London: A group of Indian-origin writers and professionals in the UK have come together to organise an event to raise funds for the victims of the devastating floods in Kerala.
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor will make a special address on his home state at the fundraiser, to be held at the famous Malayali restaurant ‘Rasa’ in central London on Wednesday.
“I felt very, very lucky that none of my family or my 200-year-old ancestral home in Palakkad were affected. I knew many others were not as fortuitous as us,” said Smita Tharoor, a London-based training consultant and one of the organisers along with her son Avinash.
“Coincidentally, once we agreed that we would have a fundraiser, I realised my brother Shashi was in town for two days, so we decided to involve him. He was more than happy to support our event,” she said.
The massive floods in the state have claimed over 400 lives, with thousands stranded in the wake of the devastation caused. Das Sreedharan, an award-winning Indian chef and founder of the Rasa chain of restaurants in the UK, got the news of his riverside retreat Rasa Gurukul – on the banks of Chalakudy river near Cochin – also being hit in the worst floods in the state in nearly a century.
“I felt very relieved on behalf of my own immediate family who were not affected by the floods and sent a donation to the Chief Minister’s fund. However, this did not feel like enough when I heard a few days later that Das’ riverside resort had incurred terrible damage,” said Jaishree Misra, London-based author of ‘Ancient Promises’ and ‘Secrets & Lies’.
“I knew he was doing a lot to uplift the local community in Chalakudy and, given that he has always offered a friendly welcome to London Malayalis at his restaurants, I felt they would want to show their support to him too. Hence the fundraiser,” she explained.
Among the raffle prize draws for the event will include three nights’ stay at Rasa Gurukul in Kerala and signed copies of books by Misra and co-organiser Shrabani Basu, the author of ‘Spy Princess’ and ‘Victoria and Abdul’.
The funds raised from the special dinner event next week will be shared between the Kerala Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, the NGO ‘Goonj’, and help uplift the community in and around Rasa Gurukul.
The event has also found the backing of Indian-origin peer Lord Karan Bilimoria’s Cobra Beer brand as well as Amira Rice in its efforts to raise thousands of pounds for the three chosen charities.