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 “Have you taken MEDS,” asked Sheetal Singhal as she leaned across the table. An impish look flashed me a dimple. We were at the South Asian Heart Center’s 10th anniversary gala Scarlet Night at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Perplexed I turned to San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra who has announced his intentions to run for State Assembly in California’s 27th district. He seemed to be seriously mulling over the words of Ashish Mathur, co-founder and executive director of the South Asian Heart Center “Every woman who signs up for the program, we will pay for their lab work if they also sign up their spouse. So this is the best two for one deal in town.” It looked like Councilman Ash Kalra, who is single, had lost out on an opportunity here. I thought I saw him scrolling through his contact list for Mom.

Salil Jain, an ardent fan of the program, turned to me “After you get screened they ask you to follow up with MEDS, which stands for meditation, exercise, diet and stress reduction, and sleep. That’s what differentiates them from any other program I have tried. They know what I eat at home and tweak my lifestyle for optimal pumping of my blood. 6,300 participants screened and coached so far by SAHC in behavior modification program, which seeks to decrease the incidence of diabetes and heart disease among South Asians especially Indians.” Salil did look very undiabetic and his wife vouched for his good heart. I took heart and promised myself that this is the last chocolate pudding I am eating.

Sujatha Suresh and Chandana Reddy-Sinha. 

Heart’n Spice sponsors of Scarlet Night For South Asian Heart Center gave out cinnamon toothpicks. “Cinnamon is known to help manage blood sugar levels among many other benefits. It is also a delicious naturally sweet meal ender that kills post meal cravings,” said Chandana. I picked up a couple of boxes. Bye bye chocolate pudding, hello cinnamon toothpicks.




Sheetal Saini Singhal and Amrita Raina

The place was brimming with supporters in various hues of red. The men had sportingly worn red ties and red roses in their lapels. Sonya pinched a red flower from the table and stuck it in her hair. The rapid-fire auction followed Dil Se, UC Berkeley’s premier a Capella group. By the end of the evening $275,000 had been raised for programs aimed at addressing the twin epidemics of heart diseases and early onset of diabetes. The Center’s strategic initiatives, including prevention, physician education and clinical research were now secure. 600 members clapped.

Pakistani actress, singer and songwriter Komal Rizwi set the ball rolling by inviting the audience to the dance floor with her upbeat numbers. Bombay Jam took things to a different level and the Scarlet Night team got right behind them. A casino and a poker tournament followed but by then my heels were reminding me of the weight they were carrying. One more thing I will be able to do better at the next gala if I stay with the plan to call the South Asian Heart Center’s team tomorrow.

Ritu Marwah is Social Media Editor at India Currents. She is an award winning author, chef, debate coach, and mother of two boys.