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!

Lifestyle The Maharani of Patiala, with her daughters Else and Angela, named by English governesses who found Indian names hard to pronounce

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.”

The Buzz Pardoning the Turkey! President Obama with his nephews

For the last eight years we have seen President Barack Obama do this symbolic act of pardoning the turkey, though of course lots of turkeys are going to be eaten today! However, there is freedom and respite for these two lucky turkeys, Tater and Tot.

Food Articles Thanksgiving appetizers

A no-turkey Thanksgiving should make both vegetarians and the turkeys very happy!
As each successive wave of immigrants come to America, they introduce their own well-loved foods to the Thanksgiving table and in the process create new traditions.

Food Articles Thanksgiving - an all-American holiday

Did you ever hear of the arrival of the turkey on to the Thanksgiving table being heralded as the arrival of the ‘dulhan’ or Indian bride? For Sunita Advaney’s family fixing the 30 lb bird was like preparing for an elaborate Indian wedding. Trust desis to bring their own take on this American holiday, imprinting it with their own special flavor!

Food Articles Tandoori chicken Thanksgiving

When Sunita Advaney, now married and settled in Forest Hills, was seven years old, she came home from first grade and asked her immigrant parents about Thanksgiving. Her father Lal Lakhati, who had migrated from India, didn’t just explain the holiday to her, he actually went out and bought a small rotisserie bird and all the trimmings and the family had a Thanksgiving dinner. In later years they did two turkeys – one traditional and the other a bright red, coated with tandoori spices, coloring and stuffed with biryani and boiled eggs. Says Sunita, “We need our chillies and it was a good way to ease people into turkey because turkey is not our culture.”

News Gov. Nikki Haley official portrait. Photos by Renee Ittner-McManus/

“We were the first Sikh family in Bamberg. It was a small town in South Carolina, a closed community at that time,” recalls Ajit Randhawa of the 70’s. “Our daughters Simmi and Nikki entered the Little Miss Bamberg contest but the school selected only a White Queen and a Black Queen. So Nikki and Simmi were not eligible as contestants. Nikki was five years old at that time and sang, ‘This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to New York Island’ and received a resounding applause.”

Fast forward to 2010 and Nikki Haley (nee Randhawa) is not only a contestant in the most powerful contest there is – US politics – but has won big time. Forget black and white, she has shown that an Indian-American can be a game changer where race and gender is concerned in the Deep South.

People Nikki Haley takes the oath of office, becoming South Carolina's 90th governor and the first woman to run the state. South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal administered the oath

“As many of you will come to know in the weeks and months ahead, the door to my office has a sign for all to see every time they walk through my doorway. The sign says, ‘Can’t Is Not an Option.’

These are the words of Nikki Haley, nee Nimrata Randhawa, the feisty new Governor of South Carolina, the Indian-American daughter of Punjabi immigrants. Haley, 38, has gone from being an obscure Southern legislator to a nationally known rising star on the Republican circuit.

Faith Thanksgiving

If Thanksgiving is a festival of gratitude, then Indians have been preparing for it their whole lives.

In India, take a walk down the Mumbai waterfront in the early morning mist, and you see ordinary citizens quietly feeding the fish and the birds. Their daily day doesn’t really begin until the deities in their home shrine have been venerated with fresh flowers and offered prasadam.
It is only after eating a little of this blessed offering does the family sit down to their meals. Many remember to keep aside a portion of the food for a hungry person or the birds. It is all about sharing.

Food Articles Vegetarian thali

From birth to marriage to death, if you are Indian, there is no escaping dal, the humble lentil which signifies life itself. Dal is one of the first solid foods a baby is fed and it is part of the funeral rituals when life ends and the soul takes flight.

Art Reception celebrating the signing of an agreement between the Government of India and The Metropolitan Museum of Art with the support of the Mellon Foundation for the Indian conservation Fellowship Program

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art & India’s Ministry of Culture have renewed for five years the two-way partnerships with Indian museums for sharing knowledge and expertise.So over the next five years there will be 35 new fellowships; annual seminars and workshops in India; follow-up visits by host supervisors at fellows’ home institutions; visits by the directors of the participating Indian museums to the fellows’ host institutions; and meetings of the advisory committee to organize and plan seminars, workshops, and interviews.

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 Pratima Dharm is the first Hindu chaplain in the US Army

She was a captain in the US Military, has served in the war-torn hell-hole of Iraq and been awarded several honors, including the Bronze Star – but she has never fired a shot. She was in the combat zones of Northern Iraq for 12 months, surrounded by the cacophony of bombs and mortar attacks – yet she has never carried a gun.

She says simply, “My defense is God.”

News Donald J. Trump with Gov. Mike Pence at his victory speech on Tuesday night. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

November 8 came and went and it’s the morning after, and many of us seem to be in the grips of a surreal nightmare from which there is no waking.
Donald Trump is the new president-elect of America, and the world is undergoing shock waves and trying to understand what really happened.

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.

News Election -2016

November 8 is here and today America decides its future as millions go to vote. Here are some of the stories from around the web as we cast our ballots, then hunker down for the outcome.
What kind of a morning will it be in America tomorrow?

Art America by Cattelan

There’s a solid 18-karat gold toilet in America – but it’s not in one of Donald Trump’s opulent bathrooms. It is instead in a humble public restroom, to be used by the 99 percent of ordinary people. You can use it and so can I. See it at the Guggenheim Museum!

1 2 3 4 5 43