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US Consul General floored by ‘Arabi daf'

J.S. Ifthekhar

HYDERABAD: Few could resist the rhythmic beat of the ‘Arabi daf'. The foot tapping teen-mar makes one sway almost involuntarily.

It was no different with Katherine Dhanani, the US Consul General. Far from getting annoyed, she simply gave in to the music that washed over her.

It was a different kind of an experience for Ms. Dhanani when she visited Barkas in the Old City on Tuesday.

Traditional welcome

Did she enjoy the traditional welcome accorded to her? Boy she sure did. One had to just see the glint in her eyes and her glowing countenance to know.

The people of Barkas, under the aegis of the Deccan Democratic Club, gave the customary at home to the new Consul General.

The ‘Arabi daf' troupe was on hand to give the typical reception.

Donning white T-shirts and ‘lungies' with the red scarf for headgear, the band belted out the Arabic tune ‘Alila gam ya baya bam ..' As the beat increased in cadence steadily, the local Yemni crowed broke into a slow jig.

Accompanied by Mathew B. Stannard, Vice-Consul, Ms. Dhanani turned up in a black ‘kurthi-pyjama' with a pink scarf draped over her head. Of course she had to struggle to keep it from slipping away.

“We wanted to show the local culture and also dispel the misgivings about Muslims,” said Habeeb Mohsin, the man behind the show.

Understanding culture

The welcome over, Ms. Dhanani spent some time with the Barkas elders trying to understand their culture. She was also served Hyderabadi delicacies.

But she didn't plump for the biryani, mirchi ka salan, chicken 65 course. Instead, she partook of ‘marag' (mutton soup), ‘mahmooz' (mutton masala) and ‘paratha'.

“The local community is vibrant and I am happy to meet the people here”, remarked Ms. Dhanani.

She was all smiles when an English copy of the holy Quran was presented to her.

Diversity

She was pleased with the rich diversity of Hyderabad and said India and US had many commonalities.

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