Americans’ knowledge of Indian languages

I just worked for one company in proper Silicon Valley – ebay. It’s a well known company in the heart of Silicon Valley. it had many many Indian workers. My guess is that it had about 35% to 40% workers from Indian subcontinent. By Indian subcontinent I mean Indian, Pakistanis, Nepalese, Sri Lankans, Banglabeshi. And so on. You get the gist.

First thing I noticed was that its cafeteria (Meg Whitman cafeteria) didn’t offer any Indian cuisine.

I was a vegan and there was a nice salad bar but that was not good enough for Indians. Most of the Indians brought food from their homes, which were nearby. Some went to pizza places or the the Wholefoods store.

And apparently no complaints from the Indian junta. There was Chinese food, Mexican food, American food. But no Indian food.

A few years back when I heard Facebook chief speak Chinese, I was surprised. Yes, it helps to deal with his wife who is of Chinese origin, but learning even decent level of Chinese will take a few thousand of hours. And she knows English, good enough for Harvard. What is the need to learn Chinese?

What about learning Hindi. At this moment I expect Tamilians to start blocking my site. “I knew it. Now he has come to his main objective.” So I will change by question to what about any Indian language? Ok, Tamil or Telegu. Not fluent, just 10 common words excluding the word “Namaste.” Many companies are dealing with majority of its workers from Indian subcontinent, it’s a reasonable request, I guess..

Did I say the word “Namaste” will not count. Neither will the words “Tandoori chicken”, “Butter chicken dosa.”

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