As narrated by Aara :
And this is why I want a small wedding! And also why I’m actually grateful to be walking around on a crutch! Arshad’s house was a mini war zone! Nemo, Ziyaad, Maariah, Immy and I had come to help, along with Rums and Fati. The air was thick with tension as some of Arshad’s aunties bickered amongst themselves, Aunty Sawleha’s eyes were puffy and all of us wanted to run away!
“Zainab is quite controlling hey?” , Immy said, breaking the silence
“Quite? “, Nemo grinned as passed me a folded serviette
“Ok VERY then “, Immy chuckled as he passed a serviette to Maariah
“Why can’t these things be opened the old fashioned way and just stuffed into the damn glass? ” , Zee complained
“Don’t worry for your wedding we’ll do that” , I laughed
But he ignored me! Weird, because Zee never does that and weirder because ever since I saw him today, it’s as though he’s avoiding me!
I lifted my head and looked in the direction of Arshad and his two friends Nasley and Sabeeha. One was an old school friend, the other an old ex neighbour. And I watched Rums and Fati walk towards them , showing them something and then all five of them started laughing. I felt slightly unnerved as a realisation dawned upon me. The change that we spoke about was really happening…and it tasted bittersweet. Very soon, six of us would be married, have other people and other things that would be important to us. In laws, functions in our families…and it would be such that we would never always be together as a group. While it was normal and I knew that we would never lose touch with each other, it would never be the same either. It would never be the same…ever. There would be no more random get togethers at Zoo Lake ,no more climbing over balconies, no more walking into any of our houses for a quick meal, no more late night group chats, no more silly tasks and fancy dress ups, no more chilli laced alfredos and random face mask sessions. No more road trips and sandy paan, no more the freedom to be impulsive with any of them whenever the need arose. No more. No more. Marriage, as much as we looked forward to it, would change everything. And it was right too.
“Walk with me”, Nemo whispered, as he looked at my face
I quickly obliged. If there was anything that I needed right now, it was definitely a bout of fresh air!
We walked into the garden, with Nemo stopping occasionally to offer me a hand.
“So, it finally hit you? ” , he asked once we settled ourselves on the wooden bench
“How did you know? ” , I asked, surprised
“I know “, he said softly
And then we sat in silence for what seemed like a lifetime, remembering, and judging by the occasional smile…those memories were good
“Will you be. ..”, I finally asked
“I’ll be fine “, he answered before I could complete my sentence
“Okay” , I said softly as I lowered my gaze
And another long silence followed.
“We’ve reached the end after all ” , he said, squinting his eye to avoid the strong rays of the sun
“The end of what? ”
“The end of our story…and I mean all of us ”
And I burst out laughing. Inappropriate, I know, but I couldn’t help it.
“Now what? “, he frowned
“This isn’t the end..well not quite anyway…because it can’t end like this..no..It was too colorful to end so black and white ” , I said honestly
Nemo raised his eyebrow at me, opened his mouth to say something and then closed it.
“There’s this feeling inside that whispers…whispers something that I can’t decipher..but the fact that it’s there even though it seems otherwise is proof enough “, I shrugged
“Life is going to change sweethe….Aara ” , he said quickly
“That may be so sweetheart “, I smiled “and even though it scares me I know that it’s a new beginning not just for me but for all of us”
We were talking straight and then in riddles…It sounded like gibberish but it made sense to us.
“I will miss you ” , Nemo whispered as he turned the other way
“I will miss you too ” , I said as I swallowed hard
“You always forgave me Aara, you always believed in me, you always gave me a chance…my new life…it’s nothing short of your duas answered…I don’t know how I’m ever going to live every day knowing that you belong to someone else ” , he said softly as a tear fell from his eye,” and one thing that is for sure, I am saying this from the bottom of my heart, I would never have appreciated you the way that I do now if I never stood a chance to lose you…If things worked out before Zoheb came into our lives, there would have always been a gap, something missing… because I would have been safe in the thought that I would never lose you…and then when it came down to the crunch…my love was nothing against the will of destiny”
“Nemo….” …and tears built up in my eyes
“No , wait…I want you to know this..you shouldn’t feel guilty or afraid, I want you to embrace your new life with both hands because you, my best friend, deserve it more than anyone else…For everything that you had to go through, for every test Aara…reap the rewards…revel in it, live your life, don’t hold back, don’t look back…whatever happens, anytime, anywhere, if you ever need me, I’ll be there before you ask. ..always “…he said as he wiped away my tears. “And don’t worry about me…my best friend taught me well ”
And at this ,I burst into uncontrollable tears as I hung onto Nemo’s words. He cried along with me but never hugged me..silently reminding me of the invisible border between us and I respected that.
“Make a wish? “, I said through my tears and pointed towards Aunty Sawleha’s garden fountain
“The one that costs R5 ?”, he smiled
“Yup”, I said, holding my hand out for a coin
And we stood silently at this beautiful fountain, each of us with a coin in hand , closed our eyes, made a wish and threw the coin in.
Some things in life can’t be explained. I knew that he was being strong for me, even though he was breaking inside . Nemo couldn’t completely define his grief as he felt that we had reached the end and I couldn’t completely define my angst at the feeling inside me that whispered…”not yet…not quite yet”
As narrated by Zoheb :
There wasn’t much to do at Zainab’s house because the function was at Arshad’s tonight, so we were just helping with a few smaller things for the Taleem tomorrow. The buzz in and around a wedding house was such fun and I couldn’t wait for mine! So far, quite a few of my cousins, friends and colleagues had confirmed that they were coming, there was just one who I just couldn’t get a hold of…I wonder what happened to him!
And before I could move onto the next thought…my phone rang and a huge smile spread across my face:)
“salaams bru! Well it’s about time! ” , I said excitedly
Yazeed sighed.. “im sorry bro! I’ve been distracted lately”
“A good distraction I hope? , I teasingly asked
“Long story man! Will tell you another time”
“Well that “another time” had better be soon because I’m getting married in two weeks time and you have got to come I’m simply not taking no for an answer”
” Yeah I just got a call from Zaeem telling me about it. So you finally decided to get married huh” , he laughed, but his voice was filled with a sudden excitement,” I should ask who the unlucky girl is. Im already feeling for her!”
“Haha well for the record, my Aara doesn’t consider herself unlucky to have me”…And my mind drifted towards a happy Aara smiling at me…
“We shall see about that when i have some words with her, you never know she could just realise what shes getting herself into”
“I’m pretty sure that Aara will give you a taste of your own medicine smart mouth! But on a serious note bru…she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me”
And he actually laughed aloud! And for a good few seconds too!
“Hehe i hope so, wouldn’t want you to end up with any other kind and hey I’m happy for you bro you sure as hell deserve it!” , he said”
“Please make lots of dua for me…happiness doesn’t always last when it comes to me , you know that”
“Hey your parents are twigs, I just had to I’m sorry, and that girl back in London well trust me I know she lost out a great deal, as I saw her again last year, I’m glad that didn’t work out for you. You deserve this happiness and its your time now so make sure you keep it going” , he said with a very serious tone
“Thanks bro it really means a lot…you guys are my family as long as I have those who care about me, I don’t really need anyone else”
“We will always be family Zoheb, and if you really need that father talk my dad’s down in S.A at the moment you can go chat with him. As for your wedding, dude, I wouldn’t miss it for anything, gotta see the one time you cry, i mean this will definitely make it happen yeah.”
“Oh you! Well, you never know! Listen, I’m going to email all the details to you and Zaeem so you know what’s going on where…right now I have to run, got a seafood dinner to attend at the first grooms house..you better carry enough clothes -3 weddings is a lot bru”…I said quickly as Zainab stood in front of me with her hands on her hips and face turned into a scowl
“Okay then, good chat bro! I shall await your email, woah this seems to be one hell of a wedding! Oh well gotta go get some nice clothes then, i have to look my best!”
“Yeah because you could just be next see you soon bru” , I chuckled while motioning to Zainab that I wouldn’t be long
“I doubt that’s gonna happen anytime soon bro.. chaos bro”….Yazeed laughed
I stared at my phone for a few seconds as I remembered those two brothers, but Zainab wouldn’t have me “wasting any time” as she put it and had me off to doing the next task..
As narrated by Riza :
It was so good to see Zainab gobsmacked for a change! When I entered Arshad’s house and was led into the back yard, I was literally glued to the spot.
A huge screen had been erected at the front of the whole layout, and on either sides of the layout and. ..wait for it….It was the ocean in motion dude! Along with the sounds of waves crashing against the shore and the soft whistle of sea breeze! It felt as though we were sitting on an island!
The structures holding up the rich beige draping, were wooden and lanterns hung all around. All the tables and chairs were wooden in keeping with the theme of the night, and to add a touch of softness, white rose petals were scattered around the entire garden. Different food stations were set up on both sides of the garden and you didn’t have to wake up and help yourself…Each table of 12 was assigned two waiters, and you had them at your service for whatever you wanted from a very fancy menu card on each plate.
Prawn thermidor, potato and prawn pops, calamari and onion rings…wait I sound like a girl…”Laeeka..take over please love”
As narrated by Laeeka :
Starters : Prawn Thermidor, Rrawn and Potato pops, Calamari and Onion rings, Asparagus melt, Prawn soup , Haloumi stuffed mushroom and peppers, Crab wontons
Salad bar: Tropical Isle salad, Exotic mango salad, Papadum salad,Ggourmet potato salad, Coleslaw, Greek salad
The main course : Baked fish Thermidor, Line fish, Mango fish curry, Spicy crab curry, Malaysian prawns, Garlic butter prawns ,Saucy prawns, Fish roe..Crayfish, Lobster…All served with a variety of Savoury Rice, Chips, Creamed Spinach, Creamy butternut ,Potato Bake, Garlic rolls
Drinks : Coconut Lavender Lemonade, Lime and mint cordial, Kola tonic, Passion fruit and Lemonade, Fresh Pomegranate juice, Cucumber Mojito,
Dessert : Tutti fruity, Jellies, LOTS of fresh fruit
And much to Aara’s delight especially, there was a fully fledged waffle station! !
Zainab’s entire family was speechless, including her!
“I’m going to eat myself silly! “, Aara said as she clapped her hands together
“You lot were here helping so good job I guess “, I grinned
“We were folding these fancy serviettes…”, Nemo laughed “but Arshoo ‘ s two friends did most of the finer touches”
“That…Aaroo..should have had your name on it”, Arshad said as he joined us and pointed towards the waffle station
“Definitely!”, Aara chuckled
“Hello you’re getting married in two weeks, you don’t want to be bursting out of your wedding dress now do you?”, Zainab managed to mumble
“Who said anything about a wedding dress?”, Aara grinned as she picked a mushroom off Zoheb’s plate.
And when he smiles at her whenever she does that..it’s so cute that even I start smiling!
” Guys meet Sabeeha and Nasley”, Arshad said, and stood up and pulled two chairs back for these two pretty girls who now also joined us at our table
Arshoo filled us in on how they were friends and said that we were still to meet a few more of his cousins and friends who were just as nutty as us!
“Rums and Fati were raving about both of you…and I can see why! Everything looks absolutely amazing!!”, I said truthfully
” Including us right?”, Nasley winked
“Ofcourse!”, I laughed, immediately taking a liking to her
“Yeah who knew that Nelspruit people could dress properly!” , Nemo grinned, clearly trying to irritate them
“Hey, dressing sense is second nature to us nature lovers!”, Nasley laughed
“Hello, what about Durban????” , Sabeeha chipped in, not wanting to be left behind
“What about Durban?”, Immy asked playfully, “You Durban people copy us Joburg people way too much”
“Take that back Immy!” , Nemo and Aara shouted together
“Aara..Nemo…they just act like that but deep down they all know that Durban is where all the trends are set!”, Sabeeha laughed and high fived Nemo and Aara
And so the evening continued…in much merriment and over indulging! The families were overjoyed, we were happy…but Arshad and Zainab…weren’t talking…
A big thank you to Diary of Confessions, Journey to Changes, Surti Diaries and Taking My Life As It Comes for all the joint posts so far..you guys are awesome! If you aren’t already reading their blogs then I dunno….something is wrong with you:-p
I know that I have to make it snappy already…. Incorporating 14 readers, 12 Authors…Atleast 20 Fictional Characters…if you haven’t heard from me lately, you will really soon:))
Remember to click on http://www.lifelovedestiny.wordpress.com to view the Seafood Night in pictures