The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Sometimes the wide world has space enough only for one person. This evening our rich plenteous earth seems to have been created only for Ana Dehlavi.
The Delhi Walla is at Ghalib Academy in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti to celebrate the birth anniversary of Ms Dehlavi, the poet who lives in the riverside neighborhood of Lakshmi Nagar. A special soiree of Urdu poetry has been hosted in her honor. A giant candle is set on the stage waiting to be lit, while a giant banner welcomes everyone “on the occasion of the birthday of international fame shaira [poetess] Ms Ana Dehlavi.”
Shimmering in a dark blue lehenga, Ms Dehlavi is beyond years. Nobody knows her age. Instead, she wears the rose of evergreen time upon her. Her hair has the tint of that exact shade that floods the vast expanse of the sky just moments before the light of dawn cracks through the east.
Completely unaware of the charismatic spell that she has cast around in the very air of Ghalib Academy, Ms Dehlavi goes around the hall, graciously accepting greetings from every gentlewoman and gentleman. Curiously, despite being surrounded by her fervent admirers, she still appears desolate in her tragic beauty. There are times when she looks like Winterhalter’s portrait of Empress Maria Aleksandrovna (you must know that masterpiece, of course).
Other noteworthy beauties, however, ought not to be ignored. The lovely Parminder Chadha, director of the Malhar Sangeet Academy, stops every single person’s heartbeat as she enters in a pink blowy lehenga. This is her rare appearance in society.
Madame Shehla Nawab, Ms Dehlvi’s confidante, has put on a breathtakingly black shade of lipstick. Her black sari is decorated with peacock prints. Her ear danglers are made of peacock feathers (see photo 3 below).
Also seen: poets Munir Hamdam and Javed Niyazi, Syed Farooq of Himalaya Drugs, ex-MLA Mateen Ahmed and (DIG) Anees Ahmed.
The most familiar figure in the hall is of Muhammed Waseem. A homeless man who attends every event at the Ghalib Academy, his presence is believed to bring good luck to the assembly.
The people of another world
1. (Ana Dehlavi)
3. (Shehla Nawab)
4. (Shehla Nawab’s sari)
5. (Muhammed Waseem)
7. (Parminder Chadha)