As narrated by Uzair:
And we finally reached Joburg after hours of driving! Aisha hadn’t stepped foot out of Durban ever since she moved to South Africa, so we decided to drive down for Arshad and Riza’s wedding instead of flying. And after ten days, it would be back to Durban for Aara’s Wedding Week!
And the five hours was so worth it, even though it was exhausting.
Wanting to surprise Aara, I hadn’t told her I was coming today. We got to her apartment block and you could hear the noise and laughter coming from the building’s entertainment section.
Familiar faces greeted us, eager to meet Aisha, but we couldn’t chat for long because we had to get through the crowds to get to Madame Aara, who was busy smiling at her phone, not helping with anything.
Well, only one person could make her smile like that so I could guess who she was texting…
“It’s a sad day when I drive ALL this way for a wedding, and the bride is busy on her phone…Terrible I tell you”
“Youuuuuuuuu!’ , Aara said, quite startled..”Am I dreaming???”
“I can pinch you if you like?” I smirked.
Aara looked behind me, smiled and hobbled her way over to Aisha ”No…because now I can complain to your wife about you”
“It’s so nice to meet you Aara”, my beautiful wife said, enveloping Aara into a hug, “Are you okay? You’re walking funny….”
“It’s so good to finally meet you Aisha” , Aara smiled and then pointed at her crutches leaning against the wall.”errr it’s because I need those”
And then they started talking like two long lost friends, completely ignoring me!
“Cousin of the bride here, HELLO…What happened to greeting me?”
“Coming coming “, Aara laughed, “she’s just so perfect Uz..and I had to greet your happiness before you”
My happiness… and I knew that I was already smiling to myself.
“Just like how Zoheb is yours Aaroo! And by the way, someone needs to strap you into a chair, because that leg needs rest before your big day.”
“I will be out of it by next week..and technically, even though I am the bride, this weekend Zainab is the bride so I still have two weeks to go. Really sweet though I must say, that you came all this way for Arshad and Riza…not that I would have expected otherwise”, she said as she blinked both her eyes at me
“Not that I gave him a choice, I love weddings, absolutely love them!’, Aisha laughed
“It’s true. She’s the reason we’re here”, I said honestly
“Oh my word! Uzair you have SO met your match!”, Aara laughed as she high fived Aisha
“Ahh tell me about it. But I’m telling you now, these next two weeks you both are not allowed to gang up on me because I know Aara and she’s a bully ” , I smiled and held Aisha closer to me
Aara’s mouth hung open in defense mode! “I’m not a bully! Okay..maybe just a little bit…and no ganging up on you I promise..I need all of my family by my side..” and then she held her hand on her chest…” because I’m already having palpitations stressing about Zoheb’s family and how to mix with them and will they like me or not…”
I wanted to laugh! It was so cute to actually see her like this!
“From one woman to another, I’ve been there Aara. Man, ask Uzair how stressed I was! I mean, Uzzi decides to marry a girl that’s nothing like his family..” , Aisha laughed lightly and then looked at me and smiled..”But I can promise you that it only gets better with time. The anxiety will fade away and forget liking you, they will LOVE you!”
I smiled back at my wife.”Aara’s situation is a little more… complicated let’s say”, and I looked back at Aara. “But as long as you and Zoheb are happy, don’t stress!”
Aara looked at me and I could see that tears were starting to build up in her eyes.
She knew why. And I knew why.
Her secrets were safe with me, they always would be. Even now that I had Aisha they still weren’t my secrets to tell. Aara told me her stories in confidence and I respected her to the extent that my own wife didn’t know half of what Aara had been through.
“Don’t cry now Aara…”, I said as I enveloped her into a hug
Aara composed herself and smiled at both of us ” Uzair, one day when you have some time…you can tell Aisha the story of Aara , Nemo and Zoheb”
“One day I think I will. And then she’ll realise that she is SO lucky to have a drama free husband like me”
Aisha laughed and rolled her eyes at me. “And I’ll remind you how you’re SO lucky to have me!”
Aara was busy smiling to herself, looking at both of us Aisha and I once again got lost in our own world. when Sahal threw his arm around her
“I think I’m going to gag right about now! I’m surrounded by lovesick puppies!”
And the three of us broke into a fit of laughter at his outburst!
“I don’t get a salaam from you Sahal! What happened, gone too big now?”, I joked
“Sorry sorry..salaams Mr and Mrs Bobat “, he said as he side hugged me, “I was distracted by all the red hearts flying around”
“You talk all you want to but red hearts will be flying for you too and when they do I’ll be sure to embarrass you in front of the that poor girl who will have to deal with you!” I laughed
“She’d definitely have to be mental to marry him!” , Aara laughed as she playfully smacked Sahal at the back of his head
“Shame , you both are such bullies! “, Aisha laughed, ” Sahal, it’s nice to meet you. You look so much like Aara”
“It’s nice to meet you too sister in law! And don’t worry, I’m sorting that out, have an appointment with a plastic surgeon really soon”, Sahal laughed, but not before he received another shot from Aara
Time flew by as Aisha and I helped everyone set up. My wife was right at home, chatting with the ladies and with Maariah and Zainab.
When all the hard labour was done, I stood back and admired the place. It really came together nicely. I was soon joined by a now prim and proper Aara who looked every bit the bride-to-be that she was. And shortly after that, Zoheb and his family had arrived.
“I don’t know if I can do this”, she said nervously, as she watched Zoheb’s family meet and greet her family.
“Well, two things Aara. Firstly, it’s too late to back out”, I chuckled to myself, ” and secondly, you can do this. You can, I know you can. It may not be easy because , well…his family isn’t the most welcoming…but just be yourself. Be your loving,caring, friendly self. We’re here for you, all of us”
Aara sighed. ” His parents and sister aren’t coming, washed their hands off him so to speak…and all these people here are his cousins, friends, aunts and uncles..and it kind of makes it SO much harder because they are silently going to be looking for faults in me to figure out why his parents don’t like me”
“Woah, that’s news to me! His own parents..”, I said as I shook my head in disappointment, “sometimes I really question what has happened to families of today…But either way Aara, hold your head high, okay? Don’t let them belittle you. You going to be okay?”
“I don’t know…but look at how happy Zoheb is. I can try just for him, I guess”
“Go on, get out there and be Zoheb’s pride and joy” I said reassuringly
Aara laughed and nudged me, “On crutches? I’ll probably trip over this dress”
“Good idea..maybe we’ll just let them come to you. By the way, have you seen Aisha?”
Aara looked at me with the widest grin on her face..”aaah I have seen her but why should I tell you? You guys are so cute you know that…Uzair is a husband!”
I gave her a blunt look. “I swear that I question why and how are we related ALL the time! You’re so weird! And you should tell me because I just want to make sure that she’s okay.”
“You need glasses”, she chuckled, “she’s with mummy right over there, meeting and greeting all the guests. She’s fitted right in Uz”
I breathed a sigh of relief . “There’s just an overwhelming amount of people here, I should thank your mother for taking her under her wing”
And subconsciously I ran a hand through my hair, not realising that Aara was grinning at me silently.
“Salaams Uzair! “, Zoheb smiled as he made his way towards us, always good to see you bro”
“Likewise bro. If I haven’t said it before, shaadi mubarak to you”
“Thanks…it’s all so surreal”, he said, as he spoke to me but looked at Aara, “oh, by the way, shaadi mubarak to you too”
I couldn’t help but laugh! ” A bit delayed, like maybe two months delayed but thanks man. You sure you ready for a lifetime with this nutter?”
“I don’t have a choice…she’s got me hooked!”, Zoheb laughed
“Hey!” , Aara exclaimed cheekily
Zoheb leaned towards her and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, “I know that you’re nervous but they love you already, and I am going to introduce you to them one by one”
“Right, and I’m taking my leave lovebirds! Enjoy the meet and greet Aaroo!”, I said as I began to walk away.
They were lost in their own bubble of happiness, finally and rightfully so.
Now it was time to find my other half. I walked over to her and draped an arm over her shoulder.
“I think we should just change your surname from Bobat to Ismail don’t you think?” , I said to Aisha, who was talking to Aara’s mother
Aunty Salma smiled, “I see that someone is missing their wife?’
I smiled at Aisha…”Well, considering that she’s spent more time greeting people, I have definitely missed her”
“Well I’m right here Uzzi..it’s not my fault that your family is so nice. I wouldn’t mind being adopted by Aara’s mummy”, Aisha chirped happily
“No way. I’d miss you too much.” I said.
Aunty Salma shook her head and laughed. “I think I’ll leave you two…”
From the back of the entertainment area, holding Aisha’s hand in mine, I looked at Aara.
She was all smiles as Zoheb held her hand and introduced her to his family.
We have really grown up haven’t we?
And things are exactly as they should be.
As narrated by Aara:
Zoheb looked at me as he linked his arm in mine, so that I didn’t need to use my crutch. He felt it too! I was trembling! I have never been so nervous in my life!
“It’s okay…”, he whispered
And he was right! Because his cousins were so down to earth, and so welcoming, that all my reservations about them fell away. It was impossible to talk to all of them long enough to get to know them better, and understandably so. They were jet lagged and needed some rest too.
There were a few though, who tossed their feelings of jet lag in the bin and talked non stop.
“You two look so good together!”, his cousin Amierah smiled as she took yet another picture of Zoheb and I together..”and I’m going to dp this so that Maaherah can see what a doofus she is for missing this!”
I like her already!
“Slaamlaykum”..a little voice said, and I looked down to see an almost 2 year old tugging at my dress . I steadied myself while Zoheb bent down and scooped this little angel into his arms
“Say it again”, he asked her cutely
“slaamlaykum”, she giggled, causing us to giggle too
“This is Layyah…she’s the one I was telling you about”, he smiled as he kissed this cutie on her cheek
“I’m surprised that she’s actually letting you carry her, she hasn’t seen you in forever”, a pretty girl said, walking up to us
“Aara…my cousin Shaista, Shy…Aara”
‘It’s good to finally meet you, I’ve heard lots about you”, I said honestly
“All good things, I hope”, she winked
“Would I ever…come on Shy”, Zoheb laughed
I was seeing Zoheb for the first time with his family, and it felt so good. He was always alone…always mingling with just our families. But that his extended family cared for him so much, truly overwhelmed me.
We moved on, speaking to his aunts and uncles, who expressed their happiness at being here. And they made my day by welcoming me into their family with open arms. I held onto Zoheb a little tighter as I saw his eyes glisten while they talked. Family really meant the world to him. He kept telling me how he didn’t expect all of them to be here and how shocked he was when he saw them. And this was all Nani’s doing…so we gave wise, cute Nani an extra hug together.
“And she’s the one who made the banner and had everyone wear Team Groom tshirts at the airport”, Zoheb chuckled as he introduced me to the one and only Shakirah.
“Aaaaaaaraaaaa!!!!! Ain’t Zoheb one lucky guy? Masha Allah, I love you already 😉 A hug yeah?’ , she said all at once
“I already feel like I’ve known you forever”, I smiled as I hugged her
“Sooooo, Mrs. Patel sounds good init?” , Shakirah chuckled
I blushed…and looked down and I could feel Zoheb smiling at me!
“I tease her about that all the time”, he said as he nudged me
“And I thought that Ahmed and Saby in love was enough, but look at you two!”, Shakirah laughed, “By the way Aara, I give you full permission, if he troubles” And she winked at me “…I think you know…”
“My Zoheb would never trouble me”, I said before thinking, and then bit my tongue after realizing that I said it aloud
“OOh la la”, Shakirah whistled
Now I know what Laeeka, Maariah and Zainab had to go through…gosh I don’t know if I’ve ever been so silent, red faced and behaved in my entire life!
“And what about meeeee???” , another cousin of his said loudly as she leaned on Zoheb causing him to lose his balance a little. Shakirah frowned at her playfully, and then shook her head.
“I didn’t forget you…wait , I could NEVER forget you”, Zoheb laughed as he pulled her cheeks..”Aara, meet madness personified, the one who drives our entire family crazy….Haajirah”
I couldn’t help but laugh!
“But you can call me Haaj “, she smiled
“Haaj it is then”, I said as I hugged her too
“Do you know Aara, that I’ve never seen him this happy before? You seriously are his dose of bliss”, she winked
Zoheb squeezed my hand and I sighed in contentment. I would definitely get used to this for life!
I tuned out of our conversation when I heard my phone ring, which, I remember now, I had forgotten at the table I was sitting at with Zoheb’s cousin Sakeena.
“Nemo?”, she said as she looked at me and then at my phone screen, I suppose wondering if she should answer it before it stopped ringing
“It’s okay you can answer it ”
Where was Nemo anyway? And Laeeka was also nowhere to be seen!
I waited for a few seconds…and then a few seconds longer…and those seconds turned into minutes…but Sakeena was having a good old conversation with Nemo!
I lifted my eyes and caught Uzair and Aisha grinning at me, from the table at the back, where they were now eating with Riza, Arshad, Zainab, Immy and Mari. I smiled and tilted my head slightly to the right and blinked at them.
Uzair was right. It was allllll good!
Tas you brought back many, many good memories as we wrote this post together…thank u soooo much, I always love writing with you! *tight hugs* mwah!
And so an official welcome to Uzair and Aisha to the LLD Wedding Special! Uzair, as usual, always fictionally makes my day:))) (Tas I’m still sticking to my guns here..Uzair first and then all the others…Zoheb, Nemo, Zak, Ayaaz..they r all adorable but Uzzipops leads the pack ;)…..)
A special mention to Amy for the beautiful post that she wrote (the one that I reblogged), I still can’t get over it *tight hugz to u too*
Now that you have had a super long post…you can consider your Sunday made;)
Enjoy the week ahead!