Wednesday 20 March 2013; Day 1: Leave my apartment at 6:06am. Bag is heavy. Poo. Should’ve booked a cab? Why aren’t I made of money yet?

Oh! Fyi travellers! Best route ever! Line changing from District to Piccadilly at Hammersmith is the easiest thing ever! Get out, take 4 steps across the platform, get on. Only ended up having to lug this 25.1 kg (oops) bag down one set of stairs! Cancelled my Presidential Plus card ($400 annual fee!? I ain’t ready for that), but thought I’d try the Premier Access line and the Skyteam Lounge anyway — guess who got through, woo!
5090 miles later, I’m in Houston. Hello, sunshine!
Now, to work. Practice Practice Practice so we’re all good ‘n’ ready for this Friday — #MSWSX, y’all!
Ugh, what a beauty
Ugh, what a beautiful birthday girl
Day 5: Alas. It is done. The last Dara girl has turned 16. (Not really, her birthday is in May.) But she’s just my baaaaaaaby sisterrrrrrr, it can’t be!
The last 4 days went by so quickly. Wednesday, Papa picked me up from the airport and we headed home. Mum, Krish and Meg were waiting at home, and I began (and Karishma continued from the previous night) inhaling Mummy’s cooking. Homemade mango pickle (my fave fave ever), beans, spinach dal, shrimp curry, avial, appam, potato curry, and mangos mangos mangos for dessert. We ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and most of the times in between. So much so that I was going to PUNCH KARISHMA IN THE FACE for going into a food coma on Wednesday night when we had a TON of work to do. I was getting so stressed out just thinking about everything we needed to have together in 48 hours. I’d prepped the slideshow,
spliced together some of the songs for the dance and rewritten the words for the song we were planning to sing but it still just felt overwhelming. Megs went to school, of course, so that was good — we didn’t have to worry about her ruining her surprises or getting mad at us for ‘disincluding’ her. She came home early after a couple of tests on Friday, and while Karishma, Mummy, Papa and I practiced until the last hour, she started to get ready. Hair curled, make-up perfect, gorgeous half-sari — she was ready to be the beautiful spotlighted girl for the evening. And we, her family, were ready to make it everything she wanted. As she said in her thank you speech, this was something she’d been waiting for since MY sweet sixteen, which, as Karishma kindly (and yes, accurately) phrased it, was a decade ago!!!! (GROAN)
We got to the venue around 5:30 and did some setting up and picture-taking before guests began to arrive for the cocktail hour at 6:15.

Then, around 8pm, it was showtime. A close family friend of ours, Suresh Uncle, grandly introduced Karishma and I as the MCs for the evening and insisted we walk in from the door and make an entrance. After we realized that saying ‘no, it’s okay, we’ll just get up from the table’ wasn’t going to work, we complied and he and Saraswati Aunty (his wife) asked what song we’d like to make our entrance to. We said anything was fine, English or Hindi — I guess I thought, it’ll probably be a wordless song, it’s just music, whatev. But horrifyingly, the DJ played

Single Ladies. I wanted to die, not least because I’m not single!

We welcomed everyone and spoke a bit about Meghna and the program. In case you haven’t heard me rave on about my great idea to alter SXSW to become MSWSX (Meghna’s SWeet SiXteen), here you go. I realized how different things were for her 16th and mine even though mine was only 10 years ago. The jumps in technology were ridiculous and amazing. So we made her birthday SXSW-like and had music (songs and dances), film (videos, slideshow and skits) and interactive (twitter and instagram accounts (both @MegSweet16 if you want to have a gander :)) and #MSWX, which lots of her friends posted to/with!)
The program was as follows:
Father Antony, a close friend, gave a blessing and spoke about Meghna
Around the World – the first half of Meghna’s video birthday wishes (but this is all of them together)
Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen — Karishma and I sang our own rendition of Sweet Sixteen songs — we started out with a rewritten “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” (Neil Sedaka)  (we made it Growing up is hard to do) because this is the only thing that would make Meghna stop crying when she was a baby — it was like magic! Then we did another Neil Sedaka song — Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, which we also altered a bit. And we ended with a line from Sixteen Going on Seventeen about being there to take care of her. (see link above)
Bellaire Kiddies Skit – Narain, Anu, Akilan, Adi and Perry did a skit about why Meghna is the way she is — they were all amazing, but I think Narain’s ‘Papa moustache’ may have stolen the show!
Miranda and Jennifer’s speech — two of Meghna’s best friends spoke about her, with many a Harry Potter reference
A Very Potter Musical song – Miranda and Lizzie sang a fave song of Meg’s from A Very Potter Musical.
Dancetime — Karishma and I couldn’t get out of our saris and into our dance costumes quickly enough, so we left the crowd waiting for a bit (sorry!) — but then we sat Meghna down on one of the dance floor couches and performed the choreographed moves our old achey bones had put together in the past 2 days to a few songs she lovvvvved when she was younger and/or loves to belt out and/or completely butchered the words to. (LINK) Corbin Bleu’s “Push It”; Britney “Oops I Did it Again”; Shania Twain “Man I Feel Like a Woman”; Genie “Friend Like Me”; Jo Bros “Burnin’ Up”.
Around the World part 2
Mom and Pop’s talk about Meg — which included impeccable Downton Abbey accents and ended with….:
Then the dance party and hashtagging began and everyone had a great rest of the night. Karishma and I ended up not appropriately dressed for the rest of the night because our dance costume choice was just too comfortable. So we spent the remainder of the night in leggings, shirts of Papa’s and track jackets…and headbands. We basically looked like we had just come in from instructing an aerobics class.
Which of these is not like the other?
Which of these is not like the other?
It was an amazing night and I’m so glad we got to celebrate our little Meghna with so many good friends.
Saturday was just driving around Houston fam hang time – including a quest for smoothies, which thankfully ended successfully. I met up with some greats for a bit on Saturday PIC but we missed our dear Leenie, who was supposed to come for the party the night before, but her car didn’t allow it 😦
Sunday breezed by too. Up at 3:30 to take Krish to the airport, back home to repack, nap, eat, take some pics with Pops’ new camera, and then head out again to drop me off at the airport. And now it’s 8pm in Houston/1am in London, but I’m about to be somewhere over the Atlantic for another 5.5 hours before I get to touch the ground again.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for getting through my diary entry! Hope you enjoyed the pics and videos, especially. And if you need a Psy impersonator for your next party, you know who to call!

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