Certainly, an Evening
By Ras H. Siddiqui
of the fashion show
event at the Chandni Restaurant in Newark, California wasbilled
as “Yeh Shaam Yaad Rahegee” or “An Evening that You Will
Remember” presented by the Bemisaal Boutique in Fremont.
And in more ways than one, it certainly lived up to its
description. One can easily blame the organizers for a troublesome
start, but it appears that it might not all have been their
fault. It was after all the night of Eid and not just any
other. There may have been some fiscal targets to meet but
it appears that “takalluf” or plain politeness came into
play as the people at the door just did not have the heart
to say “no more” to the multitudes that continued coming
to this program.
To describe the place initially being akin to “10 pounds
of potatoes in a 5 pond bag” would not be inaccurate, a
very chaotic start as some people waited for over an hour
to get done with dinner. It was difficult to envision Chandni
Restaurant being any more populated or its culinary limits
taxed beyond this evening’s huge attendance. Quality did
suffer, but all was not lost. By some miracle things somehow
fell into place and the evening turned around to produce
a gala event for all those diehards that refused to accept
the initial problems as permanent. The VIPs not having a
place to sit clouded many moods initially. Early birds had
already taken over their seats, but things finally began
to settle down. A very large number of Hindus and Sikhs
in attendance got a chance to enjoy the evening with South
Asian Muslims who came from as far away as Stockton and
Sacramento to enjoy the Eid festivities.
The only problem was that this also appeared to be the only
Eid party in the region or at least this was the one that
Indians and Pakistanis had decided to attend. It was the
fine entertainment that succeeded in clutching a victory
for the organizers from the jaws of what at one point appeared
to be certain defeat. The emcee, Farah Khawaja, had been
trying to get everyone to sit down for quite some time and
finally decided to let Javed Raza take over the job of soothing
the audience. And from then on, a certain positive chemistry
set in. Javed’s “Kal Ho Na Ho” song got things off to a
great start. “Zara Paas Aao” did not hurt either and by
the time he sang “Mein Yahaan Hoo” from the recent Bollywood
movie “Veer-Zaara” the crowd was well under the spell of
this talented crooner.
youngsters in the audience responded very well to his rendition
of “Lajja Lajja’ - even those that had pointed out Javed’s
resemblance to recent American Presidential candidate John
Kerry. And for us older folks Javed’s cooperative efforts
with Alka Bhatnagar and Anisha Bakshi and a duet with a
guest singer (Mini. Shukla) were very much appreciated.
“Abhi Na Jao Chor Kar” was wonderful. Alka Bhatnagar started
off with “Piyar Kia to Darna Kia?” from the half century
old film (now a legend) “Mughal-e-Azam” which has just recently
been reincarnated in color, thanks to a digital miracle.
On a side note this song was filmed at the “Sheesh Mahal”
or Mirror Palace at the Amber Fort in India’s Pink City
of Jaipur which I happened to visit last month, a beautiful
site which I would recommend to any tourist.
Ali and Qader Esphari
song from the movie “Devdas” was also well received. Anisha
Bakshi’s popularity is certainly worthy of her talents.
She made her solo start here with Lata Mangeshkar’s “Kaanton
se cheen kay aachal/ Aaj phir jeenay ki tamanna hai” and
Asha Bhosle’s “Raaz ki baat hai.” Her voice has a great
deal of range and her vocalizing of hits from both sides
of the India-Pakistan border is very much appreciated by
the respective communities here in Northern California.
The Fashion Show held was also a high point in this program
even though it was somewhat impacted by parent and media
over-enthusiasm. The models were our own community kids
and they looked great. But since so many people stood up
to appreciate their kid’s participation and the clothes
from Bemisaal Boutique, the view of many in the audience
behind them was blocked. Both parents and the media were
too busy taking photographs to listen to complaints but
as it was an oversold event such problems were to be encountered.
any event both our community kids and Bemisaal Boutique
need to be congratulated for a fine presentation. The other
great discovery for us this evening was guest singer Qader
Eshpari who is a big fan of the late-great Indian crooner
Kishore Kumar. The first couple of songs that he sang, which
included “Hum na karain gey piyaar,” have now increased
the possibility of this Afghan origin singer being included
in the ranks of Desi entertainment in Northern California.
Mr. Subhash Verma also put in a guest performance. And on
a last note, Pakistani fans were not ignored either. Songs
of Abrar, Madam Noor Jahan and a host of others were sung
during the second half.
child celebrating Eid at the function
with Anisha Bakshi singing “Mujh say pehli si mohabbat meray
mehboob na maang,” a song that I consider as one of the
greatest ever sung in the Urdu language (by Madam Noor Jahan),
I can only add a word of thanks. Yasmeen Ali of Bemisaal
Boutique needs to be congratulated for organizing one of
the most successful shows in the area for quite a while.
The event sponsors that included Dr. Khalid Baig, Dr. Bhandari,
California Homeopathic Clinic, REMAX Executive Sherri Stoneberger,
Jeevanjee Insurance, Fremont Printing and Healthy Nutrition/
Homeopathy Guru (my apologies if I missed anybody) deserve
our kudos for assisting this effort. Yasmeen has been organizing
programs here in California for the past 18 years. And in
spite of some logistical problems encountered at the beginning,
“Yeh Shaam Yaad Rahegee” still turned out to be quite a