If you ever need a pep-talk, a hug or spot-on fashion advice, Kavya Patel is the girl to go to. She’s a fast-talking, hardworking and hilarious individual who makes strides in building people up. She also prides on the fact that she was the first person to hold my hand the longest outside of my family and is forever deemed my designated hand-holding buddy.
Kavya is an applied math major with a minor in biology. She was born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, located in western India. Although she and her family moved to Canada when she was 2 then later to Nashville about eight years ago, she’s still very immersed in her Indian culture. “Because India is such a huge country, you’ll find that we’re very diverse as you move from one state to another,” she explained. “The Hindu culture is so old that you find so much has changed throughout the years, so one city may speak a completely different language you won’t understand from another part of the city.”
Yet in the midst of diversity and differences, a sense of community is still strongly felt within the Indian culture. “Everyone is on the lookout for everyone else, even if you don’t know them,” she said. “We’re very tightly knit, we give constant help and you’ll never feel alone. No matter what random state you live in, we will help each other with anything and everything.”
The more that Kavya described the Indian culture, the more I wanted to hop on a plane and fly there immediately. “It’s very colorful. We will pair a yellow top with purple pants, and it’s totally acceptable, totally cool,” she said with a smirk. “We just love spending time with each other without having any worries for the next day. We believe in celebrating everything with everyone.”
We’re also very heavy on food!” she exclaimed. “We eat like kings for breakfast, lunch and dinner with really big snacks, tea-time and desserts in between.” I asked her what her favorite dish was, and she said, “At the end of the day, if there was one kind of food I had to pick, I’d choose manchurian, which was popular where I lived.” She explained that it’s deep-fried balls of finely chopped vegetables and spices that can either be eaten dry, with a special sauce poured on top, or wet, where the balls are placed in a vegetable soup.
Kavya’s future goals line up with the way she lives out her life. She explained that their culture puts a big emphasis on religion and self, particularly empowering women and building them up emotionally. “Kali is a goddess who protects women. She’s fierce and is practically the Beyonce of the god world,” she explained. “I want people to think of me like that. She’s fueled me to stand up for strong women in society, and I try my best to embody her. I want to tear down anything in my path that causes pain and strengthen the women of my and future generations.”
With her aspiration to become a CEO of a hospital in the future and the way that she continually impacts and loves on people from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds, I know that nothing will stand in her way. She’s an inspiration to me and countless others and is definitely someone I know who will leave a profound impact in our world. And she does it all with a smile, lipstick and heels.
How can you empower those around you?