Still remembers beach walks, grandpa’s talks in Besant Nagar

CHENNAI: Hours after Joe Biden named Kamala Harris his vice-presidential choice, the Gopalan family in India was excited. “We haven’t slept since we heard the news. We are thrilled for Kamala. She deserves it,” Dr Sarala Gopalan, Harris’ aunt, told a TV channel on Wednesday.
Harris’ late grandfather PV Gopalan is one of her favourite people. She says whenever she visited Chennai with her mother, she loved spending time with him. He took her along on beach walks with his friends and she listened to them debating about corruption in India. She came to Chennai for his 80th birthday and was ‘pen pals’ with him till his death in 1998.
“Though I miss her every day, I carry her with me wherever I go. I think of the battles she fought, the values she taught me, her commitment to improve healthcare for us all. As I continue the battle for a better healthcare system, I do so in her name,” Harris wrote about her mother.
The family has always been close-knit. Harris made her last visit to Chennai after her mother’s death in 2009 to be with her grandmother. When Harris was elected California’s attorney general in 2010, Dr Gopalan broke coconuts at the neighbourhood temple in Besant Nagar. “When she called to tell me about her win, she teased me the coconuts had worked,” said Dr Gopalan, who performs the ritual every time Harris crosses a milestone.

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