Netherfield Ball – Tea Scandal in ‘Somewhere in Delhi’, Venice
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The man from the East was full of himself. He was the only oriental face–in flesh and blood, that is. There were also quite a few such faces to be seen on the soft-to-touch fabrics that hang elegantly from centuries-old wooden beams.
The Delhi Walla was in the opening of Somewhere in Delhi: 17 Printings on Hand-Woven Khadi Muslin, an exhibition by designer Anna Gerotto and Indian blogger and photographer Mayank Austen Soofi (that’s me!). The evening was hosted inside a former asylum for the insane in San Servolo, an outlying island of this watery city. The panoramic windows of the stately hall looked to the signature towers of Piazza San Marco; the soaring walls were decked with larger-than-life portraits of the kings of Italy.
Ms Gerotto belongs to an old Venetian family and, and therefore, with hushed aristocratic dignity, she let her work speak for itself. Mr Soofi, however, refused to still his soliloquies. He confirmed the reputation of Indians as people who talk too much and that too only about themselves. At least one of the many beautiful guests was spotted yawning as the man from Delhi went on and on. (The hall was not as packed with people as a 6pm vaporetto to Piazzale Roma but we shall remain gracefully silent on that.)
The most exciting event occurred towards the end. There was a great stir as the bar counter finally opened. Platters of snacks were fleetingly sighted, but everyone was shocked to discover the absence of wine. Instead, there was something called masala chai on offer. For some reason, it went on to become a great success. Almost all the 50 guests instantly abandoned the exhibition hall for the tea corner; almost everyone had more than one serving of this spiced pungent-smelling brew.
The foreigner from Delhi looked puzzled at this swift migration as the masala chai stole all the spotlight away from him. It is rumored that he himself gulped down three glasses of the Indian beverage. Of course, we shall remain gracefully silent on that, too.
Scenes before the masala chai