Articles

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 through events.

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!