Grew up… in India. She moved to California in the San Fernando Valley with her husband Mohan and daughter Devi in September 2001. Although they sometimes dealt with prejudice in America, they were a happy family of three. But when watching Devi’s harp solo at a school concert, Mohan had a heart attack and died. Nothing has been the same since then. Nalini’s niece Kamala, who is pursuing a biology degree from Caltech, has moved in to help them get through this difficult time.
Living… day by day. Everyone has taken the sudden death of Mohan hard, especially Dev. Soon after they lost him, Devi was so emotionally distraught that she spent three months in a wheelchair because she was temporarily paralyzed. With help from a therapist and support from her friends and family, Devi is walking again, and hopefully someday they’ll be able to get back to a normal life.
Profession… dermatologist. Nalini is an excellent doctor and runs her own practice, but it’s hard to balance all the demands on her time. For example, she was too busy saving a patient’s life from melanoma to bake cupcakes for Devi’s bake sale. Store bought cupcakes just had to suffice.
Relationship Status… widowed. Nalini is not sure she’ll be able to love anyone else. It’s safe to say there’s no one quite like Mohan. He was quite a character and so entertaining to be around. It’s hard to imagine that someone who was so full of life is no longer living.
Challenge… feeling overwhelmed. Nalini still feels like a stranger in America, and she doesn’t have a deep support system. And now without her husband around, she is struggling to raise her daughter and keep her sanity.
Personality… organized, disciplined, and opinionated. Nalini has a type A personality and a sarcastic streak. She can be very strict, and she doesn’t allow Devi to attend any parties or have any boys to the house unless a boy is an academic competitor. She has high expectations for Devi, including getting into Princeton. As she tells Devi, “Normal teenagers end up in prison, or worse, working in Jersey Mike’s.” Wanting more independence and rebelling against Indian traditions, Devi often butts heads with Nalini. Nalini is trying her best to allow Devi some freedom—as long as she doesn’t end up at Jersey Mike’s.
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