The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It was the day when the unthinkable became the thinkable and the impossible really happened.
One sweltering afternoon novelist Arundhati Roy was seen inaugurating a Banarasi saree showroom in Old Delhi.
And here we are talking about one of those elusive novelists who is hardly seen in society. But if Donald Trump can become the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for America’s president, then why can’t the author of The God of Small Things be the chief guest at the opening bash of Jhinjhanvi’s Banarsi Emporium in Chitli Qabar Bazaar?
(Actually, there was a literature connection here. The showroom’s co-owner, Naseer Jhinjhanvi Alvi, is the son of late poet Musheer Jhinjhanvi. The shop’s other partner is Albina Sardar Ali, daughter of late Justice Sardar Ali.)
Everybody cheered as Ms Roy entered the venue with two bouquets in her hands. Shockingly, the chief guest herself was not wearing a saree. Looking utterly unapologetic about this sartorial faux pas, Ms Roy flashed her 1000-watts smile across the room and happily posed for the paparazzo. The gathering witnessed some of the area’s most important people, including poet Iffat Zarrin, who lives in Galli Choori Wallan.
Other notables included nai (barber) Naeem Salmani, darzi (tailor) Miraj Qureshi and roti walle (baker) Mukhtar Ahmad—curiously not one of them was in a saree.
In fact, I found only one person wearing a saree in the new saree showroom. But then fact is stranger than fiction. Ask Ms Roy.
Not sorry about saree
4. (Arundhati Roy with poet Iffat Zarrin, left, and Begam Ishrat, wife of late Justice Sardar Ali)
6. Arundhati Roy with Sabiha Alvi (left) and Shaheena Muneer
7. (Arundhati Roy with the shop’s co-owner Albina Ali and her sister Alika Ali, the only one wearing a saree
8. (Arundhati Roy’s crown)
9. (Arundhati Roy with Abdul Karim, president of Sir Syyad Ahmad Market Association)
11. (Arundhati Roy with Begum Sarwar Choudhary)
12. (From right: Arundhati Roy, baker Mukhtar Ahmad, retired general NS Malik, showoom’s co-owner Naseer Jhinjhanvi Alvi, barber Naeem Salmani)