West Reading Avenues Fall 2021 - 9

A funny thing happened that year while he was working parttime
at Wendy's: he became acquainted with Kelly McKnight,
a Philadelphia native who ended up in Berks and was a senior
at Governor Mifflin. They didn't really know each other in high
school, although Kelly was aware of him because there weren't
that many Indian boys at school, so you know...he didn't blend.
The two bonded over Frosties and fresh-never-frozen beef, and
fell in love! Raj ended up changing colleges (a few times, his
daughters joked, especially amusing to them since one of his
mottos is " Finish what you start " ) and ultimately graduated from
Widener University. Kelly's passion was to " travel the world, "
so she became a flight attendant with Delta Airlines (which she
has done for 35 years, along with being the secretary of EDL
and advisor to Raj). Their two daughters came along starting
in the mid '90s, and the family was complete.
First-born Devi, marketing and sales director of EDL, and
younger sister, Meera, marketing associate, are Wyomissing
grads, '14 and '17 respectively. They both participated in
athletics in school, most notably cross country - and in fact
this is a family of runners - but both girls had deeply creative
sides. Devi caught the entrepreneurial bug from Raj, and went
off to Xavier University in Cincinnati to major in marketing.
During her sophomore year, after being sexually assaulted on
campus in a traumatic awakening to what would later become
the #metoo movement, she began to write as a way of coping.
By graduation she realized she had written a book-length journal
and approached a literary agent for feedback. The agent felt
there was something there, but advised Devi to continue to hone
her craft. Although she at one time considered law school, she
had no intentions of going to grad school until that moment,
when she decided to pursue an MFA in creative writing at Sarah
Lawrence College in Yonkers (remotely during the pandemic,
but by commute this semester.) She and another Xavier student
also started an online jewelry business called SPARKLE, with
beaded bracelets serving as a reminder to survivors of sexual
assault that they are not alone and no one can take away what
makes them shine, an early example of Devi's desire to mix
business initiatives and social causes to make positive change.
A love of the arts led Meera to the University of San Francisco,
where she is a senior majoring in art history. She believes
community building can be accomplished through public art,
and wants to use her platform as a local, up-and-coming business
leader to work with the art communities of West Reading and
the greater Reading area to continue to build on her vision of
community art bringing people together.
What does this family do for fun? Raj is actually one of those
guys who thinks work IS fun. Coming up with ideas, bouncing
continued on next page
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West Reading Avenues Fall 2021

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