After spending three years abroad, my cousin is going home to Karachi for a visit. Her itinerary has been announced in the family a month ago, enough time for the ladies to organize yet another dholki.
Dholki “small dholak” is a classical hand drum. This musical instrument is very popular in India, Pakistan, and Nepal, specially during the pre-wedding ceremonies. The dholki event usually consists of singing with the dholak as a musical accompaniment, rehearsal of dancing in preparation for the upcoming festivities, and eating good food. Family members and close friends attend the dholki, which usually takes place in the house of the bride. I guess it’s like a bridal shower.
My family, however, has abused dholki. We had our first dholki when a cousin got married; the first wedding in the family. That was okay. But since then, my family has seemed to derive immense pleasure in throwing dholki parties – regardless of the occasion.
My aunts, sisters, and cousins organized a grand dholki party for me when I returned home after a decade of staying abroad. Reason: I have accepted the marriage proposal. I had another dholki as early as one month prior to my wedding. We had been busy shopping for the main event, and this dholki was an excuse for the ladies to get together at my place to arrange/pack all my stuff, which was apparently all over the house. The wedding was to be held in Dubai, so we had to be extra organized to not forget anything behind.
Few days later, my sister landed a job in an airline industry. My family got busy arranging for her dholki. We had a BBQ party at home with lots of singing, dancing, laughing, and playing – the dholki, of course. It was a dholki party to celebrate her new job.
And when another cousin gave birth to a baby girl, we had to arrange her dholki. We all went to her house, and had a great party.
Then there was this three-day nationwide strike in Pakistan. We couldn’t go anywhere, and got immensely bored. So we had yet another dholki, complete with chicken tikka and kabab. The guys played chess and watched cricket.
Few months after my wedding, I went home for the first time with Hubby. Aside from the numerous gifts that I received, I had a dholki party – again. Food was catered, and the party was organized on the rooftop of my aunt’s house.
And now that I am away from it all, I actually miss these dholkis a lot. It was “fun time” for us girls. We even keep the boys in the family on their toes. They do all the purchasing and ordering of food and party stuff. They are even the ones in-charge of the BBQ and tikka. It’s the time when you feel so much blessed to be among the people who love you; people whom you love. A time when you share only laughter and songs. A time when you’re so happy and carefree.
So when this particular cousin of mine lands in Karachi in mid July, she should be ready for a grand dholki. She has been married three years ago, so this isn’t the usual pre-wedding ceremony.
This dholki is to celebrate her return home after a long time.