by Shobana Muratee
SUGAR LAND – Saturday, February 23, was a day away from the routine for the 72 senior citizens of the Jain Society of Houston who gathered at the residence of Upma and Mukulesh Shah in Sugar Land. The couple hosted luncheon for the seniors and entertained them with great music by local artists, most of them seniors who were gradually shifting away from the limelight. Singer couple Meena and Bharat Contractor sang solos and duets from Bollywood’s golden hits of the 50s and 60s. They were accompanied Jayendra Prabhukhot on Tabla, Altaf bhai on the keyboard, and Syed bhai on the audio system. The ensemble presented a perfect harmony in music and style that had the audience captivated and noticeably lip-syncing to every hit song. Singers Mahendra Mehta, Manisha Gandhi, Jigna Shah and Upma Shah heightened the mood and infused a variety with their collection of songs. It was so enthralling that the seniors had no issues delaying their lunch by a couple of hours. A great spread of vegetarian lunch catered by Chef Nirman Shah, of Nirmaz Food Boutique in Sugar Land was all worth the wait.
The event also showcased a unique exhibition, a collection of One-line drawings by Mrs. Kumud Nilekani, a self-taught artist now in her 80s, had started drawing in her 60s and managed to create an impressive number of pieces of diverse themes. She is the mother of Kanchan Kabad, past president of the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) and a prominent volunteer who has been helping cancer survivors cope.
Mukulesh Shah is a leading businessman, a franchise owner of Subway stores, some of which are in the Sugar Land area. Upma said supporting and spotlighting artists was their calling in life. It was also an opportunity to utilize their magnificent home with water view to host such events: promoting local talents like musicians, singers and artists of Indian origin and help them get recognized. Typically, they host four to five events of the same scale each year. “It our way of giving back to the community that has given us so much,” she told the guest as she spoke of her passion. The couple have two children: son Neerav is married to Noopur and they have a daughter named Suneri and daughter Ronak is still studying and is yet to be married. They also plan to host a fundraiser for world renowned L. Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurthy on April 23, 2019 at their home.
Mona Shah and Bharti Shah, volunteers of the Jain Society of Houston who organized the trip for seniors as part of their monthly tour. Mona had coordinated with Upma to ensure the music was of their time and taste. The program started at 10:30 AM and concluded by 4 PM. Even as the seniors boarded the bus that morning, Mona and Bharti knew that the group would have a blast!