As narrated by Riza:
I smiled all the way from my house to the hall…damn…why did this have to be our engagement and not our wedding!
All our special moments flashed before my eyes…she was officially going to be mine. I was so going to push for a wedding asap!
Me: let’s go pick up a Moulana!!
Nemo: (raising his eyebrow) bro are you ok?
Zoheb: (chuckling to himself) he’s too eager Nemo…seriously Reez that would knock the socks off everyone….let’s go get the moulana!
Nemo: eyyy don’t encourage him..as much as its the right thing to do, his mother will have a fit!
Zoheb: eish that’s another thing
Nemo: eish? Zoheb South Africa is rubbing off on you bro!
Zoheb: it is…even my accent is going away
Me: I planned a surprise for her!! Okay not just me, Aara helped me a lot
Nemo and Zoheb were laughing again!
Nemo: he’s got it bad
And we pulled up outside the hall, and stepped out of our car.
Zoheb: (in a black tuxedo, with a dark blue shirt and matching tie) whew…it’s packed
Nemo: (putting his coat on…Nemo was in a black tuxedo with a white shirt and a pink tie) you can say that again!
Me: (taking in a deep breath…in my black suit with black shirt and matching tie) let’s do this
Because this was our engagement and not wedding, Laeeka and I were allowed to “walk in” together. It was weird and naturally had “my mother” written all over it!
Me: any word from Arshad?
Zoheb: there he is (pointing towards Arshad walking through the parking lot in his black tuxedo and light green shirt and matching tie)
Nemo: he had a haircut!
Arshad looked drained but gave us his biggest,warmest smile as he hugged the three of us individually. When your buddy, despite having a family crisis and being physically and emotionally drained drives all this way just to be there for you on your special day-it touches your heart in a way that is very hard to express. I guess it was moments like these that solidified our friendship even more.
Me: how’s your Nana Arshad?
Arshad: not good bro…I’m going back tomorrow…*sighing* I don’t know whether I’m coming or going these days
Nemo: we’ll come with you…you can’t drive all by yourself again
Zoheb: (small smile) Nemo’s right, we will come with you
Arshad: guys you have work, really I’ll be fine
Me: no arguments bro, we are coming that’s it
Maariah: (trying to run towards us with her high heels on and almost tripping) Arshooo!
Me: why must you run? You will fall flat on your face!
Mari: shhhhh…lemme look at all of you…well all of you are looking reallly hot! We have to keep an eye on all of you because all this Reez’s family girls are going to be drooling !
Zoheb: they aren’t the only ones who are going to be drooling…(Motioning for Mari to look at Imraan who just walked in)
Mari’s face turned all shades of pink!
Imraan: salaams guys
And he shook our hands.
Me: I’m so glad you came Imraan….thanks for accepting our invite
Imraan: (trying not to look at Mari who looked really gorgeous in a straight cut,burnt orange beaded dress and her light brown hair all curled up) the pleasure is all mine really
Zainab had just arrived with Laeeka’s cousins, and as soon as she saw Arshad her eyes filled with tears. Zainab(in a lime and purple long flowy dress) was practical though, ℓ☺ℓ, she was sharp not to run in high heels so like a normal person, she walked towards Arshad.
Would she hug him infront of everyone? I think that question was on all our minds…and Zainab didn’t disappoint…
Zainab: (not hesitating to wrap her arms around Arshad infront of a whole lot of strangers )I missed you…
Arshad: (taken by surprise and clearly overwhelmed…he hugged her back tightly)
I missed you too….
I felt my heart melting…these two were meant to be together…even though she was afraid to tell her father about Arshad yet hugged him so openly in public! ℓ☺ℓ!
Soon enough, we spotted Uzair and Aara getting off Aara’s car and Aara smiled and waved at me. ℓ☺ℓ this girl..
She was dressed in an orange and pink eastern outfit…but not a heavy gaudy one..she looked stunning! Aah so that’s why Nemo was wearing a pink tie! Uzair wore a black suit with a white shirt and a skinny red tie.
Aara: (hugging me) excited?
Me: you bet ya…you’re looking hot sister! Love what you did to your hair(hugging her back)
Uzair: she’s going to get herself into a lot of trouble dressed like this (laughing to himself) congrats Riza
And Uzair greeted everyone and shook our hands.
Me: I’m honoured bro…you came!
Uzair: there was no way I was going to miss this.
Aara tactfully ignored Zoheb and Nemo…ℓ☺ℓ..their mouths were literally hanging open at the sight of her!
And finally….my lady love arrived…looking super sexy in a black,red and white eastern bridal style outfit. Laeeka oozed grace,style,simplicity and elegance. She glanced at me with a shy smile as she stood with her parents and my parents…and I walked towards her feeling like the happiest man alive!
As narrated by Zainab:
Aara,Mari and I were in tears as we watched Riza and Laeeka walk down the aisle. Even though it was weird as Riza said because it was their engagement and not wedding…I guess as women we tend to get emotional for every little thing.
Riza’s cousin Amien did the opening speech and welcomed everyone on behalf of both the families and Riza’s mother trotted about the hall-dressed half her age-and annoyed the daylights out of most of the people present there!
Me: Aara go get Nemo…you guys have to give the rings just now
Riza’s mum: Zainab…Riza tells me that Nemo is going to be giving his ring..but I was thinking it’s better if my daughter does that I mean it’s her brothers engagement after all
Me:(there we go) I can’t make any changes as this is what Riza and Laeeka asked for and I don’t think it would be wise to go and ask them now
Riza’s mum: no need to ask them I’m sure it was Laeeka’s idea anyway…I’ll just send Rumaana (Riza’s sister) now (and she walked away)
Me: what the hell is wrong with her! She can’t just change things as she feels man!
Mari: as if she’s going to listen to us Zai(shaking her head) Aara is already gone to call Nemo…it’s going to be a tough one
Before Nemo and Aara could even reach where we were standing, Riza’s mum already sent Rumaana to the main table where Riza and Laeeka were seated, with the ring!!!
Riza looked at us questioningly and I just shrugged my shoulders. Obviously we couldn’t say anything now!
Aara and Nemo were already behind us, watching everything.
Nemo: it’s cool man don’t stress
Me: it’s not cool…this is not right
Nemo: Aara go, don’t make Laeeka wait
Aara: both of them wanted you to be a part of this too, so you will be
Nemo: sweetheart…I’m not a baby…it’s okay..go I’ll wait for you here
Aara: (holding Nemo’s hand and walking towards the front)
Nemo: (whispering) Aara really
Aara: (whispering) shush…don’t make it look like I’m forcing you just play the part
And the two of them stood on Laeeka’s side,Aara with the ring tray in her hand, and she made Nemo take out the ring and hand it to Laeeka.
I smiled. This is who we were…always there for each other no matter what…
The evening went on without a hitch-the food was delicious, we took tons of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
————————————————————————————As narrated by Zoheb:
Uzair: (holding in his laughter) You just going to stare at her with your mouth open or you planning on making a move??
Me: (snapping out of my “stare”)huh? Oh..ohhhh (laughing) sorry, I know she’s your cousin…but I really can’t help it…she’s …she’s just something else…(Laughing again) I cannot believe that you just said that Uzair!! And you would be okay with me “making a move” on Aara?
Uzair: (shrugging his shoulders) Last time i checked you were older than me, yet you still want my permission?! Bru you earning brownie points already (laughing) Aara is a big girl. You want to make a move on her… Make it. But if you break her heart. Well…. I break your bones. And yes, that cousin of mines is something else. (Smiling adoringly at Aara) Thats why she deserves the best
Me: wow…you may be younger than me but Aara has a lot of time for you and looks upto you the most so your “blessing” is a huge thing thanks bro…well, she knows that I really really like her…what she doesn’t know is that it’s now way past like…but I don’t want to force my feelings onto her…when she’s ready I will know…for now its enough to have her around me and to stare at her (laughing) I’ve never met anyone like her in my life! That energy and vibrance…she’s like a tornado…such a bundle of everything. And her name says it all…Aara…Adoring…I’ve got it bad, I know (chuckling to myself)
Uzair: (laughing) A tornado! hah thats the first time I’ve ever heard anyone deacribe Aaroo like that! (Sighing) you dont want to force your feelings on her, so you going to just sit here? Bro wake up! You aren’t the only one that wants to be with Aara (his gaze shifting towards Nemo) Word of advice, if you keep sitting and staring, some other lucky guy is going to whisk Aara away. And I’ve been there before and it sucks! To have the girl of your dreams taken away by some other guy… (running his fingers through his hair)
Me: aah so basically you’re saying all interested parties should have a fair chance? (Laughing) bro she know I really really like her and she’s told me that she would say yes the day I sing an indian song for her while standing on a car in the middle of a busy street!
Uzair: (laughing) So now you making my cousin sound like some business deal? Well.. what’s not to like about her, after all she is related to me. On a more serious note though.. DO IT! If you remember word to word what she said, then you must really like her…. so do it! Go learn an Indian song, go find a car to stand on and serenade Aara! I’d pay good money to see that (smirking)
Me: (ripped) well err actually…I’ve already started learning “the” song it’s just that I’m really bad with indian words(laughing) I hope I don’t end up scaring her away! On a more serious note though…now I know I was right..Nemo does love Aara doesn’t he? Wait, don’t answer that. I shouldn’t be asking you a question to which the answer someone probably told you in confidence. I don’t want to feel like a third wheel bro and come between two friends who may just end up liking each other more than friends…
Uzair: (running his fingers through his hair) Zoo… Mind if I call you that? I honestly don’t know what swims through Aara’s mind, even though she tells me everything. Nemo and Aara are Nemo and Aara… They have a… a…long complicated history to say the least. You’re like a breath of fresh air for Aara. Its up to her whether she wants to embrace the new, or whether she wants to just stick to what she knows which is Nemo. (smiling) I admire that you man enough to not want to cause friction between friends. You kinda remind me of me, being Mr.Right, doing the right thing. It’s a good quality to have Zoheb
Me: (ℓ☺ℓ) Zoo? I’ll have to think about that one…Mr. Right and Mr.Right huh(laughing) doing the right thing always feels good…and the right ones are always rewarded *winking* maybe I’ll be rewarded for my patience who knows
Uzair: (laughing) Its hard to find genuinely good people nowadays… At least I know that IF… big fat IF…. IF Aara were to end up with you, I’d know she was in good hands (Manly pat on my back) Heck, you better be rewarded for your patience and goodness!
”(raising his glass) To being Mr.Right!”
Me: (raising his glass and laughing) to the good Mr Rights of this world and to being worthy of being on the receiving end of Aara’s affection…thanks Uzair I do appreciate the motivation and the well wishes…now if you’ll excuse me…I have a lady to woo..with the blessings of her bro *winking*
Uzair: All the best bro!
This is it. I was so going to do this. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know all the words to the song, I’d just stand on my car and screech :-p I had to tell her!!! So I scribbled a note ” please meet me at the back, near my car”-Zoheb and gave it to Riza’s cousins 5 year old son and pointed to Aara and asked him to give it to her and I walked out of the hall quickly.
Breathe Zoheb Breathe. I took off my coat and loosened my tie, and climbed onto the top of my Audi. Thankfully there was no one around. My heart was thumping in my chest! I have never been SO nervous in my entire life!!!
After a few minutes I heard someone walking towards my car….Aara….but she didn’t come infront of me…she stood next to the rose plants and all I could see was her shadow. Shux, she was shy…
“You called me…”, she whispered
I cleared my throat….okay this was it…
Me: I’m fulfilling your condition madame…
And I started singing….