Shimmer of swaying saris, crisp rustle of tuxedos and Nehru Suits, Masala Mama in her navy blue business attire walked into the Central Park Ballroom at the New York Sheraton with one goal in mind: to find a story. Disclaimer up front—I am not a journalist. I’m just about people, and I love hearing their stories. And if given permission, to share them. In order to touch, tickle and transform. That’s what the waterfalls of this life do for me, and I’m all about sharing. When I find something or someone wonderful, how dare I hoard my treasure chest.
Attended the Reception at the American India Foundation (AIF) Awards Gala last night and woke up still thinking about the stories I heard. The people I met. The laughter shared, the bridges crossed and the bridges built. In the midst of conversation and clinking glasses, I was reminded of the sweet taste of new friends and fresh dreams. And what dreams look like when they become a reality.
American India Foundation’s mission is “to accelerate social and economic change in India.” The evening was dedicated to three such individuals: namely, Ajay Banga, Amartya Sen, Radhika Roy, and Prannoy Roy.
All four recipients continue to contribute to social and economic justice, but I wanted to meet Ajay Banga. I had read about his travels to South Africa and the catalyst of change Mastercard has become in a country on its road to recovery, and I looked forward to hearing his thoughts on life there, Post-Apartheid.
Spotted Mr. Banga when the crowd had thickened, and a swarm of fans surrounded him instantly, cameras flashing overhead. One camera. Photographs were strictly prohibited so I tucked away my iPhone and vowed to make eye contact. As I weaved my way past the hustle and bustle, I thought to myself, what am I going to say to the CEO of such a prosperous company that will cause him to give me the time of day. I considered telling a white lie.
I settled for, “Hi. What are you drinking tonight?” Continue reading