22 June, 2021

Delhi Diary: Being Sadia Dehlvi

Sunil Mehra reminisces on a Delhi that once was and its gentle, Sufi sultana. A requiem for a friend turns into a lament for a city, a time lost: a time of beauty, elegance, erudition, spaciousness. Lost, forever....

Illustration by Saahil
Delhi Diary: Being Sadia Dehlvi
outlookindia.com
2020-10-02T14:42:49+05:30
Soft, molten evenings

You sit down to write a requiem for a friend. It turns into a lament for a city, a time lost: a time of beauty, elegance, erudition, spaciousness. Lost, forever...

My friend Sadia Dehlvi passed into the ether on August 5. Buried much with her: thirty-two years of my youth, memories of many sun-drenched afternoons on the expansive lawns of her sprawling, glittering Shama Kothi, which locals had dubbed ‘Dilli ka Tajmahal’; reading Faiz together with the polymath Suharwardy; listening spellbound in the moonlight as the flirtatious Pakistani poet Ahmed Faraz recited ‘Suna hai log use aankh bhar ke dekhte hain/Jo uske sheher mein kuchh din theher ke dekhte hain’ to my beauteous friend; laughing as the vivacious Tehmina Durrani regaled us with stories of assorted feudal lords across the border; stuffing our faces with melt-in-the-mouth kakori kababs from Sadia’s legendary Al Kauser kiosk across the...

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