Paavni was very young when they moved abroad, so on November 19, 2016 in the Chandna’s neighborhood, she saw snow for the first time in her life.
Left to right, Saumya Pant and her daughters Paavni Pant-Rao and Suhaani Pant-Rao purchase a Christmas tree from Big Lots in Athens, OH, on December 5, 2016. Originally from India, they have also lived in Abu Dhabi, India, and New Mexico. When they lived in India, Saumya decorated for Christmas with her driver, but now, in America, the girls help decorate for their first time.
Husband and father, Nagesh Rao, jokingly places a red Christmas ribbon on his sweatshirt while he pulls Christmas decorations out of shopping bags with his daughter, Paavni, in their Athens home on December 6, 2016. They plan to only be back in Athens for a year as they hope to find new jobs and eventually start an organization for empowering women.
Suhaani gazes at the mirrors hanging in their living room on November 8, 2016. These mirrors, along with other furnishings, were hanging when they moved in and couldn't be removed.
Saumya picks Paavni up from Athens Middle School on November 15, 2016 and then walks with her to Subway on Court Street for a late lunch.
Saumya is a professor of communication studies at Ohio University. On November 4, 2016 she lectured on hijras, male-to-female transgender individuals living mostly in India and Pakistan. At the end of class, she showed a video demonstrating their persecution and how people hire them for all the main holidays and celebrations yet discriminate against them the rest of the time.
Saumya "jhootas" the spoon while adding spices to one of her Indian dishes on November 21, 2016. The concept of jhoota originates from the caste system. Someone from a higher caste would never share germs with an untouchable, so tasting from a community dish like this is still looked down upon at most Indians gatherings, especially where elders are present. However, it has become a personal preference that is not an issue for most families. There is no equivalent English word for jhoota.
The Pant-Rao family eats pizza as they watch the election results roll in on November 8, 2016 in their home. The girls requested to stay up until the new president was revealed. Saumya said, "I'll wake you up if Hillary wins." A few days later Suhaani said, "No one woke me up in the night so I kind of knew that Trump had won. It was sad...I had this feeling that Hillary would really win, but she really did not."
Chicken Curry, Dal, Pulao, Okra, and Saag Paneer are conventional North Indian dishes that the Pant-Rao family enjoy on December 6, 2016. South Indians traditionally use more mustard seed in simpler dishes, while North Indians cook lavish meals with a lot of cumin.
While Paavni fills her backpack on Friday afternoon, November 18, 2016, Nagesh ties his shoes. They are preparing to go to Columbus, OH, for the night to celebrate a birthday party with their family friends, the Chandnas, of 18 years.
Saumya kisses Suhaani after picking her up from school on November 15, 2016. In Indian culture people don't usually show public displays of affection, but that's a custom that the Pant-Rao family has dropped since moving back to America and raising their children here.
Saumya rings the bell at Sri SaiBaba Temple on November 19, 2016. Ringing the bell signifies awaking the goodness in one's soul.
Saumya cheers along with other family and friends as one of them successfully pins the tail onto the donkey at Arianna's birthday party on November 18, 2016.