A Memorable Evening

Report by Zeb
March 2002

A one-of-a-kind evening of South Asian fiction and humor writings was arranged by Koshish Foundation at Mehran Restaurant in Newark, California.

The evening included dinner and then a program of readings by Bay Area authors. The responsibilities of nizaamat were fulfilled by Mr. Turab Nazar, who started off the event by explaining the format of the program and then introducing the writers.

The event consisted of a session of short story readings followed by some humor.

Khwaja Ashraf, a senior local writer read two short stories; the second at the request of the audience who highly appreciated his first offering titled "Zero Hour." Both his pieces were in the science fiction genre.

Fiction and travelogue writer, Ali Hasan Cemendtaur then read his work titled "Dukan" [Shop], a short story set amidst the events and aftermath of the separation of East Pakistan and its echoes in today's present sectarian intolerance in Pakistan.

Ms. Rubina Geena brought the first session of the evening to a close with her enigmatic English story titled "Library."

At the beginning of the second session, Mr. Rehan Jalil of Koshish gave an introduction to the objectives and various projects being undertaken by the host organization, Koshish Foundation. This was followed by Mr. Nofil Fawad reading his satirical essay titled "Yaaran Shadee Shudgaan" [Married Friends] which was received very enthusiastically by the audience.

Mr. Shamim Ahmad's essay "Bahoo Begum" [Madame Daughter-in-Law] was presented very eloquently by Farhan Shahid.

The formal part of the event was brought to a close by Cemendtaur reading three humorous pieces titled "Janwar" [Animal], "Musalmanon hoshiyar ho jaao" [Muslims Beware], and "Film Chheenk kee kahanee, kitabi shakal main" [The story of the Film Chheenk (Sneeze), in book form].

The audience was then invited to comment on the readings; some members of the audience also used the occasion to provide thoughts on the social work being undertaken by Koshish Foundation.

Koshish Foundation (www.koshish.org) is a non-profit organization that promotes education-related projects in South Asia with emphasis on technology transfer and technical education. Its projects include a Mentorship Program for engineering students, the establishment of Resource Centers for technical professionals and students, and the eventual creation of Centers of Technology and Engineering Excellence. Koshish is also involved in providing technical help to institutions of primary education.


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