History of the desi umbilical

As I exit most mornings off Interstate 84 into Hartford, Connecticut, I pass a corner where about 30 Southasians gather to catch the bus. Most of them wear backpacks, and many have headphones on, listening, I imagine, to the sounds of Lata Mangeshkar or Krish. These are in-sourced workers, on short-term contracts through firms such as Tata Consultancy Services or Wipro, working for the large insurance companies such as Aetna or Travelers Insurance.

Along Farmington Avenue, where the software engineers cluster, is a nondescript store called Cosmos International. Run by a family from the Baltic region, Cosmos sells Southasian, Arab and Eastern European packaged food and spices, as well as fresh food and snacks from the Subcontinent. It is an oasis for the software workers and for the larger Southasian community in Hartford, a place one can buy rice with a DVD of the very latest film, or find halal goat alongside a tongue scraper.

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Himal Southasian
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