Children’s Hope Royal India Gala

Live mannequins in ornate Indian couture greeted guests at Royal India Gala organized by Children's Hope India

Live mannequins in ornate couture greet guests at Royal India Gala. Photo (C) Shaun Mader

Royal India Gala – Children’s Hope India’s annual fundraising event

It was the night of maharajas and maharanis, of pomp and splendor. The occasion was Children’s Hope India Royal India Gala and Pier Sixty in Chelsea Piers, Manhattan had been transformed into a royal retreat with life-size peacocks, golden sculptures, rich silks and gorgeous live mannequins draped in Mughal couture. Yes, hookahs and turbans too!

Guests bid on luxury items at Children's Hope Royal India Gala

Guests at the silent auction at Children's Hope Royal India Gala

Over 540 guests, dressed in their royal best, attended to support the cause of health and education in India.  The guests included Consul General Prabhu Dayal and Mrs. Chandini Dayal, Congressman Frank Guarani, Derek O’ Brian, Member of Parliament, Ghazal King Talat Aziz, Raphael and Linda Benaroya, Drs. Sandra and Arnold Gold of the Gold Institute for Humanism in Medicine and Anjhula Mya Singh Bais of Baiswara with her husband Satish Selvanathan. The Master of Ceremonies was the eloquent television personality and CHI advisory board member Tinku Jain who wove the whole evening seamlessly together.

Dancers from Aatma Performing Arts at the Royal India Gala by Children's Hope India

A Command Performance at the Royal India Gala Photo (C) Shaun Mader

Guests got to pose for their official portraits on royal thrones and feast and drink like royalty on a menu designed for maharajas. A striking dance tableaux from ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ by Aatma Performing Arts set the royal mood of the evening, with warriors, princesses and even the mighty Akbar and Jodha making an appearance. This was followed by singer Falu’s lively performance with her band, which got guests rushing to the dance floor.

L to R:Kavita Lund, CG Prabhu Dayal, Urmi Basu and Mr.Lamano of HSBC Private Bank. Photo (C) Shaun Mader

L to R:Kavita Lund, CG Prabhu Dayal, Urmi Basu and Mr.Lamano of HSBC Private Bank

The Making a Difference Award was presented to the amazing Urmi Basu, founder of New Light Center which works with women in the red light district of Kalighat in Kolkata. This award was sponsored by HSBC Private Bank. Basu spoke movingly of the ‘six degrees of separation’ which connect us all in doing good work.

Tinku Jain who hosted the evening seen with Sagorica Rudra and Maya Rajani Royal India Gala organized by Children's Hope India

Tinku Jain who emceed the gala flanked by Sagorica Rudra and Maya Rajani. Photo - Tony Graves

The Lotus Awards were presented to Daryl and Dr. Mel Rand, great friends of India, and to the noted cardiologist Dr. Samin Sharma, who is presently building a hospital in Jaipur, India.

The Lotus Awards were sponsored by Poonam and AJ Khubani of Telebrands. Daryl Rand spoke eloquently about her personal connection with India and Children’s Hope. She has lead several delegations of American businesswomen to India and is once again taking one to India in February 2012, to forge new connections between the women of two countries, and also help in student-exchange.

Kavita Lund, CG Prabhu Dayal, Daryl Rand, AJ and Poonam Khubani at CH Royal India Gala

Kavita Lund, CG Prabhu Dayal, Daryl Rand, AJ and Poonam Khubani. Photo (C) Shaun Mader

Perhaps the most powerful 3 minutes of the evening was the screening of a video of testimonials from children who have benefited from the work of CH – it was a moving experience and many guests said they were deeply touched by it.  All 11 members of the junior wing of CHI, known as CH2, who are young professionals in Manhattan, came on stage to talk about the importance of volunteering and supporting education for under-privileged children.

CH2 Members at Children's Hope Royal India Gala

CH2 Members at Children's Hope Royal India Gala - Photo Tony Graves

A new feature was also unveiled at the Royal India Gala – The Giving Tree. Through it, supporters could donate funds for the project of their choice and get a red rose or a bracelet of thanks. “The Giving Tree nurtures its saplings; much like Children’s Hope India aims to aid and support less fortunate children,” says Aditi Malhotra, a member of the Benefit Committee, who organized this. “By selecting a specific type of gift you are enabling a direct and immediate benefit to the children. This allows donors, first time or even long time supporters, to participate in measurable causes.”

Sunset over the Hudson River as seen by guests at the Royal India Gala organized by Children's Hope India

Sunset over the Hudson at the Royal India Gala. Photo(C)Shaun Mader

A lively silent auction of luxury goods from artwork to resort stays to jewelry raised several thousand dollars. There was even a bat and ball signed by cricket great Kapil Dev! The evening included sponsors, donors, supporters and their guests.

After dinner, guests got to savor a feast of desserts out on the terrace facing the Hudson River. Having seen a beautiful sunset, they now enjoyed a starlit night over their coffee, before heading out for home with their goodie bags loaded with fun items. All funds raised go toward health and education projects. How could doing good be so much fun?

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!


  1. Hello Lavina
    Congratulations on another successful event
    I am sure that the funds raised will definitely light up the lives of needy children in India.

  2. Veekay Tejpaul on

    Great evening, Great event, great ladies working hard towards a noble cause, who wouldn’t support it.

  3. Lavina Melwani on

    Thank you, Veekay! Coming from you, it means a lot. We’ve got lots of plans for the big anniversary year in 2012 so I can say – you ain’t seen nothing yet! Look forward to your continued support.