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Vignarajah on Politics, Identity and the American Dream

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah was just nine months old when she and her family escaped persecution and civil war in Sri Lanka. Now, she is the president and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, having previously served as policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama and as a senior adviser in the State Department.

“America embraced our family when we were most in need,” Vignarajah said. “The warm welcome gave my parents the opportunity to plant roots, become teachers and open paths for me to get a world class education and become policy director, and now to lead a national organization fighting everyday to ensure stories like mine are not just part of the past.”

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Kavita Tankha and her husband with President Obama and the first lady at the White House Christmas party

LOS ALTOS HILLS GETS A MAYOR BOOST

Los Altos Hills, California,
is a small town in the heart
of Silicon Valley. It is a 10-minute drive away from the
headquarters of Facebook, Google and Apple, and from Stanford University. Yet, this small town with just about 8,000 residents, most of them high- profile wealthy tech billionaires, astonishingly retains an old world rural charm with rolling hills and single homes.
The mayor is Kavita Tankha, an Indian American mother of four
who has made this sleepy town her home since 2005, after working and living with her husband and family in various parts of the world.
Armed with a degree in law, Tankha once worked for various companies
in Zurich, London, Chicago and Toronto, before finally deciding to settle down in Los Altos Hills, lured by its agrarian beauty.

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A Day in Silk Brocade Pants

These silk brocade pants from Maison de Papillon are perfect for the festive season, with their rich green and gold hues. Wear them day or night, for lunch with friends, or on date night. The printed pair is ideal with a jacket for a casual soiree, or a lamé shirt for the evening. Put on a dark cardigan, and you are set for a day in the city, or for a business meeting.

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DIWALI, THE SEASON OF LIGHTS AND DESSERTS!

Come November, and it is time for the festival of lights, aka Diwali or Deepawali. Arguably the most popular festivals of the Hindu calendar, it celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

Diwali is all about new beginnings, prosperity — and happiness. It marks the beginning of the new year in some communities in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan and is celebrated for a period of five days. The worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth, is one of the highlights of the festival, along with the lighting of lamps. As with all festivals, food is an integral part of the celebration, and Diwali is defined by the mouth-watering desserts, specially prepared for the occasion.

Chef Praveen Shetty of Conrad Bengaluru, whose team has recently launched Khushiyan by Hilton, a range of exclusive sweets for the festive season, provided four of the recipes.

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SEEMA Recommends: Festive Eats

It’s that most wonderful time of the year — the festive season, the season of fancy clothes, family gatherings (safely done, of course), traditional activities, and lavish feasts. No festival is really complete without the joy of a grand eat, blitzing through varieties of snacks, savories, desserts, what have you. In the midst of all the nosy relatives and the incessant picture-taking, the food is really the shining beacon at big fat Indian festivals.

We at SEEMA wholeheartedly agree, having enjoyed a plate — or five — of our favorites at these occasions. We’ve got for you some of the team’s favorite festive eats, from the sweet to the delightfully savory, and hope you’ll enjoy these for yourselves this season!

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The Delectable Spirits of Diwali

Whether you party with alcoholic beverages or stick to virgin tipple, your Diwali drink should match the mood of the season.
Not sure where to start when selecting the perfect beverage for your Diwali meal? Let us help. Here are some of our best tips to create a signature celebratory festival drink, as well as some imaginative ideas to get you started. 

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Savories For the Season

Come Diwali aka Deepawali, and it is time for fire crackers, family get-togethers, parties and delectable food. With a plethora of sweets and savories for the festive season, Diwali is all about good food and great vibes. THENKUZHAL MURUKKU OR THENGOL One of the most loved savory dishes for the festive season is thenkuzhal murukku,…

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Sarkar Family

Lighting Up Diwali with the Sarkars

Meet the multi-generational Sarkar family, who have always managed to maintain a strong sense of culture within their families and communities.

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Cross-cultural Diwali

Diwali, A Season For All Cultures

Hang the banners, spread the colors, prepare the sweets and bring the bright gorgeous outfits out! It’s DIWALI season and all of New Jersey is celebrating!

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