So here i am, finally blogging about the gala.
Pratham: volunteer movement to help raise literacy among children in India (and doing a pretty good job of it too). every year they hold this huge gala (700 ppl) to raise money: tickets are $100 each, but it's more of a donation thing. for that you get a cocktail hour, followed by fancy dinner with hindi music, then dancing and crap.
[note: i just realized that my entire involvement in pratham stemmed directly out of mrs. lafleur's volunteer project; must thank her for that]
anyways, so i got to the Westin Galleria ballroom at around 2:00, shortly thereafter Manasy, the head of volunteers, arrived. we hung around for a while; she told me that she told ppl to be there at 2:30 (i was early) in hopes that they might actually arrive by 3. finally Mani auntie came with the crap that we had to put on all the dinner tables, which we started doing.
around that time meera, nupur, priya, silkie (?), and some other girls whose names i don't remember showed up (carrying boxes from the Cheesecake factory, no less).
also a fellow soph from Memorial high school showed up, nikhil, bringing the total count of nikhils i know up to 243. no, i'm kidding, it's just 6 or so.
so i'm like, cool, i finally know someone here, cuz meera and nupur and priya go to hightower (even though i didn't really know them, i knew OF them), and nikhil was cool too, although hungry. all the time. and i mean ALL the time.
so what happened next...hm....right, so then the guys, meaning nikhil, me, and the adult guys went up to the rooms that mani auntie had reserved for us volunteers to change. finally when we got back downstairs, they had food for the volunteers; some really kickass stuffed jalapenos that challenged even MY taste buds. wow...freakin' awesome. (there was more food too; the jalapenos just stick out in my memory)
so then i'm hanging around the stage with this guy who's like in his forties or something and who manasy said is with me helping with audio/visual crap. the audio DJ/mixer guy was named nadeem; he was pretty good.
then the a capella group from UT showed up, they're called HUM (click HERE for a link to their website, buy a CD) don't ask me why it's all in caps...it just is.
so they're pretty cool; i helped nadeem hook up their mics and crap. one of the singers says she knows me from somewhere; she looked familiar too, just can't place her face...hm...
so i ended up going to Mokund (?) uncle and asking what i'm supposed to do; he told me to keep the singers happy; which was perfectly fine by me, they're cool ppl. so i ended up putting them in the side room where the volunteers had eaten to hang around; then everyone seemed to forget about them until they were supposed to sing, at which point i had to dash backstage and around tables to get them...
but i'm getting ahead of myself.
next what happened was meera swiped us (me and nikhil) to help with flower arrangements. FLOWER ARRAGEMENTS. of all things...yeesh. nupur was showing us how to do it when nikhil got a cell phone call and left (he never came back) and i managed to sneak out too (sorry nupur...lol)
so that guy i was hanging around with? his name was like akshay (?) uncle or something like that...i only found out MUCH LATER that he was NUPUR'S DAD!!! i would've watched what i was talking about...yeesh again.
we found out that nupur's little sister goes to dulles middle school where she's taught by ellen townley, who's MY private viola teacher, so it's a small world after all, yadda yadda yadda....etc.
so next we have the thing starting and crap. ppl are getting drunk on whiskey in the lobby while i was running around doing all that stuff that i mentioned before...
finally we let them into the ballroom. they found their tables and stuff. apparently there was a big fuss about registration cuz there were so many ppl who just randomly CAME without telling us...but you'll have to ask one of the fish girls about that; i wasn't there.
so HUM performed...they're REALLY good...wow...i bought a cd for $5...definately worth it. (listening to it all weekend + today)
let's see...what's next...?
right, so then me and rest of kids are sitting around and eating dinner (FREAKING DISGUSTING) and after that was ice cream cake. then they started playing more dance-ish music and the OLD PEOPLE STARTED DANCING...SO SCARY!! someone said that she hoped they didn't get a heart attack...i concur...yeesh!
plus a bunch of them were half-drunk...including Mokund uncle, a VOLUNTEER! he was dancing with his whiskey, no less. so weird.
so Manasy wanted us kids to dance to get them started, but we figured they were already pretty well started (and they were) so we were just hanging out and doing random hindi dance stuff on the side...WISH WE HAD DANDYAS THERE!! nikhil and i tried to do dandya ras with our hands...didn't quite have the same effect (lol!).
slow-dance music came on...i had the extremely strange experience of seeing two girls DANCE AS IF THEY WERE LESBIANS!!! i'm still not sure that they AREN'T!
learned how to slow-dance (thanks nupur and meera!), so now i PROBABLY won't trip over my own or other people's feet..yay!
we slowdanced for a bit until faster music came on. by this time more ppl had left and the dance floor was clear enough for us (and three ppl from HUM) to do the 12-step garbah dance thing around the floor...fun, 'cept i kept on getting screwed up 'cuz they started on an off-beat.
tired and exhausted, but having just had the most fun i'd had all year, i headed down to the lobby to meet my mom who was picking me up (because SOMEONE couldn't take me HOME!...jk)
so peace ya'll....pratham gala was really fun...and i even left out a lot...
i was there for a grand total of 12 HOURS...wow...
catch ya'll later.
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