Thursday, April 21, 2016

City Food - Kallu Mian Nihariwalle is Dead, Unchi Masjid, Old Delhi

City Food - Kallu Mian Nihariwalle is Dead, Unchi Masjid, Old Delhi

The legendary nihari cook is no more.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Old Delhi’s legendary cook Kallu Mian Nihariwalle died on 18 April, aged 60.

He was famous for his nihari, the delicious Mughal-era meat stew that is slow-cooked for hours and is traditionally served as a morning meal. Kallu Mian’s stall at Chatta Lal Mian (behind Delite Cinema) was a landmark destination in the world of Delhi’s authentic cuisine.

The nihari cook’s real name was Mohammed Rafiquddin. He was born in a cramped house near Unchi Masjid in Turkman Gate, and he lived here until his last day.

Kallu Mian set up his eatery in 1990. His father, Mohammed Nazmuddin, too, was a nihari cook.

Kallu Mian was lately suffering from diabetes, among other things, and he needed dialysis to survive. The various illnesses had forced him to hand over the eatery to his sons, though occasionally he would go on a rickshaw to sit there for a few hours. The worsening health made even that impossible in the last few months.

Kallu Mian was buried in the Dilli Gate Qabristan, the graveyard behind The Times of India Building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Road. He is survived by wife, Shamshad Begum, two daughters, Ruqqaya and Uzma, and four sons, Rehaan, Faizan, Faisal and Saqib.

Kallu Mian was on a strict vegetarian diet during the last three years of his life. “Nihari had become like a zeher (poison) to him,” his son Faizan told The Delhi Walla.

Kallu Mian, rest in peace

1. (Kallu Mian's son Mohammed Faizan holding his father's photograph)

City Food - Kallu Mian Nihariwalle is Dead, Unchi Masjid, Old Delhi

2. (the street to Kallu Mian's house)

City Food - Kallu Mian Nihariwalle is Dead, Unchi Masjid, Old Delhi

3. (some members of Kallu Mian's family; from left--Muhammed Saqib, Muhammed Aahad, Muhammed Rehaan, Muhammed Sharifuddin, Muhammed Faizan, Abdul Samad)

City Food - Kallu Mian Nihariwalle is Dead, Unchi Masjid, Old Delhi

5. (a photograph of Kallu Mian during his hajj pilgrimage to Mecca)

City Food - Kallu Mian Nihariwalle is Dead, Unchi Masjid, Old Delhi

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Netherfield Ball – The Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

The party secrets.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It was a scandal and it was very distressing. Only a few people were there to celebrate the iconic Tavleen Singh, the bestselling author and journalist with 228K followers on Twitter.

One evening, The Delhi Walla was at the amphitheater at India Habitat Center to attend the launch of Ms Singh’s new book, India’s Broken Tryst. The venue was half-empty. The embarrassed organisers took a long time to call Ms Singh on stage, after waiting for people who never came. News anchor Barkha Dutt was nowhere to be seen though Ms Singh had dutifully attended her book launch a few months ago (and she had even tweeted about it). Indian Express’s editor-in-chief, Raj Kamal Jha, did not come though his newspaper publishes Ms Singh’s Sunday column (correction: hours later I'm told that he was indeed sighted in the gathering). Ms Singh's son, author Aatish Taseer--a Proustian aesthete who likes to remind people that he is a Sanskrit scholar--was not seen either.

The specter of empty seats was beyond belief. After all, Ms Singh is a celebrity face on TV news. Her last book, Durbar, was the talk of the town and it was even read and liked by the man who is now the Prime Minister. (A very gracious human being, he condescended to give an appointment to Ms Singh so that she could avail the opportunity to present him her new classic.) Ms Singh knows a lot of other Very Important People in the capital, including a couple of Maharajas and Maharanis from Rajasthan. She is also an ex-friend of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, and has told that many times in her books and columns.

Still, a handful of beautiful people tried their best to rescue the evening from ending up as a nuclear wasteland. Ms Singh’s partner, industrialist Ajit Gulabchand, looked suave in a suit, and, like a true gentleman, his two-buttoned jacket had only one button fastened. Ms Singh, however, looked a little over the top in her glittering pink sari. Perhaps there was a wedding to be attended later in the evening. Former politician Jaya Jaitley looked truly stylish in a white sari that looked so fragile as if it had been hand-woven in a dream. Journalist Madhu Trehan looked lovely in her long black hair. Journalist Swapan Dasgupta looked like Prince Charming in a white kurta pyjama.

Also seen: publishing house editor Nandini Mehta, who looked hot, as always; magazine editor Madhu Jain, who was recently conferred with Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merite by the French ambassador; novelist Manu Joseph, who seems to have become a book launch junkie.

The only gossip overheard: one guest remarked to another that somewhere in her book Ms Singh talked of wanting to slap famous columnist Aakar Patel’s wife, Tushita. Thank God that couple lives in Bangalore.

An evening to forget

1.

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

2.

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

3. (Madhu Trehan)

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

4. (Swapan Dasgupta)

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

5. (Ajit Gulabchand, right)

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

6. (Madhu Jain, left, with Marty Chen)

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

7. (Jaya Jaitley)

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

8. (Author Sanjaya Baru, left)

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

9.

Netherfield Ball – An Embarrassing Flop Show at Tavleen Singh's Book Launch, India Habitat Center

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

Shakespeare Project

Living with the Bard.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Disclaimer: This article has stolen many phrases from the complete works of a writer who had a history of taking inspiration from people’s lives.

In Sufism, the death anniversary of a mystic is not mourned but celebrated, and the celebration is called Urs. Now, this “brave new world” is celebrating the 400th death anniversary of a man who was no Sufi, certainly, but one of the world’s greatest writers, whose very name today is a “tower of strength”.

William Shakespeare “passed through nature to eternity” in 1616, and since then his readers have been having “too much of a good thing”.

The world—which has been described overwhelmingly over these last four centuries by the words and phrases in Shakespeare’s 37 plays, 154 sonnets and five long poems—is marking the milestone through year-long festivities.

A Google search will take you to Shakespeare events planned across the globe. Especially check websites like www.shakespearesglobe.com/ 400, www.shakespeare400.org, www.shakespeareoxford2016.co. uk and www.shakespeare400chicago.com. The BBC will launch its Shakespeare Festival on 23 April—that’s the day the Bard “breathed his last”. In 2015, the British Council and the UK government’s Great Britain Campaign, which promotes tourism, announced “Shakespeare Lives”, a global programme to celebrate the writer’s influence on our lives, through films, exhibitions and plays, in 2016.

But, “for goodness sake”, you don’t really have to go to theatres, exhibitions and panel discussions to celebrate the dramatist. There’s no need even to watch the numerous Indian and foreign films adapted from his works.

“As good luck would have it,” you don’t have to read any Shakespeare either. All you have to do is look around your immediate world, and almost everywhere you will see his lines—in a solemn-looking cousin staring searchingly into the mirror (“To be, or not to be: that is the question”; Hamlet), in a flustered wife who has just returned home from shopping in the summer heat (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; Sonnet 18), in an overtly generous friend (“heart of gold”; Henry V), in the grudging admiration for a horrible day-job colleague (“give the devil his due”; Henry IV), or even in a boss who is trying to make your life miserable at work (“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”; Hamlet).

To give you an idea, phrases as mundane as “All of a sudden”, “naked truth” and “fair play” entered daily-speak via Shakespeare—The Taming Of The Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Tempest, respectively.

With snatches of Shakespeare’s prose having seeped into many aspects of our modern life, we end up meeting them daily. In 2015, for instance, the Hindustan Times carried a cricket story headlined “Method In Madness: SA Exploiting Indian Batsmen Run Between Wickets”. The first three words are from a line in Hamlet, a play that has given us so many commonplace expressions that an ignorant first-time reader might actually develop a low opinion of Shakespeare for shamelessly stealing our language.

For, much of Shakespeare has strayed far from his works. Too many of his lines have taken their own life, floating freely in the world, no longer attached to their original context. Over the years, these words have become the skeletal framework of our conversational language. They are our “household words”, so much so that whether we are tuned to Shakespeare or not, we end up living him day after day after day. And the situation will probably continue until the “crack of doom”.

In the end, it’s no “improbable fiction” to suggest that our man from England has left behind lines of such impact and immediacy that they will keep resonating powerfully with us.

Shakespeare will never “vanish into thin air”. The Delhi Walla tries to prove this through these photographs, taken across Delhi.

Will in the world

1. ‘All the world’s a stage’ (As You Like It): Participants at an Urdu poetry meet at the Ghalib Academy

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

2. ‘I’ll not budge an inch’ (The Taming Of The Shrew): An unusual passenger on a rickshaw outside Ramlila Maidan

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

3. ‘A dish fit for the gods’ (Julius Caesar): Altamash Nizami, a caretaker at Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Sufi shrine, surrounded by food served at Iftar during Ramzan

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

4. ‘... lend me your ears’ (Julius Caesar): A traditional ear cleaner at Connaught Place

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

5. ‘Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, balm of hurt minds....’ (Macbeth): A labourer sleeping on the road divider in Chawri Bazaar

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

6. ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet’ (Romeo And Juliet): Shahnawaz Khan, a flower seller outside Jama Masjid

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

7. ‘If music be the food of love, play on...’ (Twelfth Night): A musical session at Lodhi Gardens

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

8. 'Doubt thou the stars are fire,. Doubt that the sun doth move,. Doubt truth to be a liar,. But never doubt I love' (Hamlet): Stray dogs in Amar Colony

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

9. 'But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun' (Romeo And Juliet): Morning sky as seen from Daryaganj

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

10. 'If you prick us, do we not bleed?' (The Merchant of Venice): The signboard of a Jewish Chabad House in Paharganj

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

11. 'The future in the instant' (Macbeth): Palm reader at Chandni Chowk

Photo Essay - Shakespeare's World, Around Delhi

Shakespeare, always

Smoking Shakespeare is Injurious to Emotions