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Tea party-themed Women’s Day celebration at Gokuldham breaks barriers through storytelling


Atlanta, GA, March 21, 2024: Gokuldham Haveli celebrated International Women’s Day with a vibrant tea party-themed event on Saturday, March 9, 2024.

The event was hosted by Neha Negandhi, TEDx speaker and co-host of the Lentil Soup for the Soul podcast. The event brought together multi-generational women to commemorate the achievements and resilience of women everywhere.

Tejas Patwa, Executive Secretary of Gokuldham Haveli welcomed the gathering– a banquet hall full of guests shining in their pretty floral dresses or sarees, adorned with a fun hat, enjoying the camaraderie and sisterhood between them.

The highlight of the celebration was the keynote address by Veena Rao, founding editor of NRI Pulse and author of the award-winning novel, Purple Lotus.

Rao began her speech by inviting the audience to reflect on their own immigrant experiences, painting a vivid picture of the challenges and uncertainties faced by newcomers to a foreign land. Drawing parallels with the protagonist of her novel, Tara Raj, Rao delved into the themes of isolation, resilience, and self-discovery.

“Many of us are Tara, or know women like Tara,” Rao remarked. “Their stories of overcoming adversity resonate deeply with our own struggles and triumphs. Through Tara’s journey, I sought to shine a light on the universal truth that each person possesses a unique strength, resilience, and wisdom within themselves.”

Reflecting on her own journey as an immigrant entrepreneur and author, Rao shared candidly about the obstacles she encountered and the lessons she learned along the way. From the humble beginnings of launching NRI Pulse with little more than a vision and determination to the decade-long struggle to publish Purple Lotus, Rao’s story embodied the values of passion, perseverance, and self-validation.

“The ability to pause and think can be a profound and empowering experience,” Rao emphasized. “True transformation comes from within, and it is essential to create a culture of empathy, understanding, and support for others.”

Veena Rao, founding editor of NRI Pulse and author of Purple Lotus.

Veena Rao concluded her keynote speech with advice for the young leaders in attendance. She emphasized the importance of self-belief, urging them to surround themselves with positivity and cultivate a strong support network for personal and professional growth. Rao highlighted the significance of perseverance, reminding them that setbacks are a natural part of life, and encouraged them to remain resilient and steadfast in pursuing their dreams. She also emphasized the importance of finding one’s passion, embracing change, and supporting others in their journeys.

She urged the audience to find their voice and be unafraid to express themselves authentically

Neha Negandhi

Negandhi, echoed Rao’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of community and service in fostering empowerment and connection.

“The need to serve the community is deeply ingrained in me,” Negandhi stated. “My mom and dad are lifetime members in my hometown’s temple and give countless volunteer hours. Having seen that for so many years, it was easy for me to raise my volunteer hand for the temple that continually give to my community. Doing sewa for Gokuldham by organizing and emceeing a day of appreciation and gratitude for the women that volunteer was vitally important. It showed how important and needed their giving was not only in the temple but on a wider scale, in the society that we all call our home.”

The event created a safe space for women to talk about their own life experiences.

“Walk into the event doors and feel light, lovely, and loved,” Negandhi expressed. “This gathering was a testament to the power of coming together, breaking barriers, and uplifting one another.”

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