An Evening of Poetry Reading in Hindi and Urdu

By Ramona Sahni, Fox Chapel, PA


Note:  Ramona Sahni, a long-time member of the Indian community here, came to the US in 1971 as a resident in medicine.  She and her husband Randhir Sahni live in the Fox Chapel area (Hartwood Estates).

Triveni International Club, which was dormant for some time, showed a splendid revival last Fall by sponsoring an enjoyable mushaira (creative poetry recitation) at the India Garden restaurant in Monroeville. It seemed like a divine intervention, the weather cooperated beautifully, no coats or umbrellas were required, and the food was fresh and wholesome. In the filled-to-capacity hall, the mood was expectant.

A diverse and renowned group of poets and authors enlivened the mushaira, a classical tradition of reading original Urdu poetry by Shairs and Shairas. Young and seasoned, men and women, hailing from different walks of life, read their verses, tastefully, often forcefully. There was also room for ribaldry. But all conveyed their passion, insight, and emotion.  Men and women from our own area and those from neighboring states, some coming from Canada, and a few poets visiting from India delighted the packed lively audience.

The evening started promptly at 5 PM with appetizers followed by dinner. The program commenced at 7 PM instead of 7:30 PM as announced — a first for Pittsburgh! — to an eager crowd of patrons. 

Participants adhered to the traditional boundaries of mushairas, which transported me to an age long gone — lighting of the candle by Shaheen Akhtar invoking the Divine illumination, nuanced approach to etiquette, and reverence shown to the Sadramushiara Maqsad Allahabadi — brought back memories of my younger days.

The poets used a colorful palette expressing love, pathos, loss & separation, longing for re-union, humor, satire and social themes. Everyone brought their unique life experiences into sharp focus in their recitals. 

Credit goes to Durlabh Trivedi who organized this event almost single handedly. And what is a man without his wife? Santosh, Durlabh’s wife, hosted many of the artists at their home. Thanks go to Shaheen Akhtar and Hussein Imam for their efforts to get the artists, and to the Triveni board’s hard work, including the youngest member, Amit Grover. The program went on till late into the night.

The delightful evening made everyone introspective and nostalgic.  We hope the Triveni Club continues to deliver this way, so we can all stay proud of our culture and heritage.

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