White sheets were spread on the grass, fairy lights draped over the trees and the mic handed over to LitSoc Manager Fizza Sangi so she could officially launch the society’s first Open Mic of the year. The courtyard filled up in a matter of minutes and the whispers quickly subsided in anticipation of an evening filled with lights, music and magic.
The night began with a poem by Safee ul Haque, the previous manager of the Literary Society. Fatima Altaf Hussain, the only female comedian, spread laughter with her first joke about not being the daughter of “the real” Mr. Altaf Hussain; the giggles she elicited were consistent throughout her time on stage. Mr. Nazeer Bahadur, a member of the janitorial staff, who presented his series of Urdu and Punjabi poetry, received a number of ohos and wah wahs, as students were genuinely impressed. Sajjad Jaffery was seen reading an excerpt from his short story, while Daniyal Tariq read out poetry. Halfway through the event the audience was seen standing around the white chaddar to listen to the people onstage.
The much-awaited musical performances received a lot of applause and hoots, with the audience singing along to their favorites. ‘Cough Syrup’ performed by Mehr Khwaja, along with Sameel and Farzan, entranced the audience, while Mirha Amer stunned the audience with her melodious voice. The audience was so invested in some of the performances that they asked for an encore by Zubair Irfan Khan. Smiles, laughter, appreciation and chatter was seen and heard all around, especially near the stall where chai, the Pakistani obsession, was being served. However, one thing that should have been kept in mind is respect for the performers; at some points the audience became so loud that one could not even hear the person on stage. Around nine o’clock, Darvesh, the most awaited performers of the event arrived, prepared to perform their magic onstage – the highlight was their famous song ‘Sawali’.
Although most of the performances were good, there were some which the audience found to be in bad taste. One comedy performance implied that being a resident of Lyari should be a source of shame, or that wanting to be a comedian means a man is gay. In light of these elitist and discriminatory comments, the performer was asked to leave the stage by the LitSoc Manager. It goes to show that performers need to ensure that their material is respectful as well as entertaining. In future, the society ought to consider reviewing their performances more rigorously beforehand for an even better and more inclusive event.
The Open Mic lived up to the expectations of many, and exceeded those of the few who expected less of it, setting the trend for the society to follow throughout the term. It can be reasonably said that the Literary Society will continue on their path of success, with their theme of self expression, hoping to fulfil their purpose of igniting within people the flame they so timidly carry.