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Celebrating cultural heritage

GLAM: Jasmine poses with Jay Sean (centre) and his family

I WAS late for the Asian Awards. I was supposed to arrive at thee Grosvenor House Hotel by 6pm. At 5.55pm, my reporter Tom called as I was having a 12-minute power nap and had over napped.

Like a bat out of hell I raced to my wardrobe, picked the first long frock I saw threw it into a bag with heels and accessories and legged it out of the door. I raced up the motorway, parked at the hotel’s back entrance and was whisked down to the make up room where make-up whiz Abbi Rose and her highly glam team were ready to give me the total makeover experience.

Once given the overhaul, I rushed into the red carpet area where celebs were falling over each other as they backed up for the TV crews. It was a mouth-dropping moment where hundreds of stunning beauties in blinged out jewellery and flowing long ball gowns were flitting about everywhere clinking their champagne glasses.

This is why I love Asian events! The gene in me that loves sparkle and colour can let loose! Honestly, I’m like a magpie – blame my Indian mum!

The event itself featured a charity auction in aid of Save The Children, and it was truly fun to witness. A room full of millionaire Asians all trying to outbid each other is fascinating.

Prizes for the live auction included a signed Ferrari Opus; a trip to Antigua or Lebonon; Amir Khan’s boxing gloves; a meet and greet with the cast of Emmerdale; a couture gown and Christian Louboutin shoes; and much more.

The many VIPs in attendance included comedian Russell Peters; actress and writer Meera Syal; singer Jay Sean; EastEnders star Nina Wadia; singing legend Cliff Richard; and Mayor of London Boris Johnson – to name just a few. In short, with all the VIPs and millionaires in the house, I felt a bit like a pauper amongst them!

FUNNYMAN: Jas and comedian Russell Peters

As we were all seated at our tables, it was stunning to take in the glitz and opulence of the venue. I’ve been to hundreds of up-market events over the years but I can truly say the Grosvenor’s Great Room is in a league of its own!

The service and quality of food was outstanding and put many recent functions I’ve attended to shame. The starter was a salmon and prawn delicacy; main was a full tasty Thali of Indian curry; and dessert was a mouth-watering mango cheesecake and chocolate piece of art.

Sitting right next to me was Radio 1 DJ Nihal and my old Southall mate Jay Sean, who was very gracious to the constant stream of fans who continued to approach him for photos throughout the evening. What a truly well-mannered man.

Meanwhile, Russell Peters took great pleasure in taking the mickey out of my surname, singing “Dutty Wala” in the manner of Sean Paul!

I later got really excited when Mayor Boris Johnson presented an award. He called the event “stupendous" and informed us that he has an Asian mother-in-law!

The final award of the night, the Founders Award, went to the Asian legend that is the late, great Freddie Mercury. (For those who weren’t aware, Freddie’s parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara were Parsis, originally from the Gujarat region of the then province of Bombay Presidency in British India). Freddie’s former Queen band member Brian May presented the gong, which was posthumously awarded fo Freddie in recognition of his contribution to music.

Brian told the audience: "Freddie loved Indian food, glamour, success and he loved to be heard. And he would’ve loved that he's still being heard now.” Freddie’s mother and sister collected the award on his behalf.

Finally, a hilarious moment (for me at least) ensued when my guest dropped chocolate on his crotch area whilst dinning, and then attempted to use his fork to frantically scrape away at the stain under the table. This must have looked quite vulgar and intriguing to our fellow table guests who, luckily pretended not to notice!

After he rubbed ice on the area to clean it as best as possible, it looked like he’d had a very unfortunate accident. At this point, we realised it was well past midnight and like Cinderella, thought it best to depart!

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