By Isha Roy
WASHINGTON, DC: It was an event where Washington met Silicon Valley and Wall Street in a Hollywood-type environment. Red carpet, Indian delicacies, bhangra tunes and dance made the first-ever Indian American ball, termed the Indiaspora Ball, truly memorable. Billed as the coming-out party of the Indian American community, in honor of President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration, it lived up to the expectations, at a resplendently decorated Mandarin Oriental hotel here last week.
It was rumored that President Bill Clinton might grace the occasion, but it petered out as the night progressed. But the presence of Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng, half-sister of Obama, and her husband, Konrad Ng, gave a high voltage boost to the impressive list of celebrities present, who walked a red carpet at the basement of the hotel, as around 1300 guests danced the night away.
As the guests sipped fancy cocktails and frolicked inside the jam-packed opulent space inside the hotel, they were regaled with an assortment of music and dance, led by Mona Kahn Co., the Red Baraat bhangra band and Shankar Tucker.
The guests were treated to a ‘heavy reception,’ with food served buffet-style on small plates, created by Food Network’s Maneet Chauhan, in accordance with campaign finance rules, and not be seen as ‘dinner,’ which would be a violation. Drinks were served from a bar inside a makeshift mandap, usually reserved for Indian weddings.
There were a host of new faces for those who know the Whos Who in the Belt Corridor. Prominent amongst the newbies were newly minted California Congressman Ami Bera, with wife Janine Bera, and the lovely Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first-ever Hindu member of U.S. Congress.
The Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao mingled with a crowd that had political heavyweights like Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, chairman of the National Democratic Governor’s Association, who came with his wife Carla Markell, Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and the U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Vinai K. Thummalapally – the first ever Indian Ambassador from the US, and his wife, Barbara Thummalapally. (GIN-AmericanBazaarOnline.com)