An American Family with Indian Roots
Jay and Shital Mehta and their two children Sonali (9) and Arav (7) live in the Wildhorse subdivision, in Chesterfield. The Methas have lived in Chesterfield a little over a year.”
“We chose Chesterfield because of the diversity of the people and the great schools,” says Shital. “Chesterfield is also very centrally located with easy access to highways. We like that there are so many restaurants and lots of things for the kids to do. Chesterfield Valley offers so much.”
Jay is a finance manager in the automotive industry; Shital works in accounting for an international bank. Sonali is crafty and artistic; Arav loves to play soccer. Both children are students at Chesterfield Elementary, in the Rockwood School District.
Though Jay and Shital were both born in the United States, they like to keep in touch with their Indian roots and to provide opportunities for their children to learn about the Indian culture, too.
“I love to cook and cook all sorts of Indian foods using my mother’s secret recipes,” says Shital. I also like to go to Indian movies at the AMC Theatre, in Chesterfield. The subtitles are in Hindi—that is how I learned the Hindi language when I was a kid. My family spoke Gujrati. There are so many different languages and cultures in India. Jay’s family is from Mumbai. We traveled there with the children a little while back. Mumbai is like New York; it is ‘hustle-bustle’ and all about the latest technology and fashion. It is a ‘work hard and play hard’ culture—very fast pace.”
Preserving another important part of their Indian culture, to pass on to their children, the Mehtas practice Jainism; it is a religion that practices awareness, mindfulness and gentleness to all living things. “It is a very small religion; less than 5% of Indian households practice Jainism,” says Shital.
Ironically, both Jay and Shital were raised in Jain households. They participate in some activities that are organized by the Hindu Council. Recently the council held a nine day festival of dancing and celebration. Another Hindu event was held in Chesterfield at “The J.”
“I thought that was really neat that the Hindu activity was held at a Jewish center,” Shital says.
The Mehtas came to Chesterfield, in part, because they value diversity; it looks like they came to the right place. We are fortunate they chose to be part of our rich tapestry.