Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Desi Obsession

This is an interesting subject on which one of my recent net-friends started a discussion thread. You can check it out at:

His hypothesis was that we Indians are an increasingly obsessed lot. And in recent times are seemingly obsessed by the term "desi". He pointed to a website called as a recent example of this obsession. Proving the theorem QED.

I, like the bull headed Taurean that I am, joined the discussion - pride of ownership I guess - and went on to explain to the group the genesis of desi dieter.

Repeating here for those of you who follow this blog. Would like your comments on what are your thoughts on the use of the word desi in our brand?? Good? Bad?? Ugly??? Relevant? Irrelevant??

Here is an excerpt of my answer:

"In the interest of full disclosure i should tell this group that my wife is the creator of the concept and the business model.

It kind off happened when she struggled to customize atkins, ediets, weight watchers and other programs for me and found it to be a nightmare.

More research led her to understand that 1. there is no good ediets equivalent site which gives solid science based diet plans for Indians (Desis :-)), and most Indian recipe sites do not include Nutritional labels for Indian foods. This is something that is easily avbl for ALL American foods from a particular Pizza Hut slice to chicken wings from KFC.

One thing led to another and soon I was helping her create the technology behind We hired nutritionists who helped create science and evidence based diet plans tailored for Indians and gave the choice of food items to the consumer.

We did clinical studies over a number of people for 3-4 months to ensure that these actually work.And then we launched :-). with the desi in it!!

Coming to "desi" - the subject of this post. We actually started with (we own the domain), but that ignored the larger South Asian community where our logic of significant food and genetic differences from Caucasians also applies. Here we include Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, etc etc.

"desi" in our mind was not to connotate anything derogatory but to indicate a class/race of people which are South Asians - as per the Wikipedia definition.

So what do you all think?????

Yours in Good Health and have a Good Life.

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