Riza: no hotel! You guys are staying here with us and that’s final*wink* there’s plenty rooms and we can share
Nemo: noooo….us guys are gonna make our beds here in the lounge jamaat style and have our own guys night!
Uzair: no Riza seriously bro we would be imposing and we couldn’t possibly do that
Nemo: then Aara will follow you there!
Uzair: and why would that be a bad thing?
Nemo: because….we are errr all on holiday together
Uzair: (raising his eyebrow) and that’s the only reason?
Nemo: eh you are younger than me you can’t interrogate me
Uzair: yeah by one year only(sticking his tongue out) back to you Riza, sorry…thanks but we really can’t
Riza: don’t be mad…listen you guys have to stay and that’s final…or I’ll just call Aunty Sawleha for you!
Uzair: (chuckling) should I be scared?
Nemo: Aunty Sawleha!!!!
Uzair: Naeem you idiot!
Aunty Sawleha: why do you scream like someone is dying Naeem? What happened?
Nemo: Uzair doesn’t want to stay here he wants to book into a hotel!
Aunty Sawleha: Uzair batchu thu khem amlokonah ni rewanu?Kewa haaro thamlokone reho tho.. (Son why don’t you want to stay with us? It will be so nice if you all stay)
Uzair: Ok Ummeh yaa rewah hukarwa thame ketli hareti pucho ( okay we’ll stay here I can’t refuse you since you asking so sweetly)
Aunty Sawleha: haaah!! Uzair ketlo haaro duyoh poyro cheh!!(Uzair is such a good respectable boy)
Nemo and Riza were bust!
Riza: told you:-p
Nemo: and you speak fluent gujrathi?
Uzair: Bhaai khem thamune problem kai che? (Why do you have a problem with that bro?)
Nemo: Nai Nai kai wando nie( no no there is no problem) but that’s about as far as it goes
Uzair and Riza were finished!
As narrated by Aara:
Zoheb,Arshad,Ridhwaan,Ismaeel and Uncle Irshaad were busy braaing on the large terrace outside. Zainab,Laeeka and Maariah were busy helping Aunty Sawleha set up the tables outside. This was so perfect! My bestest cousin in the whole wide world was here! And he came all the way back to Cape Town from East London JUST for me!
Uzair walked into the kitchen and sat on the kitchen counter right next to where I was chopping up the salad stuff.
Me: so…(Smiling to myself) I can’t believe you came back just for me kiddo!
Uzair: awww you are so worth the trouble doll!
Uzair: (ℓ☺ℓ ) don’t ask…it has just stuck!
Me: so what’s new?
Uzair: been travelling a lot…you know…doing some dawah…made a big difference to who I am
Me: but you were already so haaro Uzzi…
Uzair: (picking the feta from the salad and popping it into his mouth) I know (winking at me) but always room for improvement:)
Ridhwaan: (walking into the kitchen) and now? Leave me out so nicely?
Uzair: what leaving you out…eh you probably eating the meat off the braaistand! And I wouldn’t put it past you if you were eating it half cooked!
Ridhwaan: rare bro rare….so Aaroo what’s new?
Me: you shush because I saw you when I was in durban not very long ago!
Ridhwaan: Uzair! She has a boyfriend!! She even brought him to Gori Foi’s braai and he’s outside braaing now too!!! You go on holidays with your boyfriend????
Me: you know kassum Uzair I’m going to smack this thing here! Zoheb is not my boyfriend!
Uzair: so why are you getting defensive then? (With a smirk)
Ridhwaan: yeah (also picking on the feta) if you don’t like him just say so calmly…although at Gori Foi’s braai you both looked veeerrry comfortable with each other (clearly enjoying what he was doing)
Me: well he’s just a friend man Rids come on
Ridhwaan: friends let each other stand on their feet and dance?
My face turned all shades of pink! How the hell did he know that?
Me: did Zoheb tell you that?
Uzair: oooh so its true then?
Ridhwaan: ( totally ripped) no…I saw you both at the beach that night…I was actually coming towards you because I could see you guys were just talking…and then I see Zoheb standing up and then you standing on his feet and holding hands and swaying….sister…I never knew you were so romantic man!
Me: (shit) what you see isn’t always what you think it is…
Ridhwaan: really? Coz I had my glasses on so that’s four eyes there and Ismaeel was with me too so add two to that…whyyyyy are you hiding it from us? We love you we’ll help u how Aarooo
Uzair: and you didn’t tell me this! I am hurt beyond hurt! (Making a sad face)
Me: (walking backwards with the salad bowl in my hand and I noticed Uzair showing me “big eyes” and Ridhwaan also trying to say something) well there’s nothing to tell…you people carry on making your assumptions…Zoheb is not my boyfriend!
And I turned around and bang!
Zoheb: (quickly grabbing the salad bowl) cereal and now salad?
Me: sorry…(I looked down…how much did he hear?????)
Zoheb: suppers ready all of you….I just came in to call you
Uzair hopped off the counter.
Uzair: maaf I know we made salaam but didn’t formally introduce ourselves…Uzair (putting his hand out)
Zoheb: (shaking Uzair’s hand) Zoheb
Uzair: I’ve heard all good things about you
Zoheb: (looking at me with a small smile) can’t be from Aara I’m sure! (Winking at me)
Me: why not?
Zoheb was about to say something when Laeeka walked in…
Laeeka: come on come on now…everyone’s waiting for you lot
As we walked towards the terrace…Uzair whispered to me
Uzair: kiddo you have a lot of explaining to do…
Me: (whispering back) its not what it looks like..
Uzair: (whispering) from where I’m standing…its a very different picture altogether
Me: (whispering) its very complicated
Uzair: (whispering) so uncomplicate it
Me: (whispering) tell you later…I have to tell you anyway…I’m in such a tizz
Ismaeel: did they trouble you enough already Aaroo?
Me: Issey you have no idea!
Ridhwaan: well we had to…your face turns pink so quickly it’s such a sight! (And he burst out laughing)
I rolled my eyes at Ridhwaan.
Me: they’re still recruiting for the Coon Carnival Rids and theyl definitely take you and heck man you won’t even need a mask and a costume!
Uzair, Ismaeel and well everyone else burst out laughing!
Ridhwaan: oooh fiesty! Well its no problem at all! I even have an act to perform on…(And he opened his arms out and swayed from side to side and winked at me) now if I only had someone to stand on my…(And I covered his mouth with my hand) on mmmmm mmmm
Me: (whispering) shut up
Ridhwaan: mmmm mmmm (using his hands to motion “okay”)
I lifted my eyes only to meet Zoheb’s looking right back at me…with that smile that does things to me…across his face! He definitely heard our conversation!
I sat in between Uzair and Zainab…with Zoheb and Nemo directly across me.
Uzair: why do you call him Nemo? Where’d that come from? The last time I saw you both together it was just Naeem!
Nemo: she’s been calling me Nemo for so long and I even forgot why!
Zoheb: I’d also like to know…why Nemo?
Me: Nemo (nudging Uzair) was a slippery character on campus that’s why!
Uzair: (laughing) so you nicknamed him after a fish?
Nemo: ah uh…not just any fish..a cute fish
Uzair: (telling everyone) you know these two here were inseperable as kids…even though I’m one year younger than both of them, we always played together. Naeem was like Aara’s tubey! She would be all nice sometimes but she used to order him around like you can’t believe!
Me: I did not!
Uzair: you did too!
Nemo: she still does *winking at me*
Uzair: hah you see Aaroo some things never change (nudging me)
Ismaeel: Riza we heard you and Laeeka are getting engaged a week after you guys return home….congratulations bro
Riza: thanks but just congrats aren’t going to cut it…we want to see you three there as well
I turned to Riza with a huge smile on my face and he blinked his eyes at me and smiled! Riza was just the sweetest!
After our delicious braai, and after we had cleaned up…the youngsters decided to just chill on the terrace. We sat around in what looked like a square….and everyone was very relaxed. Uzair and Riza were fiddling with something on Uzairs iphone…Ismaeel and Nemo were chatting away(Nemo knew all my cousins),Ridhwaan and Zoheb were also in what looked like a deep conversation.
Because the door was closed and the curtain on the sliding door was drawn, Zainab and Arshad sat together, his arm around her…ℓ☺ℓ we needed to get cracking with Aunty Sawleha for them!
Laeeka and I had just brought in a tray of coffee and Maariah was busy cutting up the cheesecake that Ismaeel had brought.
I walked towards them with the tray of coffee and Zoheb got up to help me.
Zoheb: I’ll hold the tray you add the sugar?
Me: thank you 🙂
That was the thing about Zoheb…he never dictated or dominated. As much as I felt nervous around him at times I also felt so comfortable and loved the little things he would do!
Uzair eyed me quizzically as he sipped his coffee…
Me: Issy thanks for the cheesecake
Ismaeel: you’re welcome Aaroo I know how much you love it( and he pulled my cheeks)
Zoheb smiled knowingly and whispered to me “so cheesecake is an old favourite?”
Zoheb:(whispering in my ear) by the way your cousins are very sweet…..just like you
And I felt my tummy do its trademark “thing” it did almost everytime Zoheb spoke to me…flip flop flip flop!!
I didn’t say anything…but a smile broke out across my face almost immediately and I bit my lip to try and suppress it..
Zoheb: (whispering again) flip flop flip flop
I’m sure by now my face was a dead giveaway! I still didn’t say anything but as turned around to walk towards Uzair…I noticed Nemo staring at me with a very hurt look on his face…
Uzair:(whispering as I sat down next to him) Aaroo my doll….my heart is breaking for you
Uzair: (whispering) because I saw what you saw…
I looked at Uzair and he could see it…the desperation in my eyes…the confusion…the question marks…
And he held my hand reassuringly….”Don’t worry Aaroo I’m here…we’ll sort it out together” and he fed me a piece of cheesecake and whispered….”It might sound cheesy but never fear when Bobat is near”
Me: Bobat my saviour!
Uzair: your knight in shining armour!
Me: I doubt you’d wanna say that out loud…you’d make a few enemies here :-p
Uzair: don’t talk…I can already see the vibes are hectic
Ridhwaan: very hectic (butting in)
Ismaeel: what’s hectic? (Also making himself at home)
Zai: wait wait guys hold it like that…(Taking out her phone and clicking a picture)