Netherfield Ball – Remembering Intizar Hussain, Oxford Bookstore
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
There were more people at his remembrance meet than when he was here in flesh and blood last winter. One evening The Delhi Walla was at the Oxford Book Store in Connaught Place to mark the passing away of the elderly Urdu author Intizar Husain.
It so happened–some would say conveniently–that poet Nida Fazli died a day earlier, just in time for author Rakhshanda Jalil, the host, to stretch the agenda to talk of him, too. In fact, Urdu professor Ali Javed fancied his yellowing copy of Fazli’s prose work to be part of the dress code. It did not leave his hands for a moment.
Also spotted: writer and filmmaker Sohail Hashmi, rumored to be the walking-talking Delhi Wikipedia, who frowned throughout the evening; photographer Ram Rahman, who was gleefully taking pictures from his mobile phone; Sumant Batra, who was hunting for writers whom he could invite for his annual Kumaon Literary Festival; the lovely Himani Dehlvi, a costume designer, who was dressed in many colours.
The evening’s cover model had to be PhD scholar Shazia Salam–her black hijab sat as lightly on her as her black trousers.
As feared, the occasion’s solemnness initially showed no promise of scandals. Fortunately, French author Julien Columeau, who writes in Urdu and is very famous in Pakistan, walked in with the beautiful Farah Noor, a society academic. They sat on the back row and looked like very good friends, and they didn’t care for the gossip mongers (those who cherish privacy must not see picture no. 11).
Even so, everyone tried to look somber. Ms Jalil declined to smile (see top photo). She is Mr Husain’s award-winning English translator. Perhaps she was remembering the last time he was present in this room when they were seated together on the stage. This evening, a candle burned on the table.
On the death of two writers
2. (poet Saumya Kulshreshtha)
3. (PhD scholar Shazia Salam)
5. (Designer Himani Dehlvi)
7. (Urdu Profesor Ali Javed with a book by Nida Fazli)
8. (Writer, filmmaker and Delhi expert Sohail Hashmi)
10. (author Julien Columeau with academic Farah Noor)
12. (photographer and curator Ram Rahman)
13. (Kumaon Literary Festival founder Sumant Batra)