PSA at UC Davis Holds Andaaz-E-Dastaan Charity Banquet
By Ras H. Siddiqui

The Pakistani Student Association (PSA) at the University of California at Davis held a well-rounded charity event showcasing the culture of Pakistan on Friday, March 2nd at the ARC Ballroom on campus. Close to 300 people packed the venue with some unfortunately being unhappily turned away as the evening turned out to be much more successful than originally planned. (One hopes that next year this effort will find more sponsors and a larger venue).  In the meantime right off the bat and with many apologies to those who were asked to leave, the organizers certainly deserve a round of applause for putting Pakistan’s culturally best foot forward at the Davis campus.

The evening started with Qirat followed by the singing of the national anthem. PSA President Hina Farooq next addressed the gathering and welcomed everyone to the Andaaz-e-Dastaan charity banquet fundraiser, showcasing our beautiful Pakistani culture and its unique charms. She said that in its short history, Pakistan has endured a series of unfortunate natural disasters as well as periods of instability. “As Pakistani students we empathize with the plight of our brothers and sisters overseas,” she said.

The entertainment did get off to a nervous start as hosts Ahmed Danawala and Hala Baig initially had to juggle the schedule but everything eventually settled down for everyone’s enjoyment. First up were the South-Asian A Capella team, Jhankaar performing in Urdu-Hindi and English. Next Saad Qureshi’s rendition of poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Hum Dekhenge was quite moving. But the drama serial put together by these students although not Humsafar, still has to get high marks for creativity as the first part entertained everyone.  A very colorful Mehndi Ki Raat followed next including dances with a dash of parody.

Uzair Saleem next gave a strong presentation on the virtues of charity and giving to pave the way for a video from the Imran Khan Foundation highlighting the plight of flood victims in Badin and other parts of Sindh to stress the fundraising segment for the evening.  The students who were already generous with their time contributed their money too and thanks are in order to the event sponsors here for helping them.  Part two of the drama serial was presented to lighten up the mood before dinner by SHAZ Restaurant and part three of the series followed right after.

The fashion show featuring attire by Asma Sajid and Maria Shah along with Sari Palace really brightened up the evening as the closing segment of the drama serial entertained us further along with songs by Shwetha Menon (nice Reshma number) and a nothing less than spectacular ending with Punjab Di Shaan  Bhangra dancing.   

In closing it was great to see UC Davis Pakistani students and their friends putting in a good effort, being creative and having some fun while helping a worthy cause.  Good job, PSA!


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