C24+ is Fulfilled as it Spreads the Fruits of its Labor Among 11 Charities

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Photos: Bijay Dixit


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By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: For as far back as I can remember going to the Club 24 Plus events, they have been held at the tres chic and enormous houses (well, mostly in the equally manicured and large backyards) of members of the group.

This year’s Philanthropy Night where C24+ hands out checks was to be held at the house of Savita and Sanjay Rao, but due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances as the Raos left hurriedly to attend to the demise of Sanjay’s mother, the event was moved quickly to another member’s house, one who lives within the same vicinity.

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“When I asked him to hold the event, he didn’t flinch,” revealed C24+ President Asha Dhume, “and we moved the arrangements in four days.” She was referring to the generosity of Madhusudan and Bharti Desai who opened up their gigantic home to the 100 people who came for the event. The food was catered by Bhojan restaurant, which also quickly adjusted to the changed venue.

The house was just as much a topic of interest and discussion as was the event itself, for not only is it more than enormous, the interior design down to its indoor 25-foot waterwall and reflecting pool, decorations, floor and wall finishes, furniture settings, lighting and room layouts are straight out of the pages of Houston Home & Garden magazine. Careful attention is paid to every little detail of design and construction. In a sense, that is what you’d expect from a man like Desai who has spent a great many years building and owning hotels and motels.

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Aside from all this, the rows of round dining tables were arranged in the backyard between the cabana and the pool, facing the covered patio of the house where Dhume and her organizing committee warmly greeted the guests and representatives of the honored charities. Off to one side were four finished oil canvases by artist Gopal Seyn; with the artist himself painting another canvas in the three hours that it took the event and dinner to conclude, with the intention of later auctioning it off.

“Club 24 Plus members take great pride in giving back to community causes that are near to their hearts,” said Dhume. “We are building bridges between the Indian community and where we live.”

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Signature Committee chair Asra Oberoi (other members are Dr. Aparna Kamat, Poonam Pagnis and Vipra Bhasin) welcomed the guests to the function and the host, Madhusudan Desai gave a glimpse of his philosophy of life. “We have evolved and so has our knowledge base to allow us to help others,” he said. “Club 24 supports all the new and evolving charities.”

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And during the course of the night, C24+ called upon the list of charities it was donating to come to the stage and receive their checks. These charities were, for the most part, the same as the ones from last year  – Ekal Vidyalaya, Daya, Habitat for Humanity, Houston Public Media, iEducate USA, Interfaith Ministries, Memorial Spring Branch Rotary,  Ovarcome, Pratham, Save A Mother, University of Houston – and each of their representatives spoke briefly about the work they perform and thanked C24+.

One late, but much appreciated guest, was Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and his wife who had also attended last year’s function which was held in West University home of Drs. Aparna and Ashish Kamat (see IAN dated May 16, 2014). Garcia greeted everyone with a Namaste, Salam Alakam and Sat Sri Akal.

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As the philanthropy portion ended evening ended after dinner, many of the guests who stayed had a chance to get a musical interlude from Anand Chauhan, a C24+ supporter, who played his electric guitar and serenaded with songs which he dedicated to his wife Dr. Ashima Chauhan who was in the audience in a long red gown. Calling on the fans of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, he played Jadoo Teri Nazar and Woh Ladki Jo Sab Sey Alag Ho on his guitar, lost in the music.