OTHERS

A royal treat awaits Musharrafs

NEW DELHI, JULY 6. The flavour of Old Delhi captured in a quaint milky delicacy, ``chhuaare wala doodh,'' awaits the Pakistan President, General Pervez Musharraf, when he visits his birthplace at Haveli Neharwali in crowded Darya Ganj here this coming Saturday.

With people in the area virtually rolling out the red carpet -- sprucing the place up in every possible way -- it seems the General, who will be accompanied by his wife on this nostalgic trip, will carry home quite a few fond memories.

Going by the age-old saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the local residents have laid out a simple yet enchanting menu for the Pakistan President. Apart from the milky delight, there will be a range of traditional ``chaat- pakori'' besides sweets and beverages.

As the main reception is being held on the premises of a Jain family, the organisers are still debating if some non-vegetarian dishes could be included in the menu.

To keep the General's visit a rather private affair, security agencies have cleared the names of only a select few. The local Member of Parliament, Mr. Vijay Goel, and the MLA, Mr. Shoaib Iqbal, will be among the prominent representatives of the public at the venue. The current occupants of Haveli Neharwali nexdoor to grand old Golcha cinema -- the Gola and Jain families -- will double up as both guests and hosts. The two families recently sent out to the General, formal invitations to visit his birthplace during his Delhi visit.

The visiting dignitaries are expected to be there for about 30 minutes. They will be taken round the place by the local leaders and then the two families would meet the First Couple.

Mr. Iqbal says the Musharrafs will not return empty-handed. The two families and local leaders have decided to present them with some memorabilia.

Had it not been for paucity of time and space, a ``mushaira'' had also been planned in honour of the General. ``We are still discussing the possibility,'' says Mr. Iqbal.

Meanwhile, the security arrangements for the visit are being finetuned. The Special Commissioner (Security) of Delhi Police, Mr. R.S. Gupta, visited the area today to take stock of the situation. Already the police have started sealing the rooftops of nearby buildings. Verification of people living in the vicinity is being conducted simultaneously. Two full days before the VIP visit, all shops in the area will be ordered shut and the police will deploy spotters and sharpshooters as part of an unprecedented security cover.

With all civic works complete and security arrangements under way, the local residents have begun the countdown for D-Day.