Priya Living is Living with Love
A Letter from our Founder, Arun Paul
When I was a child, I used to spend hours pouring over the one big photo album my parents brought with them when they migrated from India to America. I’d flip through the pages of black and white images as though it were a mysterious book from the past.
Here’s my grandfather in a Nehru jacket posing formally for the camera. There’s my mom in a sari smiling with her sister, clutching her diploma. My father, arm and arm with his best friend, grinning widely for the camera. My parents at their wedding, each with a tika mark on their foreheads, both of them looking so serious. Those images absorbed me then and continue to linger in my mind. Maybe it’s my Mom’s hands on her hips, a cow sitting in the street behind her, or my Dad, skinnier than ever, a rickshaw whizzing past, the lattice stonework of a terrace apartment in the distance.
“Who are these people?” I would think. “How did they get from there to here?” It never ceases to amaze me how my parents found the courage to uproot themselves from one place and replant themselves in a new country where the language, food, and customs were so different from their own. Despite all odds, they bloomed in this new world- not by leaving their culture behind but by bringing it with them.
Our house had a revolving door where aunties, uncles, and grandparents would come and go, sharing traditions with us, making sure our lives were full of good food, Bollywood movies, family stories, and Indian celebrations. Growing up in the extraordinarily diverse town of Cerritos, California, I watched the immigrant story unfold not only for my Indian parents but also for my friends’ parents who came from Mexico, Korea, China, Philippines, and so many more places in between. Our parents showed true grit and resilience. They plowed ahead in America, but they also held fast to their ancestry. And that has inspired me throughout my life.
I founded Priya Living to bring multiple generations together to live, play, and enjoy one another’s company. I named Priya Living after my grandmother, a gentle and loving soul who brought our family together. Priya, which means “beloved” in Sanskrit, was a perfect namesake for my Dadi. And it’s a perfect name for our communities, where we firmly believe that life is better when it’s shared with others.
The possibility of meaningful human connection supports all that we do at Priya Living. From communal kitchens to open-air patios, we cultivate our living spaces so residents can connect with each other. We also offer programming to help them discover more about themselves. We encourage residents to remember their childhoods, to follow their curiosity, and to make maast (fun), whether they are gardening, cooking, singing karaoke, or just chatting with a friend over a cup of chai.
It’s my turn now to offer what my parents offered me all those years ago when they migrated to America: a place to belong and to feel loved.
We invite you to join us here at the Priya Living Blog, where we’ll be sharing information about what we care about most: community life, health and wellness for seniors, and living life in technicolor!