New England’s terrible Desi Food scene

As I prepare to return to the Old World later tonight, I find myself reflecting on one of the most challenging aspects of my time in New England this past month—the notably subpar quality of Indian cuisine in the area (I also tried Desi Pizza).

With the exception of Madras Dosa Company in Harvard Square, the local culinary landscape is disappointingly lackluster. While some restaurants may boast high Google ratings, they fall short of meeting the standards I’m accustomed to in the UK.

London, in contrast, offers an exquisitely diverse Indian food scene that allows enthusiasts to explore various regional cooking styles, with places like Fat Pundit leading the way in innovating Indo-Chinese fare.

In any case, I’ve encountered difficulties with the flavors in the USA. Ingredients seem oversized, yet their flavors often appear muted. I’ve come across information suggesting that chicken in the 1960s was smaller but possessed more distinctive flavor (as evidenced by Julia Child’s recipes, which apparently assumed chicken to be inherently flavorful).

I’ve also observed that white Americans, or those not of Indian descent, don’t seem to embrace Indian cuisine in the same way that the British do. In the United Kingdom, Indian food is almost a culinary religion, even if the takeaway options may not meet the standards of native Desis. This fervor has created an environment for Indian food giants like Dishoom to flourish. On the other hand, Americans appear to have a stronger affinity for Chinese and Mexican cuisines as their primary choices of ethnic fare.

I’ve heard that Manhattan and the West Coast offer a more diverse and satisfying array of Indian food options, likely due to the critical mass of desi communities. I also suspect (Dr. Lalchand smirks at this last residue of ethnic chauvinism) that Pakistani restaurants might offer more tantalizing experiences in the US, which is the opposite of the situation in the UK, where Indian-owned and run establishments tend to excel as a rule.

The Israeli Defense Forces (by Dr Hamid Hussain)

Dr Hamid Hussain, a well known and well respected military historian happened to be working on a piece about the IDF when Oct 7 happened. Here is his updated piece.

23 October 2023

Last few months, I have been working on different facets of Israeli & Palestinian societies.  I had just completed a piece about transformation of IDF but 07 October events necessitated addition of this seismic event; the aftershocks of which will be felt for a while. Despite horrific violence, unfortunately for students of history and conflict, it is just continuation of human activity since killing of Abel by Cain. Nothing is inevitable in history.  It is our actions that shape the history.

In times of extreme pain on each side and anger, frustration and outright hatred of partisans and onlookers is not conducive for a meaningful conversation.  That will probably occur later. It is a sterile review of military dimension devoid of any emotional or moral judgements.

“Only the dead have seen the end of war”.  Plato


Change Before You Have to – Transformation of Israeli Defense Forces

Hamid Hussain

“History doesn’t stop. By the time we build capabilities from our vision against terror armies, we will be facing a new challenge because the enemy adapts.”

Israeli army Brigadier General Eran Ortal, February 2023

Continue reading The Israeli Defense Forces (by Dr Hamid Hussain)

Browncast: Professor C Christine Fair on Lashkar, Khalistan, Palestine, etc


Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode Mukunda and I talk to Professor Christine Fair, Professor in the Security Studies Program within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. We talked about her upcoming book “Literature of the Lashkar e Tayyaba” , jihadist propaganda in general, and whatever else comes up. We also touch on Khalistan and Canada and even spend a few minutes on the Israel-Palestine conflict to round things off.

C. Christine Fair

Two Zacks meet in New Cambridge

Zack & I met in real life for the first time (in Cambridge USA) on the 10th of October even though we have known each for nearly two decades.

Dr. V is an Eric & Wendy Schmidt postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard so she’s relocated to the United States (as of this month) and we’re now going to be doing trans-Atlantic hops between Old & New Cambridge, with of course Chennai in the mix.

Since Brown Pundits seems a bit moribund these days; I thought I’d share this update here. I don’t look my best as it was the end of Phase 1 of moving (I’d just returned the rental car after a fortnight and went off to meet Zack).

Kaivalyadham- 100 Yr Institution in the field of Yoga & Scientific Research | Subodh Tiwari on The Indic Explorer Show

On the 57th Episode of The Indic Explorer Show, I spoke to Subodh Tiwari CEO of Kaivalyadham- A 100 Yr old Institution in the field of Yoga & Scientific Research.

We spoke about Yoga, the role of this institution especially in producing academic papers and also some interesting stories of prominent leader of the Indian Freedom movement who visited the institution including MK Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Dr. Ambedkar & Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

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World of an Ayurvedic Instagram Influencer in the US – Salila

On the 33rd Episode of The Indic Explorer Show, I spoke to Salila on all things related to Ayurveda. She is a 4th generation practioner of Ayurveda and a very popular instagram influencer with 124k followers.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

Do subscribe to the channel at

and follow me here




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Brown Pundits