As a student at Arizona State University, I used to take a stroll down Terrace road and never missed the smell of dal fry and white rice.
Indian students are now among the largest foreign students in the nation’s major public universities. Along with their studious nature to succeed mostly as techies, they also bring with them, a simple spartan lifestyle that focuses on the ubiquitous dal, a pulse that is as old as the Indus Valley Civilization, dating back to 5,000 B.C.
Dal is essentially lentil seed. When you add turmeric, onions and a few other vegetables, it’s typically known as dal fry. The pungent smell of dal fry at any US University is a clear indicator that here is a beehive of Indians living close by.
Take a peek into their apartments and you will see dark, overused stoves. This uniquely Indian and largely South East Asian lifestyle yields them rich dividends as they enter a labor market that is perennially short of tech talent. With probably a low interest student loan back home, the average earning potential for these folks is over $100,000.Two years eating dal fry and tortillas from Costco is not bad considering the dividends.
The smell of dal teaches us that success can come from a low-cost, spartan, entrepreneurial lifestyle.