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For the little ones' qismat

Last week saw an evening where performers did their bit for underprivileged youngsters.

Lucky Ali, the star of the evening. — Photo: Sreenivasa Murthy

THE BALL Room at the Taj West End was shimmering with beautiful women, draped in flowing robes or ethnic weaves, escorted by their elegantly turned out men. Soft music played in the background and the place had a fairy tale-like quality. When everyone was seated comfortably, the lights went off and the screen on the stage came alive with a tiny black hand moving around an empty room with a plastic aeroplane in its hand. Pilot... ? Asked the bold words across the screen...

And suddenly the rude reality of life hit everyone hard in the face. Not everyone is lucky enough to afford designer silks, and some of those clothes could feed a family for half a year.

"It is not in our hands to choose a particular family to be born into. Whether rich or poor, good or bad, we are destined to be where we are. And the underprivileged children too did not will to be where there are today. So why can't all of us join hands and help them realise their dreams and fulfil their ambitions?" was the message of Qismat, a charity programme organised by Shreen Malani of the Renaissance Gallerie for Christel House India, a school for underprivileged children.

So the rich and the famous, who included a few film stars, did come together to "break the circle of poverty and come together for a cause". So there was Sanjay Khan with wife Zarine Khan, dancer Vani Ganapathy, Rani Bopanna, and the star of the evening, Lucky Ali. Lucky walked in with his salt and pepper hair, not in the least seeming self-conscious, while his senior, Sanjay Khan, sported jet black hair.

Lucky Ali and Saroo Maini went on the stage to do their bit for the occasion.

Saroo released her debut album and performed for the select audience. She sang and danced vigorously with the group Extreamers to her fast-paced Indipop music. Amidst applauses, she announced that the proceeds from her debut album would go to Christel House.

This was followed by a brief performance by the dance group, Nupur, which was a welcome sight at the event. The two young dancers — Hari and Chandana — moved gracefully across the tiny stage to traditional folk music sans lyrics.

The evening, of course, belonged to Lucky Ali. Clad simply in a black jacket, he sat on a high chair with his guitar, closed his eyes, and started to sing. That was enough to create magic. He began with his debut song "O Sanam, Mohabbat Ki Kasam". One might remember that the wistful song, as famous for its choreography with Egyptian pyramids forming the backdrop, remained on top of the charts when it was released a few years ago. Another song, dedicated to his late brother, was so movingly rendered that he almost had the audience in tears. But, he was not there to make us cry, but to make us donate liberally for a charitable cause. Pockets open only when one feels blessed. Lucky shook himself out of grief and said: "The show must go on. So let us get on to our next number, which is from one of my latest films." And he wound up his short performance with a fast-paced number, which once again brought a smile on everyone's face.

Before he walked off, all he said was: "It is great to be here in Bangalore. Though I was too tied up with other things, I am really glad to be here to support the cause of Christel House."

If it is a programme organised by Shreen, then paintings also have to be a part of the show. So there were works by Samir Mondal, which will be on display at the Renaissance Gallerie till October 19. He also intends to donate the proceeds from the sale to Christel House.

Christel House, which is described as "an ordinary school for ordinary children" was founded by Christel DeHaan in 1998 and its Bangalore chapter was started by Shukla Bose in 2001. Today there are 450 children here, who are provided good education and more importantly, loving home.

The mission of Christel House is to "help orphaned, abandoned, and underprivileged children, and them self-sufficient".

Ms. Bose said: "You and I have the responsibility to make the dreams of these children come true. We believe that every child, given the opportunity, can be like you and me."

May be this is really our chance to show that we care.


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