On a slightly chilly Saturday night, a group of 100 extraordinary women celebrated their achievements at Mohatta Palace, courtesy of the annual Pondâ€™s Miracle Women Gala. The diverse crowd included women who have excelled in many different fields, from medicineÂ to business, artÂ to culinary, fashionÂ to media, and many more.
These 100 Miracle Women have been chosen by a group of 10 mentors, who were all iconic, high-achieving Pakistani women. Although quite a few of the women were known from the fashion and media world, it was the unacknowledged ones, thoseÂ had quietly been achieving the extraordinary, who finally got the recognition they deserved.
Though unsurprisingly the event did not begin even close to the givenÂ time, it was short, to the point, and perhaps one of the most well organized affairs one has recently attended. The cool weather and exclusive guest list, which did not include oglers or similar B-listers, made the night even better. Among some top attendees were Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Zeb Bangash, Samina Pirzada and Vaneeza Ahmed.
The set up was done over a vast space, with one particular area dedicated to various photo-booths. The night began with the ever charming Sarmad Khoosat hosting; it was refreshing to have a man honour â€˜100 Miracle Womenâ€™ and not many men could have done it more sincerely. This year’s 10 Mentors, who selected the 100 women, were Aatiqa Lateef, Dr Fehmida Arif, Naheed Mashooqullah, Naila Alladin, Naz Khan, Ronak Lakhani, Safinaz Muneer, Samina Ibrahim, Sana Hashwani and Zeba Bakhtiar. The mentors and their chosen mentees were called on stage in groups of 10, before which we were shown short video clips of the mentees, it would however have been nice to know their designations and details, as of course all the names and faces did not look familiar.
Like last yearâ€™s gala, a short performance took place, which included Zeba Bakhtiar, Nimra Bucha, and two young performers from NAPA. The performance revolved around the sacrifices a woman has to make at every stage of life, and the melodious voice of one of the young girls just added to Bakhtiar and Buchaâ€™s powerful presence.
Samina Pirzada, who was a Pondâ€™s mentor in 2014, stressed the importance of economic independence amongst women. â€œEmpowerment, freedom and equality comes from economic independence, when you’re economically independent you don’t ask, you tell. â€ She told us as she questioned how women have always been grouped with the handicapped and children, labeling them as those who are permanently dependent on others. â€œEconomic independence is whatâ€™s â€˜haute!â€™â€ she claimed.
The night ended with a very short performance by Noori (we would have loved to see more of them) who had traded in their t-shirts for something more suitable for the occasion! While we initially questioned whetherÂ Noori’s ‘pop-rock’ spirit would fit in with the nightâ€™s ambiance, their choice to play the classics â€˜Paar Chana Deâ€™ and â€˜Manwa Reâ€™ was perfectly apt and a hit amongst all women. As were the good looking rockers, who were happy to be two of the few men surrounded by hundreds of glamorous women. Though we would have loved the short performance to have at least beenÂ live, itâ€™s impossible not to love the jovial and friendly aura of the band (who were sweetÂ enough to pose patiently for endless selfies, as most of the women swarmed around them at the end), and it was certainly the perfect finale. The National Anthem was indeed a befitting end to a very sophisticated and honourable occasion.