As narrated by Riza
Initially, I was a little irritated with this trio because none of them had taken our calls or bothered explaining why they were late…
But when I saw Immy hold back his tears when Aara’s father formally asked for Maariah’s hand on his behalf, and when I saw Aara and Laeeka wipe away their tears at that very moment I sort of figured it out.
This couldn’t have been easy for him…
Aara’s dad: He’s a good boy Farouk, it doesn’t take years to judge a character that shines as bright as his
Uncle Farouk: (Maariah’s father) Hassan. ..when you phoned me the first time about Imraan and told me that he wanted to marry my daughter…I lifted my hands and gave thanks to my Rabb and prayed that this marriage between them happens as quickly and as swiftly as possible. ..it is without a doubt,a blessing for my family to have Imraan become a part of it
There was not a single person in this lounge whose eyes weren’t moist at that moment.
Uncle Farouk : welcome to your new family young man. ..you aren’t our son in law, you’re our son
And he hugged Immy. It was such an aww moment that melted my heart instantly. And yes, I probably sounded like Zainab right now.
I felt as though I had witnessed a miracle. Immy had been alone for the greater part of his life so far, with very little hope of having a family again. But the tables turned and Immy had received much more than he had bargained for and these words echoed through my mind…”The reward of every deed is known, except for the reward of patience, which will be like heavy rain.”
The fact that Immy had no family when we met him and got to know him, never made a difference to any of us. But if ever, at any point in his life, if anyone ever made him feel bad about his or forced him into loneliness because of this..i just wished that they could have witnessed this moment right now. No amount of words would, at this particular point in our lives, ever have been enough to describe the way that we felt.
Immy: (letting his tears fall as he thanked Maariah’s and Aara’s parents) I cannot tell you how grateful I am…by the grace of Allah, this orphan has been given a second chance
Aunty Salma: (placing her hand on Immy’s shoulder reassuringly) Don’t call yourself an orphan anymore Imraan…or you will break all of our hearts
I never felt more grateful for having the love of my parents, the company of my parents…and it shouldn’t matter to us how they change, what they say or what they do. At the end of the day, they are our parents and the two people in this world whose absence will always be felt no matter how old and wise we become, no matter how rich and famous we become, no matter how much we prosper and grow…their empty chairs will always leave a void in our hearts that can never be completely filled again.
The formalities followed and soon after maghrieb salaah everyone gathered around the supper table.
A cloud of happiness hung over us that night as we indulged not only in the fine cuisine but also in our two good friends new found joy. Moments like these surely made life’s trials worthwhile. I wished them the very, very best from the bottom of my heart.
The girls were engrossed in their own discussion with Maariah’s cousins, and ignored us for most of the evening. The only time that they actually turned towards us…well, not all of them, just Aara and Laeeka…was when dessert was served. Delicious pink falooda in tall glasses. Now i don’t know what was so funny about falooda but Aara, Laeeka and Immy looked at each other and burst out laughing!..hmmmm?
As narrated by Immy:
I stole a glance at Maariah as I greeted everyone on our way out. Halfway there, and hopefully not much longer to go.
Nemo: (grinning and shaking his head) you both are acting like you’ve stepped out of a 1940’s movie!
Nemo: you know, Zoheb and I made a plan for Riza and Laeeka on the night of their engagement. Who knows…we might be feeling generous tonight too 😉
Aara: (whispering to Nemo) Riza’s mother is behind you!
Nemo’s face fell. His mouth literally hung open and his eyes widened as he turned around slowly, preparing himself for a showdown.
Nemo: (closing his eyes) what i meant was…we made a plan for them to skype chat since Laeeka had mehndi on her hands…
Nemo opened his eyes slowly…..and Aara, and\I let out the laughter that we had been holding in!
Aara: stupid! Was Riza’s mother even here tonight?
Nemo: (looking confused) errrrr
Aara: (shoving the last few pieces of her dairy milk oreo into Nemo’s mouth) there! You look much better when you dont talk
Nemo: (talking with his mouth still stuffed) you…you!!
Aara: (grinning) yes..me me?
Nemo: so you’re talking to me now? because you did a pretty good job of ignoring me the entire day..and you didn’t even reply to any of my messages!
Aara: that’s because i blocked you!
Nemo: (his eyes widening again) you WHAT??
Aara: I blocked you and i blocked Zoheb
Nemo: (looking down and laughing) you little cow!
Aara; aah…liberation…oh the feeling (placing her hand on her heart)
Nemo: well you better unblock me or else…
Aara: or else what?
Nemo: or else….
Aara: (rolling her eyes) you and your idle threats
Nemo: (looking at me) you see!
I shook my head in an attempt to hide my amusement. Standing infront of Nemo and Aara right now, took me back a few years ago as I remembered the very first time that I saw them. Little did I know then, that my curiosity about the two of them would eventually lead me to my destiny one day.
Me: (trying to speak in between their banter) guys….
They finally stopped…and looked at me.
Me: thank you….I guess if you both weren’t Nemo and Aara, I probably wouldn’t be standing here today
Me: no, I’m serious….it was the two of you, and I was really wrong about both of you and well that opinion changed long ago but still…it’s like pieces of a puzzle falling into place…think about it. If Maariah hadn’t done what she had done, Aara wouldn’t have done what she had done. I would never have seen you guys, I probably wouldn’t have pursued the field of speciality that I am in…Nemo, seriously, you should never look down upon yourself or be too ashamed of your mistakes..it’s your very mistakes that brought out the best in those around you. Be it Aara, Maariah, Riza or Arshad and ultimately….it’s those mistakes that you’ve learnt from that have shaped you into the genuine guy that you are today. It may not mean much to you but….I’m proud to have you as my friend, as my brother and a few years ago I would never have thought that I’d be saying this….but that’s life…I am very lucky to have all of you
Neither one of them said anything….they looked at me, then looked at each other and then looked at me again and smiled.
When things go wrong, when things don’t work out, we often find ourselves slowly falling into despair but what we don’t realise is that, all those incidents are small fragments of the bigger picture…our stories were entwined with each other, and everything happens for a reason.
Because lifes’ best stories are those that are not just filled with happiness, but sadness, hurt, trials and tribulations too..and when you experience life in all it’s colours you realise that maybe, just maybe…it’s not about the ending…maybe it’s about the story…