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!

Little Black Book: Events Rohit Kapoor, Krishna Veeraraghavan, Mamta Mahato and Ajay Banga at AIF Gala

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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

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

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

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!

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

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.

Food Articles Chefs from Mathura create a vegetarian Holi feast

The menu included everything from malpuras (sweet breads) to pakoras, vada pav and ragda pattis (snacks) to main courses including Paneer ki Khurchan and dessert of rich kulfis served in little clay pots. There were mounds of jalebis and multicolored mithai. Fresh puris made of green peas were being fried on the spot.

Lifestyle With Prodigy Arvind Mahankali at his win in Scripps National Bee

He breaks into people’s homes. And if that’s not outrageous enough, he even opens their refrigerators and checks out the contents! He makes middle-aged Indian men remember their youth – and young Indian kids conquer the world.

So who is Rahul Walia and what does he really do?

Food Articles Jacques Torres at the opening of the Chocolate Museum in Soho

Jacques Torres is certainly building up good karma! After all, what can be more life-affirming than making humanity happy by feeding it chocolate every day? Torres, who is affectionately known as New York’s Mr. Chocolate, creates a massive 200 tons of artisan high-end chocolate in his 40,000 square foot factory in Brooklyn.

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