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  • unitednations
    03-25 11:58 AM
    Thanks for the link. Essentially there are 2 issues here

    1. Proving that Employee - Employer relationship exists between H1 beneficiary and employer. The ability to hire, pay, supervise and fire should be demonstrated.
    In cases where it is denying, USCIS is of opinion that the employer is in contract, manpower agency and their variants.

    This is somewhat analogous to similar test done by IRS to establish emploee-employer relationship in case of independent contractors.

    Not sure if it would make much difference, but if the petition letter demonstrates that the employer has control over the employee required matters, provide equipment (laptop etc) and that employer is primarily not in manpower business, it may fly.

    2. Second issue is about need to bachelors degree and that computer programming is speciality occupation. I think there are clear precedents on this with guidance memos from USCIS agreeing that computer analyst /programmer is indeed a speciality occupation and that bachelors degree is a minimum requirement.

    I am unable to attach actual doc on this message because of size limitations. But here is summary quoting from

    "In a December 22, 2000 memorandum from INS Nebraska Service Center (NSC) Director Terry Way to NSC Adjudications Officers, NSC acknowledges the specialized and complex nature of most Computer Programming positions. The memo describes both Computer Programmers and Programmer Analysts as occupations in transition, meaning that the entry requirements have evolved as described in the above paragraph.

    Therefore, NSC will generally consider the position of Computer Programmer to be a specialty occupation. The memo draws a distinction between a position with actual programming duties (programming and analysis, customized design and/or modification of software, resolution of problems) and one that simply involves entering computer code for a non-computer related business.

    The requirements in the OOH have evolved from bachelor's degrees being generally required but 2-year degrees being acceptable; to the current situation with bachelor's degrees again being required, while those with 2-year degrees can qualify only for some lower level jobs."

    If you go back a few posts; I said that some people already have made up their minds and then they backtrack a way to justify their positions. USCIS has already made up their mind that they are now going to treat consulting companies as staffing agencies.

    Within IRS definition of emplloyer; they have added "employee leasing" as a definition of employer. It fits perfectly into staffing (essentially if a person is going through a staffing agency for placement they are pretty much considered an employee of the staffing agency.

    In common law the most critical function is who controls the work. In staffing arrangement it is the client who controls/supervises the work.

    USCIS has made up their mind that they are going to use this case on every staffing company. If a company wants to go the internal job route then they are asking for mountains of infomation; including letters from companies who have puchased the product, marketing plan, technical specificiations; even if you supply all of this infomation; they still find a way to deny.

    As I stated previously; companies/candidates will not challenge USCIS because time is on their side. If you want to challeng USCIS then you have to be clean on your side and follow all the laws perfectly which is pretty difficult for h-1b companis to do.

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  • texcan
    08-26 07:58 PM
    A few nice kavitas by Dr. Kumar Viswas.

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:47 PM
    Our Nation as a Startup ( By Rajeev Mantri | IndiaRealTime

    Doing business in India can be overwhelming for somebody accustomed to working in a more hospitable business environment. The World Bank�s Doing Business study ranks India 134th worldwide for ease of doing business, behind lesser-talked- about nations such as Tanzania and Ghana.

    Besides the well-documented inadequacy of physical infrastructure, archaic corporate and taxation laws are yet to catch up with modern ways of structuring and operating new ventures. Yet India is able to register high rates of economic growth year after year.

    U.S. President Barack Obama�s contention that India has already arrived is magnanimous � India is a startup with high potential but hasn�t made it yet into the pantheon of world powers. Like a startup, India is chaotic and unpredictable.

    Democracy adds another twist in the tale. As the last three months have shown, Indian politics can turn on a dime and the perception of political stability can give way very quickly. India�s business model is contrary to how other Asian economies have developed: India continues to be services-driven and domestically-oriented instead of being heavy on export-led manufacturing.

    This approach shielded the economy during the financial crisis. With growth driven by high-quality entrepreneurs who have been able to deliver despite a suspicious and often obstructionist state, it�s no wonder that investors continue to be bullish on India and tend to overlook major political and geopolitical risks.

    But high growth brings with it many quandaries. Though a happy problem to have, a growing enterprise faces its own management challenges. At the very least, the capacity of India�s executives and government to manage growth has been somewhat disappointing. India chose (some would argue that it stumbled upon) a bottom-up development model based upon entrepreneurship.

    We are now reaching a stage in the economic cycle where we need to push the envelop further, not negate the strategy that has served us very well over the last two decades. India saw two bursts of significant reform, from 1991 to 1996 under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and again from 1998 to 2004 under Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee. Since 2004, there has been virtually no reform initiated by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in areas such as labor law, where the current regime is constraining growth in manufacturing. This is impairing the quality of India�s economic growth and limiting job creation.

    Recently, Steve Jobs said that his company, Apple, is the world�s largest startup. It�s an interesting view given that Apple�s market capitalization, which is close to $300 billion, makes it one of the most valuable companies in the world. Apple also has zero debt and tens of billions of dollars in cash. From the brink of bankruptcy and irrelevance in 1998, Apple�s financial and competitive strength is now the envy of the technology industry.

    When Mr. Jobs returned as Apple�s CEO, he had a straightforward mantra: To rebuild Apple as a pioneering innovator and rescue it from the morass of creating �me-too� products, as he put it. He felt that the company he founded had forgotten what it stood for. This was audacious for a company struggling to stay on its feet.

    Indian administrators and policy-makers should also remember how high rates of economic growth have been achieved in the first place. Like a startup which has achieved a fit between product and market fit and is ready to scale up, India needs to continue providing its entrepreneurs with the space and environment to operate.

    Apple lost its mojo because it abandoned the strategy that made it what it was. Curiously, that strategy itself was not rigid and inflexible but one of continuous innovation, where Apple would make its products irrelevant before its competitors could. A return to this thinking has ensured the company�s rise through the 2000s. India, too, needs to return to policies that have transformed its economy from anemic to blistering growth.

    In Hindu philosophy, The Upanishads talk of the concept of �Atmanam Viddhi,� which roughly translates as �knowing oneself.� It turns out that self-knowledge is also a sound business strategy � to reach where you want to go, it�s first important to know how you got to where you are.

    The government must realize what it is that has delivered high rates of economic growth. Negating the ideas and policies that are driving India�s economic development by delaying the next round of economic reforms could prove to be immensely damaging to India�s economic prospects. India needs a visionary leader to step up and push through some of the changes that most agree need to be implemented � but few have the political courage to execute � or else an opportunity may be lost again.

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  • learning01
    05-24 12:51 PM
    still trolling Lou.

    You can feel the vengence of Lou against immigrants in the tone, in the voice in the tenor and above all in the content and subject matter.

    I can't sit quietly if someone on this forum speaks highly of Lou. But soon we must end this discussion, if Communique continues his rant. We need other things on the forum, like sending web fax #15, following senate live discussions. Such bill comes up only once in one's lifetime.

    "Folks, please be more rational and thoughtful please ?"

    I think thoughtful and rational are NOT two words you would use to describe a Lou Dobbs broadcast. :D

    Extremely one sided, hateful, demagogry, those words would be more accurate.


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  • gcisadawg
    12-23 12:52 AM
    Unfortunately the religious muslim leaders dont want the community to get educated, prosper and westernized because than they would loose control..its precisely for this reason that the religious leaders of this community have for centuries scared the followers of the community with gods wrath if they changed. The Muslim religion has to become progressive and moderate.

    Hmm....I'm trying to answer these questions....
    What control a religious Muslim leader has on his followers? Can he prevent them from being educated or prevent one from working after he graduates inspite of his initial control? I've some Muslim friends. I'd be curious to check with them whether their careers got jeopardised by religious or political Muslim leaders?. Can you do me a favor. If you do have Muslim friends, can you check with them?

    I'm thinking in terms of the following..Sometimes I'm naive..Pls. excuse me for that...I haven't mastered the inner workings of Muslim community yet.

    A Muslim guy gets an offer from oracle, IBM and Wipro. He goes to a Mullah/MP to get advice about which to choose? Assuming our Mullah/local MP is knowledgeable, he says "dont do Oracle because it is run by a Jewish guy, dont to IBM since it is a company of great satan. Do Wipro since it is run by a Muslim". :)

    Okay, it is a bit too much. Can the Mullah stop a father from educating his daughter? Agreed, he might have some influence. But if the father is rational/already educated, he would treat that advice as suggestion rather than a firm decision.

    To me, Muslims need to educate their daughters more and more...And Muslim men need to stay away from gulf type jobs and come to US and be backlogged in EB GC so that they can join IV and reply to this thread so that some of the burden on ss1026 is lessened!! :)


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  • alisa
    12-30 12:31 AM
    So what should India do?

    Not go to war overtly now. Start covert operations inside Pakistan on war footing and start funding and support for Balochi, Sindi, Mohajir, Pushtun, Baltistan freedom movements inside Pakistan.

    The Pakistani security establishment believes, and there is probably some truth in it, that India is already supporting groups that are trying to destabilize Pakistan. And because of that, they view India as an existential threat to Pakistan, and justify their own activities.

    Its quite a vicious circle.....


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  • yrspassby
    08-07 04:38 PM
    My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

    When a man brings his wife flowers for no reason, there's a reason.

    Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted a whole day.

    In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar, a practice that still continues.

    Getting married is very much like going to a restaurant with friends. You order what you want, then when you see what the other fellow has, you wish you had ordered that.

    I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.

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  • Macaca
    01-30 06:48 PM
    The article Round 2: H-1B Battle: American engineers vs. President Bush (! has the following paras.

    Lou Dobbs exposed a complete lack of enforcement of H-1B caps by the federal government for the last 2 years. According to the USCIS report, over 75,000 additional H-1B visas were issued above the cap during 2004 and 2005. He openly challenged Congressmen, Senators and the President to enforce our laws. He posed the questions:

    1) Why was the report released on November 20th, 2006, immediately after the last election?

    2) Why was his report not made available to the public?

    3) Why aren�t guest worker Visa caps being enforced?

    4) Why does neither Congress nor the executive branch fulfill their constitutional duties?

    These good questions lead to the bigger question of who is responsible for enforcing these laws?


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  • rimzhim
    04-09 11:46 AM
    If you are that smart, how come you are not applying for EB1. I thought researchers would qualify for EB1. Why are you facing difficulty? Could it be that you are not really that good? Because the system does have an HOV lane for scientists to cruise to greencard. Its called EB1. And its current for most categories. What about that?

    Why dont you join the fast lane of EB1 and leave the bachelor's degree losers behind who didnt thru the whole 9 yards?
    Yes, I am exploring that option.

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  • logiclife
    07-09 01:11 AM
    Well, we had a good debate on Radio on KPFK today.

    I would like to thank Rajiv Khanna, Stuart Anderson, Carl Shusterman, Ashish and Swadha for participating on this show. Also Aman and Ashish for arranging this with Debo.

    Today, a caller called the show when Debo opened the phone lines and this guy, named Mike, went on and on about how H1B program is similar to slave trade and H1B workers live like insects by piling up 10 people in a one-bedroom apartment and work 100 hours a week for 30 thousand dollars a year bla bla bla.

    Without studying due process, or policy analysis, simply crying "Slave Trade", "H1B stole my job...waaaah...waaah", "H1B replaced me...waaah...waaah", they create good sound bites and play victims.

    Really, H1B program and employment based greencard program, that brings professionals in skilled occupation into this country to fill a shortage of skilled workers has been vindicated beyond limit. And they keep beating the same drums. "They steal jobs". "They drive down wages". They make good soundbites. And they make good quotes for Lou Dobbs.

    Let me say this to Mike and the likes of

    Employers dont just go around spending thousands of dollars on H1B fees and greencard fees to hire a guy with foreign accent if a native citizen was available. And they do not underpay them, because they HAVE to pay prevailing wages based on the wages determined by the Department of labor. If they apply for greencard, then that's because they want him on a permenant basis and there is a another labor certification process for that too, where there are newspaper and other advertisements for the job available to citizens first. Upon not finding a suitable fit, they file for labor certification. And let me remind you all that it takes 2-3 years for department of labor to do that coz they do an exhaustive review of the job offer.

    Go Here on this link of Department of labor ( read the process for yourself. This system is designed to protect the citizens and IT WORKS.

    Now in a few cases, if there was fraud, then that doesnt mean that the system does not work and should be abolished. Its like saying that we should abolish driving privileges of everyone just because some drivers drive drunk and kill pedestrians. By that token, we must also ground all commercial air travel because sometimes the planes crash and they kill people.

    Another accusation is that H1B employees pay for their own fees sometimes and also for lawyer's fees. And they work like donkeys. Well, not everyone pays for the lawyers. In some rare cases, if the employees hire lawyers, its their own choice, for their own comfort and for their own complicated cases which are many time due to problems of their own making. Why would the employer pay for individuals immigration problems that are not tied to H1B or GC petitions filed by Lawyer? As to working additional hours, its called overtime my dear friend. And they are paid to do that. No one works for free. And no one works for less. If they are paid less than what they think they deserve, then they quit the employer and go to another employer next door who pays them more and treats them fairly.

    And ya, another thing. Biggest subscriber of H1B program, especially since the late 90s has be the IT industry. Unemployment in IT industry is less than 2%. If H1B program is really making life worse, I am sure IT industry unemployment would have been more than national average of 5%.

    And now, let me mention a few slaves and their slave-masters that I am really proud of...

    There are nearly 2000 doctors who are on their path to permenant residency(Green card) in America. They are under Conrad-30 (J1) program. They serve 4 million americans in medically underserved areas. These are rural areas where its hard to find a proper grocery store, let alone a Doctor.

    One of my friends works as a Doctor in Yuma, Arizona. The greencard process for him stalls him for years and years to move to a more desirable area even if he has done his due of serving in rural areas for X amount of years. His process would start over again if the area is no longer medically underserved.

    And then there are nurses, who also make it to America from all over the world on H1B program. Now, if you've ever been to a Hospital, you would know that its not really the most pleasant job in the world. And there is a severe shortage of nurses in America. Even a 5 year old knows this. So by abolishing H1B program and employment based immigration program, you would get rid of the SLAVE nurses too, who work 12-hour shifts on jobs that American born RNA nurses dont accept.

    Such Doctors and nurses are a beacon of hope to 4 million Americans where healthcare is difficult to come by. If such Doctors are slaves, then I am proud of those slaves and their slave masters, and I would love to be either one of them any given day of the week.

    -Have a great weekend-


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  • singhsa3
    08-06 09:06 AM
    Personally I think "Obviously" response was derogatory and not funny at all.
    Obviously dude, lol, your post was very funny, had a good laugh. I can rate that as the funniest. His pis***d off reply in Hindi to your post also tells us that yours is the most effective response to rolling_flood's post, looks like he lost his mind by reading your response.

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  • desi3933
    08-05 10:22 AM
    If you find enough people and have solid plan in place, I am willing to pay anywhere between $500 to $1000 towards the lawyer's fees....

    Just self-interest and what works for them.

    Factions and Groups
    eb2 vs eb3
    Porting vs Non-Porting

    some recent ones
    eb2 NSC vs eb2 TSC
    eb2 PD 2006 vs eb2 PD 2004 (as many 2006 PD are getting 485 approvals)

    No wonder many people, after getting GC, do not visit this forum and support any immigration reforms.

    Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations.
    -- Rabindranath Tagore ( (Indian Poet and Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1913)

    US Permanent Resident since 2002
    ** supports not counting dependents for EB Green cards **


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  • Refugee_New
    01-06 03:02 PM
    Israel is fully justified in responding to the rocket attacks from Gaza. How long can they show restraint by not responding to the unprovoked attacks. Do you think US will remain silent, if Canada were to lob rockets into US. Asbolutely not. Every country has the right to protect itself.
    Hamas is such a coward orgn that they hide behind school, mosque, hospitals to shoot their rockets, so they really are luring israel to bomb those areas. Unfortunately innocents die...the blame should be on hamas. In fact, before bombing Israel even goes to the extent of calling and texting people in the target area to warn them before bombing. which country at war you know does that. Inspite of all these the biased media portrays Israel as the evil one. time to think. if only india shows some courage like that.

    Another muslim hater who justify organized crime and killing and support the killing of innocent school kids and civilians.

    Hiding behind civilians and schools and mosques???? Don't you hear the same lie again and again year over year? If Hamas is using school kids as thier shield, then how do you think Palestenian people have elected the same people who cause their kids death rule their country?

    Don't you think?

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  • dartkid31
    05-24 01:58 PM
    That's censorship. Go ahead and good luck with your mentality. It seems you can't handle the truth and views that could give you better information to handle debates and put more intelligent requests ahead.

    Go and learn something, learning01. Just stop reading the posts on this thread and stop posting here if you don't like. It is awful when people tries to take a censorship in open forums.

    I've said this before: I usually dont like casting aspersions, but take a look at a lot of Communique's posts. Some look like they were copied and pasted word for word from the NumbersUsa or FAIR site. And now he's defending Lou Dobbs. Using terms like "mass migration" "unchecked immigration", etc. He claims to be an H1B, and he's trolling Lou Dobbs. I think most people on this site can see through the facade.


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  • Macaca
    02-25 07:01 PM
    �I am a .com success story because of you hard working H1B�s�-------- Dobbs.

    �But now I make a living by bashing them.�
    Is this a true statement? If yes, is there a URL for it? Thanks.

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  • bajrangbali
    06-21 08:48 PM
    When it comes down to both GC & MTR denial...all is not lost as long as you have not put a lot of money down on the house. You could get back your 5% down payment worth in abt an year and after that mortgage would be the same as rent you would be paying living in an apt. Assumption here is, your mortgage is close to rent payment. If you have to leave, then just leave without the burden of having lot of money invested in the house. If you are still thinking abt 5%..just max out all your cards and have a blast :cool::cool:


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  • alisa
    01-03 10:59 PM
    I try to avoid long posts, as well as obviously silly ones. I also pick and choose sometimes.
    Otherwise it takes up a lot of time.

    Let me try to sum up my logic, and my beliefs. I'll try to be brief.

    1) There are militants running around in Pakistan that want to provoke India into a conflict with Pakistan. These are the same people who blew up Marriot in Islamabad, and killed Benazir, and tried to kill Musharraf twice.
    2) If they succeed in starting an India/Pakistan 'cricket match', that would provide them with relief, and give them more room and more chances to grow.
    3) If they don't succeed, they will probably try again, and again, until they DO succeed, which would be a disaster. And therefore, it is absolutely necessary that Pakistan investigates and gets to the bottom of Bombay.
    Unfortunately, in Pakistan, I am seeing denial. That is not good.
    4) Steps that convert the situation into an India-Pakistan cricket match must be avoided. In the past, India and Pakistan have tried to score points against each other, and supported insurgencies and tried to destabilize the other country. Some of that probably goes on today as well. So, this childish and silly cricket match should stop.

    So, that probably sums up what I think. I don't know if I contradict myself anywhere; maybe I do. But its a very complex situation, with no easy answers.

    I'm not with those proposing war on this thread neither am I with those advocating no war (I felt most of the reasons, not all, were ugly).I was not keen about sharing my thoughts on this topic or may be I was not sure so I didn't join this thread earlier although I've been watching this thread.

    No matter what is being discussed on this thread there is no war imminent in South Asia ,which is good.There's not going to be any war not because of the reasons that some of the folks on this thread that are against war were citing . We all know the reasons why there won't be war.

    There's not much that we as individuals could do to wage a war or stop a war ,that's for sure at least for now.

    Nevertheless it's interesting discussion.

    That said now something for you alisa.

    If you would revisit the earlier posts on this thread you would find that we did trace that part of the circle. With due respect I would like to ask, now do you understand why 'nojoke' is calling you delirious?

    Please revisit the earlier posts on this thread you and all of your Pakistanis(that you are pitching in for) would get to know what you want to know.

    Now Specifically for you :

    1.Either you already know what you are doing -trying to take everyone on a silly logical ride
    2.You don't know what you are doing and thus taking everyone along with yourself on this silly logical ride.

    If it's #1 we have many smart alecs in the society and that's nothing new.It's for us to royally ignore you unless of course someone wants to kill their time responding to you.

    If it's #2 , though you have not asked me here's a piece of friendly advice, take it or drop it,it's your choice.But before you go about posting on this thread next time sit down and contemplate your logic that's telling you what you are doing is right.See if you are convinced. That'll help you a lot in many aspects not just on the subject of this thread.
    Your this unending tireless logic that is so strong that it won't let you see that you are doing circles.Delirium would be one word for it but my explanation is the customized(for you) meaning of the word delirium which seems to suit you aptly for now.

    you would find an answer to your this question if you went back to read your posts just yours not even other posts on this thread.

    Now if there were incidents like 9/11 going on in this country for last 20 years, all committed by South Asians and then a person from South Asia keeps arguing that Americans should not go to war against South Asia to deal with a problem that South Asia doesn't seem capable of dealing with then apology won't look silly to start with and here 'nojoke' is asking for an apology almost towards the tail end of the thread(Meaning all the folks on this thread have been really patient,understanding with you and your logic though we allcould see through it just after first 5-6 posts.)

    If you keep your house shabby,don't get rid of the garbage that you know is breeding those roaches and those roaches keep jumping on to the next house from yours ...the said neighbor has been patient with those roaches for like 20 years...then when he and the corporation think of taking action(clean up) the garbage in your place... then you/your house mates jump in to say that your neighbor,corporation and you should work together or wait for like another 20 years to get rid of those roaches when the actual work can be accomplished much sooner, who is at fault here?.

    I've also observed from all your posts that you keep citing example after example, when someone joins in to break your silly logic you royally ignore those posts ,go ahead and throw another logical example at another post that you choose.

    For instance refer to this answer from 'GCmuddu_H1BVadd' to you earlier post

    Moral of the story:

    Till a certain point you were fine (where many of us thought that you are much better than 'Zeb','Shuuyaib') but then you started (you kow it or not ) playing this game where you concede a point only to keep peddling this haggard logic of yours.
    On a humorous note I guess you are trying to get solutions to all of the pakistan's problems for free on this forum from IV members(be it roaches, terrorists, non-state actors or the state itself.)

    So go on ...keep posting your delusions ...or give your self a chance to
    think what you are doing...I'm not saying you don't think(just that your logic in on what can be called irrelevant overdrive). I guess even you would agree that too much of anything is too bad be it terrorism or your haggard logic.

    All those who don't agree with me keep having fun with this handles posts.

    Thank you.

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  • Macaca
    12-28 07:12 PM
    Blending the Rules as We Go Along ( By ANAND GIRIDHARADAS | New York Times

    I wanted it to be right after breakfast when I asked Priya to marry me. The other elements were still forming, but that one felt important: a proposal to know together a thousand moments as simple and whole as this moment on a quiet Sunday morning.

    I gave a prologue, then asked. She cried, then answered. A ring was worn. And, in less time than it takes to mow a lawn, we had rewritten our fates � our fate � forever. Done deal.

    Or so we thought.

    In the coming days, we were reminded of what it means to belong to a tribe of people that straddles multiple cultures and multiple degrees of technological involvement � and, as a consequence, holds a rich variety of opinions about an engagement. We received an education in the nuances of doing a very old thing in these new globalized, digitized times.

    The first hint of engagement Babel came in a phone call to Priya�s grandparents in New Delhi, minutes after the proposal. Joy filled their voices when they heard our news; blessings poured forth, punctuated by the colonial remnant �all the best, all the best.�

    Her Nana, though, could not let the conversation end without asking a question:

    �But, Priya, how exactly does one get engaged?�

    The bride-to-be said something about a question being asked and a ring being given, and that was that. What we didn�t appreciate then was that, in India, it doesn�t count as an engagement when two impressionable young people make a decision all by themselves.

    Calling India to say that you have gotten engaged, but without any family present, without any rites having occurred, is like claiming to have clapped with one hand.

    Thanksgiving time soon came, and the two of us went to Washington, where our six parents live. Two celebrations of our engagement were planned: a dinner at Priya�s mother and stepfather�s home, the other a tea at my parents� place.

    Our new family traces its roots to cow worshipers in Benares and cow slaughterers in South Dakota, to Chennai in south India, to a piece of the Punjab that is now in Pakistan, to Iowa, to New Jersey and to a hamlet called Blaxall in Britain. We count among us those who worship the multitudinous Hindu deities, the lone Christian one and no divinity at all. We are speakers of English, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, French and Spanish. Many of us bear the passport of a country in which we were not born.

    All of which is wonderful until you have to choose an engagement ritual.

    After some debate and soul-searching, we decided to invent our own rites. We lit candles. We held hands. We told stories. We traded gifts. We laughed. We ate.

    But, back in India, there was still some confusion. Priya�s grandparents, 10 and a half time zones ahead of us, were aching to hear our voices on the night of that first Washington celebration. My grandparents phoned several times during the tea at my parents� home four days later. The way they saw it, this was the engagement � this coming together of families at the home of a certified adult. The earlier thing, as they saw it, was more like a sweet gesture.

    So, two weeks after we got engaged by our own definition, my grandparents congratulated me for getting engaged. Priya�s Indian cousins BlackBerry-messaged her they were delighted to be able, at long last, to congratulate her � now that it was �official.� Other relatives wrote seeking pictures of our �engagement ceremony.� We tried to explain that we hadn�t had one. But in this definitional spat, we were clearly outnumbered.

    When, today, is an engagement valid in the eyes of the world? Is it, according to the Western contractual idea, when two people declare their commitment to each other in private? Or when love mingles with economics in the giving of a ring, the first step in a gradual entangling of fortunes? Is it when two families gather and drink and toast? Or when a certain traditional ritual is done � or, in our case, a new ritual?

    Or is it when you change your Facebook relationship status?

    We had been so consumed with family, and with the intricacies of the Indian and American rules of engagement, that we ignored our virtual tribe. We had called some friends on the phone immediately after it happened, and e-mailed some others. But then the celebrations of the nonvirtual world took off, and we were absorbed into that love and tumult, and our engagement went unrecorded by the digital sphere.

    Just when we thought we had satisfied every possible definition of engagement, marking it in ways suitable to ourselves, our parents and our extended clans, Priya�s stepsister brought up Facebook. Why hadn�t we updated our relationship status to proclaim the engagement? It was peculiar, this omission: The absence of a Facebook update could be read as the presence of something amiss. What were we trying to hide?

    Relationship statuses, like ideas, have derived their authority from different sources over the millenniums: A relationship could be valid if properly certified by the ancient rituals; or valid if faithful to the words of the holy texts; or valid if codified in a contract recognized by the correct governmental agency; and now, in 2010, valid if etched into one�s �Info� tab on Facebook.

    We promptly made things right. As it turns out, we were Facebook-engaged around the time that the site�s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was named Time magazine�s Person of the Year. We made it �official� for the third time, our union ordained by this new minister of the universe.

    At last, the engagement is properly established before our American, Indian and virtual tribes � and, now, before the readers of this newspaper. The wedding looms, and with it another inevitable contest of definitions.

    I can already hear the question forming: �But how exactly does one get married?�

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  • Macaca
    05-18 05:23 PM
    Although some of the dissidents were arrested for their involvement with social media, those outlets also have served as a balm, as families facing repression from the government try to contact the outside world. When human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was arrested in February, his wife, Jin Bianling, opened a Twitter account to record her efforts to get information as to his whereabouts, counting the days of his detention online to a crowd of several thousand followers. (Jiang returned home two weeks ago, but is under surveillance, and the couple declined requests for press interviews to keep a low profile.)

    Twitter isn't a medium known for its depth of emotion, but it was undeniably heart-rending when Jin described a conversation with her 8-year-old daughter one evening not long after Jiang's arrest. "Mommy," Jin recorded the child saying. "We shouldn't think about daddy much. You told me when I sneeze, it is a sign that someone is thinking about me. If we make daddy sneeze where he is now, he might be in even more pain."

    What Next for Ai Weiwei? ( By Jason Miks | The Diplomat
    Rebuilding a United Front on China Rights
    The U.S. and European Union can push for human rights protections in China if they work together again. (
    By KELLEY CURRIE | Wall Street Journal
    The rebel who suffers for art: Ai Weiwei ( By Uma Nair | Times of India
    Inside China ( By Miles Yu | The Washington Times

    08-05 10:33 AM
    A man flying in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. Reducing altitude, he spotted a man on the ground and descended to shouting range.

    Good One:D

    01-03 06:20 PM
    Smash terror hideouts says Abdul Kalam.

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