Varupi Gupta says her daughter Pareena, now 12, did not always look like her. But the older she gets, the more the resemblance shows.
"I'm really happy my daughter looks like me, and I am glad people compliment us," Varupi said.
And many of our readers agree they look alike -- they were voted No. 1 in this year's Mother's Day Lookalike Contest.
The resemblance is more pronounced when Pareena performs in classical Indian dance, the mother and daughter agreed. She has been performing in such shows for years and also performs Bollywood dance.
"People say I look like her when I have makeup on for dance performances," Pareena said.
The Guptas lived in Pleasanton, then moved to Foster City to be nearer their jobs on the Peninsula, where Varupi is in communications/marketing at Stanford University School of Medicine, and dad Nitin Gupta works at Oracle in finance. But when it was time to buy a house in 2014, they returned to Pleasanton.
"We really like downtown Pleasanton, it has an old-world charm to it," Varupi said. "We are really blessed and lucky to have such a community."
"We really like the diversity in Pleasanton in terms of all the ethnicities that are reflected in the shops and restaurants downtown," she added.
People compliment her when she wears Indian dress, she noted.
"People appreciate the diversity. They say, 'That's so pretty.'"
Pareena went to Mohr Elementary, and now she attends Harvest Park Middle School.
During the pandemic, while working and attending school at home, mother and daughter enjoyed getting out together to their plot in the Pleasanton community garden.
"We grow our food and really enjoy that," Varupi said. "That was our refuge."
She said she's read the Weekly since she moved here.
"Pleasanton Weekly is not only a great source of reliable information but also helps us connect with the vibrant Pleasanton community and has helped in making Pleasanton our home," Varupi said.
She always followed the Mother's Day contest, but only the last year or two, as their resemblance grew, did she consider entering.
"This year we decided we had to do it, to do something fun," Varupi said. "Since Pareena is at an age where she is changing every few months, we had to take a fresh picture."
Dad Nitin stepped up to do that.
"He's not at all a keen photographer but often gives in to the demands of our mom-daughter team," Varupi commented with a laugh.
The runners-up in the 2021 Lookalike Contest are Ava and Monica Chinn. They submitted a photo they took while wine-tasting last month.
"My mom has been wanting to enter this contest for a long time, and she was looking through her photos and found this one," said Monica, 28, who teaches kindergarten in Dublin but lives nearby in Pleasanton.
"From the get-go people said we looked like each other," Ava said. "Our whole lives, people would say, 'Oh, my gosh, you look so much alike.' Someone even commented that our teeth are the same."
People often tell them they look like sisters, which makes Ava happy but Monica less so, they agreed with a chuckle.
"We get our hair cut from the same lady, and she says we have the same mannerisms, too," Ava added.
Ava's family moved to Pleasanton from Berkeley when she was in the first grade, and she went to Alisal Elementary (because nearby Fairlands Elementary was not yet opened), then Harvest Park Middle School and Foothill High. After college at Cal Poly she returned to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she met her husband, Ken.
"Once we had kids, Pleasanton was a good place to live," Ava said, and they bought a home in Pleasanton Meadows. "He is from Richmond ... He saw a stop sign where someone had made a smiley face and said, 'That's Pleasanton graffiti.'"
Monica also went to Alisal, then Harvest Park and Amador Valley High before going to Chico State for college.
Brother Grant, who is three years younger than Monica, looks even more like Ava, she said. Husband Ken thinks Grant looks like Ava, but Monica does not.
"He was giving us a bad time for entering," Monica said. "We said, 'We're going to enter and you'll see.' We proved him wrong."
In recent years, Ava worked in preschool programs with the Dublin recreation department. Now she likes to help out in Monica's classroom.
"It's fun, we get to share the students," Ava said.
"They do think we look alike," Monica said. "They said when my mom came that it was 'Miss Chinn Land.'"
Although it is now official that Ava and Monica look alike, Ava noted, "Monica and I may be the ones who look alike, but she and her dad share the same birthday."
The prizes for this year's contest are $100 for the winners, and $50 for second place, plus free memberships to www.PleasantonWeekly.com, which makes them eligible for member-only events and giveaways.
The other six teams chosen as finalists by staff were Kelly, MacKenzie and Delaney Bammer; Rita and Saachi Bhayani; Lacey and Makenna Meyers; Heather and Zac Richey; Andrea and Marilyn Rozran; and three generations that include mother Vicki LaBarge, grandmother Veronica McKnight and Renee Stockwell.
Happy Mother's Day to all.