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!

Cinema Katrina Kaif performs at IIFA 2017
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Once in a blue moon, these stars descend to earth and actually come and mingle – somewhat – with the common man, the diehard fan. This happened in the hot month of July, when IIFA came to New York and New Jersey with a whole gaggle of stars from Salman Khan to Katrina Kaif to Alia Bhatt.

Food Articles green-mango-sandwiches
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In a changing economy & environment, it helps to have always been creative with very little. Every day at lunch break at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in Delhi, India, hordes of ink-stained white-uniformed schoolgirls would surround me, salivating for a taste of my home-made lunch: aam ke achaar ke sandwiches.

Lifestyle Maharani of Patiala, who is the grandmother of Jyotsna Singh, jewelry designer in San Francisco
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Jyotsna Singh, grand-daughter of the Maharaja of Patiala, recalls a bygone time: “Naniji was exceedingly beautiful and at a young age she was married to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and had two daughters Elsie (my mother) and Angela (her younger sister). The English names were given by the English governesses who could not pronounce the Indian names of the children. And there were a lot – 52 siblings, a pack of cards my mother would tell me…..Though the mothers lived at the palace and spent time with the children, the children were really brought up by the governesses. My grandfather lived in the main Motibagh Palace with his wives and his older children.”

Food Articles Chopped ginger - Creative Commons - Holeymoon
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When immigrants came to America, they bought their home cures and folk remedies along, a legacy of mothers and grandmothers. It is surprising how many families still turn to ginger as the first remedy for coughs and colds, and even motion sickness. Ginger has certainly been around for centuries and everyone from the ancient Greeks to Confucius to the Emperor Akbar is supposed to have been a fan, not to mention the sage Vatsyayana – author of India’s famed sex manual, Kama Sutra, who recommended ginger as an aphrodisiac for lovers.

Little Black Book: Events Rohit Kapoor, Krishna Veeraraghavan, Mamta Mahato and Ajay Banga at AIF Gala
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So there we all sat at an elegant black-tie dinner at Pier Sixty in Manhattan with the movers and shakers of the tri-state area, all listening in pin-drop silence to Mamta Mahato, a 28-year-old sahiya from the village of Dasiyadih in Jharakand. She totally believed in herself and her work and dressed in a simple white and green sari, she related how she, a 10th class pass married wife and mother, got the courage to change the village for the better and actually save infants from ill-health and death.

Lifestyle American flag
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I came to the US in the 80’s, as an immigrant via India, Hong Kong and Africa, and landed in Astoria, a gritty Greek neighborhood in Queens. I fell in love with the prosaic neighborhood with its heart of gold, and it was here that I discovered my own private America.The part which never fails to amaze me is that when I take the N subway from Manhattan to Astoria – glancing at my fellow passengers I see a virtual United Nations – Latinos, Chinese, South Asians, Blacks, whites all wedged together, sitting side by side on the Great American Journey. If Lady Liberty was to see them, she would definitely shed a tear – because this is exactly what America is all about. And on this day after the Fourth of July, with the firecrackers still ringing in our ears – we can say amen to that.

Lifestyle Immigrants to America - Sarvinder and her mother
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What can you, an immigrant who came with nothing but a battered suitcase filled with bits and pieces of a disappeared life, offer this new country? What gift can you give America on its Independence Day celebration? A Punjabi immigrant love story.

Fashion The magic of Parsi Gara
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Few things are as beautiful or have such a convoluted history as Paris Gara – the gorgeous embroidery which came to India by way of Persia and China through the Parsi traders dealing in opium in China. These traders who journeyed to China in the 19th century discovered distinct hand-embroidery and carried it back to India.

Features Immigrant families
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New immigrants in ethnic enclaves tend to have a stronger support system but once they fly the coop into the prestigious suburbs and into Americanization, there is a chasm of distances to overcome between friends. We are monetarily richer but are we poorer in friends?

Features An Indian wedding in America
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A majestic decorated elephant lumbering down the streets of Washington DC, with an Indian bridegroom ensconced like a maharajah on top; scores of chanting, dancing wedding guests causing a traffic jam on New York streets as they accompany the bridegroom in the ‘baraat’ or wedding procession, dancing the bhangra to the beat of village drums. Hundreds of guests in a man-made Gujarati village in New Jersey especially set up for a wedding celebration, with stalls, carts and even mud huts!

Yes, all this has come to pass as Indian immigrants have brought their Big Fat Indian Wedding to America.

Cinema The Big Sick
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‘The Big Sick’ is a story for our times and what makes it kind of cool is that it’s a real life story – it actually happened and is not the figment of someone’s imagination. Yes, immigration, love, breakup and marriage, sickness and coma, terrorism and multiculturalism all come into it but it’s always upbeat, always funny. Big ambitious topics for a sweet little romantic tale but ‘The Big Sick’ pulls it off.

Lifestyle Adoption is still a difficult issue in Indian communities - here three couples tell their stories about adoptiing children from India
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Some stories have so much power – and there’s such a need for them! I had done this in-depth story on adoption four years ago & I’m amazed readers who are looking to adopt come to it even today for information. So I thought I’d share it again and would love your input and personal experiences with the process of adopting children from India. I do intend to revisit this topic in the coming months and would love your insights.

Lifestyle Family-1
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Many couples are not aware of their options and that surrogacy is a possibility.This is an issue that a lot of South Asian couples need to be more open about in sharing their experiences. Komal sat down for a detailed Q and A with Lassi with Lavina as she feels it is an extremely tough process for couples and the more support they get the better.

People Chandrika Tandon flanked by Monica and Omesh Lund
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Cocktails and Conversation with Chandrika Tandon was a small informal event organized by CHI’s junior board CH2 through which young professionals get started in helping the less privileged and creating a future for them through education.

The Buzz Neeral and Anu - Here come the bridegrooms!
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The ceremony was a mix of prayer and laughter and there were a lot of moments that we will remember forever. After the ceremony was over, it felt so cool to walk down the aisle as a married couple and be showered by rose petals.

Dance Maya Kulkarni, noted indian classical dancer performed at Anamika Navatman Studio o
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The first thing I spotted was rows and rows of footwear lined up outside the door, neatly stacked. I dutifully shed my sandals too, and going inside found an Indian-style behthak in progress with silk cushions scattered on the woven carpet.
Arts lovers, some with babies in tow, were already sitting cross-legged, facing the empty expanse of a large wooden floor. Musicians were tuning up their instruments, in anticipation.

The space is the Anamika Navatman Studios, an innovative organization for South Asian Arts and the production was Bhinna Pravaaha: Memories of a Performing Artist – Maya Kulkarni. This is a first undertaking to record and pay tribute to the noted artists of the past.

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