Author Lavina Melwani

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

People Miss Cornelia Sorabji
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Today we have thousands of Indian women lawyers, both in India and the Diaspora. But how lonely and frustrating must it have been to be the first and to try and change society?
We pay tribute to the one who started it all, and won the right for women to stand up in court and argue a case. Cornelia Sorabji- India’s first woman lawyer.

Cinema Shashi Kapoor in Shakespearewallah
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In the 60’s this bitter-sweet story about changing times and a changing India became a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and was made into ‘Shakespearewallah’ – a winsome little gem of a film by the intrepid team of James Ivory and Ismail Merchant – just their second venture after ‘The Householder’.

Cinema Director Anurag Kashyap who will be attending the festival
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Wouldn’t you want to have a seat at the U.S. premiere of The Brawler (Mukkabaaz) by acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap? How about Pahuna, a film produced by actress Priyanka Chopra? These are two of the eight films at the India Kaleidoscope Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York

The Buzz Taj Mahal - Agra
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No matter which part of the world Indian immigrants live in, they each carry with them their special memories of India filed away in their heads and hearts. For these diasporic Indians, many now with hyphenated identities, India’s Republic Day does bring in a whole lot of memories and a feeling of pride in being a part of India, and India being a part of their emotional DNA.

Faith Children taking part in a Diwali celebration (photo-Baps)
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The triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. This simple sentiment is at the heart of the great festival of Diwali which is celebrated in the Hindu Diaspora all across the world. This year it falls on November 11. In this Diwali 101, everything you ever wanted to know about Diwali – check out the videos.

Cinema Special Screening of Amazon's "THE BIG SICK" - Afterparty. kumail Nanjiani with family
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Ten ticking minutes which won’t ever come back are a valuable commodity.
You could spend them waiting for the subway train to arrive or watching your chicken biryani cook on the stove.
Or you could spend ten minutes having a most happening conversation with the very happening Kumail Nanjiani! Well, that’s what I was lucky enough to do – and I tried to squeeze an hour’s conversation into those ten minutes – and we really talked fast!

Lifestyle Diwali, Festival of Lights
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As a journalist, I’ve always been intrigued by the unique experiences, sights and sounds of individual lives, a billion stories waiting to be told. Immigrants who’ve traveled to a new country always have their idiosyncratic cache of memories, of a past which belongs only to themselves.

Cinema Judi Dench & Ali Fazal in 'Victoria & Abdul'
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ow does a 21st century, modern Indian transform himself into a 19th century British Raj clerk, a servant of Queen Victoria?

In ‘Victoria and Abdul’ the story of an unusual friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim, this was the challenge for Ali Fazal, boy from Lucknow, Bollywood actor from Mumbai who had done a cameo in ‘Fast and Furious’.

Faith Goddess Power
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They spin round and round, going faster and faster, but never breaking the sacred circle, as they clap their hands rhythmically, dancing around the Garba or earthen pot. They smile as they twirl around for in these nine nights they are celebrating the Goddess that is enshrined in all of us.

This hugely empowering dance is called the Garba and it is the centerpiece of the celebration of the Hindu festival of Navratri or Nine Nights.

Cinema Mira Nair & Zenobia Shroff
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Well, this nice middle-class girl from Bombay did follow the road less traveled. It led her all the way to New York City, the school of hard knocks, the elusive hunt for success and happiness. Did she find what she was looking for?

Faith Garba is performed during the Navratri Festival
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With the upcoming holiday season begins the Indian community’s tryst with tradition in America. Both Garba and Dandiya Raas, folk dances, have found their way to America and everyone from heart surgeons to hip-hop kids are taking to the large dandiya raas arenas during the festival of Navrati which heralds a season of upcoming festivals from Dusshera to Diwali. How has the interaction with America changed Garba and Dandiya Raas?

Little Black Book: Events International guests at India@70
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There have been many celebrations for India’s big 70th year of Independence but perhaps one of the liveliest – and most delicious – was at the United Nations, organized by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN. When you have an army of skilled Indian dancers and musicians and an arsenal of spicy Indian street foods, how can you not succeed?

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