Why Do Americans Study in India?

Did you know that India ranks higher than countries like Brazil, Denmark, Israel, New Zealand, Austria and the Netherlands when Americans choose where to study abroad? And, with almost 200 study abroad options to choose from on popular study abroad program search websites like, this may continue to make one wonder, “Why do AMericans […]

What is Navarathri and How is it Celebrated in Different Parts of India?

What is Navarathri? Navarathri is a festival 9 day festival celebrated by Hindus worldwide that is dedicated to worshiping the nine forms of the goddess (Devi).   What does Navarathri mean in English? Navarathri means nine nights in English. To break the word down, nav means nine while rathri means night.   When is Navarathri? […]

What is the Story of Onam (Onakatha)?

Onam is the most widely-celebrated holiday in all of Kerala, India. Have you ever heard about the story of Onam – Onakatha? Every year to celebrate Onam, the people of Kerala make pookkalams. “Poo” means flower and “kalam” means design.  These flower designs or flower carpets can be comprised of pretty and colorful designs, while […]

Some Onam Symbols, Games and Activities in Malayalam and English

Countless representations of Maveli pop up almost overnight throughout Kerala as Onam nears. Maveli is the iconic symbol and ‘mascot’ of Onam, just as Santa is for some at Christmas. Though Maveli can look a little different in different forms, there are a few common characteristics that must be there: He must be carrying an […]

Onam Celebrations at Work in Kerala, India

Onam falls every year between late August and mid September for 10 days. Onam is the major holiday of the people of Kerala, a state in southwestern India. Onam is a harvest festival, but it also has mythical connections. Every year during Onam, the king of yesteryear, King Maveli (Mahabali), comes to visit. Many moons […]

Expats Living in Kerala, India Featured in Malayala Manorama

Today, the Malayala Manorama Metro Section features five expats living in Kerala. The image in this post is of the section of the article where Authentic Journeys and Jennifer is featured. As I am not fluent in reading Malayalam (I can read the photo caption – my name, place I am from, work status and […]

American Expat in Kochi, India

Shevlin Sebastian from The New Indian Express, Kochi, wrote this piece on Jennifer Kumar in October 2011. This is reprinted with the author’s permission. Photo credits: Krishna Kumar. An American in Kakkanad Jennifer Kumar, who is married to a Malayali, is slowly adjusting to life in Kochi. One night, in 1995, Jennifer Kumar had a […]

Mission R2I: Return to India

The early morning fragrance of the Mogra flowers, the tall mango trees, playing cricket in the lane and running away when the errant ball smashes a glass window, celebrations, festivals, aren’t all these the reasons why so many migrated Indians attempt to return to India? The pull of emotional ties, memories of childhood and adolescence, […]

Five Things I Miss About America

I moved from the US to live in India for a second time in early 2011. A few months after moving to Kochi in the southwestern state of Kerala, like any expat, I started feeling homesick. Below I share a few things I missed about my country (and still do).My Family and Friends.  Believe it […]

Common Names in Kerala, India

Have you ever wondered what are the common given names in India, especially in Kerala? Well, the names in this word cloud below were compiled based on interactions I have had with almost 4,000 professionals throughout India, 90% of them living in or hailing from Kerala.  This list details how many times particular names or […]

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