‘I wanted him to be a role model’
Paresh A Shah is an attorney, the founder of the media company Hollywood TV, and the fou- nder of Millions of Milkshakes, which Hollyw- ood celebrities and athletes like Miley Cyrus, Shaquille O’Neal and Dennis Rodman visit for their specialized milkshakes.
Paresh Shah believes
Ami Bera will be an outstanding
COURTES Y: FACEBOOK. COM/REPAMIBERA
Ami Bera on the campaign trail.
because he had already become a household name. I didn’t
have to take off from work in the 2012 election though I still
had resistance from people, but these things do happen.
I would say he got an incredible team together with the
passion, and we knew it is going to be the one where history was going to be made.
I know Ami since his pre-school days. I was four-and-a-half years old, and I believed that I was the big man on
campus since I had been at the school (Temple Baptist Pre-School in Downey, California) for a year.
One day I was alone in the sandbox at the school digging
away at dirt with a shovel when a two-and-a-half-year-old
boy was carried and placed into my sandbox.
The boy was Ami.
I acknowledged that the boy was somebody I already
knew because we were family friends, but to my dismay,
Ami suddenly began digging in my sandbox. How dare he,
I thought. He did not look up, but kept digging away carefully with deliberate strokes. Soon he began digging in my
area of the box.
I tried to stop him through my frustrated looks, but Ami
remained focused on his digging, never looking up but
instead steadfastly focusing on the task at hand as he
methodically dug away at the dirt stroke by stroke. I eventually yielded to him and allowed him to continuing digging in my area as he appeared to be a on a mission.
As I think about this story, this episode reflects the many
great traits that Ami has brought into his current life.
Among many things, it reflects his extreme focus on performing and completing the task at hand along with his
methodical manner at reaching the completion of any task
he puts his mind to. ;
— As told to Ritu Jha
Dr Reginald Herren, an obstetrician at
the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, and
his wife Dorothy, a nurse, have had a great
impact on the brothers’ lives.
“They had a very good set of values and
strongly engrained their values in their chil-
dren,” Rajesh remembers. “The Herren
family taught us American culture and val-
ues. We used to call Dr Herren’s wife
Mamma. We loved what she cooked. They
led by example, installing the values of serv-
ice to others that the Bera family values
“The Herrens would be local guardians
for scores of foreign university students,”
Rajesh adds. “They would guide them in
their assimilation into American society.
Sunday meetings would be held at their
home for these students from all over the
world. This would be a Bible study session
followed by dinner. My father, who arrived
at USC in 1958, and my mother and I were
lifelong friends with the Herrens.”
‘Representative Bera would not have been possible
had President Obama not been there’
Dr Herren delivered both Rimal and Ami.
“Shortly after Ami’s birth, my mother’s
father passed away, and she traveled to
India. The Herrens had us move into their
home for the three months that my mother
was in India. Ami was only three months
old,” Rajesh recalls.
“For Rimal and me, it was an amazing
house to live in. They had a large family, a
swimming pool, and many people coming
and going. They had an amazing collection
“I believe Rimal was inspired to become a
doctor during this exposure to the Herren
family. Ami would have picked up on this
and the values of community service over
the next several years. The Herrens became
role models for our family.”
One summer Ami Bera traveled to
Washington, DC to intern for then US
Senator Alan Cranston.
“This was a big shock for our family. I
remember inviting him to dinner and Ami
told me he had been seeing Janine for two
years. I would say he was fast forwarding us
to American culture and American society.
I like Janine. If you look at a check list at
what you want in a daughter-in-law, you
would check ‘yes’ for everything except that
she is not Indian. Janine is a great person.”
Recalling the day Ami announced that he
would run for Congress at a family gather-
ing five years ago, Rajesh says, “We were all
excited. I asked him, ‘Are you sure you want
to do this?’ and he said yes. President
Obama opened the doors for many.”
“Representative Ami Bera would not have
been possible had President Barack Obama
not been there,” his eldest brother points
out. “I am a Republican, so we have good
conversations on issues like healthcare.
Ami takes inputs from everyone. He has
changed a lot since he won the election,
become quite polished. He has became a
good listener. He remembers people’s
names, even the last conversations he had
with them. I wonder how he does it!” ;
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