. Indian tourism could not ask for more. Various manifestations of globalisation are in full sway.

However, it would be wrong to conclude that the presence of the large number of employees of a particular nationality in American corporate is all positive and hunky dory.

Off shoring has resulted in down sizing at several companies and anger against the trend spills into everyday working relationships. Outsourcing of high paying technology jobs is a contentious subject and invokes disharmony between employees on national origins.

Being considered "one amongst them" or a cause of the loss of another person's job is not a happy feeling. How does one react? While one cannot hide one's born nationality or collective pride at the rise of one's nation, yet, it is important to be sensitive to the local reaction and make subtlety as one's forte, especially in working life.

Positive synergy can be created by personal actions and baby steps can help bridge wide chasms across hearts and heartlands. How about a poster of Grand Canyon or a Mount Rushmore next to the Himalayas?


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