Turning 21 in Hyderabad, India was as different from a Natural Ice keg party as possible. It started with about 100 strangers and 30 family members singing me Happy Birthday at the end of a Christmas party -- an outdoor Christmas party in the humid night of Himayatnagar. Not exactly Rockafeller Center, but the spirit was alive (as were the mosquitoes).
The next morning my cousins, mother and I went to the Devnar School for the Blind. It is a very poor charity school that houses blind kids until the 10th standard (like 12th grade). I decided months ago that I wanted to sponsor a child for my birthday and we were able to help a girl named Laxmi. I couldn't speak to her because she speaks only Telugu, but her tiny fingers exploring my hands and wrists were all I needed.
Straight from the blind school my cousins and I indulged in a day at the parlor. Indian service is about 1847 times better than back home, so we enjoyed the long massages that came with our pedicures and hair treatments. I wanted to trim my hair two inches, but Fery (owner) decided she could hack off about 6 inches instead. I'm not thrilled and I may or may not have a full on 'fro for the next six months.
Finally, the night ended with a family dinner at Haiking. We never visit Hyderabad without eating at this delectable Chinese restaurant. Since my family continues to expand, there were about 50 people present for a final cake cutting and simultaneous celebration of my cousins's anniversary.
And then I fell asleep.