Tuesday, September 06, 2016

2016 NED Alumni International Convention, Houston—a personal account

NED Alumni Convention 2016, Houston—a personal account

For two days I was in a different world, surrounded by wonderful people. They were all friends—people who I studied with, who I knew about, and others who were associated with the NED University one way or another.

The NED University alumni of North America meet every year to keep in touch and to learn about others’ continuing journeys in life.  The bond is the NED University—the time spent there has, to a large extent defined us, shaped us, made us. Spending good times with old friends does wonders to your psychological health.

Friday afternoon
Met Zulki Khan of Nexlogic at the Oakland airport.  He was on the same flight going to Houston.

Friday night
A welcome dinner was followed by an entertainment program in which jokes were told and songs were sung.  Ran into Riaz Haq, Yasmin Haq, Dr. Osama Khan, Dr. Shazia Hasni, Rashid Ali Baig, Amir Ul Islam, Ali Haider (Olympian) and several others.
Several people came late and missed the dinner.  A few friends went out and got kabab-parathay from Bundu Khan.
Many of us then headed out to see Houston and ended up at Chatt & Pan, next to Sheikh Chilly’s.
Safwan Shah, Sohail Bashir, Zulki Khan, Arif Sattar, Moeen Ahmed, Mohammad Arshad, Mani, Irfan, and at least a dozen others from the convention were there.
Leaving the restaurant ran into Tanvir Alam Mallick, Samina, and Dr. Asma Ali.

Saturday morning
Breakfast followed by panel discussions
Missed the first session.
Saw Mazhar Ali (PTV actor) who stopped by to meet friends.
In the second session saw Mike Zaidi (Mukhtar Zaidi) moderating a panel that had Dr. Khurshid Qureshi of DICE, Dr. Osama Khan, and others on it.
Lunch was followed by a brainstorming session: ideas on renewable energy, reviving the NED University, etc.  Dr. Firasat Ali and Dr. Afzal Haque (NED Vice Chancellor) were there.

With Salman Siddiqui, Syed Naeemuddin, and Ali Asghar went out to get mithai from Raja Sweets on Hillcroft.

Evening program
Awards given to all the organizers. Speech by Congressman Al Green.
Pleasantly surprised to see Urdu poet Ghazanfar Hashmi in the audience.
Also ran into Nadeem Hussain, the last president of the NED University Student Union.
Excellent dinner--desserts included falooda and Gajar-ka-halwa.  Sat with Sohail Rafiq, Salman Siddiqui, Bilal Ahmad, Muhammad Saleem, and Ishaque Patel of our class.
Dinner followed by the keynote. Ashraf Habibullah, 69, of CSI, is probably the funniest CEO of a major California Corporation.
Mind reader--we could figure out each one of his 'mind-reading' acts
Songs by Ali Haider

Sunday morning
Left the hotel early; had to return the car before catching the flight to Oakland.
Because of the construction work on the Northwest freeway (in front of Crowne Plaza Brookhollow) had a hard time following the GPS directions, but still managed to reach IAH on time.
On the flight to Oakland ran into the same group of people who flew with me on Friday.

I came back, recharged, ready to tackle life for another year.