THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the USA on Wednesday, there is something to cheer for the Malayalis. Biden has picked 43-year-old Maju Varghese, who has his roots in Tiruvalla in Pathanamthitta, as the executive director of the four-member Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) which organises the activities around his swearing-in.
Maju’s mother, Saroja Varghese, a former nurse in the US, is super excited about her son’s accomplishments. She told TNIE that though the family is proud of him, an unexpected death of a young friend who was very close to them has left them in mourning.Ever since Biden announced his PIC team, one of the most sought-after Indian-Americans has been Maju. But he remained elusive other than becoming active on his Twitter handle occasionally. A leading Malayali television journalist based in New York told TNIE that the majority of Indian media has been after Majo over the last several weeks.
“Maju is super busy, virtually impossible to get. Lots of Indian media have been trying to reach Maju, who is flying below the ladder. His mother has been equally busy,” said a leading Malayali television journalist. Maju was born to immigrants Mathew Varghese and Saroja Varghese and brought up in the US.
It was Saroja who first landed in the US as a nurse in 1972 alone after working with the Indian Air Force. Later, she took her husband and elder daughter, Manju, to the US. Recently, Majo had had shared his origin and his parent’s immigration story on Twitter when he shot to fame in India.
Saroja stays with her elder daughter Manju and her family in Florida. Saroja who worked as a nurse at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital and Long Island Jewish Hospital took to writing Malayalam travelogue, autobiography and short stories after her retirement. One of her notable works has been ‘Priya Joe, Ninakkayi Ee Varikal’ after her husband’s death. Most of her books have been translated into English. She told TNIE that she is proud of her son’s accomplishments.
“We had the death of a very young friend who was very close to my family in an accident. Not only that, as you know, my son is very busy due to the present situation related to his responsibilities. I don’t want to make any comments under these circumstances,” said Saroja.
Though Maju is not at all connected with the Malayali community, his mother is very active among the fraternity members and they feel that her son’s success doesn’t come as a surprise, implying that the family is known for its never-say-die attitude against all odds. Maju studied political science and economics at the University of Massachusetts, and took his judicial law degree from Hofstra University in New York. Maju met his wife, Julie, when they were both working for the former US presidential candidate Al Gore’s election campaign. The couple has a 14-year-old son, Evan.