By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Bill Cosby says: "You can turn painful situations around through laughter." To follow this advice, the Urdu Academy of North America dedicated its monthly literary evening to humor and laughter which are the most serious tools we have for dealing with impossible situations.
The literary event held on April 29, 2012, held at the ornate banquet hall of the Chandni Restaurant, Fremont/Newark, CA was chaired by Syed Ilyas Ahmed, a hospital management executive. And to the great astonishment of the audience, Syed Ilyas Ahmed is a great humorist who amused the audience with his wits, jokes and poetical recitals that reflected the chaotic, tumultuous and turbulent situation of his homeland, Pakistan and particularly the City of Karachi where he now serves as Chief Adviser Operations at the Tabba Heart Institute.
Syed Ilyas Ahmed is not a poet but perhaps he has more insight than many poets into the tribulations of life and find humor the best weapon to help people smile at the situation that pains them.
He has inherited the literary genes from his parents. His mother hailed from Lukhnow and father from Naitore (Bijnor) and educated at the Aligarh Muslim University. His younger sister, Humaira Rehman is a well-known poetess with her two published diwans. Humaira lives in New York and Urdu Academy has the honor to celebrate several evenings with her here in SF Bay Area.
For his many friends Ilyas Ahmed got a second life since he was once reported killed in an air ambulance crash while he was working at a military hospital in Libya. However, after many years his friends, particularly Tashie Zaheer, got the news that he survived the air crash and has returned to Pakistan where he was managing Shifa International Hospital, one of the leading hospital of Islamabad.
It is said that there's no life without humor which can make the wonderful moments of life truly glorious, and it can make tragic moments bearable. Perhaps this is the reason that Syed Ilyas Ahmed after surviving the great tragedy of the air crash chose humor to enchant himself and fascinate others.
With his command on the Urdu language coupled with his God gifted delivery style, Syed Ilyas Ahmed amused the audience for more than an hour.(Picture shows from left: Dr. Tahir Mahmood, Syed Ilyas Ahmed and Tashie Zaheer.)
His humorous anecdotes and jokes also reflected the current situation in Pakistan. For example:
A MQM supporter girl got married but returned to her parent's home just two days after the marriage. The mother asked her daughter what is the reason? The daughter replied, she had a fight with her husband. The mother advised her that this happens between husband and wife but ultimately differences are resolved with time. The daughter said mother tell me what should I do with the body in the bag.
Police knocked at the door of one person and told him that they got information, there is a bomb in your house. The house owner replied calmly, sir your information is correct but the bomb has gone to her parent's house.
Continued on next page