Cambrian Indian Community

Home away from home

This is the official website of the Cambrian Indian Community, a CA based non-profit organization serving the needs of the Indian Community in Cambrian Park neighborhood of California.

CIC Khana Khazana 2017 - Chef Spotlight - Chef Jabeen

Here we are with an interview with Jabeen, our third featured chef for CIC Khana Khazana 2017. One interesting vignette to share is that when I started planning for these videos - I wanted them to be very similar. The same questions and how each chef answered it. As you can see from the Q&A below, thats how most of the chefs responded too (with the exception of Meera who wrote a lovely story for us). But as we shot each video, the approach started changing. Instead of sticking to a script, we started having conversations about food and the experiences that have shaped how we have approached it. I learnt a ton about cooking styles, influences, experiences and so much more that I am so fortunate to have been part of this publicity exercise. I hope the enthusiasm of the chefs comes across in the videos just as it did to me when I spoke to them. On a special day, here is a special video from Jabeen. The Q&A responses follow below the video.

Q: What is your inspiration to be a cook?

A: My mother, grandma, sister, aunts, and friend’s mother.

Q: What motivated you to be a part of this unique experience Khana Khazana?

A: Few lucky friends in Cambrian Park have tasted my food. When Latha Santosh approached me, I thought I would give it a try. I am hoping with some help, I should be able to do it.

Q: Who is/are your role model(s) in the kitchen?

A: None other than my Mother and Elder Sister.

Q: What is that dish you vividly remember growing up seeing mom/dad/grandma cook and enjoy?

A: Dum Biriyani (both veg and non-veg).

Q: What experiences shape how and what you cook- is it the place you are from, the city you grew up in, the place you currently live or anything else?

A: It’s the taste buds and my favorites, makes me cook as close as possible to my mom’s recipes. My son is another driving factor for me to cook as a mom.  I also like to try different ingredients and cuisines if it’s healthy enough, then I adopt it. I have grown up going to markets to buy fresh vegetables, so I am a big fan of the farmers market in bay area. Cooking with fresh ingredients makes the food to go to another level.

Q: Without naming the dish, what should people expect from you at Khana Khazana?

A: Come hungry and savor the mix of Indian spices and veggies with family.

Cambrian Indian Community - The story so far and the road ahead

A few years ago, when the Indian community in the Cambrian Park neighborhood was no more than a few families, there was a dream. A dream to build a home, away from home. To foster and keep alive our culture in this new land. But to also give back to this country for all that it had given them. These families celebrated their joys and shared their sorrows together. They became family. 


The community started to grow. More and more families saw this small neighborhood of San Jose as where they wanted to put their roots. The good schools and tree lined streets welcomed them. As the Indian community in Cambrian grew, there was a strong desire to bring families together on a more regular basis. To learn, cherish and to serve. Thus was born the Cambrian Indian Community (CIC).

In 2014, a few of these committed individuals got together to formalize this organization and registered as a California State Non-Profit. CIC was incorporated in July 2014. Since that time, the community has exploded. Our events have grown in magnitude. We meet often - we do mehendi and music and dance and Diwali and karaoke and trivia together. We have contributed for important causes. We have volunteered to build the larger community where we live. In the process, we have made and continue to make friends for life. 

Earlier this year, over piping hot chai and wonderful kachoris from a gentle Cambrian soul, we filed to become a 501(c)3 non-profit. This would allow us to expand our charter. To dream bigger and to do greater things. A few weeks ago, we were informed by the IRS that our application was approved to be a 501(c)3 organization.

For me, as one of the joint directors of CIC, this has been a 4-year journey. But for many others, it has been the culmination of a journey that started over 15 years ago. And we are all ready to take the next big step in this journey. 

As a 501(c)3 organization, we can take your donations, big and small and you can claim it for your tax deduction. This begs the question, do we really need money, if so how much and what for? To answer this question, I would like to explain how we have generated funds in the past years and how we have put it to use.

Nothing comes free. We all know that. And for the past 3 years since we incorporated, we have spent quite a bit of money to be able to do what we do. We started with getting ourselves this website (~$100/yr). We then added insurance to cover us in case of accidents during our events (~$650/year). We have also been paying the minimum taxes required (~$800-$1500/year).

We raise funds through sponsorships during our Diwali event and from the chais and samosas and chaat we vend at different events. And these funds add up. We then use that money to buy things for the community. From the audio mixer, mics and speakers we used at last week’s Utsav to the chai pot, we have built up our bhandaar, bit by bit.  We would like to grow this bhandaar. We would like to add a small tent, more utensils, additional electronics like a dedicated laptop and a small video camera, cloud storage for the thousands of photos and videos from our events,  and eventually rent a storage to hold all this. Right now, many kind souls in the community are accommodating all this in their garage. We would like to relieve them of this load soon.

In the past three years, we have raised money only once to help us incorporate in 2014. We have been fiscally responsible and frugal to avoid having to go back to raise more funds. As we expand, we need to grow our infrastructure to meet the growing demands of the community. 

We, the members of the CIC Board would like to invite you all to our next fundraiser - CIC Khana Khazana on the 14th of May at 10:15 am in Houge Park. The event will be an all-you-can-eat hand-cooked brunch for $30/family (upto 4 members). For larger families over 4 members, we recommend an additional $10/person. But I really want you to consider donating more to help us build our funds.  For all your donations over $30, you can receive your tax-exemption certificate from our Treasurer. You have seen our interview with a couple of chefs who will cook for the event with a couple more to come in the next week leading up to the event. 

If you have questions or ideas about how we can do more for the community, we would love to hear. Please reach out to one of the members of the board. We hope you consider contributing and helping us grow this community. We also hope you consider organizing events for us and volunteering to make a difference. See you all next week at Khana Khazana. 

CIC Khana Khazana 2017 - Chef Spotlight - Meera

As with other chefs for Khana Khazana, I had asked Meera for answers to questions to keep things simple for her. She wrote us her story instead. I have read it twice now and I find it fascinating. I am publishing it verbatim here. So read on for Meera's journey with cooking and food. But before you get reading, I also had a chance to talk to Meera about all things food and the interview video is available for your viewing. We did the interview as Meera made piping hot aloo bondas for me- yes I know, I am lucky that way. It was a super fun chat and I think you will enjoy it too. I hope you agree with me that we cant wait to sample what Meera has to offer on the 14th of May at our CIC Khana Khazana.

When color, aroma, flavor, combined with some passion and love for your near and dear ones blend in together, a beautiful dish is born. My inspiration for cooking mainly comes from me being a lover of eating delicious food. I still remember, as a child I grew up in a typical TamBrahm family where the day dawns with the aromatic flavor of filter coffee. I thank the Gods in the heavenly aboard because neither of my parents restricted me from having this pure delight . As the days continues , I would notice my mom zooming around in the kitchen like a tornado , to get breakfast ready and pack all of lunches as well. I was and am still amazed of her swiftness , with which she works in the kitchen. 

Amma grew up in Mumbai and so she has influence from both Tambrahm and North Indian Khana. Even today, I cannot make the Aloo Paranthas and Phulkas with the softness that she has claimed. Her Aviyal and Paruppu Urundai Sambhar with Potato podimas is to die for. These are some of the richness of everyday food that I grew up with. That’s how my love for eating delicious food grew. She is definitely one my role models in the kitchen. My uncle (perippa), was another towering personality whom I have been inspired by. Every summer we would travel from Chennai to Mumbai for vacation and stay with uncle and family. He would royally cook for us everyday, in spite of his busy schedule at work. He always saw that we never went hungry during the stay I have imbibed that quality from him. There were few instances when I have returned home hungry from someone else’s house. I hate to have a feeling to go a restaurant after having lunch or dinner at someone’s! Believe me, I can point out so many examples. My lesson from uncle is never have your guest feel a bit of hunger when he/ she steps out of your house. 

Since I am a connoisseur of food and I hate a hungry stomach, I see to it that anyone who comes to my house, never leaves with a hungry stomach. I cook everyday with love and passion for my son and husband. They are my strongest critics, and when I see smiles on their faces when they like it , the happiness I experience has no limits. So here are two other inspirations and the pillars of my life, whom I dedicate my cooking capabilities, plus they are my scape goats as well :). I discovered a new me, in this country and it happened in the recent past. 

I hosted a memorial day party in Sunnyvale, and bravely invited close to 80 people! This was the very first time I cooked for a large number of people, with a lot of variety , and that is when I figured I did love to present or showcase what I cook! I was to see thrilled to see the happy faces of my friends and their kids! Kids ate with no complaints! There was no excess food! All plates and faces happy! Now it has become a family tradition to host a Memorial Day party, my friends know it and block their calendars :). 

I want to see the same thrill and excitement on the faces of my fellow Cambrianites, who have given me so much in the past two years! So when Latha proposed to me the idea of Khana Khazana, and cooking for almost 200 people, the bar is raised and the challenge is here. I am super enthusiastic to challenge myself for this big day, and all of you be ready to cherish the softness of a Madurai Jasmine flower with a Kerala delight condiment to go with it, and a chilled delicacy dunked in yogurt blended in with flavors from mint and coriander with a dash of spices!

CIC Khana Khazana 2017 - Chef Spotlight - Santhosh

We are kicking off a spotlight series on the wonderful cooks in our community who will be your chefs for CIC Khana Khazana on May 14, 2017. Each of these chefs were provided a set of questions to which the responses are below. We also shot a brief (~5 min long) video interview which is well worth watching. In these interviews, the chefs reveal their motivations, their role models in cooking and some really cool things you just have to watch. Without further ado, presenting Santhosh.

Chef Santhosh

Chef Santhosh

Q&A with Santhosh

Q: What is your inspiration/motivation to be a cook?

A: To experiment and add a twist to a dish. Also, to make my partner stay away from the kitchen now and then.

Q: What motivated you to be a part of this unique experience Khana Khazana?

A: Love to eat Chaat, Love to meet with Friends - so why not make a chaat item to make my friends Happy!  Kill two birds with one stone - oh - sorry!...not killing anybody here - dont worry! 

Q: Who is your role model in the kitchen?

A: Hmmm tough question -  who is the Model I would love to be in Kitchen with?  -  IRINA SHAYK
What? Wrong question? Oops

Q: What is that dish you vividly remember growing up seeing mom/dad/grandma/yyy cook and enjoy?

A: Awalakki Uppukari - a snack made of poha/parched rice with special blend of spices, cooked by my mom.  Mmmm - my mouth is watering just mentioning about it!

Q: What experiences shape how and what you cook- is it the place you are from, the city you grew up in, the place you currently live or anything else?

A: Vegetarian dishes I have come to enjoy and love from different Cuisine's - Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican and Desi!

Q: Without naming the dish, what should people expect from you at Khana Khazana?

A: The most popular Indian snack in America - with a twist of course! and a sexy name. 

And here is the interview with Chef Santhosh. 

Are you ready to Discover India?

In a little over 12 hours from now, the Cambrian Indian Community will assemble to remember all that they know and to discover new facts about India. The third annual CIC Discover India event is here and promises to be bigger and better than the past two years.

Nine teams will compete tomorrow for the title of “Discover India champions 2017”. On behalf of the CIC, I would like to invite one and all to attend the event and experience the magic. The event will start sharp at 1:15 pm and will finish by 4:15 pm. Snacks (bhel puri, chai and cookies) will be available at the venue for a small fee (please bring cash).

Game Rules

There will be up to 9 rounds (time permitting, we will conduct all of them). There will be two quizmasters - Prabhu and Srividya and their decision will be final. 


  1. Teams have been playing a teaser round over the past week and have accumulated points that they will carry into the event tomorrow. Based on their scores in the teaser round, teams will get to pick the place where they would like to sit. 
  2. Once seated, the rules will be explained and the contest will begin. 
  3. No cellphone use will be permitted during the event. 
  4. Non-participants are not allowed to help (kids under 9 are ok to accompany parents). 
  5. The first round will begin in the clockwise direction with Team 1 and make its way to Team 9. The second round will go anti-clockwise and so on.
  6. For every question, teams will get to pick a number from 1-9 and the quizmaster will ask that question from a numbered list. 
  7. While every effort has been made to standardize the questions to the same level of difficulty, some questions will appear easier to some teams while others will find some hard- purely based on their exposure to the said topic. Teams are allowed to randomly select a number so that the questions they get are purely their luck and no more.
  8. For most of the direct rounds, teams will get 30 seconds to answer the question. Only one answer will be allowed. So teams should carefully discuss before providing an answer. 
  9. Each correct answer to a direct question will earn the team 20 points and for most rounds, there will be no negative marks.
  10. For 7/9 rounds, questions will not pass if the team provides an incorrect answer. The audience will get a chance to answer the question.
  11. For 6/9 rounds, there is one double question in each round. The double question allows the team the choice of doubling their points in case of a correct answer (or losing 20 points for an incorrect answer).  
  12. There will be surprises along the way!
  13. In case of a tie between two teams in the end, there will be a tiebreaker question. Rules will be explained during the game.

There is a ton of very interesting trivia for the participants and the audience to learn and share. So be prepared to have fun and learn something new in the process.

See you all tomorrow.

CIC Discover India 2017

It is here. The third annual CIC Discover India will be held on March 19th from 1:15 pm to 4:15 pm at the Vineland Public Library in San Jose, CA. This year promises new rounds, new teams and a ton of opportunities to make new friends. If you are interested in participating, send an email here. Or if you just want to watch folks participate and have fun, come on over.


CIC Marketplace - All the details

Marketplace is a community driven semi-annual event for selling and/or buying, recycling or up cycling things comprising handmade goods, clothes, trinkets, electronics and much much more…

CIC Marketplace presents “Cambrian Kids Couture”  - Once Loved, Twice Owned Kids Clothing!

As a pilot program, Marketplace is being launched with “Cambrian Kids Couture” featuring gently used Ethnic Indian Kids Apparel and Halloween Costumes.

For Buyers

  • No admission fee, open to all Cambrian and Non Cambrian friends and family!
  • No registration required, walk-in!
  • Kids of all ages welcome!
  • Cash only please!

For Sellers

  • Sort and pick your kids gently used Indian Apparel/Halloween costumes you want to put up for sale
  • Clean, Iron or steam clean, make them ready for sale
  • Clothes only in excellent, presentable and wearable condition accepted. Examples of rejected clothes: worn-out, crumpled, stained, torn, missing buttons, missing pieces in the set etc. These are not GOODWILL type of clothes. Very minor, unnoticeable missing pieces in garment like a stone or part thread work is acceptable.
  • Pack them in a clean bag. Please include the requested info below in the same format:    

  -- NAME (First & Last names of Adult seller)

  -- Phone Number

  -- Email address

  • With each outfit/garment, please include,

  -- Garment  Size (best effort, if not already marked on the garment)

  -- Requested sale price

  -- For Indian Garments, please use the Indian Clothing Sizing chart. For US garments, please use the US sizing chart

  -- You can include the above requested information on a piece of paper and place it inside the bag.

  • Drop your bag at the drop-off location by Feb 5.
  • Attend the sale event as a buyer if you want to browse and buy other clothes.
  • Drop Off Location: Please leave a comment or message to get more information about the drop-off location.

How it works

  • The marketplace team which includes expert fabric/clothing evaluators will evaluate the condition, quality, age, market availability, uniqueness and then finalize the sale price for each item. Please NOTE that the sale price maybe higher or lower than the seller’s requested price.
  • Kids Halloween costumes will be approximately in the range 5-10$ and a max of 15-20$ depending on the number of pieces and quality.
  • If you have a very expensive item or a rare unique item, please give us additional details and approximate original price of the item.
  • The sale price marked by the Marketplace team is FINAL and there will not be any bargains or seller negotiations for the price. Please note that this is a BEST effort to recycle/upcycle your goods.
  • All sale-worthy Apparel and also rejected Apparel that don't make it to the sale will be held by marketplace team till the day of the sale.
  • After the sale of your items, 1$ for every 10$ sale will be taken as proceeds by the Marketplace team to cover operating expenses. Any additional leftover funds will be given to CIC to use in its charitable activities, details of which will be posted along with accounting after the SALE day.
  • Sellers will be given their $$ amount, less the proceeds, for their clothes in cash at the end of the Sale event at the Sale Location (OR) at a later date via Paypal.
  • Any unsold, rejected clothes will be packaged in same bag that they were dropped off and will need to be picked up Mar 1 or 2nd from the same drop-off location.
  • - Those that cannot pick up their goods on the above-mentioned dates, will be notified to arrange for alternate pickup dates. Failing that, a public post will be made with the names called out for pickup

Coming Soon - FAQs on Marketplace. Stay Tuned!

What is the Cambrian Indian Community?

It has been an eventful year with so many new people moving into the Cambrian Park neighborhood. We had a super successful Diwali and we are now ready to welcome 2017. But before that, we have had a ton on interest in what CIC really is and how people can be a part of it. So on behalf of the Board of the Cambrian Indian Community, I wanted to write a bit about who we are and what we do.

From our annual CIC Utsav 2016 event

From our annual CIC Utsav 2016 event


The idea for a formal non-profit organization that caters to the needs of the Indian community in the Cambrian Park neighborhood area was seeded quite a while back. The early settlers as we refer to them now did not have the strength in numbers to make one such vision a reality. About 3 years ago, the community started showing up in larger numbers in our events that prompted a real effort from a dozen or so people to formalize CIC. We had a fund raiser for the legal costs to seed an organization. As a result of these efforts, the Cambrian Indian Community was registered as a CA state non-profit organization on July 4, 2014. 

What does CIC do?

The CIC’s mandate revolves around bringing the Camrian Indian community together through events that celebrate Indian culture and tradition and also contribute back to the society we live in and that has allowed us the freedom and independence to organize in the first place. As part of this, the CIC has the following annual events in its calendar.

In addition to these annual events, we have members of the community step up and add new events to the calendar. Some examples are CIC Sports Day in Summer 2015, CIC Karaoke in Summer 2016 and more. Any member of the community can help organize new CIC events. For more details see this blog post and reach out.

Beyond these cultural milestones, the CIC family continues to periodically do Seva at local shelters to give back to the community. CIC also contributes to local schools and charities to foster a vibrant community.

The CIC Board

The CIC Board currently has 5 members-

Latha Santhosh (President)

Krithika Santhanam (Vice President and Secretary)

Sachin Holla (Joint-Director)

Rangaprabhu Parthasarathy (Joint-Director)

Manish Sabu (Treasurer)

How can you stay in touch?

This blog and website are the only official voices of the Cambrian Indian Community. At times, members of the community share details of local events in social networking groups like Facebook and WhatsApp. The best way for someone to stay in touch with community events is to periodically check this blog. 

What next?

As an organization, we have some great ideas on how to grow and contribute to the community and the neighborhood we have embraced as home. But we are sure you have some wonderful ideas too. So please reach out via email or drop one of the Board members a note. 



CIC Diwali Dhamaka 2016 - Event Day Guidelines

CIC Diwali Dhamaka 2016

Presented by LSJ Financial

Event Day Guidelines

November 12, 2016

The CIC Diwali Dhamaka 2016 Organizing Team

Dear friends and patrons of the Cambrian Indian Community,

Welcome to our biggest event of the year, CIC Diwali Dhamaka 2016 presented by LSJ Financial. Our team of coordinators, choreographers and volunteers have put together a great event for you. Organizing an event with over 400 people expected to be in attendance, poses unique challenges for a completely volunteer-driven organization. To make this event an enjoyable experience for everyone involved, we have put together a set of guidelines. We kindly request that you read this document in its entirety to help you know what to expect at the event. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Team RAG and we’ll ensure they are answered promptly.

Event Date, Time, Location and Parking Details

Date: Saturday, Nov 12th, 2016

Time: 2:00pm - 5:30pm.Check-in closes at 1:50 pm. Participant/Choreographer check-in at 1:00PM

Venue: Orchard City Banquet Hall, Campbell Community Center, 1 W Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008.

Google Map:

Look for signs to the Orchard City Banquet Hall to guide you to the correct parking area/spots.

Additional free parking is available at the below locations nearby:

Registration and Food Tokens

  • If you haven’t received your tickets yet, please register yourself at the reception.

  • If you already have Khabar/tickets, please present your tickets at the reception.

  • Note: Registration closes at 1:50PM and tickets are necessary to get your snack boxes.

If you have signed up for childcare, you should have already received a separate email with details. If not, please reach out to us.

Event Schedule

This is the planned event timing. (The sequence of events will be available in the Cambrian Khabar that will be distributed during registration on the day of the event (you would have already received it if you are a participant or volunteer):

2:00 - 3:15 pm: Child performances

Snack break

4:15 - 5:30 pm: Adult performances


  • Given the size of the audience, we will not be able to move chairs. Also, the aisle spaces are necessary for easy movement of people.

  • We are unable to reserve or hold specific seats for you in the auditorium. Let us be fair to people who take the effort to come early please.

  • We request you to kindly refrain from leaving your seat in the middle of the program. Also, please silence your phones. The participants (kids & adults alike) have put in a lot of effort into the program and this is the least we could do as a community to appreciate that.

  • In the rare situation when you have to step out, please note that you’ll be allowed to re-enter only during program transitions (for the same reasons as above)

  • Please keep small children seated with you at all times and do not let kids run around in the lobby area or inside the auditorium.

Participant Seating

The first five rows of seating in front of the stage are reserved for participants, choreographers and photographers. Keeping this area clear for them will ensure a smooth and trouble free flow of events.

Event Photography/ Videography

We are having a talented and dedicated team of volunteer photographers and videographers covering the event in many ways and angles possible. In addition, we have reserved one row of seats in the front for parents to come forward and take their own pictures/videos. Since seating is limited in this special row, we request parents to only come forward and occupy these seats for their child or spouse’s performance and to vacate the seat at the conclusion of the performance. Please do not stand up to take pictures while seated in the front row. If you need to, you may do so from the sides of the hall by the windows - in which case please position yourself there at the beginning of the program and move out of the area at its conclusion. Please be proactive and quick in moving in and out of this area so that all parents can have a chance to capture pictures/videos of their children. In addition, please refrain from moving in and out of this row during performances. We would like to keep all the aisles and walkways clear at all times.

Food & Water

Snacks will be provided during the snack break. Please hold on to your tickets!. Ushers will be present to guide you to the rear of the auditorium where food boxes will be distributed. The snack is vegetarian and dairy free. Please reach out to food volunteers (during the break) if you have specific questions about the ingredients. Chai for adults and lemonade/other cold beverage for kids will also be available at this time. A water station will be available inside the auditorium for the entire duration of the event (2:00 - 5:30 pm). Please follow the instructions posted on the auditorium walls to properly dispose of leftovers and food boxes.

Who to Approach for Help

Floor coordinators wearing a black sash with the words “Volunteer, Cambrian Indian Community” in green neon color will be present inside the auditorium. Please reach out to them at any time for any concerns or questions.

Event Sponsors

Our sponsors will be positioned in the lobby area. Please make it a point to visit them to know what products and services they offer. Without their generous sponsorship, the event would have been impossible to pull off.

Again, please do not let kids run around in the lobby area or inside the auditorium.

Restrooms and water fountains are available right outside the main hall in the lobby area. Please refrain from using the restrooms inside the hall - this will be used as a changing room for participants.


Snack Box Contents:

  • Vada pav

  • Upma

  • Chutney

  • Mysore pak (sweet)

Copyright CIC 2017