hree years ago, I packed my suitcases to move to Colombo, Sri Lanka as an Indian expatriate. In addition to the glossy silk saris and the gold jewelry I had been given for my wedding, I packed several small, sealed packets that carried their own significant emotional heft. I had tucked away small batches of milagai podi—“gunpowder,” a searing South Indian blend of roasted and powdered lentils and spices known as to mix with rice or sprinkle over buttered bread, along with plastic bottles of ghee and a few kilograms of fine coffee powder. Like Indian migrants through the ages, I had a contingency plan for homesickness—and it included condiments and ready-to-eat meals by Maiyas. The food company, the brainchild of Dr. Parampalli Sadananda Maiya, is widely credited with pioneering Indian ready-to-eat food. Earlier generations would have relied on powders, pastes and spice blends made at home to recreate regional Indian food, I simply picked them off the shelf at my neighborhood supermarket. In large part, I had Maiya to thank. For nearly 50 years, he has combined a deep knowledge of food with an equally adept understanding of technology to significantly impact the way in which Indian food is prepared, consumed and transported. He has achieved this by creating shelf-stable and instant versions of age-old recipes, giving them national—and international—prominence.