Magic Bus 5th Gala Produces $1 Million Baby with Kapil Dev

Magic Bus USA Chairman Amit Bhandari, Houston Chapter President Kapil Mathur and with other board members and special guest Miss World 2017 Manushi Chillar and cricket Superstar Kapil Dev.

BY SANCHALI BASU

HOUSTON: Kicking off its festivities celebrating the 5th year, the Magic Bus gala organizers went all out to make it a grand success, the evening of Saturday, February 9, at the Royal sonesta hotel. The cocktail reception was abuzz with activity as the attendees showed up in all their glamour and glitz. The event raised a record $1 million for educational projects in India.

Ritika Saligram held the audience’s attention with her rendition of the US and Indian national anthems.

Kapil Mathur, the president of the Houston chapter, in his opening remarks mentioned how Magic Bus was helping one person at a time from childhood to livelihood.

Amit Bhandari, Chairman of Magic Bus, USA elaborated how Magic Bus was encouraging Indian kids to stay in school, marry above the age of 18 and get higher education. These are the premises on which Magic Bus has been able to help around 2,000 kids over the past 5 years. Through this program 87% attend college vs a national rate of 10%, girls earn twice the national average. Magic Bus works with more than 3.75 lakh children and 10,000 young people living in poverty across 22 states of India.

Swapnil Agarwal, guest speaker, owner of Nitya Capital and karya Property management, in welcoming Kapil Dev, the guest of honor, shared some anecdotes of how he idolized the great cricket all rounder and had shaped his life based on the latter’s work and sports ethics. Kapil had missed only 1 game in his entire career of 131 matches over a span of 16 years.
Kapil Dev, the Haryana hurricane, shared that anyone can achieve whatever one wants to, if there is passion, love and affection. He played for India for that reason and feels very humbled and embarrassed by the accolades showered on him. He mentioned that the magic lies in India and it is time to give back.

Kapil was very reluctant at the age of 16 to start playing cricket since he knew he would have to speak in English. Despite being tentative, he did master the language after 20 long years, but still loves to break into Hindi, which he did to the delight of the audience.

Very appropriately, he was presented a pair of cowboy boots by Dr. Dharmesh Patel, board member, to add to his collection of 150 pairs of shoes.

Manushi Chillar, Miss World 2017, the other guest of honor, was introduced by Arpita Bhandari, benefactor. Manushi, who wanted to be the 1st Indian woman president, ended up differently, when she was crowned Miss World, at the tender age of 20. She has visited 20 countries and affecting the lives of children, who are our future, by empowering them.
Dr. Amita Bhalla, board member stated how Magic Bus was the “wind beneath the wings” of people in deep poverty to facilitate and achieve their dreams through the community mentorship programs.

Deval Sanghavi, partner and co-founder Dasra, who wrote the first check for Magic Bus in 1999 was elated that starting with 50 children, it has impacted 400,000 lives now in India. Matthew Spacie, COO who established Magic Bus, now employs 1,500 people and Houston chapter raises more funds than any other place globally.

Parvati Pujari, flew in from India, to share how the Magic Bus mentor had helped her to continue school, and at 16, she had become a community health leader. At 24, she was the first girl graduating from her village. She went on to complete a Masters in business development and even convinced her parents to allow her to marry outside of her caste.

This was followed by dinner provided by Dawat catering. Entertainment for the evening was provided by Banachek, mentalist who captivated the audience with his psychic powers. It was a long program, but well worth it for all the money that was raised at the event.

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