Pakistan Knows How To Party
Posted by evankessler on June 1, 2009
Arriving home from my trip to Britain late Thursday night/Early Friday morning I found myself none too eager to take on a high octane pace for the weekend. I perceived that my Friday evening would be very uninvolved and probably include putting something adhesive on my backside so that it would stay firmly entrenched on a couch as I enjoyed one of my three Netflix options in the dark and soothing squalor of my living space.
This did not happen. As I went through the work motions at my computer during the day, I received a g-chat message from Deb M asking if I’d be attending her former roommate Londa and her twin sister Layla’s birthday celebration that evening. Unsure of what my answer should be, due to my present state of exhaustion, I asked Jess S what she thought. In truth, I didn’t need to ask this, I knew here answer would be yes, but I was just searching for more motivation than I currently had.
With that, my evening plans were set. I spent the early part of Friday evening at the gym and watching the Mets game before heading into the city with Jess to a pub called Dublin in the border area between the West Village and the Meat Packing district. Londa and Layla had reserved a backroom at the bar from 9:30pm onwards. I said mostly brief hellos to the birthday girls and more or less spent the rest of my evening conversing with Deb M and Jess at a table, eventually making room for Jess’s boyfriend Ari and his friend who had just come from the Grizzly Bear show at Town Hall.
Towards the end of the night I was introduced to someone who was also from Rockland. I think his name was Quaku…I could be totally wrong, but it was loud and I couldn’t hear very well. He insisted he knew me somehow and we played one of those “let’s name people we know in Rockland” games. This revealed that we indeed had a few acquainatances in common. Through the conversation I learned that some of our mutual semi-acquaintances were doing quite well. One person was the guitar player for the SNL band and another had a band that opened for the Jonas Brothers. This made me laugh. A band fronted by a 30-year old playing for tweens. I’m sure he’s making plenty of money though.
Anyway, that’s where the night ended as the Park Slope contingent was headed back to Brooklyn and I happily went along, as I wasn’t really in the mood to stay out drinking.
The next morning saw some initial laziness. There was a big evening ahead and I was just generally still feeling a bit worn out from my travels. I was none too motivated to do much. I basically sat around watching TV until it was time to spring into action for my afternoon/evening activity. At 4:15 I arrived at Jayvalyn’s apartment dressed to the eights. If I was wearing a tie I would’ve been dressed to the nines, but instead I was only wearing my suit sans neck appendage for our trip to Long Island for Ahmad and Erika’s engagement party. Had it been their wedding, I would’ve knotted up.
To tell the truth I was a bit surprised by the request to dress formally for an engagement party, but having heard that we would be attending what was partially a ‘mungni’ or a large pakistani engagement party, I decided not to buck the trend with Jeans and a t-shirt.
By the time I arrived via car with Jayvalyn, Jes, and Kishore at the lavish estate of Ahmad’s aunt in the St. James, I was glad I had gone more dressed up, but slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t worn a tie. Everyone was very nicely dressed in either traditional Pakistani garb or sharp suits. I quickly got over my slight embarrassment and headed for the beer and food. I was absolutely starving having barely eaten all day. There was a tantalizing spread of what I thought were dinner entrees. After saying my hellos to Ahmad, Erika, Rich, Lina, Maya, Rob, Rob M, Morwin, Abdullah, Suli, Andrea, Flosario and Tony amongst others, I partook in the wide variety of traditional foods, very few of which I knew what they were. Everything was utterly foreign to me, but when I tasted each dish they proved overwhelmingly delicious. I even went back for seconds.
Somewhere around my 2nd dish of food there was a bit of a commotion going on around the entrance. Apparently the engagement ceremony was started. Music began to blast and out walked the groom to be preceded by a slew of his brother and friends sporting white scarves and dancing gleefully. Included in this group were, Abdullah, Rich, Suli, and Rob M. Morwin, Jason, Kishore and Tony held an awning (I guess is what I would call it) over Ahmad’s head as he approached and left him as he got to his chair. As evidenced by the video below.
Next it was the bride-t0-be’s turn. Erika walked out in similar fashion. I’d describe it, but the video below will probably just work better than any explanation I could give. Ah, the power of visual stimuli.
Finally, with the bride and groom to be in their places it was now time for the choreographed dances. I stood there in awe and thought to myself. If this was just the engagement party, imagine how crazy the wedding is going to be?
As the choreographed dances drew to a close the remained of those in attendance were pulled in to dance and partake in the merriment of the occasion. The most striking part of the party were all of the bright colors of people’s outfits amidst the green grass of the backyard. It was a hell of a lot more color than I think I’m used to seeing on a normal afternoon in the city and all of that color was constantly in motion making for a lively affair.
As the evening wore on there were even more choreographed dances and much to my surprise more food. I hadn’t anticipated that when I went back for a 2nd plate of what I thought were entrees. Apparently that was just the hors d’oeuvres round. The real meal consisted of even great tasting delights that were just as mysterious as the last round, though they were more enigmatic this go ’round due to the fact that the sun had gone down and I was eating in the dark. There was also a tasty dessert round with a certain dish which I don’t remember the name of that Ahmad told me was his favorite. It was quite delicious and I wish I had taken pictures.
One of the funnier episodes of the night occurred while Abdullah had been DJing and left one of his mixes on for awhile. The lyrics to one of the songs were overtly sexual and kept being repeated. So anyone was within relative proximity to the speakers kept hearing something related to certain female genitalia at this joyous family affair. Oops. Oh well, I don’t think it ended being a big issue, just a small hiccup in an overwhelmingly enjoyable night.
I ended up leaving relatively early at around 10:30pm because I was able to grab a ride home back to Brooklyn with Lauren, her dad, and Rosario. Afterwards I had the slight sting of regret that I should have stayed and at least had some of the cake, which was painstakingly baked by one of Ahmad’s relatives over the course of a week. It had an ornate decoration of flowers that were very carefully put together and looked as though it would be mouth wateringly sumptious. That being said, I had eaten entirely too much during the cocktail hour and dinner and was completely stuffed and therefore sleepy. By the time I got home I was absolutely thrilled to go to sleep even though it was relatively early for a Saturday night.
Sunday was another beautiful early summer day. The weather was in the high 70′s/low 80′s and a group of us gathered in the park for a period of relaxation that lasted around five hours in which we tossed several different pigskins around, played fetch with dogs, and had a few snacks amidst plentiful conversation. Another banner weekend, in the life of a Brooklynite.