Netherfield Ball – Jashn-e-Rekhta, India International Centre
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One evening The Delhi Walla attended the inaugural ceremony of Jashn-e-Rekhta held in the Fountain Lawns of the India International Centre (IIC).
The two-day Urdu literary festival was hosted by Rekhta Foundation (I have written about its fabulous poetry website here) in collaboration with the IIC.
The sundown began with chauffer-driver cars queuing up in the portico to let loose their stockpile of Delhi’s smart set. One erect white-haired woman sashayed out holding a long slim cigarette; another invited notice with her gigantic pearl necklace. There were hardly any black-haired people save for the volunteers, politely guarding the front seats for the VIPs.
Sighted on the first row — Allahabad-based writer Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Pakistan-based novelist Intizar Hussain and Bombay-based film lyricist Javed Akhtar.
Thanks to strategically placed spotlights, the audience was bathed in a blue glow.
A trilingual (Urdu+Hindi+English) speech by Rekhta’s founder, Sanjiv Saraf, was succeeded by a “Sufi rendition” — film playback singer Rekha Bhardwaj tried to gloss over her nervousness by whirling like a Turkish dervish at regular intervals.
Meanwhile, the trees swayed wildly in the unseasonably cold breeze; and the reflected light from the IIC’s dining hall quivered gently in the dark waters of the fountain.
Later, the evening dissolved into a cocktail party – probably in homage to Ghalib.
Party with a difference
3. (Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, left, with Intizar Hussain)