The two-day Khayaal Festival 2015 that began with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm ended yesterday on a happy note at Alhamra on Mall Road with hope for the future while we move in transition through troubled times.

The festival organized by Khayaal Creative Network was a much larger affair than last year. The event is the brainchild of educationists Ayesha Hussain, Zainab Qureshi, Amna Omar and Nuria Rafique Iqbal. Planned on the pattern of Karachi Literary Festival and Lahore Literary Festival this event had more to it with a lesser budget. Yesterday being a holiday more people up in much larger numbers. They came in hundreds and left after attending their favourite sessions and enjoying the ambience of the venue. It was all about expressions and impressions about ‘pushing the boundaries,’ which was the theme of the festival.

The event was a treat for those who wanted to broaden their vision by attending the panel discussions and watching documentaries. The main purpose of giving opportunity to young people to explore the diversity of thought through the fields of art, literature, music, philosophy, current affairs, poetry and dance.

Besides the panel discussions five documentaries were also screened followed by discussion with the documentary makers. ‘Deosai - The last sanctuary’ is an award winning documentary about endangered Himalayan brown bear in the Deosai Plateau in Gilgit Baltistan. It has been directed and produced by Nisar Malik of Walkabout Films together with the Give Back Project. Award winning documentary ‘Unwelcome in Tehran’ by Iranian director Mina Keshavarz was also screened. It was followed by an intense discussion and question and answer session with the director. The session was moderated by Mina Malik Hussain. In the noon session ‘K2 and Invisible footmen’ by Lara Lee & Bipolar Films was screened. It is about the sherpas who the guide the explorers up K2. Lara Lee is in London. Jawad Sharif, film director of photography and editor answered the questions of audience. The session was moderated by Wajahat Malik. Nature documentary ‘Cliffwalkers of Chitral Gol’ by Dawood Foundation and the best film of the Little Art Competition were screened in the evening.

The hazy weather was ideal for those seeking fun on a holiday. As you enter the venue after security check you could either walk to the halls where the sessions were being held or have a joy ride on pink rickshaw. These rickshaws were being driven by women and are part of the scheme launched by Zar Aslam to empower the women of Lahore. The rides were free but tips were welcomed if you were in the mood to donate.

For some young people it was fun time as they strolled in the food court having snacks and buying small handicrafts and souvenirs. Japanese food was the most popular among the young people. Two makeshift pan shops set up in the food court also did good business. Daachi Foundation that promotes artisans of Pakistan had also set up their stalls, which attracted a large number of people. Some young guitarists could also be seen in the lawns of Alhamra while Horeya Asmat and her band members could also be seen playing dhol in the lawn in front of Alhamra Art Gallery. The day two of the festival ended with a wonderful performance by Meekal Hassan Band in Hall II. The live performance that continued for more than one hour was no doubt a treat for music lovers.

–Emanuel Sarfraz