Suman Murali and Jaya Vatsayayan are Lexington residents who are spearheading along with Co-Chairs Geeta Kannan and Nirmala Garimella activities to promote the the library new initiative "Transformative Spaces".
Suman is a mom of two sunny boys and her family has been a Lexington resident over the past 9 years. In her day job, she works as a senior analytical consultant for a financial data and insights company. Outside of kids and work, she likes to dabble in different interests that include reading, writing, bharatanatyam, and experimenting in the kitchen.
Jaya Vatsayayan is a mother of two children, Sujay (a Junior at Lexington High School) and Janya (a 5th grader at Harrington Elementary School). She has been a resident of Lexington for the past 5 years. She has a Masters of Science in Biotechnology from India, a PhD in Life Science from Taiwan, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA. Currently, she works as a manager and lead clinical/regulatory writer, clinical research and development, for a Biotechnology company. Besides reading and writing science, she loves watching movies, dancing, and volunteering for causes dear to her heart.
Lokvani spoke to both Suman Murali and Jaya Vatsayayan.
How did you get involved with Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL) Library group? What is the vision?
Suman: A visit to our local library, Cary Memorial, is an indispensable part of our weekly routine. We are promptly there borrowing a boatload of books or participating in many of the enrichment activities that the library so regularly offers. It’s truly a privilege that our kids (or us for that matter) have such easy access to the written word and to plethora of other learning opportunities. I have always had the itch to give back to the community in some form or shape. So when IAL sent an email seeking for volunteers to help out with projects in the library, I grabbed it with both my hands.
The vision of the IAL Library group is to increase the acquisition of books and library materials on India in the library, to increase awareness, knowledge and information access on India for Lexington residents.and to discharge their civic responsibility by helping the town library. The first fund for this purpose was established by the Indian American Fund initiated by Narain Bhatia and a group of Indian Americans few years ago.
Can you share the exciting new initiative at the Library and how you got involved?
Cary Memorial is in the midst of a project called Transformative Spaces which aims to enhance the library experience for the local community.. Of the many enhancements, it will include a new teen center,more study rooms, a new idea wall, world languages and adult fiction collection, and so much more. As part of this project, IAL has kickstarted fundraising activities to build a Indian language collection. With the money raised, residents will be able to enjoy Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Telugu, and other regional language books, audio visual and the arts from India at the Library by Fall of this year.
What events have you been involved in within the group?
Jaya : IAL is a civic organization that leads and organizes events supporting the enhancement and improvement of community initiatives, forging partnerships , helping with the schools,education, library, etc. in the town of Lexington. In 2015, I had an opportunity to be involved in an enthralling Indian wedding themed event organized by IAL for the
purpose of raising funds for the new transformative spaces within Cary Memorial Library. The event encompassed fun, creativity, cultural insights, and interactive henna and saree draping stations. It was an evening of festivities that brought forth IAL’s capabilities of bringing together its volunteers under a canopy and harmonizing their assets for a great cause.
What is the next planned event ?
Suman:We are very excited about our upcoming fundraising activity over the weekend of May 20th and May 21st. Reshma Katwa, owner of Pinot’s Palette of Lexington, an upscale BYOB painting studio, has graciously offered to contribute a portion of the proceeds from the evening towards Cary Memorial and IAL. So mark your calendars for May 20th and 21st between 6:30 and 9:30 to make a difference as you paint and party. Make it a date night, girls night out, or good old “me” time.
How can people support this event ?
Jaya : Participate in the event and bring your friends along. Spread the word around about the Transformative Spaces and how IAL is actively working to ensure its success so we can collectively benefit from the endeavor.
Here are the details.
Date: May 20th and May 21st
What if we are not able to attend or participate in the event but would like to contribute to fundraising?
If you are not able to participate in the fundraising activities, you can still help by donating at You can support the library and the Indian Language Collectionby donating here