Netherfield Ball – Afifa Fareed Weds Abdul Haseeb, Old Delhi
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The guests arrived at the Mahavir Vatika ground in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj in cabs, auto-rickshaws, and bikes. Some came from miles away, from Jasola, and even from Ghaziabad. It was the wedding of Afifa Fareed with Abdul Haseeb.
Cars lined up one after another, stopping at the entrance and emptying their loads. The women and their men would get off from all the sides, rubbing knees and stretching arms. The ladies, wearing the mandatory dupatta or the veil, had put on dresses in the traditional Old Delhi fashion: shararas, salwars, gold necklaces, red roses fastened with safety pins.
Separate sections were arranged for men and women. Some of the lads, dressed like their abbas, seemed uncomfortable in their new clothes.
Often sitting beside their mothers were girls rubicund, bewildered, powdered, and very much careful of not dirtying their shimmering kurtis and lehengas. Almost all had their arms dyed in henna.
One young man seemed to have had a fresh hair cut; his ears stood out from his head.
Dressed in a red lehenga-kurti bought from Chandni Chowk, the bride, a political science scholar, sat on a stage in the women’s section. Her face was partially visible from behind her gauze-like veil. While the groom, a Noida-based software engineer, milled around freely in the men’s section.
Elsewhere, the guests talked of their business or about the national politics.
Some women—it must be said—were silent, and looked jealous (so did some men). Two ladies were talking with their hand on their mouth.
The dinner tables were laid separately for both the sections. Sikander Bawarchi of Mohalla Qabristan was entrusted with the buffet. There was mutton biryani, dal makhani, mutton korma, chhole bhature, chicken stew, malai kofta, mixed vegetable, gaajar halwa, vanilla ice cream, cold drink and extremely milky “espresso coffee”.
The guests feasted beyond the midnight hour. A few children fell asleep under the seats. Later, the newly-married flew to Kerala for honeymoon.
The Walled City blitz