Indians in Houston
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Night Clubs

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by homeis

This is the list of the hottest night clubs in the city. Because, Saturday night.

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Pooja Sakalley
Srinivas Doredla
Kinjal Desai MD, MPH
Vivek Shete
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Indian Caterers

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by homeis
Where to source the best Indian food for your wedding/private/corporate event.
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Movies So Bad They Are Good

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by homeis Houston
You don’t need to be a genius to make a bad movie. Literally anyone can do it. But it’s a challenge to make a movie so bad that it transcends into greatness. Making a good “bad” movie is nothing less than an art form. We don’t know if the makers of these movies actually intended to make them this way or it was completely unintentional. Nonetheless, we found these movies so bad that they actually end up being a fun watch. So, we list down Bollywood films so bad that they will have you in splits.
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Darshan Shah
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Best Non-Hindi Films in the past 5 years

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by homeis Houston
Watching a non-Hindi language Indian film can feel a bit like traveling off the beaten path. It’s like you ditched the touristy things and went local, stayed in an Airbnb instead of a hotel. Hindi cinema has dominated the popular consciousness for so long, that it has, over the years, become our default choice of movie watching. But that might be changing. Some of the coolest films made in India in the last few years haven’t been in Hindi. The fact that the highest grossing Hindi film, Baahubali: The Conclusion, is the dubbed version of a Telugu film, shows that we are open to the idea of watching a film that's not originally made in a language we understand, and that has actors we aren't familiar with. Earlier, even if the intent was there, there was the problem of access — apart from the rare screenings at film festivals, Satyajit Ray’s films hardly ever got shown anywhere outside Bengal. But today, a Tamil gangster flick is a few clicks away, thanks to digital platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar. Just like driving to a secluded hill in Maharashtra is possible, thanks to the GPS on your phone. To make it easier for you, we have drawn a list of the best of such films from the last five years: from a Tulu language oddity, to a genre mash-up from Guwahati, to an unapologetically bonkers crime epic set in the gold mines of Bengaluru - our picks of the best regional films since 2014. Not all of them are available on streaming right now but we hope will land up on one of the platforms sooner or later.
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Yerriswamy Karchiganoor
Darshan Shah
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Recommended Shows Online

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by homeis

Did you watched anything good lately? Add to the list!

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Varsha Ahir
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No matter where in India you are from, the feeling is familiar and we all know it. Just when you think you’re having the time of your life walking down Broadway with a Starbucks in your hand, it hits you. And it hits hard. And you just want to take the first plane back. Except, you can’t. Because life. Also, we know tickets need to be booked way in advance if you want a good deal. Here are some ways that I deal with the homesickness and bring a comforting dash of India back in my every day life. 1. Hotstar instead of Netflix and Chill. Hotstar has the most amazing selection of current Indian tv shows and movies across almost all major languages. Putting up my feet with an episode of Koffee with Karan or the Maniratnam movie I missed makes all the difference. 2. Have a random conversation with another Indian. Preferably a complete stranger. One thing that’s amazing about India is that you can develop long standing relationships with your sabziwala, the family you sat next to one time on a train journey, your mom’s tailor! I miss those conversations. Chatting non stop with another Indian that I randomly meet somewhere always makes me feel better. 3. Order in from an Indian restaurant. This is a no brainer. But I’m quite picky about what I order when I’m specifically homesick. Gulab Jamun. Rasmalai. Basically, Indian sweets. Everyone has an Indian comfort food. What’s yours? 4. Call friends you don’t call that often. Most of us call home and family regularly. But now and then, I have to make sure that I speak to some of my friends in India. They keep you rooted and they also let you know that all your favorite brands are now available back home so no big deal. 5. Take your Indian clothes for a walk in the sun. Sometimes you just need to slip into your favorite Biba Kurti or even just wrap yourself in your favorite Razai to feel enveloped by home. I like to find ways to wear something Indian every day, even though I lived in Jeans back when I was home. 6. Find an Indian charity or non profit to donate to. Sitting here, it’s easy to forget all the hardships that people go through back home. Finding causes, charities or even Individuals to give to through sites like Milaap or giveIndia make me feel a little more connected with my country. My personal favorite cause is wildlife sos, a non profit that works very hard to help animals in need in India. 7. Put on some music and dance the blues away. My current favorite song to dance to is Lambhorgini. And I don’t even speak Punjabi. But it doesn’t matter. Put together a playlist of the songs that make you feel like you’re home in your room and dance like Prabhudeva. Don’t worry about the neighbors. Everyone understands. One tip: Do not play songs from Swades. You might cry like I do. One other thing I’ve been doing recently is connecting with other Indians on Homeis. It’s nice to chat with and meet people going through the exact same things as you. Living in Manhattan makes it hard to meet other Indians and this is a really nice space to connect and hopefully, find new ways to be homesick together.
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SK
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If you are attending an American Wedding for the first time, let this guide be your plus one.


Getting invited itself is a big deal; it means that your friend considers you to be a very important part of his/her life, since usually the number of guests invited are very few. But before you say yes, you should know what is expected of you.


RSVP to the invite even if you aren’t going. Don’t take along spouses or kids if not explicitly mentioned. If you have any specific diet restrictions and allergies, mention it in the RSVP.


If you were thinking of re-gifting something, hold on to it for a later occasion. American couples have gift registries – a wish list of things that the couple want. It is a great way of making sure that guests are not wasting their money on unwanted things. Pick something that suits your budget but depending on your closeness and seniority, you may want to spend more.


If you are asked to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, you have a lot of responsibilities to shoulder. You will be asked to buy an outfit picked out by the couple. You will have to help in planning the event such as making bookings. You could be assigned tasks such as counting RSVPs, guiding guests at the venue, holding the rings and being around the couple at all times in case they need anything. Being a part of the wedding is a lot of work, but it is thrilling to be closely involved in one of the most life-changing days of your friend’s life.


You are responsible for your own travel and accommodation. If you need any services such as hair and makeup, you will have to arrange that for yourself as well. Keep the bride and groom well informed about your plans. If possible, check if you can stay where other guests are staying as well. Once you get to know other guests at the wedding, it will be fun to be in a group. If it is a destination wedding, you should make sure you have enough time to sight see.  But don’t end up being late for the actual wedding ceremonies and functions – ultimately that is the main reason you are there!


Thinking of wearing Indian traditional clothes to the wedding? Umm, surely there’s no rule against it and the bride and groom will not advise you otherwise, but it is best to keep the spotlight on them and not draw attention to you. Avoid statement jewelry or overly revealing clothes. Dress according to the venue, time and weather and check if there is a theme or color that you need to adhere to. The golden rule is to not pick the same color, cut and style as the people participating in the wedding such as bridesmaids, groomsmen and the couple of course. At the venue, respect the privacy of the bridal party and stay away from their rooms.


Guests are expected to be quiet during the church ceremony and the priest will guide you along. Typically, the family and closest friends occupy the front rows. After the rings are exchanged, the bride will throw her bouquet in the crowd, and it is expected to be caught by a single girl. If you are unmarried and have good hand-eye coordination, go for it! The couple then drives away in a car with cans tied to it at the back. But make sure you congratulate them in person before they do!

At the reception, the parents, groomsmen and bridesmaids will raise a toast to the newlyweds. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, raise your glass of Champagne to celebrate the couple. The first few dances will be between the couple followed by parents. Cutting the wedding cake is symbolic of the first the couple does together. Have a piece but no smashing it on the face! Be sure to tip the bartender and DJ!


Seating is fixed, so look for your name at the table – no, you cannot pick who you want to sit with. Usually a pre-fix 3 course meal is served to you.The bar and dance floor are open to guests which is where you mingle. The rest of the evening is for dancing, drinking and making lifelong memories. Take care to not be clicking pictures continuously and take permission before posting.


Attending weddings is an important part of social life and helps in integrating with the community. It is a great way to experience American culture and appreciate their beautiful traditions and customs.


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Noa Fenigstein
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Tipping is an integral part of the American culture. To save yourself some embarrassment, here are some tips to keep in mind. On paper, tipping is an optional reward for good service. But in reality, it is mandatory and expected all over America. Unless you have experienced outrageously bad service, you MUST tip 15-20% as a general thumb rule.


Here are some nuances to note.


Many tipped employees rely on tips to make majority of their income. The American tipping system provides an incentive for employees to provide high-quality service.


Restaurants:

If you are seated in a restaurant, and a waiter/waitress attends to you, you are expected to pay 15%-20% of the bill amount (before taxes). A quick way to calculate the tip is to double the sales tax. You can leave this in cash, or add it to your credit card. (The tip amount will be billed on the credit card as a separate transaction, once the restaurant submits the signed receipts to the bank.)

If you are in a large group, the restaurant may add a gratuity fee. In that case, you do not need to tip.


Bars:

If you are seated by a server, the same above rules apply. However, if you are ordering the bar, you have to tip the bartender depending on the kind of drink you order. If it’s a bottled beer, a dollar per drink is acceptable at a regular bar. However, if you are getting a fancy cocktail, you should tip around $3; $5+ if you are at a fancy bar and your bartender has flair moves!


Other food/drink vendors:

Cafes, delis and street side vendors ask for tips too. However, if you pick up something which is pre-made, or if you order take out or even fast food, tipping is not mandatory. Don’t forget to tip your food delivery guy a couple of bucks, especially if the weather is bad. Grocery loaders should also be paid $1-$5.


Services:

If any human is providing you his/her time and service, you are required to tip them. Beauty Salons, Spas/ Masseuses and Hair Salons are included in this list. If you have a discount voucher for the service, remember that the tip will still be expected on the full value of the service, but it is not held against you if you don’t do that. Pet services also demand the same tip rates.


If you need a plumber, carpenter, caterer, nanny, house or garden cleaner, etc. you will need to pay them 15%-20% tip over their charges. However, for dry cleaning, it isn’t mandatory!


Cabs:

A premium cab service may expect you to pay 10%, but for a regular cab you hail, you should pay around $1-$5 over the ride charges. This rule extends for Uber/Lyft as well, but it is usually done via the app if you have a good experience.


Hotels:

While you do not pay tip on the hotel accommodation bill, you should pay about $5/day to the room cleaning staff. Bellboys, coat checkers and porters generally make $1-$3/bag they carry or for any help they provide. You are not required to pay a tip to your AirBnB host.


Tours & Travels:

If you book a tour, the tour guide and the driver will expect a tip. It is acceptable to give a combined tip amounting to 10% of the tour value. A valet or someone that helps you park/navigate your car should be paid $1-$5 as well. At airports, skycaps are to be tipped similarly.


Gas stations are usually self-service, but not in New Jersey. A couple of bucks should be given to the person who helps you fill gas.


Christmas:

While you buy gifts for your friends and family, don’t forget the people who make your stay comfortable like your doorman and super. It could be steep, but $100 is the norm during Christmas.


Ensure you have small bills handy with you at all times, because usually you will not get back change. Also, it does not look good handing out a $100 bill for a $1 tip and expecting change!


Some services that aren’t tipped are doctors, pharmacies, concierge, gym trainers and government employees like MTA and the police! If you are ever confused about tipping, it is ok to ask if the person accepts tips!


As you spend more time in America, tipping will become second nature to you! You will automatically be able to gauge how much to tip and if it is mandatory or not. Till then, happy tipping!



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Gurudwaras in the area

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by homeis

Sikh temples in the area. Find one near you!

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Sana Panjwani
Gagandeep Aujla
Sarika Kanade
Eesha  Ahmed
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