Jill Biden’s policy director Mala Adiga has her roots in Udupi district of Karnataka

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Mangaluru: Indian-origin Mala Adiga has been appointed as policy director of Jill Biden, the first lady of US president-elect Joe Biden. Mala Adiga’s appointment has brought joy to Kakkunje village in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district in Karnataka.

Mala belongs to the family of K Suryanarayana Adiga. He is the founder of the erstwhile undivided Dakshina Kannada districts private sector Karnataka Bank Limited. Mala is also related to Aravind Adiga, who won the Man Booker Prize in 2008. Mala is the niece of Nirmala Upadhya who is her father’s elder sister. Nirmala told reporters in Kundapur that Mala is an affectionate and lovely girl. She treasures relationships and has her roots firmly in India.

Nirmala, 87, said Mala had called her up Saturday to share the news of being made a senior staffer at White House. She will take up her position when Joe Biden takes office as President of the USA in January.

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. Her mother Jaya Adiga had studied medicine in Vellore.

Nirmala recalled meeting Mala at a family get-together in Bangalore in 2019. She had then travelled with her daughter Sujatha Nakkatthaya to participate in the festivities. Mala had come to Bangalore with husband Charles and daughter Asha to attend the event with her parents.

The entire Mala family had come to Kundapur seven years ago. They had fallen in love with the beaches there. She had offered puja at the Kakkunje temple and they visited their ancestral house in Babbarianakatte, informed Nirmala.