India House Hosts 2020 Gala — Virtually due to the Pandemic

Dr. Virendra Mathur, Trustee India House, addressing the virtual audience at the 17th Annual Gala.

Houston: India House 17th Annual Gala was held virtually on, Saturday, August 29, 2020 from 7 pm to 9 pm. A very illustrious list of invitees joined the Gala which was hosted online. Few of these prominent invitees were- Padma Shree Awardee, Anup Jalota, Consul General of India, Aseem Mahajan, keynote speaker Bhavesh (Bob) Patel, CEO, LyondellBasell Industries, India House Trustees, Executive Committee, Sponsors, and Volunteers.

While selected invitees joined the Zoom Webinar from their respective places, the Gala was streamed live on India House Facebook page, YouTube page and Instagram page.  The Gala was viewed by 2,600 people on Facebook alone.

Exactly at 7 pm the Mistress of Ceremony, ABC News correspondent Pooja Lodhia welcomed everyone, and in a true Indian tradition invited the students of Sunanda’s Performing Art to commence the program with Ganesh Vandana in the form of a mesmerizing dance recital.

Pooja very proudly mentioned that this was her 7th time hosting the India House gala. She then invited Manish Rungta, President India House to give the opening remarks. Manish Rungta illustrated the mission of India House and then played the video message of Senator John Cornyn, a big supporter of India House. Durga Agrawal, Trustee India House, then Invited Consul General of India, Aseem Mahajan for his remarks. He spoke about the contribution of India House in community service over the years and how India House has stepped up to help the needy in these difficult times.

Pooja Lodhia then introduced the man behind today’s show, Col. Vipin Kumar, Executive Director India House. Through videos and Power Point presentation, he showcased India House activities and programs being done over the years to support the community and reiterated the commitment of India House of giving back to the community during this difficult time of pandemic

He also introduced volunteers, technical team of Namaste Radio and India House staff whose contribution had been enormous in organizing this gala. This followed by a very melodious song by a rising singing star from India, Bhanu Pandit.

Bal Sareen, Trustee India House then introduced the Keynote speaker for the evening Bhavesh (Bob) Patel, CEO, LyondellBasell. Mr. Patel, emphasized Indo-Americans’ contribution in the upliftment of people in the community irrespective of race, caste, ethnicity, financial status etc. He lauded India House’s effort in helping the community over the years and also in the current scenario of social distancing amidst Corona virus pandemic. He appealed to everyone to support India House programs and services.

Chief Guest Anup Jalota then joined and was introduced one-on-one to all Gala sponsors by Col. Vipin Kumar. Last to be introduced was Gopaal Seyn, an accomplished American contemporary artist, who created a gorgeous live painting in a virtual Jugalbandi with Anup Jalota’s mellifluous songs being sung across the seven seas.

The thematic content of Jalota’s songs were the kind associated with the Raas Leela of Shri Krishna & Radha, which was skillfully depicted in the painting. The progress of the painting was focused time and again during the performance.

A big surprise for the evening was a donation of $10,000.00 from India House Trustee Virendra and Nalini Mathur and donation of $5,000.00 each from Paul & Stephanie Madan and Arun & Vinny Verma. Throughout Jalota’s singing online donations kept coming in.

Hari Agarwal, India House Trustee appealed all to support India House and then requested the chief Guest Anup Jalota to take everyone to the melodious journey of about an hour.

With his orchestra in tandem, he sang for close to an hour his very popular songs Aisi Lagi Lagan, Rang De Chunariya and many more. On requests he also sang few popular Hindi movie songs. Virendra Mathur thanked Anup Jalota for being part of our Gala even though it was early Sunday morning in India.

Anup Jalota mentioned that he looked forward to coming to Houston when the situation becomes normal. He also mentioned that he is very impressed with the work India House is doing for the community and extended all his support to raise funds for India House.

The beautiful painting of Lord Krishna by Gopaal Seyn was auctioned, and after an exciting bidding session, was sold to the highest bidder Hari Agrawal, India House Trustee for $3000.00.

Col. Vipin Kumar gave full credit of a successful Gala to the entire team, consisting of India House staff (Pallavi, Bhumi, Vanshika and Vincent), Rungta Siblings (Manav, Manasi and Manya Rungta), Vanshika and Sandeep of Namaste Radio for their technical support, Bijay Dixit for photography, Darshak Thacker for light effects and Emcee Pooja Lodhia. He also thanked Bombay Brasserie for delivering food to the houses of every sponsors of the Gala.

Amidst thunderous applause the evening came to an end and the attendees got a view of the board room from where the entire team was functioning in making this gala successful.