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India House Celebrates 12th Annual Gala

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Photos: Bijay Dixit

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By Vanshika Vipin

SUGAR LAND:  It was the evening of celebrations after a yearlong work of new ideas, engagement and development of stronger community ties amidst the cultural diversity in Houston.  The 12th Annual Gala celebrations of India House, Houston  was hosted at the Marriott, Sugar Land on March 21. An annual fundraising event hosted by India House to engage more people in the community to provide the wide array of cultural and social services available at India House for free of cost,  to the ever expanding community. The Marriott hotel was flocked with around 350 socially and culturally conscious patrons who went out of their way to ensure that India House celebrated their largest fundraising evening with a bang.

India House Houston had been working incessantly to bridge the gap between the Indian and the local community in Houston, thus becoming a melting pot of cultures and spreading the Indian values and integrity system amongst the three decade old Indo American community of more than 140,000 people. Besides providing immigration consultancy, India House provides Free Yoga and Meditation classes, and legal, medical and various cultural services to the community. In order to provide a larger part of these services completely free, India House hosts a yearly fundraising event to ensure that the funds keep flowing in for this mammoth mission.

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This year too, India House hosted a gala fundraising event with a theme of ‘Unity in Diversity’. The event started with the American National Anthem, sung by Chloe Chowdhury followed by Indian National Anthem by Malika Ghei. The Master (Mistress) of Ceremony was none other than the vivacious bundle of energy, ABC Channel 13 reporter Pooja Lodhia. She brought in her infectious energy in the moment of pauses for this charitable cause.

Dr. Manish Rungta, started the introductory welcome note on behalf of Jugal Malani, President of India House. He welcomed all the patrons, sponsors, guests and the well wishers of the community who had shown solidarity for one cause – betterment of the Houston community at large. The introductory note was followed by a small speech by Vipin Kumar, General Manager, India House. He took the audience down the memory lane by sharing his association and journey with this cause. His passion for the community centre was reflected in his careful selection of words. A short informative video on the history, values and events of the India House was presented to the audience.

Carl Lewis, the legendary American athlete, 10 times Olympic winner, 9 out of which were gold, was the Keynote speaker for the evening. Having studied at the University of Houston in his formative years and having being coached in the city, Carl Lewis had a particular affinity for this place. It was the coaching at this place that got him qualified for his first Olympics entry in 1980. Passion for the sport and the discipline to excel is a quality that is inherent in all award winning sportsmen. Carl Lewis, an example of this burning passion and dedication, addressed the India House with an inspiring speech.

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The Theme ‘Unity in Diversity’ was reflected in the entertaining performances coordinated by Vanshika Vipin (center) at the end of the evening. Participating dance groups were Naach Houston, Infused Performing Arts, Shundoris and Shri Natraj School of Dance.

Various elected officials and the Socialites of the city were present, giving their bit to the society to make a difference. The guests were seen hobnobbing over the cocktails in the splendid ambience of the foyer of the Marriott hotel.

Few of them were Consul General of India Parvathaneni Harish along with his wife Nandita Parvathaneni, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Council member Mike Laster, Council member and Mayor Pro-term City of Sugar Land Harish Jajoo accompanied with his wife Shashi Jajoo, Council member Richard Nguyen, Dr. John Mendelsohn, former President, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The evening then proceeded by recognizing the patrons and the sponsors who facilitated the success of the gala. Pioneers, contributors and volunteers form a triad of any successful community.  The award ceremony was but a small way to encourage and thank the supporters for their contribution. The award winners for ‘Community Service Awards’ were – Dr. Manish Rungta,  Darshan Wadhwa, CPA and Prabhat C. Sharma. Pankaj Malani received the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award while  Amit Bhandari was felicitated with ‘The Philanthropist of the year’ award.  Devi Prasad Rungta, the chair of the evening, concluded the award ceremony with a vote of thanks to the sponsors, patrons, guests and the dignitaries who had graced the occasion and were a part of the success story of India House.

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India House Staff With Carl Lewis

The Theme ‘Unity in Diversity’ was reflected in the entertaining performances coordinated by Vanshika Vipin at the end of the evening.  Dance groups like Naach Houston, Infused Performing Arts, Shundoris and Shri Natraj School of Dance were the ones who incorporated the theme in their enchanting dance performances. This was followed by an entartaining performnace by Ajay Chunchu from Masti Entertainment who entertained the audience with his singing and shayaris. Excellent sound system and music was provided by DJ AV (Arshad Virani). The guests indeed had an entertaining time dancing and socialising with each other over the scrumptious dinner by Bombay Brasserie. A&A Video provided live video feed and projection system as their complimentary contribution to India House.

India House’s Gala was one night to remember, indeed.

For more information on India House and its various programs visit at www.indiahouse.org or contact vipin@indiahouseinc.org or call at 713-929-1900.

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