Udupi: The appointment of Mala Adiga as policy director of Jill Biden, the first lady of US president-elect Joe Biden, has brought joy to Kakkunje village in Kundapur here.
She belongs to the family of K Suryanarayana Adiga, founder of the erstwhile undivided Dakshina Kannada districts private sector Karnataka Bank Limited, and Aravind Adiga, who won the Man Booker prize in 2008.
Mala Adiga is the niece of Nirmala Upadhya who is her father’s elder sister. “Mala is an affectionate and lovely girl. She treasures relationships and has her roots firmly in India,” Nirmala told reporters here.
Nirmala, 87, said Mala had called her up on Saturday to share the news of being made a senior staffer at White House when Biden takes office as President of the USA in January. She congratulated her on the new responsibility.
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Mala’s father Dr Ramesh Adiga (84) is the second among three siblings. He had left for the US when he was 25 to hone his skills as a vascular surgeon.
Mala’s mother Jaya Adiga had studied medicine in Vellore. Nirmala recalled meeting Mala at a family get-together in Bengaluru in 2019.
Nirmala had then travelled with her daughter Sujatha Nakkatthaya and family to Bengaluru in November 2019. Mala had come to Bengaluru with husband Charles and daughter Asha to attend the event with her parents.
They had come to Kundapur seven years ago and had fallen in love with the beaches there. She had offered puja at the Kakkunje temple and they visited their ancestral house in Babbarianakatte.