The weeks following Mini-Me's diagnosis and gradual deterioration were filled with a mixture of grief, despair, hope and plain fervid busyness. On the evening of 27th December, however, I received a phone call from the Marketing and Communications Dept of the newly opened Sunway Putra Hotel, formerly Legend Hotel located at The Mall, to inform me that Aravind had nominated me for their 'Time To Give' campaign and I was selected as one of the winners.
Apparently, Aravind wrote a whole bunch of things about my volunteer work and how much I deserve a break, and the kind panel of judges must have agreed with him because I found myself being invited to dinner and a one-night stay at the hotel.
Initially, I felt guilty about leaving the cats at home while I went out to get wined and dined, but thankfully, it was the end of the year and most office workers were still on Christmas break and there wasn't much work to be done so I could go home during lunch hour to see to the cats' needs and give Mini-Me her meds.
At 5 p.m., a car from the hotel arrived at my office gates and the valet ushered me with utmost courtesy to the car. I am used to doing everything for myself and others so I felt a little awkward about being treated like a VIP.
At the hotel, I was greeted by the staff as though I were an important guest and shown to my suite. I was allowed to invite a guest and of course I invited Aravind since he was the one who nominated me, as we are still good friends although we are no longer going out with each other.
I was given the keys to a 5-star suite for the night. It was enormous and very grand.
No, it's not a cobra. It's a beautiful towel swan, guarding my welcome macarons.
Dinner with a view, at Level 34.
I was escorted down to dinner and to meet the other winners of the contest. I look absolutely tired here but am pleased I didn't have to cook or clean. Aravind had informed them that I am vegetarian and the chef outdid himself with wonderful plant-based dishes.
Starting dinner with a delicious salad with apple dressing.
A 4-mushroom soup with portobello dumplings. It was delicious. I asked for seconds.
Scrumptilicious veg pasta with lots of vegetables. Right up my alley.
Moist chocolate cake on a bed of pistachios and chocolate soil for dessert.
Time to gather in the lobby after dinner. There was a pianist playing Christmas songs and a massive Christmas tree and it was all very festive.
I was fascinated by this gingerbread house in the lobby. It is actually the temporary seasonal facade of the hotel bakery.
They actually had presents for us. I felt overwhelmed. I hadn't expected this. How do you even thank them for their kindness and generosity? Here I am, receiving my lovingly selected and labelled gift from the head of the Concierge Team.
A group photos of the winners for posterity. On my left is Ms. Praveena, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, who organised this campaign.
And my gift is a charming little green tea set from Ombak Bali! How did they know green is my favourite colour?
It was a very memorable and pleasant night, despite my worries over leaving Mini-Me and the other cats alone for the night. My heartfelt thanks to Aravind for nominating me and Sunway Putra Hotel for all their corporate social responsibility efforts and for sponsoring this lovely night out.