About Fireside Chai

Let’s talk

Through personal stories and investigations, California-based Fireside Chai is an upstart podcast that will parse through the layers of culture, religion and personality to bring better understand of the issues facing Indian origin Americans.

In addition to telling stories, we want to hear your story. Inspired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats,” Fireside Chai aims to connect the Indian-American identity with its people.

Come join us. Listen to our podcast and other content, and support us in our goal to show what it means to be Indian American.


Fireside Chai serves to delve deep into the issues affecting current and future generations of Indian-Americans while informing, educating and providing valuable information readers can use to enhance and enrich their lives.

Editor, Vikaas Shanker

Like a little caterpillar nesting in its cocoon, the idea of starting a news source dedicated to Indian American issues has been brewing and growing in me since I graduated from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism in 2013.

I’m Vikaas Shanker, the editor and creator of Fireside Chai. I have experience as a journalist who has been in reporting and managerial positions at five different newspapers. Along with Fireside Chai, but separate altogether, I’m currently a full-time staffed news reporter for two local newspapers in the Central Valley of California.

I’m an Indian origin American, born in Downers Grove, Illinois and raised a couple towns over in Naperville. My parents are from the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. My father was born in Kanpur, and my mother was born in Montreal, Canada (although she spent most of her life in India.)

Like many Indian Americans I’ve had the honor to speak with, I view my identity rooted in the cultures of both countries. I value the revered independence and work ethic granted in the United States, while my love of family, community and tradition come from India, which I’ve visited and grown to love since I could remember.

I struggled trying to find my place in the world as a child and adult, much due to figuring out whether I’m American, or Indian. Growing up with friends and family facing similar experiences helped me cope with identity. But in recent years I’ve reflected back on what else could have helped me.

A central resource with discussion, if not answers, on issues; news I can use.

Fireside Chai.

So I hope you will find Fireside Chai as an important resource that delivers newsworthy, relevant and remarkable content.

Let’s start a discussion.