THE HIGH LIFE
LITTLEINDIA.COM, JANUARY 2005
Meera Gandhi with HRH Queen Noor of Jordan and
Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece out at United World College event
Indeed, New York is a town where partying is serious business, especially
with the champagne and caviar crowd who attend benefit galas. In fact, it’s
almost a social obligation! There are literally hundreds of charitable
organizations and every high society diva has a favorite cause.
The evening sparkles as guests mingle, sip champagne and nibble on hors
d’ouevres, while plugging causes from AIDS research to children’s charities.
All the great museums, art galleries and theater, dance and music institutions
are supported by the black tie crowd, who raise an astounding amount of
money for an astounding array of causes.
A handful of Indian Americans are part of this social whirl and they include
New York socialite Meera Gandhi and her investment banker husband
Vikram Gandhi. When it comes to partying, Gandhi is the pro, renowned for
her own great parties too. The Gandhis live in a beautiful historic townhouse,
which once belonged to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, which they have spent
years restoring. It is decorated according to Vaastu principles and is crowned
with a roof garden.
Meera Gandhi, who is on the board of ValKill, the summer residence of
Eleanor Roosevelt, has held events at her home for the First Lady’s grand
daughter Anne Roosevelt and many fund raisers for different causes. Mike
Wallace, Paula Zahn, Robert Thurman, Steven and Kimberly Rockefeller and
actress Phylicia Rashad are some of the big names who’ve attended parties
at the Gandhi residence.
An MBA from Boston, Gandhi worked as an investment banker with Banque
Nationale du Paris and Banque Indo-Suisse, before switching to fashion,
becoming a buyer for Lord & Taylor and then worked for Calvin Klein, Armani
and Oscar de la Renta, collaborating with her mother in India.
Currently on a long break from work, Gandhi is concentrating on her family
and on doing some good, while having an outrageous amount of fun. And
that’s the benefit of attending a benefit — you feel saintly while you’re having
a wicked amount of fun! Meera is on the board of several organizations — the
United World College, the Grameen Digitial Partners Foundation and Safety
Net — and her way of supporting them is by raising funds and awareness
She hosted the fundraising Asia on My Mind dinner for Asia Society with the
theme: “Passage to India” with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and a couture sale
by top Indian designers at her home, which was organized with the U.S.
Ambassador’s wife and raised funds for the Gujarat earthquake through
American India Foundation, chaired by former President Bill Clinton.
A socialite’s life means all the other trappings: Holidays are usually spent in
Ritz Carlton villas around the world or traveling to India to meet the family.
This year alone Gandhi has traveled to Moscow, St Petersburg, Hong Kong,
Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, London, Bombay, Delhi,
Bangalore, West Palm Beach, Colorado and Los Angeles.
Needless to say, being a socialite involves rubbing shoulders with celebs on
the red carpet, and Gandhi has rubbed her share, including Queen Noor,
Prince Pavlos, Senator Hilary Clinton and actress Reese Witherspoon. She
is, in fact, working on an exclusive event with Senator Clinton for just 100
people, to raise funds for Val-Kill. Yes, working for the greater good is tough
work, but someone’s got to do it!