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Mar 5, 2007

It's virtually for Every Indian Women around the globe

It's 7 p.m. and 67-year-old Chitra Viswanathan logs on to She receives an urgent personal message from a fellow member of the website, a young woman who is in her kitchen in New Jersey, U.S.with her laptop — "It's boiling! What do I do next?" And so, from Chennai, literally halfway across the world, Chitra talks her through — or rather, messages her through — the rest of the recipe.

It's all in a day's work for Chitra who says she has become a sort of virtual mother figure for young women who have got married and moved far away from home and family. She runs the `Ask ChitVish' cookery and spiritual sub-forums on, an online community and discussion board for Indian women all over the world to share information and provide support to each other.

"You can find help for anything from making kozhukattai to doing Google searches," chuckles Chithra. "There is nothing that cannot be discussed, whether it is how to drape a sari, or where to shop for payals in Bangalore."

Home away from home was formed in March 2005 by Malathy Jey, a computer engineer, who got married and moved to Texas, U.S. in 2004, in response to her feelings of isolation and loneliness. "The inability to meet friends and relatives in person made me feel rudderless," she says via email. "While American neighbours are good, I felt the need to reach out to Indian women friends and share my experiences. That's how the idea of was born."

With over 1,800 members from India, the U.K., the U.S., South Africa, Dubai, Singapore and Australia today, the website is not just a resource for Indian women but also a place for forming emotional connections. "Women share their ideas, provide tips, ask and answer questions on beauty, diet, nutrition, cooking, health, wellness, movies, TV programmes, fine arts, pregnancy, parenting, marriage, relationships, career, money matters, religion and spirituality," says Malathy. "And since they engage with each other on a daily basis, they end up forming strong friendships."

Going local

The recently introduced local sub-forums allow women to share region-specific information such as recommendations on good gynaecologists, day-care facilities or restaurants, or set up play-groups and plan get-togethers, and aim to further foster these relationships. However, security and safety of the website's members remains a central concern. "We moderate discussions throughout the day and take prompt action when some members violate forum etiquette," says Malathy.

Two years ago, Chitra was scared to touch a computer. Today, she shares over 850 traditional recipes online, and says she has made more friends than she could have imagined through "I want many women to gain as I have from the existence of such a website," she says.

Extract from The Hindu.


Anonymous said...

Hey! this article is darn interesting.....yeah Indian women seems to be as varied as the spices of India ;) lol....anyways do drop by my blog for some real cool, fun posts.

FH said...

I saw this web site too.
A member of this group keep coming to my blog and posts her URL as a comment which irritates me to no end.She has a sneaky way too.when you open the comment,you just see her comment but when you publish it,you see her URL advertizing her site.I don't see why is this necessary!!I am sure they are great.

Mythreyee said...

Gerry: thanks for dropping by. I visited your site and you sure have good stuff for women's day.

Asha: I can't believe people can be this sneaky. The website is good but I don't know why this member does this kind of a tricky thing to publicize the site. I am really sorry about that.

Vini K said...

Hey Mythreyee,I also joined IL in december 2006 when a co member from another forum told me about it.It is a great site too.But yes,as Asha said,publicising is indeed very irritating.

Mythreyee said...

Vini, I agree with what you say. The member who does publicizing in a sneaky way is sure irritating. As for me, the website is very useful. I like to browse the recipes there.

Anonymous said...

People should read this.