Houston got a taste of Bollywood at the sold-out 2017 Tiger Ball held at the Asia Society Texas Center. The theme was "Magnificent India," and more than 650 patrons and guests, dressed in black-tie and national dress, entered a massive reception tent to find a jaw-dropping, life-sized replica of an elephant, a symbol of good luck in Indian culture. Snaps with the elephant were the envy of Instagram as attendees lined up to pose with the bejeweled showstopper.
The excitement didn’t end there. As the cocktail hour came to an end, several dhol drummers strolled through the tent, leading a procession into the museum's Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall to the beat of their double-headed drums. Lining the walkway were several women wearing traditional outfits from different states in India, showcasing the diversity of the country from region to region, as well as some of the many ways to wear a sari.
The two-story Grand Hall was decked out with tables adorned with rich purple linens and various centerpieces, from candelabras to colorful dandiya sticks (wooden batons decorated with wound fabrics and used in a traditional folk dance). Guests enjoyed a decadent meal, including seared sea bass and grilled lamb chop masala, catered by City Kitchen as honorees Sushila and Dr. Durga Agrawal were presented with an award for their dedication to the community and longtime support of Asia Society Texas Center.
Following dinner, attendees returned to the reception tent for dessert and lively Bollywood and Top 40 tunes spun by a DJ. A troupe of Bollywood dancers were the first to hit the floor as they performed to several songs, interacting with partygoers and teaching them a few dance moves.
Orchestrating the evening were ball chairs Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Marie and Vijay Goradia, and Angela and Chowdary Yalamanchili. Honorary co-chairs included Renu and Suresh Khator, Raj and Jugal Malani, Nalini and Dr. Virendra Mathur, and Nidhika and Pershant Mehta.
The more than $1 million dollars raised from the event benefits exhibitions and programs at Asia Society to promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and the East, and strengthen the partnerships of Houston’s diverse communities.
Joining the celebration were Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Muffet Blake, Mina Chang and Jake Harriman, Jo and Jim Furr, KHOU evening anchor Rekha Muddaraj and her husband Dr. Neil Badlani, Carolyn Farb, restaurateur Kiran Verma and her daughter Puja Verma, Nick Florescu, Lily and Charles C. Foster, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Gordon Quan, Amit Ray and consul general of India Anupam Ray, Chris and Divya Brown, Ruchi Mukerjee, and Bill King.