New Blog

Salaams /Hi

Ok so I have decided to start the new blog, even though I don’t really have enough direction so will probably just take it as it comes. Not sure about how many times a week I’ll be posting but will keep it to 1-2 for now. No super high expectations please 🀐 but here goes nothing, something, anything 😊

Have a fab weekend ❀️

Much Love

Shazia

http://www.justquirktheblog.wordpress.com

Author’s Note

Aslm…

I hope that all of you are well! It has been so long that I am slightly at a loss for words. And I’m pretty sure that this will be temporary πŸ˜‚

This last post, has been lying, half written, in my drafts for two years. I didn’t realize that it was so long until the other day when I had logged in and gave myself a shock!

I had not taken a glamorous sabbatical, I was not sipping mocktails on a beach somewhere. In fact it was quite the opposite. I’ve been so busy and I am again, at another sort of, I can’t find the right word, with my health. So yes , duas /prayers please.

I have truly missed so many of you so much. One of the other reasons that I had not posted was because I had started writing another blog and I had included one of the characters in this last post, and time got the best of me and so did procrastination.

I’m not one for new year’s resolutions but I think that I will publish this one soon. I have not read a single blog in the past two years.. so very much out of the loop, but hopefully I will have your best attention again πŸ’—

I re-read LLD recently and I really did cringe at many things. The initial posts, the writing was pukable if that’s even a word. But mostly, and this is what bugged me the most… I’m truly sorry for all the music bits. I guess as a person, I was at a different juncture and phase of my life and a lot has changed since then. I do not endorse any of it, not the road trips or the many get togethers between the characters. I know that it is just a story but as we grow, we learn. All I ask is that you take the good out of it please. I hope that I am making sense here.

Please forgive me for any shortcomings and please do remember me in your duas. I will post the link to my new blog, over here soon.

It was a pleasure and an honor to have made so many new friends in these LLD years. To all the authors who I have written with and to all you amazing people who have commented and lent your support, to all the silent readers as well.. Thank you so very much. I will treasure you always ❀️

The end of Life Love Destiny finally!

Keep well, keep it real and enjoy the holidays!

Much Love,

Shazia

Part 300- A Jump In Time

As narrated by Nemo

They say that all things come to an end. But is it the end, or is it simply a new beginning?
I can go on and on about what we went through and how far we have come.. And it would honestly not be enough.

But today again, like many, many times in the past.. Here we are, together again. For the wedding of my precious baby girl to the son of an idiot. Yep, Arshad is an idiot! Who allows their son to become a sock designer?? Out of all the many things that a person can become in their lives, Adnaan becomes a sock designer!! Is that even a thing anyway?

“You’re wearing socks aren’t you?”, Aara said while looking for God knows what in her closet. She was already dressed but still digging as usual. And yes, I realized that I had been voicing my thoughts aloud all this while.

“I wear underwear too”, I replied and mentally rolled my eyes, “but I don’t design it”

“Nemo we’ve been through this already!”, she sighed, both her hands on her hips as she blew a strand of hair from her face.

Irritation aside, even at 48, my wife looked absolutely gorgeous. And I momentarily forgot what I was thinking about…

“He gave me a sock kuncha!”, I protested in vain

“You gave him a pair of shorts with dhall drizzled in it”, she said, raising her eyebrow at me

I laughed aloud. “I’ve actually always wanted to do that!”

“You and Riza both”, she grinned, “one would never say that you’re almost 50”

“Age is nothing but a number”, I smirked as I wrapped my arms around her.

“And arthritis is nothing but a dream”, she laughed

I could never win.

I closed my eyes and sighed into her hair. I would have to suck it up, she was right, Adnaan, even though he was a sock designer, was a great guy. In fact, he was the best from the lot of them. I would have pulled my teeth out one by one if Hana were marrying Riza’s Yayha with his long hair and reckless behavior or Isa, who was too slow for my liking. I wonder how Immy’s Humayra put up with him. Another great guy was Uthmaan who was just like Immy, and I was happier than him when he proposed to Sahal’s daughter.

All in all, we had much to be grateful for. I was happy that my daughter was going to a good home even though Zainab was going to be her mother in law….

It was a small, intimate affair with just close friends and family invited. There was no stage or much pomp and show. It was a happy day, but inside me somewhere, there was a sadness that would probably never go away. I guess that’s how all parents of daughters felt eventually…

————————————–

As narrated by Laeeka

Three sons, and not one in sight. There was only one place that all three of them would be right now and as much as I hated to intrude, I needed atleast one of them to help me offload the boot. And so I quickly made my way to the back of Aara’s house where loud cheering could be heard.

“Noooooo come on come on”

“Kick it already!!”

“Nay man uhuh bra uhuh bra you have to score!!!”

“Come on come on!!!!”

I watched all of them glued to Yayha’s iPad cheering like barbarians, at the last few minutes of the last game of the season. And I knew that somewhere around the house Riza, Arshad, Nemo and Immy were doing exactly that too.

And now looking at this bunch, was like looking at a bunch of mini thems. My handsome Yahya, tall and lanky, His unruly hair tied in a man bun, a piercing on his left ear, my adorable Isa who was the epitome of innocence and humbleness and it radiated in the way in which he looked and carried himself. My rascal AbdurRahman with his dimpled cheek and equally unruly hair like his big brother. Immy’s Uthmaan who just like his father was tall and handsome, and Yusuf who resembled Maariah so much with his light brown hair and ever so charming smile. Adnaan our once upon a time little motu, was now tall, lean and dashing, Abu Bakr who was a carbon copy of Arshad, and I laughed as I thought about just how much he behaved like him too! And of course, our miracle baby Sa’ad who fought against all odds to survive after Aara’s fall when she was expecting him, was always behind all the big boys.

“But you forgot about me”, he said, catching me red handed, sneaking up on them.

“Anddddd gooooaaaaaaallllllllllll”!!!!!! “all of them cheered in unison, giving me a mini headache.

I turned around and smiled.

” You forgot about us”, I laughed as I playfully hit him on his head, “you keep promising to come and visit us and you never do”

“Because his heart was in the eastern cape all along Mama”, Isa teased

And Akbar blushed profusely, confirming what Isa had blurted out.

Akbar studied for a short while in Jhb before he decided that it wasn’t for him and he headed back home. What a nice boy he was. He befriended my boys while on campus and they had remained friends ever since. He was a part of our family for a good few years now and Adnaan and him got along so well that there was no question about him not being at the wedding.

And that reminded me of the reason I was here in the first place!

“Get off your butts now guys I need help with all the kunchas and stuff from the boot”

“Yess boss”, they laughed, almost in unison as they either hugged or kissed me one by one before making their way to help.

————————————–

As narrated by Zainab

Watching Hana smile at the girls while they helped with her hair and makeup made me think of Zoheb so much. She had his set of dimples and his infectious laugh. I was so grateful that she would now be a part of my family and I thought back to when Zoheb “adopted” Laeeka and I as his sisters. The fact that all of us lived on more than 20 years after he passed away was always a reminder to me of how life could just change in an instant. Today, his daughter was getting married. A daughter whose words he had never gotten the opportunity to hear, a daughter who grew up so quickly.

Hana hugged Maaherah tightly as she fixed a beautiful brooch on her dress. She was crazy about her and as was Maaherah. Who would have thought…

Humayrah and Faatimah busied themselves with something or the other as usual, like their mother, they could never sit still and Yusra… Lol… Yusra was just too influenced by her guy cousins, for with a beautiful dress she wore takkies, apparently she had no interest in hurting her feet to look good and takkies were more practical. Her tomboyish style according to Nemo meant that she would terrorize any guy who came near her. He clearly forgot that she was just 14 years old.

I made my way out of the room towards the kitchen where Maariah placed the finishing touches on her delicious desserts and Aara pinched from it as usual. Aunty Salma, Nemo’s mummy and Zohebs mummy were out on the lawn welcoming the guests who started to come in and by now I’m pretty sure that Riza was handing Nemo his 5th or 6th Grandpa.

We would be missing a few people today.. Uncle A. K who passed away last year and Zohebs father who was unable to travel. Their duas would always be with us though.

————————-
As narrated by Riza
“We’re like me memons you know”, Arshad grinned
“Huh?”, was all that came out of my mouth
“Keeping it in the family boss”, he laughed, “Immy’s son is marrying Sahals daughter, your Isa married Immy’s daughter, my Adnaan is marrying Nemos daughter so who’s next!”
“Put a sock in it will you, like literally!”, Nemo chided, “heck you’ll even get it for free”
“You always have a problem”, Arshad stated, but not without an exaggerated eye roll
Nemo was flustered. Maybe it wasn’t the wedding, maybe it was menopause? I didn’t know if men suffered from that though.. Note to self, find out!
“Just relax please, it’s going to be okay”, I reassured him. “Adnaan is going to be a good husband and a good son in law”
Nemo nodded. “I know that he is, these milestones are just very overwhelming”
I looked at my friend, as he pondered to himself. Streaks of grey hair littered his hair and beard, as was the same with all of us. Yes we have certainly matured over the years but a part of me still feels 23 when we’re all together. Age is after all how you allow yourself to feel… There was never more truth to that statement than now.
Our youth, our marriages, our losses, our children, their marriages, careers and life paths. We have been much stricter with them than our parents were with us and I know that I sound like my father here when I say this, but times were different then. Its not that we didn’t trust our children but that’s what kids do to you and that is what being a parent does to you. You are always primarily concerned about them only and yourself last. So I understood how Nemo felt, even though I had no daughters of my own. But Hana was just extra special to all of us. Aara, Zoheb and Nemo were very close to our hearts so naturally their daughter would be too. And more so because of their story. Our story.
—————————-
As narrated by Aara
Hi.
As always, you know that I have to have the final say! Its been a long journey and you have been with me every single word of the way, with every single tear and every single laugh and so this is very appropriate.
When our story began, none of us imagined what would happen next. As it is with life. We have probably had a much more eventful life with lots of adventure, drama and heartbreak. I fell in love with my best friend when I didn’t know exactly what love was. All I knew was that it was a feeling that I had never experienced before and I was hooked. Loving Nemo came naturally to me, after all, he was with me in my life from the age of 6. When our lives took on a new phase, no longer being in the same class and same space, I fought against time, lectures, assignments to be close to him. But Nemo was on his own beat and while he had never forgotten about me completely, I was no longer the central point of his life. I had made a new set of friends, friends who are with us as family to this day. A friend in particular, who would surpass all expectations that I would have from my own blood brother. A friend who stood by me, helped me grow as a person, who taught me many life lessons, a friend who is a blessing, Riza.
Riza came into my life when campus was brand new to all of us. And with him he brought along his heartbeat and my BFF, Laeeka. I had never met a girl before who was so utterly selfless and simple with the most beautiful heart and soul. Laeeka had brought along with her Maariah and Zainab who also carved their places in my heart. Maariah and I have had our differences, and the common factor was Nemo. I can’t entirely blame her, we were far too young and far too dumb to put it mildly.
My life was very sheltered, my parents were always there, always taking care of me, and when Nemo started going downhill, it was a rude shock to my orderly world. It took me to places that I wouldn’t have been to in all of my senses, in all of my wildest dreams. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. I had never known the resilience that I was capable of, I had never seen human dedication the way I had seen from Arshad and Riza, I had never known the pain of sacrifice, as I burnt all of my feelings for Nemo to be what he needed to heal, to live.. A friend, a friend only.
It was a very strange and trying time and when Nemo started getting better, I immersed myself into my work. I loved my job passionately as not only was it an escape, but also a release. It made me independent, it made me stronger. But we are human, and as much as I had my friends, I also had a great emptiness in my soul, one that I had brought upon my self entirely . And that’s when Zoheb happened.
A breath of fresh air, a golden ray of sunlight, like rain on a summers day and like snowflakes falling on your palm, how easily did I find myself balancing on his shoes, how easily did I lose myself in his dimpled smile and for the first time in my life ,I was experiencing that incredible feeling of being completely free. Zoheb was my whole world. He had changed my life and gave me so much of love, so much of himself. He truly was a gift from The Almighty.
I lost a great part of me when I lost him. But I gained so much too. Albeit late, but a dream of his fulfilled. We have a fantastic relationship with his family, something that he never had and even this didn’t come easily.
There will always be a hole in my heart, there will always be something missing, because some people are like that and I suppose that it stays like that so that we can remember their reason in our lives, always.
Never in a million years did I ever imagine getting married again. But I did, and I don’t regret it for a second. I married a different Nemo and he is a wonderful husband and an even better father. He has a beautiful relationship not just with our families but with Zohebs family too, and he is always talking about him, keeping his memories alive in the kids hearts especially. For a man like him, for the man who he has become, the respect that I have, has no bounds. Our love for each other grew out of each other’s pain, and it is still growing with every passing day.
It’s funny how we think that we are always right about everything. As young adults we were just “the bomb” but as parents, we’re probably worse than our parents. I will, thank you very much, blame Bollywood for my over dramatism and overly unrealistic expectations. Somewhere down the line, somewhere deep inside, while getting lost in their version of literally everything, we end up expecting the same in our lives. And then we end up getting disappointed. It is true. But at the same time it’s also true that we can use our own brains.
We haven’t allowed our children to indulge in this kind of fanaticism. Whether it is because we know, or that we know that we were smarter-that’s just being a parent for you.
We are just absolutely grateful that Allah Ta’ala guided us and helped us become better, there is still a long way to go and we will never be perfect. But we are given the knowledge and the strength to always try.
We’re almost 50.
Yes, 50!
I’m not sure how this is supposed to feel because I’ve never been obsessed with age but 50 is a long time and I’m grateful for that.
Anyway I have a wedding to get to, and it is one that I am looking forward to with my whole heart.
You would have been so proud of her, Zoheb. So, so proud. She has the best of us three imbibed in her. And I hope and pray that she has the best life ahead of her too.
Life is so short, life is so beautiful. Don’t waste it on things that you will live to regret, turn regret into hope, turn sadness into love, turn to Allah Ta’ala and you will never ever be sorry.
Thank you for your company on our journey. It has without a doubt, been absolutely epic! If we have left you with anything at all, I hope that it is with positivity, love and only good.
Much love.
Aara

Part 299- The Epilogue Part 4

As narrated by Aara:

“I know this place”, I said to myself as I lingered further into this bright meadow. I know that I had been here before, many years ago, in my dreams. I was one of those people who had vivid dreams and there were many times in my life when I had the same dream a few times, or had been to the same place in my dreams with different scenarios. I also knew that I had a hyperactive imagination, but sometimes, some things are better left unexplained.

After Zoheb had passed away, I had often visited this place in my dreams. I had often sat with him on this soft green grass, often rested my head on his strong shoulders, and I spoke to him for what seemed like hours on end. I accredited this to my longing for him, I would replay different scenarios with him in my head, relive memories and pretend that everything was okay during the day. So naturally, my mind would contort the events of the day into a dream at night. That would be the logical explanation. And that was fine with me. It meant that I had something to hold onto and when night would pass without a dream, the next day would be miserable. I would pray earnestly to travel to those daffodil filled meadows again, to speak to him again, to be with him again. But the mind is a strange thing, I would sometimes end up dreaming of the darndest things!

But it would happen, suddenly, out of the blue, once every few days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months and it would fill me with so much of happiness. It’s been years since I’ve been here though. The last time was a few days before Nemo and I got married, and then it was such a strange dream. He was standing with a bunch of yellow daffodils in his hand and a bunch of pink roses. And when I had reached out for the daffodils, he handed me the roses instead, with the biggest, most endearing dimpled smile on his face.

I walked on, barefoot, my long green dress sweeping up tiny speckles of glitter from the ground. It was beautiful. Tall trees lined a massive meadow of yellow daffodils that seemed to sparkle under the sunlight. And with every flutter of the wind, glitter seemed to lift off the ground, spin themselves off the petals of those daffodils, it was a sight hard to explain, because words wouldn’t be able to do justice to it.

The sound of gentle laughter could be heard in the wind, drawing me towards it… towards the source of it. And I eagerly rushed in that direction…

Hana…My darling Hana dressed in a pretty blue dress with a sparkling diamond headband on her jet black hair had her hand in Zoheb’s while he playfully twirled her around in circles around him. And in his other hand, he carried a baby who seemed to be a few months old, dressed identically to Hana, and she giggled gleefully with every twirl and swish! And as he moved, glitter rose from the ground in small soft circles around them. The sight itself…was beyond enchanting.

Zoheb smiled at the children and blew them kisses in the air and it seemed as though they were oblivious to me standing right there watching them until he lifted his eyes and smiled at me..

“Aara…”

I opened my mouth to say something but no words would come out…

” Tell Naeem… Yusra’s name is just perfect”

I frowned in confusion…who’s Yusra??

Zoheb chuckled softly and kissed the baby on her forehead…

“He knows” , he smiled, blinked his eyes at me and carried on playing with the children

And just as suddenly as I had gotten there, I started moving out in reverse until my eyes shot wide open in my bed. It took a few seconds for me to register my surroundings as I tried to sit up.

My room, mum’s house. That was a dream. A very vivid dream. Zoheb and Hana… Who was the baby? I peeped over into the crib right next to me and stared at my four day old daughter, my heart swelling with love with every passing second. She was so adorably perfect and so perfectly fast asleep.

” What are we going to call you”, I sighed, and touched her soft brown locks

With little difficulty, I changed out of my pyjamas into a long comfortable dress. My mother was going to have a fit! She would insist that I just go from pyjama to pyjama after every bath and I got it, I mean, I did give birth a few days ago but being permanently in pyjamas made me feel unnecessarily sleepy and cranky, so this change was quite welcoming.

“Zai I need a favor please”, I said into my phone and in a few minutes Zainab and Maariah were upstairs in my room. “I won’t be long, she’s had her feed but if she wakes up phone me please and I’ll come back as fast as I can”

“There’s not too much of a walk for you Madam”, Mari grinned, ” we’ve all been there, we know who you were missing so we already asked him to wait in Sahal’s room for you”

“Well played”, I grinned, as my cheeks turned pink in agreement, “I’l be right back”

And so I made my way down the passage, slowly and carefully, unable to fully understand why I suddenly felt nervous and excited. The truth be told, the only time that I was alone with Nemo since the baby was born was when I was fast asleep and he sat at my bedside! It was a weird feeling, but a good kind of weird.

“Are you okay?”

I looked up at Nemo, and at the lines of worry that stretched across his forehead.

“I’m okay”, I smiled, “I just wanted to see you”

And like a teenager, I blushed and looked down and then up at him again. He reciprocated with an endearing smile and pulled me in for a hug, careful not to squish and squash but just enough for me to feel his heart thudding against his chest.

“What’s wrong?”, I frowned, “your heart feels as though it’s going to jump right out at me”

At this, he chuckled and planted a kiss on my forehead, ” Haven’t hugged you like this in days sweetheart”

I leaned back in and rested my head against his chest..” Have you thought of a name for baby yet?”

I felt his muscles tense up slightly and I held onto his arms a little harder..”what’s wrong Nemo?”, I asked again

“Nothing”, he said, kissing the top of my head now, “and baby’s name is entirely up to you, you’ve carried her, went through all the aches and pains and even ate paaya for her, so it’s your right babe not mine”

I sighed into his blue t-shirt and decided to test the waters…” Yusra”

At the mere mention of that name, he stiffened again and then started laughing. ” Riza can’t keep anything in his stomach!”

“Who said that Riza told me?” I said, raising an eyebrow at him playfully, ” who else did you tell besides me?”

Nemo seemed to have drifted off into an old memory for a few seconds and then a big beautiful smile replaced the previous look on his face” Once, long ago, when us guys were talking, I think it was when Zainab and Maariah were expecting their first kids, before I moved to Detroit, and the topic of baby names had come up”

“You mean guys also discuss baby names??”

“Don’t be so shocked”, he laughed, ” we probably discuss much more than you ladies do”

” So as I was saying”, he continued, “Arshad was so convinced that he was going to have a daughter so he was busy searching for names ,so basically everyone started giving their personal input. I can’t remember what the others were but the day that Hana was born and Zoheb sent me her picture, I knew that she would be “Hana” before you guys officially named her….that was Zoheb’s choice that day”

“And yours was Yusra…”

Nemo shrugged. ” I guess I felt that if I had to have a daughter, Yusra would be perfect because Yusra means ease and it would be an ultimate life changer, a reward. But from the day that Hana came into my life, I already have that reward, she was my life changer, my peace , my ease… Everything else is just the cherry on the top”

I could hear my heart say awwww and I hugged him again..

“So Yusra is our *ease” then isn’t she”, I smiled

Nemo looked at me for a few seconds and I knew, I just knew that something was bothering him and he wasn’t saying it, so I wrapped my fingers around his and silently asked him to tell me…

“I feel like I’m living a borrowed life”, he said finally, ” I have no right to this much happiness after all the shit I’ve done, I feel like it’s going to burst any moment now and I’m going to wake up in that awful room in my father’s house and realize that I’m having the longest bloody dream ever”

I gasped in shock!!

” I feel like I’m going to wake up and you’re going to be gone, I feel like I’m going to turn in my sleep and wake up to an empty bed… I feel like I’m going to wake up realizing that I’ve only dreamed of touching you and feeling your heartbeat against mine”

I closed my eyes as tears fell from his…

” I feel like my Hana won’t call me Papa anymore and this new little angel is a figment of my imagination..I’m so afraid Aara, I’m so afraid that everything is just going to end”

“After 5 years too?”

“We both know how the first two years of our marriage was”, he whispered as he held my hand and looked down, “I know that if you had a physical choice, if things were different, I wouldn’t be standing here and it’s okay, it’s really okay I have no problem being second best but sometimes I think and I probably have no right to think it that…”

“That if I had a choice again, would I choose you?”, I asked, completing his sentence. I knew what this was..it was not insecurity nor was it jealousy. Nemo didn’t know how to handle this much happiness, not as a child, not as he grew, even after we had gotten married he had tried to make everything so perfect that it nearly broke us.

Nemo’s eyes filled with guilt and he looked down and gulped hard.

“No…”, He whispered

“I chose you”, I whispered back, ” and if I had to choose today, after everything then…”

He looked at me expectantly and I smiled as tears fell from my eyes and while raising my hand to his face, I noticed a tiny speck of glitter on my index finger, my smile broadened and my tears fell harder…

“Zoheb was a beautiful page from my past. A page that was necessary and one that I can never and will never rip out. If it wasn’t for this page in my life, this story would have ended long ago and it would never have been what it is”

“I know and I can never imagine our lives without Zoheb having been a part of it… it’s something that I wouldn’t change either and I’m not upset or anything”, he pleaded, holding my hands tightly in his

“I love you…”, I whispered, “Allah Ta’ala has given us the ability to love many times, He has given our hearts the strength to open its doors more than one time, don’t you think that He would do justice with us when that day comes? And Allah knows Naeem Moolla, for the man that you have become, I would choose you a million times over and over and over again”

Nemo looked up at me in shock, as if he had just awoken from a trance!

I rubbed my nose against his and kissed his lips softly. “You are my happy place Naeem Moolla, until the day that I die and hopefully even after that”

Nemo engulfed me in the tightest of hugs until he realised that my insides were still quite sore and as payback he carried me back to the room where our baby lay fast asleep.

I was truly so lucky, so blessed, so at peace. Nemo and I had evolved in our marriage and relationship, and life was never quite the same again- it just got better and better.

Some things are best left unknown, and some things just cannot be explained, for He knows, and He sees and He is the greatest of planners, the Giver of Life, the Creator of Love, the Master of Destiny- Allah the most High, Most Merciful.

From what we were to what we became, is proof that there surely is hope, there surely is a chance. Never give up, ever, because that turning point could be right around the next corner….

Part 298- The Epilogue Part3

As narrated by Nemo:

After a very long time, I have no words. Perhaps because no amount of words would do justice to the feelings that surged through my veins right now. Which words would I use as I placed my hand on the nursery window and gazed at both my daughters in complete awe. Perfect. This was perfect.

Hana was all smiles as the nurse placed her new little sister into her arms, and the little one looked very content and comfortable. My girls. My daughters. A lump formed in my throat as I continued watching them and a Dua escaped my heart for them to always be happy, healthy and most importantly, to be together. A Dua of thanks and gratitude to my Creator for this amazing moment, for this amazing life, for this second chance, for everything. I will never ever be able to thank Him enough. Ever.

“The feeling is on another level when they’re just born” , Arshad said next to me

“I can’t explain it bro…It’s beyond surreal!! I mean look at the two of them” , I said in awe

“I wish I had a daughter”, Arshad sighed

Well I know how it felt to have a daughter and now I was blessed with two..So I could understand why he’d say that. And besides, his boys were plain down annoying.

“But it’s okay, Hana will get married to Adnaan and maybe the new one to AbuBakr one day and then I’ll have my daughters”, he had the audacity to say

“Hmph”, I sniggered, “maybe someone else bro…My daughter ain’t marrying your fat lightie”

Instead of getting annoyed Arshad laughed and I was the one who ended up being annoyed! Adnaan was really, as Aara had once called him, a Doublu Pabloo and my Hana was way too precious for him and besides she was only 9 years old there was atleast 30-40 years left before it would be time to get her married right? Right.

Besides…imagine having Zainab as a mother in law???

“So”, Immy said as he also stood next to us and stared into the nursery window,”have you thought of a name for this angel?”

I did and I had told them long ago but I doubt that any of them remembered.

“You told us a long time ago”, Arshoo said suddenly and he stroked his beard trying to pick his brain to find that name..

Please don’t remember. Please don’t remember…

“Yusra”, Riza said , “You always said that you’d name your daughter Yusra”

This man probably eats badaam in all ten of his daily meals because he forgets nothing!

“It was such a long time ago Reez”, I sighed

“Never mind you can still tell her”

I shook my head and smiled towards my daughters again, ” It is Aara’s right first because she carried the baby and went through all the trouble during these nine months”. And I meant that, it was her right first.

“That is true”, Riza said, ” but that’s the way it’s always going to be, ain’t no man giving birth EVER to have that first choice as you put it” , making all of us laugh

“I know but…”, I shrugged

“Gosh she has you wrapped around her little finger as always”, Immy laughed

That was one thing that I could never dispute. No matter how many turns our relationship took throughout our lives, she always had me wrapped around her little finger in some way or another, and just the thought of it made my heart skip a beat.

I looked through the nursery window again, and noticed that Maa and my mother were in there with Hana and…Yusra. She looked like she could be a Yusra . It was such a beautiful name. But I’d still allow Aara to choose..

And the four of us slipped into a comfortable silence yet again, as we smiled at the sight in the nursery. A decade ago, I’d never have imagined any of us being this way!

“Our long awaited precious doll has finally arrived”, Nuzayh said excitedly, as he made his way towards us, his face beaming with pride and his hands full of gifts

“I know I could have given them to you guys at home but I was so excited! My boys are so big we needed a new baby around, better not stop now Nemo just keep them coming”, he said in one breath and I mentally face-palmed myself!

And whenever my big brother would shock me like this , I sometimes wondered if I liked the bad Nuzayh better or the good Nuzayh better??

“Here this is for you “,he grinned, handing me a hand carved cherry-wood box

“I get a present too?”

“Of course…Cigars are mandatory”, and he proceeded to hand them out to all the guys

I wanted to laugh, scream, hug him and chase him away at the same time!!!

“How come Dad’s not here?”

Because my father was Aara’s bestie especially when it came to her weird cravings, so his absence meant that he was either not well or really very busy at work.

“He’s busy feeding the kids at the orphanage, he bought all of them new clothes and toys…All his way of saying thanks to Allah for our newest blessing”, Nuzayh smiled

My heart was really about to burst! Were we really this lucky, this blessed?

From all sides, goodness was just pouring in…. Zoheb’s parents were down as well, his father was talking to Aara while his mother was busy helping Sahal’s wife at home. They had come all the way from New Zealand just to be here with us, saying that they had missed all of this with Zoheb, they didn’t want to miss it with us and it meant the world to us. Aara didn’t know that they were coming and she was so emotional when she saw them. Their relationship has just grown from strength to strength over the years.

I closed my eyes and allowed myself to feel the bliss that I was surrounded with. It pulsed through my veins faster than adrenalin and soaked into my soul like seeds attaching themselves to the wet earth.

The rewards for patience truly is the sweetest fruit on earth!

Before The Poll…

Hah you thought this was a post right? Lol..sorry I’m having one of those days where I feel as though if I shake my head I may just hear a few loose bolts moving around inside..

Okay so, I would like to run a poll soon and I need your help. As you all know, this blog is almost over and I would just like to give you guys a chance to have a say in something pivotal.

Nemo and Aara are about to have their baby – but what baby is it I have no idea yet…

So what baby do you think it will be? Girl or Boy..and more importantly what should the munchkins name be?

So this is what we’re going to do…you comment girl or boy and any name of your choice. Once this is done, depending on the response, I will run a poll where you can vote for the most loved choice and name. Easy enough?

Facebook readers you guys can comment on the comments section of this post when it appears on Fb because I can’t leave you out okay:)

Right..back to the grind it is:) Have an awesome evening ahead!

Salaams

Shazia

Part 297- The Epilogue (Part 2)

As narrated by Aara

Happily ever after. And as we have obviously and ultimately come to understand ,that there is no such thing in this temporary world.

But there is happiness, and sometimes intense bouts of it. In the smallest, most simplest of things..Like in Hana’s dimpled smile, a fleeting memory of Zoheb, Laeeka’s peppermint cake, Zainab’s motivating words, Maariah’s half a dozen children, Riza’s slurping at every single meal, Arshad’s not so funny jokes, Immy’s contentment every time he looked at his family and Nemo’s affection towards Hana. And these simple things, gestures, and moments make that feeling of happiness priceless.

Getting married for the second time, especially when it’s not because the first marriage ended in divorce, isn’t as easy as it looks and I didn’t think that I had it in me to actually go through with it. But looking back, it’s the best thing that I could have done. For all of us.

It was hard in the beginning, when you have gone through living with someone else already, when you have already experienced those early morning smiles, a cup of coffee made for you by him, when you have already bumped into someone else in a mad dash to the bathroom that you both share, when there had already been another toothbrush next to yours, when you had already fallen asleep besides someone else before him, when there is no expectation and yet there is. It was no cake walk. We really did struggle and after much contemplation, we decided to take the plunge and that plunge meant that Nemo would have to take up a job offer far away from home.

And it proved to be one of the best decisions of our lives yet!

For amongst the tall, widespread mountains, gusts of pure, fresh air , we found ourselves again, we rediscovered ourselves on a level that was so honest, so pure, our eyes were opened to the beauty of our Creator and of our Deen. We became more and more inclined to what our real purpose was on this earth, we became better Muslims, and under the influence of these beautiful changes, our friendship thrived, our marriage thrived and a new love blossomed. Love truly can happen over and over again, for there are different kinds of love and when we realise and understand that we should love Allah the most and first, loving another ,for his pleasure, becomes so easy and in that love He places so much of goodness, so much of blessings.

My heart broke a million times every day since we had moved back to Durban…for I missed it, I missed home. I felt as though, if I had to forward my hand into the air, I would be able to feel the snowflakes melt on my fingers, as though I’d be able to marvel once again at the hundreds of peach trees in full blossom, as though I’d be able to inhale the soulful aroma of a rain-soaked piece of earth hundreds of meters above sea level, untainted, unpolluted…pristine..

But our parents were aging and longed to have us close to them so here we were, lock stock and barrel. The barrel being my huge tummy ofcourse!

So much had changed over the years but the smallest things remained intact.

I guess that everything and every little step is a learning experience.

“That’s alot of icing…”

I snapped out of my chain of thought and looked up into Zainab’s face and then back at the cupcake that I was icing and oh my gosh….

“It’s enough for an entire cake”, she grinned,’are you okay?”

“I’m fine”, I sighed, “lost in my mountain dreams again”

“I didn’t realize that it was this bad”, she laughed and that caught my attention..

“So he’s been complaining?”

“Not complaining but yeah he’s mentioned it” , she admitted

All our friends were in Durban with their kids and were staying with us for the next few days to welcome our new baby who seemed to be prolonging his or her arrival by a few days already. We…now lived in Nemo’s father’s house. We had our own extended wing and I honestly didn’t want to break Uncle A.K’s heart when he asked us to move there so here we were. Joint family living wasn’t quite my thing, but it’s actually turning out to be quite awesome I have to admit.

“When I had gone off to Madressa all those years ago,it took me a long while to adjust back to normality..”, Zainab said softly, ” so if it’s any consolation I know somewhat how you feel and once again, I’m always here if you ever need to talk”

I put the piping bag down and looked at Zainab. It’s not like I was depressed or stressed or unhappy or anything of the sort, I just couldn’t put my finger on the exact spot of the “disturbance”, if I could call it that. Maybe Nemo was right, I need to accept the move and let it go. It was the phase of our lives that was probably there to heal us and now it was back to the grind and back to the tests.

You see, life was simple on that side. People expected very little of you and in a good way. It was as though you were at peace, you were one with your soul and you were in sync with every beat of your heart. There were so few distractions, no malls, no fast city life, no halaal take aways, no entertainment and in the beginning I almost died of boredom but when my focus shifted , I had virtually no time on my hands, yet everything and more would get done in a day. On this side, it was so different yet this is where we grew up. It was as if you belonged and didn’t belong at the same time. To gain balance seemed impossible and I was stumbling every day.

Zainab listened intently and then smiled her million dollar smile.

“It’s because you’ve changed, your focus has shifted, you’ve grown and become a better version of yourself and that’s nothing to be afraid of”

Did I mention that Zainab had become a life coach? I didn’t. Well, she became a life coach!

“Isn’t this world just a test? And all these tests will come as they are meant to. Do what is right and you will never go wrong”

Haha!

I chuckled and hugged her. “You have no idea how much I needed that..JazakAllah Hu Khairan”

She whispered an Ameen and I could feel her smile while hugging me . I knew where that was coming from. It was the change, the shift in focus, the new closeness that I had felt towards my religion, what I had learnt and brought with me from those snow covered mountains . It was a life cycle, it was a new me.

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As narrated by Riza:

“Arshad your lighty is constantly behind my daughter!”, Nemo moaned for the hundredth time today

” She’s 9 years old Nemo” , I mumbled

“9 is as good as 19!”

I laughed and shook my head. When Hana turns 19, I feel sorry for her. Nemo would probably hire a few female Chinese assassin type bodyguards for her. Heck he’d probably make his son in law stay with them also!

” Look at how he’s throwing the ball to her!”, he moaned again

“That’s because they’re playing you idiot! Gosh you are so mental!”, Arshad laughed

Nemo sniggered irritably and still watched the kids like a hawk. Poor Adnaan, he was such a friendly little boy and surprisingly enough, Nemo’s “mental” behavior as Arshoo put it, didn’t seem to bother him at all.

“Hey hey get back! “, he shouted from the porch

“Sorry, I was just trying to help Hana with her shoelaces”, Adnaan said apologetically

“I’ll tie it” and he was gone in a flash

I burst out laughing and Arshad scoffed under his breath.

“I saw that Arshoo…and I’m really sorry”, Aara said as she entered with a tray full of delicious dessert in her hands, ” he doesn’t mean to hurt you.. I doubt he even knows how bad it is”

Arshad waved it off and urged Aara to sit down.

“It’s me not a stranger Aaroo…I know how he is when it comes to Hana ”

I smiled at Aara as she sat all flushed in this Durban heat.

“Miss the weather too?”, I asked

” Terribly” she sighed

I had been to their place a few times and it was more cold than hot almost always, even the summers were not as bad as Durban so I get why she looked like she was sitting in an oven! That and the fact that she was due any day now but moved around like a Superwoman!

“So..it’s good to see you like this”, I smiled, “Nemo and Aara are expecting a baby”

A small smile crept up on her face and she nodded slowly

“You guys have come a long, long way”

“Yyyep” , she sighed, “and after he or she is fine and well, I need to come to Jhb because I haven’t been there in ages!”

“Your mad husband will keep you under bed rest for a whole year”, Arshoo laughed, while pointing at Nemo lining up all the boys on one side of the yard and making them do garden work instead of playing,” look at him he’s so crazy!”

And then we watched him wipe Hana’s face with his handkerchief and feed her water because her hands were dirty and my heart melted again. He had truly given this precious little girl the love of two fathers and sometimes in his ways and actions, certain mannerisms and words, I saw glimpses of Zoheb. Each person is different, but one thing was certain, he was a much better father than even I was. He would take out the time to teach her new things every day, read to her , do every single thing that he could do for her without letting her become arrogant or proud and I was so proud of him.

When Aara and Nemo got married , Hana was just about 4 years old, and even though Aara and Nemo were friends for so many years, it was awkward for them to redefine themselves in a brand new relationship. I remembered their wedding day very fondly…

They had made nikaah on the very same day that Aara had proposed to him! Returning home from the beach, they broke the news to everyone and needless to say, everyone was ecstatic! They didn’t want to delay saying that everyone who they cared about was there and so that evening,in a simple way, nikaah was done and their relationship changed.

Aara and Hana moved back to Jhb for a few months and before we knew it they were packing their bags again to move very far away from everything and everyone. I had a lump in my throat when I remembered how Nemo cried when he accepted her into his nikaah, it was so evident that he couldn’t believe that the girl who he silently loved for over a decade,was finally his.

That they had crossed so many hurdles to be together, not out of want or need and now five years later, I still can’t find the right word to describe it. It was not a romantic wedding with movie induced frills and decor, there was nothing fancy about it. It was not a typical hold your breath wedding of the year, it was a unique union of two souls who loved each other from the darkest and deepest depths of their own selves, through scars and wounded trails, through hardship and sacrifice, it was the union of two warriors who fought each other for each other’s well being, it was the union of two friends who respected each other and perhaps it would never be a swept-off-your-feet kind of love, but it was still love. And love has more colors than you can count.

“Did you read the documents yet?”, Arshad asked while sipping on his juice

“I browsed through them earlier on but I love it so far”,Aara smiled, still all flushed. I felt so sorry for her because anyone could see that this pregnancy was taking its toll on her ,” I can’t believe how much it’s grown in fact Nuzayh also wants to branch out here in Durban so we can extend the same help here”

Arshad’s eyes lit up along with mine. We also couldn’t believe how much this whole thing had grown. What began as a shelter for abandoned babies and toddlers, from Zoheb and Aara’s home under my and Arshad’s supervision, had extended its wings and also became a shelter for widows and the elderly.

With two sizable buildings in Jhb, a growing branch in the Transkei and now a branch in Cape Town,hence the documents, under Immy and Maariah’s supervision, to yet another one in Durban, meant the world and more to us.

“I never thought that we would have the time or the constant dedication for it “, Arshad said , “but Allah is the most merciful and look it’s already five years”

“It feels like a redemption of sorts, a cleansing, a way of repentance for the wrong that we did” ,I admitted, ” and it leaves me feeling like a million bucks every single time and that in itself is so amazing Alhamdulillah”

“I hope that the most reward goes to him “, Aara said softly, and we knew who she was talking about, “because he really was the game changer in all our lives”

And she was right. Zoheb had left an impression so deep, an imprint so strong, on all our hearts that so many years later, his legacy still lived on.

I sat back in my chair, remembering my friend and watching the spectacle in front of me. Our circle had expanded and was still expanding…it was so amazing listening to the sound of all our kids laughter, having them run around us like the crazy loons that they were! The next generation of us..it felt exhilarating actually, minus the fact that it meant that we were getting older, but we had come this far and despite all the ups and downs, despite all the heartbreak and sadness, despite everything…we have all had nothing short of…a beautiful, beautiful journey

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Okay so that was like two posts in one…very late but better late than never πŸ™‚

Last ever LLD Poll coming up tomorrow InshaAllah..stay tuned…

Much Love,

Shazia