By Aditi Tandon

Source: Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9

Description: Pakistani guests dance at a dinner party hosted by the Punjab Chief Minister at Chandigarh Club on Wednesday.
Pakistani guests dance at a dinner party hosted by the Punjab Chief Minister at Chandigarh Club on Wednesday. ” A Tribune photograph

As a goodwill gesture to the visitors from Pakistan, Chandigarh Club sponsored the venue of the dinner. Even the catering and tent arrangements were heavily discounted. The arrangements were well made and it was apparent that a lot of thought had gone into them. Despite a hefty guest list, the organisers managed a decent show. So perfect was the spacing between stalls that not even once did the problem of overcrowding arise. There were separate food enclaves for VIPs and other guests. Present at the dinner were all ministers of the Punjab government, parliamentary secretaries, some Punjab Cricket Association officials and journalists. Highlight of the show were the welcome banners in Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi which greeted the guests where ever they went.

Our guests from Pakistan were on Cloud 9 tonight. Smitten by the lavish dinner arrangements made at Chandigarh Club, they literally floundered for words when accosted for reactions.
Finally, the best thing they had to say about the reception at the club was: Aapki mohabbat ka yeh paigaam hum nahi bhool payenge. Their words of praise for Punjab Government were also interesting: Aapki hukumat badi dariyadil hai (your state is very generous) they said.

Organised under the care of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh`s office, the dinner was grand by all standards. It was well organised and well laid to cater to a gathering of about 3,000. Never in the past has Chandigarh Club seen such hectic preparations as it saw all today.
From morning till evening the caterers and tent house owners, in charge of affairs at the club, were busy putting their best foot forward lest goodwill suffers. At the back of their mind, however, the fear of rain was wreaking havoc until of course a clear night sky smiled at them.

Even the sound system and the live projector, installed for the cultural evening by Hans Raj Hans and Dolly Guleria, were at the mercy of weather till the evening. Mercifully, the show went on without a drizzle. Had it rained the organisers would have been in trouble as there was no arrangement of water proofing at the venue. Late as the orders were placed yesterday, neither the tent house people nor the caterers were ready for weather exigencies.

On the catering front, Ambrosia held the fort, offering to the Pakistanis what they like the best. halal and jhatka” fare was laid in abundance, supplemented with Punjabi” preparations (about five to six vegetables). Though not multicuisine, the menu was well chosen. In the dessert category, the traditional Indian rabri and jalebi” ruled the roost. It had the guests hooked. For a while, the ice cream corner appeared deserted.

Coupled with the joy of good food was the joy of music. As Hans Raj and Dolly Guleria doled out their melodic sequences, the guests could not help shaking a leg. Interspersed with music was the dance of Punjab which further thrilled the gathering.