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 Natya Sangeeth Utsav 2018 sponsored by Skyline Tutoring, Music Village, KalaAwishkar Dance School and Kumon-Los Gatos Blossom Crest

The Cambrian Indian Community is excited to welcome you to CIC Natya Sangeeth Utsav 2018. 

CIC’s Natya Sangeeth Utsav is our annual event to promote Indian music and dance forms and is in it’s fifth year in 2018. It features Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, vocal and instrumental, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathak dances, with solo and group performances by our community members. When this event was first held 4 years ago, the participation was limited but it is hearteningly notable that the music and dance segments presented right from its inception were well received by the audience. From the past 2 years, the participation and volunteer effort for this event has been increasing and this year, we reached maximum program capacity with a waiting list within the first two days of the announcement of the event.

This year, the Utsav event will be held on 20th May 2018 at Guadalupe Elementary school. We are very excited about our community seniors also participating for the first time in a group recital. We are happy to announce that there are multiple sponsors for this event - Music Village,  Skyline Tutoring, KalaAwishkar Dance School and Kumon of Los Gatos - Blossom Crest. Utsav 2018 will be held at a local elementary school (Guadalupe Elementary) and we look forward to showcasing all the performances on a beautiful well-lit stage.

Camp Sapne presented by Stem4Kids

We are happy to announce the third edition of Camp Sapne, a sleepover camp for children. This event like past years will be organized and conducted by community teenagers which allows them to develop their leadership skills under adult guidance. Look for more details on the event soon or send us an email at if you are interested.

We are also excited to announce that this year, the event will be sponsored by “Stem4Kids”. With locations in Cupertino, Saratoga, Evergreen & Cambrian Park (San Jose), Stem4Kids has been providing technology-focused Summer Camps and Classes for students. The mission of Stem4Kids is to encourage and enhance learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and other subjects to ensure children receive excellent education that opens doors for them to new and better career opportunities.

Founded by Cambrian resident Shweta Chordiya, Stem4Kids is a locally owned business that is offering summer camps for your kids.Stem4Kids conducts summer camps in many interesting topics for your kids including Python Programming, Java Programming, Robotics, STEAM, Math and English Enrichment, and more. Select number of Scholarships are also available.

You can visit their website or email for more details. We are happy to have them on board as a sponsor for our Camp Sapne event.

Results of 2018 CIC elections and your new Officers

We are happy to announce the new officers who will be joining the CIC organization. This was the result of the elections that were announced recently. We had three applicants for three different roles which made the need for an election moot. All three contestants were elected unopposed. These three officers will serve their roles for a period of 2 years (until March 2020) barring unforeseen circumstances.

So here are your new officers and their brief statement they provided as part of their application for the role.

President - Nekzad Shroff

"I strongly believe that being part of a community takes work and commitment. I consider myself lucky to be a member of a thriving, active and vibrant CIC, and as such, I have no hesitation in giving back to be a small part of its evolution and growth story. My focus in this role would be on 3 key areas: Outreach - to reach and grow the number of active participants and volunteers who proudly count themselves as part of our family, Engagement - to encourage free and open expression of diverse views and debate in our community and to build trusting relationships that propel our energy, Expression - to find avenues for our diverse community members to contribute in unique and creative activities and events which truly reflect the "unity in diversity" that is our biggest asset."

Vice President/Secretary - Rajesh Radhakrishnan

"I like to bring people together. Love it. Organized VB tournament with the help of our community. Getting things done on time, on budget, on schedule, being cognizant of the human elements, is part of my job. This role will require a similar skill set IMO."

Treasurer - Venkata Ramanan

"I am not big on declarations but I think I put others needs and needs ahead of me and will be a guide/help/fellow traveler for the community."

As we mentioned in an earlier post, the CIC Board will continue to stay to help guide the officers and ensure that the core charter of the organization is maintained. The Board consists of three members - Krithika Santhanam, Sachin Holla, and Rangaprabhu Parthasarathy.

We are very excited to welcome the new team. Please join us in congratulating them and providing them the support they need to continue our mission of building a wonderful community.

Closing out CIC Discover India 2018

Thank you to the entire community for showing up at the fourth edition of Discover India. It is our smallest event of the year and designed to foster bonding and collaboration. The setting is intimate and the competition and camaraderie are so wonderful to witness. We had our largest participation turnout ever this year and it was fantastic to see so many new faces. I hope we gave you a good experience that will bring you back for more such events. I am glad I live in a community that gives me a platform to do this every year.

As always, this event was not a solo effort. It took many people doing small and big things at the right time to make the event successful. The Cambrian Indian Community has cultivated a culture of shared responsibilities and this event was no different. As a quizmaster, I stand proudly on the shoulder of giants who help in every step of the way. To new members of the community, I strongly encourage you to consider volunteering or signing up to organizing your own event, however small it may be.



Here in CIC, we take our feedback seriously. After every event, we share a feedback form for participants and guests to share their feedback anonymously. Wherever possible we incorporate improvements based on feedback for future years. Here is the full report of this year's event.

Many thanks to our sponsor, Vimana for supporting us.

Until next year, stay curious!

CIC Discover India 2018 - The Rules of the game

It is almost here. We are just over 24 hours from the fourth annual Discover India presented by Vimana. Before we get to the rules and all that, let me remind everyone about the event.

Date and Time: Sunday, 2 pm at Cambrian Library (please remember to set your clocks for Daylight Savings tomorrow)

Venue: Cambrian Park Library, 1780 Hillsdale Ave, San Jose, CA

Duration: 3 to 3.5 hours based on how quickly we go through the rounds.

Entry Fee: $5 per team. Can be paid in cash at the venue or as a check to Cambrian Indian Community (cash preferred)

Snacks: There will be small snacks (and chai) for purchase. Please bring change.

FAQs on Rules and Logistics:

What time should I be there?

You need to be there at 1.45 pm. We will start getting people split into teams and seated immediately. If you arrive after 1.45, it is likely you will end up in whatever team with openings. The plan is to START the event at 2 pm. The later we start, the fewer the rounds we can run. 

I signed up as an individual (or as part of a partial team). Who will be my teammates?

We will sort all of you into teams at 1.45pm tomorrow. So please arrive on time. While it won’t be truly random, I am thinking of keeping things interesting by doing an on-the-spot pairing exercise. 

Will there be a break during the event?

Yes, we will take a 15-minute break around 3.30 or so. There will be chai and some small snacks for purchase. Please bring change. 

Can I bring my kids?

There is limited space at the library community room, specifically for kids to run around. If your kids can bring a book or activity to do and hang out among adults, it will be perfectly fine. 


So about those questions…..

How many rounds will we have?

There will be 6-8 rounds of movies based trivia depending on how fast we roll. We will finish no later than 5:30 pm. Earlier if possible.

Will all questions be focused on Bollywood movies?

No. The questions are designed to cover the broader Indian spectrum. That being said, some rounds are more Bollywood centric than others. Three of the rounds will give teams a chance to pick from a selection of Hindi, Tamil or Telugu movies. So you can play to strengths in those rounds.

Should I be a movie buff to do well? Will the questions be from the black and white era?

You don’t need to be a movie buff but it will help if are someone who occasionally watches (or used to watch) Hindi/Tamil/Telugu movies. If I were to plot a Bell curve, the healthy center of the distribution will be movies from 1985-2005 which coincides with the time many of us used to watch a lot of movies.

Will the questions be hard?

For folks who have attended earlier edition of Discover India, this year will be the easiest by every metric. My goal with this event is to ensure that over 85% of questions are answered by participants. This year will be no different. I expect the hit rate to be higher than 90% this time around.

Are there only direct question type rounds?

No. There will be dumb charades and Pictionary in addition to audio and visual rounds. The event is designed to keep you on your toes.

Should I prepare?

Not sure how you can prepare. If you want to look at my earlier responses and do some prep, you can but it will not make a huge difference one way or the other.

Are there prizes?

In the first year, I offered gift card prizes. There was overwhelming feedback that participants preferred no prizes. So keeping with that, we will not have prizes but you do get valuable bragging rights until next year's event which is a bigger deal than any prize I can give. 

Parting thoughts?

Be prepared to meet new people, hang out with old friends and have a lot of fun in a very intimate setting. It gets crazy in a good way. Discover India is one of our smallest events designed to have people crammed into a room and feed off each other’s energies. 


CIC Elections and Open House

Hello, Cambrian Indian Community. Hope 2018 is treating you well. As promised during last year’s Diwali event, the CIC Elections are here and we wanted to take this opportunity to explain the election process, roles up for election and the responsibilities that come with them. But before that, we want to also let you know there will be a CIC Open House this Sunday, 11-Feb-2018 at the Vineland Branch Library from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. 

Agenda for the meeting (in this order)

  1. CIC Election Process and Logistics
  2. Q&A on CIC Elections 2018
  3. Feedback on CIC Diwali Mela 2017 (see this post for actual feedback we will be discussing)

Election Logistics
The Election process will happen over the next few weeks. Here is the timeline.
Feb 07: Announcement of Elections in the CIC Website.

Feb 07: Filing of Nomination starts (Contestant form:
Feb 11: Elections Open House (2:30-5:30 pm, Vineland Branch Library)
11:59 pm, Feb 12: Filing of Nominations close.

Feb 13: Voting Form available on the website.
Feb 17: Votes drop off at board members residence (location to be confirmed. In person only- no proxy)
Feb 18: Voting in person at Lone Hill Park (time to be confirmed)
Feb 20: Announcement of results
March (Date TBD at Discover India): Introduction of Cambrian Indian Community Officers to the community

Roles and Responsibilities of the Officers
The Officers of CIC will hold office for a 2-year period starting March 2018 and ending in March 2020. The Officers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization including but not restricted to
1. Event organization and management
2. Community Outreach
3. Volunteering and community participation
4. Event Sponsorships
5. Publicity and marketing
6. Balancing the books and keeping financial transactions accurate and consistent
7. Consult with Board when required.
8. Report to the board quarterly.

The CIC officer positions available for election will be:

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or President
The president shall be the chief executive officer of the corporation. Subject to the control of the board of directors, the president will define the activities of the organization, supervise and direct the affairs of CIC and of the officers. At all times, the president will be the face of the organization and will be responsible for setting direction according to the CIC charter and bylaws.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) - Vice President and General Secretary
In the absence of the president, the vice president will perform all the duties of the president. The general secretary shall certify and keep the original, or a copy of these bylaws as amended. Keep a book of minutes of all meetings of the directors, and, if applicable, meetings of other committees.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Treasurer
The treasurer shall have charge and custody of and be responsible for all funds and securities of the corporation.

  • Receive, and give receipt for, monies due and payable to the corporation from any source whatsoever.
  • Disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the corporation as may be directed by the Board of Directors, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements.
  • Keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts of the corporation's properties and business transactions, including accounts of its assets, liabilities, receipts, disbursements, gains and losses.
  • File annual tax returns.

Chief Marketing Officer
As the Chief Marketing Officer, you will be responsible for creating innovative marketing strategies that will aid in building the CIC community presence, leading to increased awareness, fundraising revenue, relevance and respect among our target customers, donors and of course, the larger CIC community. In addition, the CMO will have ownership, direct or indirect, of the CIC website, blog and other social media channels as may be appropriate.

Requirements to Contest in Elections
1. Each contestant will have

  • lived in the community for 2 years or longer and,
  • attended no less than 4 CIC events and,
  • volunteered in at least 2 events in a significant capacity, as determined by the board.

2. Each candidate can contest for only one role.
3. Each family can have only one family member file for nomination. If one of your family members is a part of the CIC board of directors, you are not eligible to participate.

Filing for Nomination
You can file your nomination with the form here ( Please note the following:
1. Nominations will be closed at 11:59 pm on Monday, 12th Feb.
2. In the days leading up to the election, we will share each of the nominee’s “What would I do in my role to help build a better community” so voters have an opportunity to read and understand what the candidates are offering
3. In the event that a specific role has no contestants, the Board reserves the right to nominate someone of their choice for the role.

CIC Mission

  • Foster a tighter community among the Cambrian Indian community including adults, children, and senior citizens.
  • Encourage local talent and businesses
  • Promote Indian culture targeting the Indian diaspora but not restricted to Indian families. All are welcome!

CIC Long-term Vision

  • Host flagship events to promote a deeper awareness, knowledge, and demonstration of Indian music, cultural traditions, and dance.

  • Facilitate events to allow for atypical community members’ interest, for eg. quiz, karaoke, etc.

  • Conduct events that are very directly targeted to foster deeper relationships between children living in the community.

  • Play a significant role in charitable giving and encourage philanthropic activities within the community and also external to the community.

  • Engage in active community organizing to lend a voice to the larger Cambrian, San Jose, and wider communities as well.

    • Interactions can be a purely social, political nature as long as it doesn’t conflict with the CIC charter of not being unduly favorable to any one particular person or organization

  • Provide a physical location for entrepreneurs in the community to host classes/commerce for the larger community

1. What is this election for and how does it change the current structure of the CIC organization?

When the CIC was originally conceived and formalized in 2014, the community was much smaller than what it is today. At that time, it made sense to have fewer members involved in the day-to-day running of the organization. The members of the board (1 chairperson of the board, two voting Directors, 1 Vice President/General Secretary and 1 Treasurer) also doubled up in taking operational roles of the Officers of the CIC.

The community is much larger now and it makes sense to separate the Board from the Officers who will be responsible for the daily operations. The Board will mostly remain unchanged but will take on an advisory role to the Officers (see next FAQ). The Officers who will be elected through these elections will execute on the responsibilities as outlined above. 

2. What then is the role of the CIC Board?
The Board’s role is to ensure that all the actions of the CIC are consistent with the vision of the CIC as a community to bring like-minded people in the Cambrian area. The Board will be available to provide support and guidance to the Officers as they execute on their roles and responsibilities. The CIC Board’s role is not to be necessarily involved in the day-to-day affairs of the CIC. Having said that, the board will weigh in very directly if it is felt that the officers are proposing action that conflicts very directly with the mission, charter or goals of the Cambrian Indian Community.

3. What is Cambrian Indian Families (CIF)? How is it related to CIC?

The CIF Facebook group was started by a few families who live in the Cambrian Park neighborhood. This is to allow a social gathering and as such is a private facebook group with memberships managed by the administrators of the group. You can apply for membership with this group directly, but CIC has no relationship, direct or indirect, with CIF. Since some of the families also attend, participate and are active volunteers at CIC events, the information about CIC events may sometimes be cross-posted in the Facebook group for visibility.

4. Why do we need an organization? Isn’t it just folks getting together and doing stuff?

We have always been about bringing the community together. However, with time, we have grown as a community and hence our needs, interests, and events have grown as a result. Becoming an organization gives many benefits like getting liability insurance for our events, having a bank account and getting tax exemption for donations received in our events. We are now an officially certified 501c3 tax exemption organization.

5. How do I become a member of the CIC?

There is no formal membership for the CIC organization. When we formed the organization, we took a conscious decision to keep the focus on community building and not a lot of paperwork and formality around memberships and such. Hence, at this time, we have no formal membership model and no yearly membership fee as well. We will review this periodically as the community grows and interest and participation changes.

6. What are the benefits of being involved with CIC?

The CIC organization exists to create events, foster community and be the voice of the community as defined in the CIC Mission and Vision. This allows the member to have the knowledge that there is always a set of folks who are driving events and other activities with this goal in mind. Apart from occasional fundraisers (2 in the past 4 years) which are scheduled on an as-needed basis, the only support that we look from our community is to be an active participant/volunteer in our community events. Besides, the CIC events give the community members a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people in the area and provides a sense of community involvement.

7. How can I learn about new events and how do I sign up to volunteer or participate in CIC events?

The CIC blog is always the best reference to hear about our events and understand how to register as a participant or volunteer. In the past, some of our members have cross posted to private Facebook, WhatsApp groups that they are part of. However, these are unofficial and private shares. In the future, we may employ other social media channels in addition to or in lieu of existing mechanisms to communicate our events and other activity, but at this time, the only official communication channel is our CIC website. We will communicate any changes to our communication strategy in this blog.

CIC Diwali Mela 2017 - Feedback Summary

Thank you all for being a part of the incredible journey that was the CIC Diwali Mela 2017 held on 4th Nov at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. We had over 500 attendees, over 100 participants, over 50 volunteers and over a 1000 hours collectively spent preparing for the grand event. Ably led by PNG team comprised of Pallavi, Nekzad and Geetha and supported by a great team of volunteers, we had a program that by many measures was out biggest. Like we have done in past years, we solicited your feedback and you responded enthusiastically with very candid opinions of where we did right and where there is an opportunity for us to do better.


Here in the Cambrian Indian Community, we take your feedback very seriously. The event you saw this year was a result of a lot your feedback over the past years and this year will be instrumental in shaping how we approach the event next year and in future years. To that end, we will share what you shared with us in two parts- the first part is this report on our blog with all the raw data and feedback you provided us on every aspect of the program. The second part is an in-person feedback session that will be scheduled soon (once we get everyone’s calendars aligned) where the Board will discuss your feedback in more specific terms and discuss how we will learn and improve from it. So, without further ado, here is all that 72 of you told us about your experiences with Diwali Mela 2017. I am presenting them here without any commentary. 

Overall Experience


Ticketing and Registration


Auditorium, Seating and Other Logistics


Program Quality


Snacks and Break


Next year

A Few Thoughts

Often times it is forgotten that every single volunteer in this event committed their time willingly for the benefit of the community. To that end, we see this feedback not as an opportunity to find faults at how individuals functioned but more as organizational successes and failures. We fix where we didn’t do well. We repeat and double down on what was well received. Sometimes we realize that there are problems with no practical solution or only sub-optimal solutions that will not appease everyone. In those circumstances, we bias towards the solution that either hasn't been tried before or the one with the least inconvenience. How a particular aspect of the event is perceived by an audience member is different from that of a participant which is different from that of a coordinator. The time commitment varies vastly between ferrying their kid to practice sessions versus someone else who spent every Saturday and Sunday for the 3 months leading up to the event working on a focused role. There is literally a few hundred hours of difference in time spent working on the event.

We received a lot of valuable free form feedback on how we could do this event better. We value those inputs. In addition, we request members of this community to take an active role in future years of the event so they experience first hand the active debates and deep-dive sessions that happen among the core team prior to making a decision- whether it is the duration of snack time or seating arrangements (easily the most complex effort this year) or ticket price. This helps in understanding why certain things were done the way they were. This is not to explain away any lapses in execution but to provide context on what happens in the background leading up to the event.


As you can see, given the sheer scale of this year’s event, there was a lot of passionate feedback and opinion and we are thankful for such an involved community. We look forward to discussing the with as many members of the community who can attend the feedback session. 

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!

Copyright CIC 2018