If I, by anyway, overheard someone saying that there is a Mehfil Mushaira in the town. In the next moment I will rush toward the door, searching for the cluster of those intellects who left their abodes to regale the gathering with their prolific poetry.
Out of morbid curiosity, I darted across the road to find that possible-mushaira-gathering place when my friend said he eavesdropped on some boys’ conversation about the Mushaira. And now here I’m searching around along with my other friend who also loves to accompany me on such expeditions. Finally, there was it on the far side of the Post Mall road in Convocation Hall, University of Peshawar.
The hall is amazingly decorated for the elegant and reverend poets – gathered from far and wide. It’s a fancy hall with golden curtain hanging down the brown colored rods. One thing that most people disagree with me is the beauty of waiting – for chief guest, or for the starting of a program that you have already waited for a long week.
Look, how great is it to wait for an unknown period of time. I can feel the beat of my heart every time the door fling opens. It dupes all of us.
My friend asked:
”How about waiting for a bus on a busy station?” “How it feels like?”
I replied, “well, it’s pathetic. I can do nothing there. I can’t talk to someone else there. Here I get sometime to sit with you, talk to you about what were you up to yesterday.”
Spending that waiting-time with someone who matters to you a lot is worthwhile.
Finally, a giant shadow in the focused glint of projector lens appears on the wall. Compere grabs the mic and announces the commencing of the Mehfil (Gathering).
Che Guftar ke te cha waar mundale nasho..
Agha peghla che myana shwa nu gungay shwa…
Most people love two line poetry because it builds the meaning right away without any difficulty in understanding. Sometimes it may be not that a hot cake, but it silents the gathering for a while.
The hall was big enough to stuff the late arriving attendees. We had already oozed through the walking gate in a queue to make this day count.
Shaukat yousafzai, a lanky, talented poet, presented one of the Abaseen Yousafzai’s poem in a melancholic voice.
Rang da gulab ba sa ve..
Khwnd da shabab ba sa we…
Sta da sro shondo makhke..
Tak sor inqelab ba sa we..
Most of the audience were students from different departments of Peshawar university. They greeted every poet with cacophonous slogans and clapping. Some chanted kinda pejorative slogans on those hard-to-retreat poets. But one thing was clear:
The fervor and zest was on the cusp as most of students scribbled down their favorite lines of poetry from the mehfil Poets. While I had nothing to write, my mind worked and I hummed last two lines poetry of Nazia Durrani – for few times – to let it not fade away of my memory.
Naz Kachkol pa laas ba tar kala garzi…
Da jwand swalona tol badl badl de…
Then Seemab saib, the stage compere who later revealed his poetic skill, bewitched the students with his Poem “Afghan Mona Lisa.”
Her blue eyes that conjured up the whole world, the misery she had been through, and her impoverished face casting tons of questions – that would never be answered – all encompassed the Seemab saib’s poem.
The ecstasy with which the poets depicted the dull portrait of the country had a soothing composure. Every one, even those who had no interest in literature or poetry and who were just flipping through their smart-phone screens, turned their head and noticed something out of it. Their mortal body may not have had any thine ear for that poem, but their boundless soul made their part in counting on those moments.
Another poet, from Swat, made a very strong point about the society in his poem. His three sons, whom he made the subject of interest through a demand for an empty Pepsi Bottle. He raved about the loop holes in the system that urges our children to end up in the hands of extremists. Her little daughter demands for the Pepsi bottle. And when she was asked for the reason, she innocently replied, it is for making a toy-mortar that they will be playing with later. He sums up his poem on the note that:
“If children, instead of holding a Pen in hands, knock around with toy-guns and Mortar Shell, the fervor will be soon morphed into the demands for real arms, ammunition, and guns.”
Then there was that one poet – that kinda comedian one – for whom the audience waited long enough. An old poet leaned forward wearing a white shawl came up to the stage. He spoke of the hearts of audience. Perhaps, he knew the way to wake youth sitting at the end of the hall.
Ma wail mana sa na sa wakhla..
mana zama da mene zra wakhla…
Aghe wail zra de za pa topa olam…
mala uv so borai wra wakhla
At the end, V.C Peshawar university talked about the the poets and thanked them for coming up to the stage to share their thoughts.
“Events like such will always be supported and sponsored, he said.”
We left the hall with those unforgettable memories.