As narrated by Nemo :
Aara’s eyes widened in shock as I slid the first note under the windscreen wiper of a random car at a busy shopping mall. And along with those big eyes, her mouth dropped open as I did the same to the second, third, fourth and fifth car as well.
“You do know that there are cameras here ” , she said matter of factly
“I’m timing them, relax “, I laughed, and motioned for her to sit with me on a bin at the far end of the parking lot .
“So this is your idea of my bacherlorette party…sliding faulty notes under windscreen wipers ,sitting on a bin in a parking lot and staking out people who we don’t know ” , she sighed dramatically
“That’s not all ” ,I smiled, ” we even have China fruit! ”
I dug into my pocket and produced a packet of China fruit, and Aara temporarily forgot her fake irritation as she cringed in delight at the first salty lick of this delicious dried thing.
Wanting to make the most of my time with her, I showed up at her doorstep shortly after fajr. Not that she was ready anyway but it didn’t matter. I was going to hold on to every second, no matter how wrong it may have looked.
We hit the Golden Mile on roller skates, meeting and greeting a lot of familiar faces along the way. Durban was home after all. And as we zoomed off in between the hundreds of pigeons that lined the walkway, I was temporarily transported to a time when pain didn’t know who we were. It was just us on wheels and the wind in our faces!
With coffee to go, we headed off to Gateway . If this was the last time that Nemo and Aara would be together, it could not possibly go down without a prank or two. After all, it was one of the best things that we were probably remembered for.
And prank number one was already under way…
Only a few minutes had passed before we noticed one of the car owners, the lucky ones that is, who received my little note, walking towards his car.
“Aara here comes one of them”, I whispered
Aara looked on confused, as this guy read the note and then frantically began checking his car from end to end!
“What did you write on that note???”
“Errrr. ..”sorry for the damage “..” , I chuckled softly
“You did not!!!” , she said , her eyes widening yet again, and broke out into a fit of laughter
“Shhhhh….or else we’ll end up spending time in jail ” , I whispered
I was also in stitches though!
This poor guy had his hands on his head and I felt a little sorry for him 🙈
We walked into the mall giggling like two kids as we passed victim number two busy examining her car!
Aara had begun to show her jaat as she too scribbled a few notes before we entered a clothing store and before I could say don’t do it, she was discreetly sticking her notes on a few things. We browsed the store and added a few things to our basket and stood near a lady who looked aghast at the note she found on a dress that she had picked!
“How do you people so candidly display things like this? “, she asked one of the assistants
“Because we pride ourselves on what we sell ma’am “, the assistant smiled, completely unaware of the note stuck on the dress
“Well as stupid as it sounds, I admire your honesty but I don’t buy stolen goods! ” , she said , shaking her head
The confused assistant immediately looked at the dress, and before the shock of it could register on his face after he saw the “stolen goods” note , we paid for our stuff and left
“That was wrong on so many levels ” , Aara said with a guilty smile
“I know ” , I said, with an equally guilty smile
“But imagine the possibilities…We could stick notes on food stuff saying “almost expired ” , Aara laughed
“Or “high risk of food poisoning “..”, I continued
“Or if we were invisible, we’d be able to sit on restaurant counters and mix up the orders! ”
“And make tiny holes in all the straws A!”
“We could fill vinegar in sprite bottles! ”
“And put dynamite sauce in the tomato sauce bottles! ”
” You know what this means right Nemo? ”
“That you’re hungry ”
” wrong answer ”
“Oh my for once it’s not about food! ”
“It is…because I’m not hungry I am starving! !I could eat one of those giant footlong rolls all by myself! ”
And much to our own amazement, we did just that! Two giant footlong rolls it was! Lots of people stared…probably wondering how a girl can eat this much but what the hell. We laughed as we sipped on our sprites and realised thereafter that we were so overstuffed that it was difficult to walk!
After sitting there for over half an hour, we did what we used to do when we were around 10 years old. We started going up and down the escalators!
People stared at us as though it was the first time that we saw an escalator! So to rub it in a little I shouted to Aara…
“The stairs are moving! The stairs are moving! !”
Aara, who was coming down the escalator next to the one that I was on, burst out laughing!
“I knowwwww it’s so amazing! !”
I could hear these teenagers chuckling behind me and a few aunties looked at Aara strangely as she stretched her arms wide open as she went up the escalator!
Before a crowd could gather, we hopped off and headed off downstairs, where a bright pink trolley from Game seemed to be beckoning to us to come to it….
Zoheb had better get used to this! I laughed as Aara forced me to climb into the trolley, and started pushing me. Or tried to push me.lol!
“What,do you eat bricks for breakfast? ” , she asked me sarcastically
“With milk “, I grinned
But she started pushing me! I was probably going to break this trolley!
I looked like a ridiculous idiot sitting like an overgrown baby in a pink trolley! And whenever anyone stared Aara would loudly ask me silly things like if I needed a bottle and would pat my head telling me to shush because my mommy was coming to fetch me just now!
“Gateway will kick us out “, I laughed as I climbed out of the trolley. Aara on the other hand, was clutching her tummy and laughing like a loon!
Our next destination was Ushaka Marine World. We walked around a bit, and went to the aquarium for the umpteenth time. I’m sure by now even the fish knew who we were! And since coffee was a hot favorite for both of us, we headed off for yet another cup of good old decaf:)
The owner of the coffee shop was quite familiar with us, and although he cracked me up every time that I went there, I went back again and again because the coffee was SO good.
“Haa Neeemo and Aaariya”, he said loudly
“What’s up Gio”, I said warmly
“Come seet seet and I will serve you theee worlds best best coffee eh”
Aara smiled to herself. His accent always killed us! But…something else that he said, grabbed my attention. You see, I am a big fan of National Geographic and very recently, I had watched something very…”interesting”, so I decided to share it.
“Do you know what the world’s most expensive coffee is made of?”, I asked Aara. But a few more ears beside me had perked up, including Gio’s.
“Coffee beans, what else is coffee made of?”, Aara said, flipping the pages of the menu
“No…guess “, I grinned
“It’s not made of Nemo…come one second guess”, I persisted
By now, most of the people in this coffee shop seemed to be listening in on our conversation, and it didn’t help that we were seated right in the middle of the shop!
“I have no idea”, Aara replied nervously, as she too began taking notice of everyone else watching us!
“Aariya you vant zeh tea?”, Gio said, chipping in
“Noooo…decaf please Gio”
“We no hava decaf…no hava kaffeee sold out”, Gio said dramatically
“What?..How can you not have coffee?”, Aara asked questioningly
“Ima jooking…we have zee kaffeee I bring it now now”, he laughed
Gio’s “Ima joooking” lines were straight out of a movie!
“Answer the question A…what is the world’s most expensive coffee made of?”
“Shit! Maybe it’s made of shit!”, Aara said cheekily
“That’s 100% correct actually”, I grinned
And a lady on the other table spat out her coffee in shock! Serves her right…lol…who asked her to eavesdrop?
“Elaborate boet”, another interested gentleman said
“Yeah we would like to know too”
Aara looked around us and grinned to herself. She motioned for all of them to come closer and then for me to sit on the table and tell my story. I chuckled to myself as I thought of how I was going to twist this whole thing!
Gio by then, had brought our coffee and while Aara stirred the sugar into hers, Gio stood close to the front door, as people walking passed were now peeping in to see what was going on!
I was handed a mike by one of the waiters and I shifted straight into gear. One more memory coming up Aara, to add to an already memorable day so far:)
“So…”, I said, rubbing my hands together, ” Deep in the jungles of Sri Lanka…the jungles where no man has ever ventured in before. Whoever went in there…never came out alive” . Everyone was so hooked already!
“Deep in those jungles, lies a secret…the secret to the best coffee in the world. Many brave explorers tried to go through the dense, dark vines…but none survived. And today, those who live on the outskirts of the jungle swear that they get a strong smell of coffee from that particular part of the jungle on a full moon night”
Aara was busy recording me, and rolled her eyes each time everyone else “oohd” and “aahd” . People were pouring into the coffee shop, and Gio abandoned his post at the front door to proudly stand next to me and smile from ear to ear!
“When it would rain in this part of the jungle, the rivers would flow over with coffee…it was such an enchanted place and the locals named it Coffazon…you know like Amazon but because of the coffee…”
I heard a few chuckles, but everyone was still pretty hooked!
“But one man…one very brave man, finally got in there…and he got out the secret ingredient to this amazing coffee”, I said, as I squeezed Gio’s shoulder
“How did this one man miraculously get in, in between all the spooks?”, Aara asked cheekily, “And how did he get out?”
Gio and I looked at each other for a second, to think, I guess:-p
“Helicoppeter Aariya…zee helicoppeter waz eh waiting for me” , Gio said, nodding his head
Aara gave him a thumbs up with a smug look on her face.
“So what is this rare ingredient…and what makes it the world’s most expensive coffee?’, someone asked
“Elephant shit”, I said with a straight face. But it was the truth! Be like Zoheb and Google it!
I could hear a good couple of people spitting their coffee out! Aara too, looked into her mug and stared. I’m sure that now she was probably thinking that Nasley’s vanilla tea was way better than this!
“I mean who needs decaf when you can have deshit coffee”, I said rubbing it in, as Aara loved decaf and her face said it all right now!
“Elephants are fed the coffee beans, it then churns and digests in their stomachs and then is well..hand picked out of their..without being crude…but it’s picked out of their shit..and since its a long process, and it’s technically strong brewed, and is not available in the same quantities as normal coffee, its a lot more expensive”
“Our kaffeee is full of zee sheeet”, Gio said enthusiastically
And the entire coffee shop fell silent!!
“Ima joooking zer is no sheeet in my kaffeee it’s just zeh kaffee no sheet”, he laughed
And then everyone laughed!
“Boet…I’ll never travel so far to drink coffee made from crap”, an old man laughed as he patted my shoulder
“You’re such a crowd pleaser”, Aara grinned
“I’m legenDAIRY” , I smiled, hoping she’d catch on
“”Oh I am very aMOOSEd “, she laughed
“We talk UDDER nonsense Aara” , I said, laughing harder
“Nah we just raise the STEAKS”
“We should just keep MOOving the way we do neh?”, I winked
“Our talks are happily HERD”, Aara said, playing her part to the hilt
“Some people like to BEEF with us though”
“The jokes are not for everyone but HAY it’s in our genes”, Aara said, hitting her hand on the table
“I think you had too much CALFfeine”, I laughed
“Noo I’m beHOOVing ” , she said, batting her eyelashes
“I know I’m just RIBbing ya”
“You are so PUNny!!”, Aara laughed
And then well we ran out of puns:-p
Aara and I drifted off and eventually found ourselves in Phoenix, outside Brownie’s house! Okay we didn’t exactly find ourselves there, I still had his number and address and I have no idea what possessed us to visit him, but we did!
He studied us for a few seconds before realisation finally hit him!
“Oyyo Selvan’s connections ” , he said aloud and I think that his entire street heard him
“I don’t know if this was such a good idea “, Aara whispered
“What happened my children, somebody troubling yourl, don’t worry I will sort them out!” , he said, and very enthusiastically pulled out his bushknife
Aara and I both jumped! Sometimes we do such stupid things kassum!
“No no Uncle Brownie “, I said meekly, “we were in Durban so we thought we would come visit you”
“And buy some dvds “, Aara said quickly
“How why yourl standing outside then? Come inside how my house is your house ”
I could hear Aara laughing behind me and I just had to keep a straight face!
Brownie’s house was HUGE! Gosh was he really some famous mafia or something???
Before we could even look around properly, this big fat bulldog came charging at us, forcing Aara and I to climb onto Brownie’s sofa!
“Bad Sweet sit down ” , Brownie said to his dog
“Heart is outside…my other dog “, Brownie laughed, “when the ous don’t pay me I just tune them I’m going to send my Sweetheart for you and they laugh but they don’t laugh when they see who sweetheart is!”
“You’ve been calling me a bulldogs name for years! “, Aara laughed while Brownie took his dog outside
While we were busy choosing dvds, Brownie forced us to have Cooldrink and chocolates and we ate it happily. And then Aara had to go open her big mouth and ask for paan…and within minutes we were sitting in Brownie’s orange Cortina, with all the frills! He lowered the top..,YES it was a Cortina Cabriolet *shock* and he drove slowly while flashing his gold teeth to everyone who passed by us! And with his chutney numbers playing loudly and his head moving to the beat, Brownie was the don! Aara was enjoying herself copying everything that Brownie was doing !
Shame he took us to buy paan and insisted on paying for it, and he even bought us bombay crush and jalebi! This was turning out to be so entertaining !
After taking a few selfies with Brownie, and before we left, Aara rushed to my car and walked back to Brownie.
“I would be honored if you would attend my wedding this weekend “, she smiled
I looked at her with big eyes but she pretended not to notice!
Brownie was so touched, especially when Aara told him that he could bring his whole family with. Glad she mentioned that, because they would have come anyway, and sit under the table!
I watsapped Zoheb and told him to brace himself because his fiance has just invited Bushknife Brownie to their wedding!
After a long day, we decided to chill at People’s Park, with hot dhaiwaras and mango lassi. Food is king!
“So…where are you off to next week? “, I asked Aara as I popped another dhaiwara into my mouth
“New Zealand ” , she sighed, “Zoheb doesn’t want to…”
“But you do”
“Yeah I mean…life is short right ”
“He has his reasons for not wanting to take you there Aara ”
“I know…and Maaherah is also there and his money obsessed parents…but I feel like I have to you know ”
“You own half of A.K Moolla’s billions ” , I laughed, “so if it’s about money you’re probably richer than them anyway ”
Aara smacked me at the back of my head, ” that’s an amaanat ”
A round of silence fell around us as we took in the sight of Moses Mabhida stadium in front of us, while we chilled on the grass and ate more dhaiwaras.
And then a conversation began, one that I would remember for the rest of my life.
As narrated by Aara :
Today was just awesome! I had asked Zoheb if I could go with Nemo today, and he agreed. I couldn’t make out his expression but it wasn’t one of anger for sure.
I understood what Nemo was trying to do and my heart broke for him. After 18 years of being together, this wasn’t going to be easy. Not for either one of us. A part of me still couldn’t accept that I was going to be separated from him and that our lives would follow their own individual courses. I was blessed that I had Zoheb’s hand to hold, but Nemo would be alone. I have spent many nights in dua, praying for him to succeed in his life, for him to have his own, to carve his own identity without me, to be strong, to be loved.
But as the days drew closer, it hurt even more.
And today, Nemo was going all out to ensure that I had the best “bacherlorette” party, even though the party consisted of just the two of us…lol…but he was pulling out all the stops and it overwhelmed me.
18 years ago, I obviously had no inclination that we would be sitting here like this today. I had no idea that the quiet little boy with a stuffy nose would make such a great impact on my life. Everyone thinks that it’s me who has impacted on Nemo’s life, me who deserves some unseen credit. But nobody realises that through him, my strength emerged. Because of who and how he was, made me fight for him the way that I did. Because of the friend that he was to me, compelled me to become his wall when he crumbled. We all have faults. And I know that if the roles had been reversed, he would have done the same for me. We were not victims of circumstance, we were in of our lives biggest tests and we passed. Both of us did. All of us did.
“Are you so stuffed that you can’t even talk? ” ,Nemo asked, raising his eyebrow at me
I laughed softly and held my hands to my face. Those dhaiwaras were sinfully delicious!
“I’m not going to fit into my dress”
“Yeah you ate like a python! “, he laughed
I rolled my eyes at him and grinned.
“Can I tell you something Naeem? ”
“Woah…I know that’s my name but whenever you say it I feel as though I’m in trouble! ”
” Oh shurrup man “, I laughed, my tummy still sore
“Tell tell sweetheart I’m all ears “, he said without thinking and looked down quickly
“I just wanted to tell you that I am really proud of you…and that I will really miss you…and that I will always be there for you even though things are changing as we both know it “, I said softly, “18 years is a long time Nemo…you’ve been there for most of my life and my life wouldn’t have been this great without you in it ”
A tear fell from my eye involuntarily, and Nemo still had his head down
“I don’t know where life will take us..”, I continued, ” I don’t know what lies ahead…but I do know that my journey with you thus far has made me who I am today. I will never understand the reasons why our lives were joined back then when we didn’t even know how to read and write but Allah knows why…and I will always be grateful to him for writing you into my story…you will never truly know what you are to me because even I don’t know..ours is a story that is hard to define, and even harder to understand ”
Nemo still had his head down.
“And thank you for today, it will forever remain one of my life’s biggest highlights ”
Nemo finally looked up at me, his eyes moist. He was trying not to cry, he was trying to be strong. But his unshed tears were pouring out of my eyes….
” Thank you for 18 years sweetheart.. I realised when it was too late but..everything happens for a reason and as long as you are happy, I will be happy. And you can rest assured that wherever you are in this big wide world, that someone somewhere is happy because you’re happy…and so the motto of the story is. .always be happy Aara, that’s the only way that happiness will ever find me”
I swallowed hard.
“And you’re such a drama queen, I didn’t take you out so you can end your day crying ” , Nemo smiled, his eyes still glistening
Nemo masked his hurt in his jokes, he didn’t want me to turn into an emotional wreck before my wedding, he was being what he seldom was, and I knew in my heart of hearts that he would be okay.
But his words rang loudly in my head…He may not have said anything but I had heard it. The crackle, the shatter….The sound of his heart breaking.
To the authors of Surti Diaries and Journey To Changes…THANK YOU A MILLION BILLION TRILLION for allowing me the use of your craziness, for writing with me (they played Nemo and Aara to the hilt) and for all the crazy ideas..You two are my two favourite loons!!! LOL! Your constant banter is the highlight of our group and my day is simply incomplete without you both *Tight Hugs*
To Tas, S, Asmaa, F, Shy…a big shoutout to you all as well..my compadres in crime:-p
Sorry for the delay in posting…it’s been a mad mad week
Have a lovely sunday:)