Recently I attended "Indian Event Trends," a special evening hosted by Ranjan Dey (owner of New Delhi Restaurant), City Hall of San Francisco, and Denon and Doyle.
After arriving at City Hall I couldn't resist walking down a block to take this picture at twilight.
I especially enjoyed the two sculptures from Avant Planners at the base of the grand staircase in the center of the rotunda. They were draped in fabric and held small tea lights aloft, welcoming guests to the event.
This is the North Light Court lit by Got Light. It would be used for Ranjan's presentation that evening.
There was chair seating, lounge seating (by Blueprint Studios) and plenty of standing room.
The chair covers, provided by Classic Party Rentals, were really gorgeous. Each row had a different style of seat cover. I think the top left cover with the thin, gold coin beads was my favorite. It was either that or the pale gold draped cover beside it. Which is kind of funny in that they couldn't have been more opposite: One was ornately detailed, the other subtle and sophisticated.
Along the rear wall were wedding and event invitations by Hyegraph invitations, located in SF's Embarcadero Center. The colors and designs would help to set the theme of any Indian special event. The invite in the lower right, with the scroll and fabric pouch, was especially unique.
As all of the guests gathered in the North Light Court Ranjan gave an illuminating presentation about the different cooking styles and spices used in Indian cuisine, Indian event trends, and helped to clarify cultural gaps between Indian clients and those of us less familiar with Indian culture.
For instance, he explained that misunderstandings can occur between clients and professionals because while Americans traditionally shake their head up and down to non-verbally say "yes," people of Indian ethnicity may instead, roll their head in a somewhat up-down-side-to-side circular motion which means yes, but is something non-Indian people can mistake for the side to side head shake we use to say "no." So, I could think someone is nodding their head no when in fact they are giving their approval or agreeing with me.
We also learned that India has 28 states and most people speak three languages: Hindi, English, and their local state language. We learned that shukriyaa means thank you, haan means yes, and naa means no. All are good words to learn if you work with colleagues or clients who speak Hindi, or if you're planning a trip to India.
I remember when I went to Paris I learned a few key phrases: Good morning, good evening, please, thank you, and I don't speak French, do you speak English? All of them combined helped to make my trip more enjoyable as the locals definitely appreciated my efforts to converse with them, even to a small degree, in French. And all were more than happy to speak to me in English as soon as they realized that was all of the French I knew. LOL
After the presentation, we were invited to the South Light Court where the second part of the evening would take place, a mixer with entertainment.
That night I made a new friend from outside of the special events industry, Tommy Chan, the Directory of Community Outreach from the Asian Network Pacific Home Care & Hospice. I was glad to learn that not only does ANPHC offers home healthcare and hospice services, their staff is also fluent in Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalong, Vietnamese, and English. Hospice and home care are services that became more near and dear to my heart after losing my Uncle Norio in 2008. While language wasn't a barrier, I learned first hand just how important these services are and while not taboo, they rarely come up in the course of day to day conversations.
And of course I reconnected with many of my wedding and special event industry friends who all came to learn more about Indian event trends from Ranjan and to enjoy some tasty bites from New Delhi Restaurant.
The waitstaff was attentive and the hand passed hors d'oeuvres were plentiful. Libations were provided Bartenders Unlimited. Above are just some of the hors d'oeuvres we were able to sample that evening. Clockwise were: Chocolate Burffee (a dessert), Vegetable Cutlet, Murg Cilantro Kofta, and a Lamb Mint Kebab. I enjoyed several of the Vegetable Cutlets. They were, or course, delicious!
Orange Photography was there with a photo booth. Kind of. Definitely more modern and upscale was this tented photo lounge where guests had their choice of props and could gather together for group shots on a très chic, white leather sofa.
Henna Garden hosted a henna party for the duration of the evening. There were several stations set up so that the wait wouldn't be too long for those wanting to participate. My lovely and elegant model in the final image is my friend Duncan Reyes' mom. She was a delight to meet and photograph!
The final highlight of the evening was dancing by Dholrhythms, an award winning dance company. Six dancers first entertained us. . .
Then they taught everyone who wanted to learn, how to dance Bollywood style. There were a lot of smiles and great new memories made that evening.
Thank you to Ranjan for inviting me to attend. I appreciate his efforts to break down barriers for those of us who have had limited experience with Indian culture. I've learned so much from him since meeting him just two years ago.
And if you love Indian food I would highly recommend a visit to his New Delhi Restaurant (and catering) located at 160 Ellis Street in San Francisco. It's located two blocks from the intersection of Market and Powell where the cable cars turn around.
One of the reasons I will always support Ranjan here on The Flirty Blog is because I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the Compassionate Chefs Cafe a non-profit he created. It's mission:
"Helping Kids Across the Street and Across the Ocean
CCC is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization with one goal: To help children locally and globally. We help the Tenderloin After School Program (TASP) and Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India to uplift the lives of young children in need of assistance."
One thing that really illustrates his commitment to helping these children is his policy that 100% of the money raised at CCC fundraisers goes to the kids, with nothing held back for expenses. And for you the donor, all donations are tax deductable.
You can learn more about how they help, upcoming events, and how you can help support this worthy cause at the Compassionate Chefs Cafe website: Just Click Here