When people ask why I live in Blacksburg, I respond because I figured out a way to come back. I was born here and spent many years plotting my escape. I lived in the Tidewater region attending William and Mary, Northern Virginia working for USA Today and The White House, and attended graduate school at American University.

I have traveled all over the world, reporting for National Public Radio affiliates in Roanoke and Honolulu, where I worked as an adjunct professor at Hawai’i Pacific. I had a lot of fun living, exploring, traveling and testing my boundaries, but I reached a point where I wanted to build a world for myself. The year I published my book about growing up as an Indian-American in Southwest Virginia, the April 16th shootings occurred at Virginia Tech, and I experienced the mighty support system in my hometown. Wanting to give something back, I ran for local office. In 2009, I was elected as the youngest Town Council member at the time and the only Indian-American elected to serve Blacksburg. It is an honor to represent my community, put down roots, lead a non-profit (Up on the Roof, https://www.facebook.com/rooftopbburg), establish solid relationships, become closer to my parents, buy a home and now raise my daughter in the New River Valley.

In writing for New River Valley Magazine – from penning Young Professional profiles, a Top 5 series and the global travel column “Clearing Customs” – I have gained a deeper appreciation of my community. Wherever life take us, I will always be a lifelong cheerleader and supporter of what our town stands for and what we dream to become.