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In Conversation With Menka Jethra

Anil Saigal

 Menka  Jethra bought her first brand new house in 1980 on Upland Road. Starting her career at  Honeywell she went on to work at Honeywell Bull and moved to Business Banking for Fleet/Bank of America & Citizens Bank. 

She is a founding member of the Indian Americans for Burlington and currently serves as the President of Indian Americans for Burlington. Indian Americans for Burlington (IAB) is a community organization that works to meet the unique needs of the growing Indian population in Burlington. It facilitates integration on Indian Americans into the larger community and increase the capacity of the Indian community to  give back to the Burlington Community. 

She lives with her husband Indra Jethra, who is a Software Engineer at MWRA. She is the proud mother of two sons Aashish Jethra and Aakash Jethra and the proud mother-in-law of Shalini. 

How did you pick Burlington as a place to live? 

It was a while ago when we had just moved to the US. We  came to eat lunch in @ Magic Pan Restaurant & Cafe Escadrille at  the Burlington Mall and fell in love with Burlington Town.  We decided that this is place we want to raise our children. We bought a home in 1980 and have absolutely loved the town.  Our children went to school here and they have done well. 

What motivated you to become a founding member of Indian Americans for Burlington? 

Burlington is my home and I have always it is important to support the community here. I also like sharing Indian culture with others. Food was the first thing to share. I used to teach Indian Cooking at the Recreation Department. It was a great way to meet and share my culture.  

Beyond that I also felt it is important to take an active role in the town. When my children were in middle school, my son Aashish was part of a “Gifted Children’s Program” called  BEAM. It was a wonderful program but during the second year they were planning to get rid of it. I worked with the parents and school to reinstate it.  The process showed me clearly the importance of playing an active role in the town. 

IAB is a great way for us to get engaged with the town as a group both to give back to the community and ensure that our voice is heard. 

Can you tell us about the upcoming Diwali celebrations?

For the first time ever, IAB is hosting a Mela and a tree lighting ceremony for Diwali at the Burlington Commons on Oct 15. The event will be held from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. There will be cultural programs, food, games for children and a whole lot more! The Gazebo is going to be transformed into a Indian Diwali home. We will have a photo booth as well. Given that Dhanteras is all about health, we are having a health and yoga event as well. We are planning to end with a big Garba!

The towns people including the Chief of Police and Town Manager are planning to attend. It is a free event. So come !

How did this idea come about? 

The town common is always  lit but only for Christmas. Ranjani Saigal came up with the idea to have lights turned on for Diwali. We loved the idea. The IAB team joined her and  we were able to convince the town to allow us to do the event.  We are so excited that the event is shaping up so well.  

Ranjani Saigal, Gini Pookotil, Shital Bhammar, Sutanuka Basu,Anil Saigal,  Dinesh Tanna, Ketaki Tanna, Indra Deb, Vijay Bhatt and Raksha Soni  are part of the core team that has been working hard to make the event happen. 

Any message for our readers?

Burlington is a great town. Come and join us as we celebrate Diwali with towns people. Enjoy the fun food and participate in the largest Garba. See you on Oct 15. 

For any information regarding participation or volunteering please go to http://www.iabma.org/ 

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