Mamata Banerjee’s dream of turning Calcutta into London may be a distant one but New York City is about to turn into Calcutta for a day next week!
Children’s Hope India’s Gala, the 21st Anniversary Black & White Ball to be held in New York City on October 13, will have a Viva Calcutta theme with everything Calcutta from backdrop to food.
As part of the theme, the annual silent auction held at the Gala will put up a bat and ball autographed by Sourav Ganguly, a sketch of the Howrah Bridge by Jogen Chowdhury and a black-and-gold Sabyasachi sari worn by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at Cannes.
The base price for the autographed bat and ball and the painting is $3,000 while that for the sari is $2,500.
“This year the theme is Viva Calcutta, which is a celebration of compassion and giving, to help children realise their dreams. The theme celebrates the dynamic nature of the city of Calcutta,” said Kavita Lund, the president of Children’s Hope India.
Last year, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had donated a painting titled Flower Power for the auction. It sold for $3,000. In the past, Children’s Hope has also auctioned a bat and a ball autographed by Kapil Dev.
The 800 guests attending the Gala on the banks of River Hudson will be able to get photographs clicked with the backdrop of a simulated Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly and tuck into Calcutta street food like phuchka, jhaalmuri and kati roll.
This year, the Spirit of India honour will be given to PepsiCo chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi.
Keeping with the theme of Viva Calcutta, there will also be three Spirit of Bengal Awards that will be given to international art connoisseur Sundaram Tagore, fashion designer Rachel Roy and quizmaster Derek O’Brien.
Children’s Hope, started in 1992 by a group of professionals, raises about half a million dollars at the annual gala. Starting with one pre-school project for 25 children, the organisation supports 25 projects, involving 50,000 children across India, including Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.