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Delightful Diwali celebrations with ‘Club 24’

 Members of Club 24 with their guests and host Savita Rao. Photo credit: Murali Sannthana

Members of Club 24 with their guests and host Savita Rao. Photo credit: Murali Sannthana

by Shobana Muratee
Diwali, the grand Indian Festival of Lights, was celebrated by Club 24 on Saturday, October 22, hosted by its members Savita and Sanjay Rao with abundant fervor and fun at their palatial home in Palm Royale, Sugar Land.
Club 24 is a compact, non-profit organization with members within the range of 60-65 by invitation only. Although few in number, its members are widely connected with various other charities, local and national as well as international, where many of them serve on boards. ‘Quality over quantity,” says Pradeep Gupta, president of Club 24. “Also, when we have our signature events we can host it at a member’s house with 100-150 people,” he said, like this one for Diwali.

Pradeep Gupta , President of Club 24 addressing the gathering. Next to him is Dr. Asra Oberoi, Event Chair, flanked by Co-Chairs Vipra Bhasin and Dr. Aparna Kamat. Photo credit: Murli Santanam.

Pradeep Gupta , President of Club 24 addressing the gathering. Next to him is Dr. Asra Oberoi, Event Chair, flanked by Co-Chairs Vipra Bhasin and Dr. Aparna Kamat. Photo credit: Murli Santanam.

Started ten years ago by like-minded Indian Americans who believed in ‘giving back to the community’, Club 24 grew strong under stalwart leadership and continues to follow its mission of building bridges with mainstream communities and also its members. Addressing the guests, Gupta spoke a few words about the significance of Diwali and how Club 24 tries to promote culture and tradition through this signature events. He mentioned the cornerstones of the organization as being Philanthropy, Outreach and Fellowship/Mentorship. Members are passionate about the different charities and causes with where they donate a certain amount and club matches it (usually up to $1000), he explained. They have a formal get together at a member’s house and distribute checks.
Ashok Garg, the only founder member still serving on board says, “This is the only organization that allows the member to elect what charities they want to contribute to and the Club matches.

L-R: Asheet Yagnik, Roy Joseph, Sam Abraham, Sanjay Rao and Ash Shah.

L-R: Asheet Yagnik, Roy Joseph, Sam Abraham, Sanjay Rao and Ash Shah.

We don’t take their money and redistribute it. Club 24 has been doing this for ten years and never had a problem so far.” Garg says his number one passion is charity and every year he has raised $25,000 for the past ten years, to his Rotary Club and BAPS, and few others he said.

City of Houston Controller Chris Brown and his wife Divya. On the left are Kiran and Pradeep Gupta while on the right hosts Savita and Sanjay Rao. Photo (s) credit: Murali Sannthana.

The Club also does outreach programs through its members who serve on several boards like Lighthouse for the Blind, Pratham, and NPR, to name a few. The Club holds one outreach event a year and last year they went on a cruise on Keemah Bay, which was such a hit that they plan another this year. For fellowship, Club 24 supports organizations like the Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP) and hopes to get the younger generation involved. Other events the Club holds are the Valentine’s Day and Christmas Party (brunch) where members’ children join in.
Earlier, Dr. Asra Oberoi, Signature Events Chair welcomed the guests, prominent among who were City of Houston Controller Chris Brown and his wife Divya, City of Sugar Land Councilmember, Harish Jajoo and former City of Sugar Land Councilmember Tom Abraham and wife Sarah. She thanked the hosts Sanjay and Savita and daughter Monica, who lit the traditional lamp. This was followed by a melodious prayer song Dr. Aparna Kamat.

L-R: Tom Abraham, Jugal Malani, Harish Jajoo, Swatantra Jain and Dr Amitabh Shukla

L-R: Tom Abraham, Jugal Malani, Harish Jajoo, Swatantra Jain and Dr Amitabh Shukla

Music group ‘Kashish’ enthralled the audience with a variety of hit songs and caterers Madras Pavilion served delicious Indian cuisine. With the exception of fireworks, the hosts Savita and Sanjay Rao gave a delightful treat of Diwali.


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