The writer shares his musical adventures as he got enrolled in UMT Symphony Club.
I wasn’t a born musician but fond of humming on occasional programs, be it my sister’s wedding or my brother’s birthday. According to my mum, “I sounded really nice on telephone,’ and might succeed more than a bedroom singer.
Throughout my academic life, I was disciplined and encouraged to focus more on studies and ‘think less’ on other objectives. The more we were study bound, the greater we admired Atif Khan, ‘Ab To Aadat Si Hai’ and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, ‘Zaroori Tha’ or ‘Jee Liya’ By Momina Mustehsan. Music was our antidote during our failing hours and a relaxing therapy at our weekends.
After clearing our intermediate with flying colors, I was enrolled in BS program in English Literature at the Institute of Communication and Cultural Studies (ICCS) in UMT. As we inhaled the air of independence with academic responsibilities, the musician in me responded instantly to become a member of Symphony Club, functioned under the Office of Participant Affairs (OPA).
Our audition to become a member of UMT Symphony Club was held at the Seminar Hall. Fortunately, our faculty member was on leave that day and we went for audition. There was a huge cue of boys and girls practicing and waiting to perform. The Club was looking for new talent and highlighted their aim to promote traditional music. When my turn came, the bench of five executive members asked me to sing ‘anything, ’I like. Thanks to the early dosage of Halls cough drops, my throat sounded better and I sang, silsilay tor gaya woh sabhi jate jate, my mother’s ultimate favorite song. I sang well which, according to the judges needed fine tuning.
I couldn’t believe when the next day I received a call from one of the Club members that I had been selected. It was amazing, at least somebody recognized my talent. Our first assignment was to prepare some couplets of patriotic song, for Azadi Festival 2019 held in the honor of Pakistan’s 71st Independence Day Celebrations. It was challenging and overwhelming also, as it offered opportunities on a wider scale, than I ever could imagine. At the guidance of our member, I started preparing for Sohni Dhartee Allah Rakhee.
We were given two days to prepare it and during that time, I practiced like a true professional, downloaded videos, listened to Ali Zafar on Coke Studio and sang in front of the mirror. I was excited, enthusiastic and jittery and took every care to sing with a clear throat.
When the day came, the Campus looked all green and festive and all the Club members were dressed in green and white shalwar kameez. The day was full of crazy and happy cheers, that we could hardly here our own voices. Finally my name was called and I sang, focusing more on the lines than on the surroundings. As the time ended, there was a loud applause from all sides and members didn’t allow me to leave the stage, till we sang more songs in uniformity and made commitment to make every sacrifice for the country.
There were food stalls, puppet shows, fireworks and magic attractions for all. Another activity launched by Symphony Club was my participation in Naat competition. UMT broadened my interest in music, poetry and ghazal and I started reading poetries of Ghalib and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. My friends found this literary digestion a ‘bit weird’ and often made fun of my tastes but I never bothered.
Life at UMT was enthralling, I didn’t become an accomplished musician but I was able to enjoy all the interesting perks it offered, as it helped me develop a book shelf of varied taste for lifetime.