Ninth PANA Reunion, Minneapolis, MN, USA - 25 June 2011
PANA Reunion 2011 - A Memorable Memoir
Someone, somewhere wrote and I remembered to the extent that I can
modify it and still make some sense out of it, as follows:
Enter to grow in wisdom and depart to serve better thy
countr(y)(ies) and thy kind.
did enter to grow in wisdom in 1979, Raza Bhai in 1973, Aziz Bhai in
1969, Mansoor and Kamal in 1989 and 1988 respectively. Where all of
us are in life today, gives us the advantage to prove the point that
something along the lines of wisdom and growth might have happened
along the way.
Throw in a weekend in Shakopee, MN and it becomes almost impossible
to keep that argument alive.
UNTIL, we all sit around a fire pit and realize that we have been
walking too long so let's bring our steps in-synch, like we did
every step of the way back when we were going through the process of
growing in wisdom. This is how far I'm gonna go with the
intellectual gibrish. Stay tuned for more from the elders of the
community on what this means for us – Petarians who call North
the insistence of one, maybe two, Liaquatians (you find them
everywhere, huh!!) DC area Petarians decided to hop on the 6:00 am
flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN Friday morning. What that meant
was to try and catch as much sleep as possible, so as to not feel
the pain of starting the scramble at around 4:00 am Friday morning.
We decided to gather at Mansoor's place the night before because his
house is closest to the airport, which means we get a little more
time to sleep.
Most of us got to Mansoor's that Thursday night. Shahbaz Malik, who
is visiting from Pakistan these days joined us as well that night.
Well, the only person who went to bed that night was Khursheed Bhai
and that too at 2:00 am, old age you know. The
rest..................I slept through the flight, just so you get
got in to the town of the reunion, with BIG plans so we went
straight to the nearest IHOP grabbed a bite, went straight to Anwer
Kalim Bhai's Super 8 and slept until late afternoon.
Since the "BINGE" some of us are on these days has to do with diet
and exercise, we all went to Rehan's gym after we woke up while
making a quick stop for a snack on our way over, that afternoon.
Next event to follow was the BAR BQ at Rehan Subhan, 7968/LQ's
house. I would like to have praised the perfect Chicken Tikkas, but
Rehan being a '79er has made it very easy for me. All I am going to
say is that REHAN IS NOT ONLY A GOOD HOST BUT A
GOOD COOK AS WELL.
After dinner, we got together around the bonfire in Rehan's backyard
in a relatively cold Minnesota night for some Kulfi/Faluda and quite
a few rounds of hot tea (I lost count). Aziz Bhai, '69/LF joined us
late that eve after he was picked up from the airport by Faisal who
brought him straight to Rehan's house from the airport. It was not
until the usual sneaking in and out and nervous back and forth
between the bonfire spot and the GHQ was noticed amongst some senior
Petarians that we decided to call it a night so everyone could sleep
Many thanks to Mona Bhabi and Aunty for such a nice party. It was a
blast and completely out of this world. Rehan: you already got your
complements multiple times, but here it goes one more time: Tussee
all got together the next morning at a park that was very
strategically placed, at a walking distance, from Super 8.
Registration desk was very professionally manned. An attractive
registration packet that included a t-shirt, a mouse pad, a coffee
mug all inscribed with the reunion logo and a CCP tie was given to
all the participants.
Even before everyone registered, the Petarvi jokes were in full
swing indicating that the growth of wisdom had stopped abruptly.
all then proceeded to the wide open grassy field to re-live the
memories of yester years when we were all in our early and mid
had a volley ball and a soccer match. I am a humble person, so I am
going to say that both the games were a tie although Aziz Bhai might
have a different interpretation of these results.
point that we really should take from the two games is this, in my
Razaullah Nasir Bhai and Rauf Chaudhry Bhai played both the games
with their sons. At one point, when Raza Bhai was standing outside
the volleyball court I asked him to come back in because we needed
the "Khadda" back in it's place, he pointed towards Haider (his son)
and said, "my son is covering for me now". I don't think that leaves
any doubt that PANA has evolved into a family and not only our's
(Petarians) steps should be in-synch but our next generations should
pretty much be on board as well.
great "admiral's feast" to include Shawarma, Hummus, Greek Salad,
Pita Breads, Saffron Rice, Baklava and much more was then served to
be followed by hot tea which we obviously ate and drank a lot of.
was then time for some fun for the big bosses. A very competitive
musical chair competition took place. Rifaquat Bhai played the
music. Mrs. Shahnaz Cheema and Sidra Cheema were among the first
ones to go out...................Rifaquat Bhai, I hope you got your
bed back by now? I'm not sure who the winner was, but the amount of
energy and fun that was generated by this activity did not need any
prizes or any recognitions.
musical chair for the Petarians was littered with elbows, knees,
jumping, pushing and shoving........................need I say more.
then had some serious discussions around future PANA reunions. We
were amazed at the level of interest shown by Petarian ladies on who
should arrange the reunions in the future. Mrs. Petarians were
asking for the opportunity to organize future reunions before their
husbands. I can see a lot of good things happening in the future
Please wait for a separate note, not from me, on the outcome of that
was, then, time for us to disburse only to reconvene for the
grandest of the fusion/ghazal musical evening with the above average
food quality and quantity to enjoy.
am, once again, going to hold off on the different messages sent by
different personalities related to Petaro and Petarians. All I would
like to say here that the food and hot tea coupled with the fusion
(classical plus rock plus pop) music and some awesome Mehdi Hassan,
Jagjeet and Ghulam Ali ghazals certainly raised the bar to a higher
level this time, yet again.
all got together the next morning on the patio of Super 8 to enjoy
some Halwa Poori that was being cooked right there in front of us.
That cooking in itself was something to remember as it brought back
memories from times far away for some of us.
Overall, it was one of the best reunions that I have been to. Thank
you to all the organizers! Let me make Charles Dickens a little sick
in the stomach here:
was the best of times, it was the best of times!!
have tried to not mention any names as much as possible so you can
get the story behind the names from the pictures and videos put
together by the one very talented Petarian.
Please stay tuned for some serious stuff on PANA's future from the
elders of the community.
am your proud Petarian!
Long Live Petarians and the Petarian Brotherhood!!
Reader’s Digest Version of the Reunion 2011
By Rifaquat Cheema,
I have just arrived home
from one of the best organized Petarian reunions and from the
company of some of the most dedicated Petarians for example, the
dedication of Aftab Baloch who drove from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
and Dr. Rauf Choudhry, who drove 24 hours with his four children
from New Jersey. Abdul Aziz came all the way from Saudi Arabia. The
dedication award went to Razaullah Nasir, who re-scheduled his
dialysis at 5 AM Friday so he could rest for a few hours before
driving to the reunion.
I strongly believe none
of us travelled such long distances just for food or a music
program, but to be in the company of fellow Petarians, which has its
own special charm. Most of us arrived on Friday the 24th and checked
into the same motel. As that motel was owned by a fellow Petarian
brother, we all felt like the owners for a couple of days. The lobby
was like an ante-room, always a group having gup shup, with fruit
and snacks to share. The lobby was the camping area at all times; a
sign in the lobby reading “Quiet Area from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM” was
first covered and then removed, so other guests wouldn’t complain.
Thanks go to management for excellent cooperation in accommodating
us. Since we were all together for a few days, we had ample time to
enjoy each other’s company, as well as time for some serious
brain-storming (I will return to this at the end).
Rehan was the host for
Friday evening, with a BBQ at his house. As the weather wasn’t warm
enough for mosquitoes to scare us, after dinner we stayed outside
and sat around a bonfire, with kulfi, chai, and serious discussion
about the PANA mission. Nothing was agreed upon, until everyone
provided their input on the departing day at Halwa Puri breakfast.
Even though the host team planned everything well, it was a daunting
task to keep everyone on schedule.
was not our priority, knowing that bagels, donuts, and sweets would
be available at the park. We all arrived in the park between 11:00
and 11:30 AM. After registration we each received reunion t-shirts,
which we all appreciated and used as a second layer to protect
against unexpected cold weather. Petarians from Southern USA,
particularly Dallas, had to borrow jackets. A photo session was
held, and volleyball teams were formed. Younger Petarians were
hesitant to join the senior Petarians’ team, fearing the humiliation
of defeat. However, experience prevailed, and the senior team won.
Abdul Aziz (young at heart) joined the young Petarians’ team, and
was the target of every ball (khuddha). Thanks Aziz, for
helping our team win.
Lunch pulled us away,
actually the Ladies commanded us to eat while the food was warm. The
food was excellent; the Middle-Eastern menu was perfect for
everyone’s taste. There was enough food for a group twice our size
(lack of dedication on the part of those who didn’t show up). After
lunch, we had enough energy for a round of soccer, a real test of
physical fitness. The proposal of a smaller field, and rotating
players in and out was floated around, but eventually killed. The
end result was a 1-1 draw, but the winners and losers were quite
Thankfully, food was
available throughout the day so everyone could keep their energy up.
The musical chairs competition was entertaining with teenage girls
pushing Aunties to grab a vacant chair. Eventually, Dr. Najeeb’s
daughter occupied the last chair, and won first prize. To get even,
the ladies wanted to see the competition among Petarians. Our real
competitive spirit returned and nobody was moving until the next
chair was available. Efforts to win at any cost were made, but in
the spirit of reunion, cheating was ignored.
The evening’s musical
program was scheduled for 6:00 PM, so we had to leave and get ready.
There was just enough time to take a shower and get ready, but some
of us tried much need qailula, and came back with a few aches
and pains. We arrived at this beautiful community center as a group,
and could not resist a quick tour of the facilities. I wish that
more Petarians could have attended the musical program, as you enjoy
it much more in a larger setting. The fusion band played a few songs
for the younger generation. The children enjoyed that but during
dinner, decided to leave the Mehfel-e-Ghazal for adults.
After Maghrib prayers,
messages from the Principal CCP and the President of Pakistan, which
were sent for this occasion, were read. The PANA coordinator, Shahid
Mian Bhai, expressed his views and gave us until the next morning to
come up with action items before we left. Petarians with dedication
were recognized and awards were given for their commitments.
During the Ghazal
program, I found out the Petarians have a real interest in poetry
and Adab. I have met Great Khan a few times, but I never knew that
he has memorized Dewan-e-Ghalib. I was impressed. We collectively
thanked the organizing committee for a job well done, announced the
next two locations for the reunion, and folded flags to be delivered
to Khalid Khan in Toronto to arrange the next reunion. After Canada,
the flags with be handed over to the D.C. group for a reunion in
Maryland. Adil Baloch will coordinate that one. My wife wanted to
bring it to Chicago, so she does not have to travel, but the
dedication of the D.C. group won it.
Even though we had to
leave the community center by midnight, the lobby at the motel was
used to brainstorm for the next step in PANA evolution. We had many
ideas and eventually agreed to make PANA a legal entity by
registering it. It will be registered as PANA (Petarian Alumni of
North America) in the state of Maryland. Registering it as an Alumni
body will help in the next step when we change it to a non-profit
Under PANA, we will have
six regional chapters/groups: Northeast, Midwest, South, West, East
Canada, and West Canada. Bylaws will be written and sent out for
comments before registration. We understand that PANA will not be a
NGO that solves all of the world’s problems. However, it should have
some financial resources to help fellow Petarian related issues in
North America. A committee of elders will be formed to monitor and
decide where and how to spend that fund. The committee will have at
least one member from each chapter, with a maximum of 9 members
total. All Petarians in North American are encouraged to register
with a registration fee of $10 per month, or one payment of $100 per
year. An account will be opened, and all donations will be divided
into 3 categories: General Membership Fund, Zakat Fund, and Sadaqa
Fund. Proper bookkeeping will be maintained by the Treasurer, for
all of these funds. The Treasurer will maintain an extremely
transparent log of all activities.
writing this on the drive back home, so consider this a rough draft.
All input is welcome before registration.