As narrated by Zoheb :
I held Aara’s hand a little tighter as we took our first steps onto the sea sand. There was no elaborate aisle, no bridesmaids, no best man…just a huge white canopy surrounded by several smaller canopies and hundreds of blue drapes that swept up into the air every time the sea breeze hit it. Everyone was here, our close families, close friends…except our special VIP guests, who would be arriving any time now.
Everyone was told to dress however they wanted to, but also warned to carry a spare set of clothes . As a compulsory requirement, each guest would have to take a pair of sunglasses, a straw hat and a bucket and spade set and then just chill. For the heck of it, all the guys wore formal shorts , short sleeved formal shirts and sports coats .And the ladies decided to go with Aara’s idea of a poofy dress without any shoe or sandal. And they looked awfully cute!
As for my beautiful bride, she looked absolutely radiant in an ice blue ballgown, opting for color instead of the traditional white. And for once, she allowed me to match her, in a powder blue suit.
The tables were all in shades of blue and white, including a chill out area on the shore with chunky pillows and beanbags. Right down to the last detail, everything was perfect. I picked up the wedding favors and smiled to myself…beach in a bottle and a message in a bottle.
“This one, as you know, has a double meaning…that only you and I know about”, she winked, holding the beach in a bottle in her hand
I lifted her hand to my lips and kissed it gently and Aara started blushing profusely. This extremely nervous side of her was a total first for me and I was loving it! It was just downright cute:)
Riza was already on the jumping castle…lol…It seems as though that was all that he was waiting for! And Yazeed joined him shortly afterwards, with Immy sitting in the middle of it enjoying it without having to do anything 😂
Sabi initially moaned about the sand everywhere but toned it down when Nasley reminded her that it was the beach after all. Aara laughed at their banter and I joined her. These two were in a league of their own!
Even Bushknife Brownie was on his best behaviour! I didn’t even ask Aara why she invited him…because she was Aara after all. Her parents were quite shocked when he came to meet them and Aara had initially introduced Brownie as my uncle! But Brownie made himself right at home..and shook a leg with Nemo and Zaeem, as he himself sang the song and the “background” sounds of something called lungi dance 😕
My nani was so amused by his antics and all my cousin’s jaws were hitting the ground one after the other!
“A I envy you….This is such a perfect get together setup even with Bushknife Brownie as a guest! ” , Arshad laughed as he stood next to us.
“I had this idea in my head right but my parents put everything together in a way that totally exceeded my expectation! ” , Aara said excitedly, talking with her hands
“I’m not going to ask you if you’re happy…because I can see that you are..but as a mandatory big bro thing..uhm..Zoheb you ever mess with her and I’ll be behind you like a blood hound ” , Arshad winked, “Never underestimate the power of a common man ” and he lifted his own collar to look all macho, forcing all three of us to break out into a fit of laughter
“Giving him the threats babe “, Zainab said, nudging Arshad and joining us, “Zoo be warned we are a solid 7 huh”
“Heyyy ” , Aara said, leaning against me
Arshad gave me yet another hug and told me again how lucky I was and again how I should treasure her because she was a one in a million. That I knew. Without a doubt.
No sooner had we sort of settled down, did our special guests arrive. In a luxury bus , with the most innocent smiles on their faces, their eyes lighting up with elation upon looking at everything….stood 60 young children. And for that priceless look on their faces, I would have emptied every penny in my pocket.
I looked in admiration at my wife, who welcomed each child with warm hugs and said a silent prayer for her…For her act of not inviting relatives who we would probably never see again for the rest of our lives and in their places…invited these young orphaned children with every intention of giving them the time of their lives.
As narrated by Riza :
I was completely bowled over! Errrr not just by the jumping castle but by everything about today. These kids that Aara had invited had stolen all of our hearts from the second that we saw them, and they were thoroughly enjoying themselves too. Apart from all the kiddie things that had been organised, we played alot of games that we hadn’t played in years! Like musical chairs, pin the clown, pass around the parcel and even an egg and spoon race! And I am the BOSS of any egg and spoon race haha! The girls couldn’t really run properly with their dresses, but guys are as practical and intelligent as always…we come in shorts to the beach 😉
As for the food.. It was a proper Durban braai with all the works and Aara was the first bride that I saw who ate so much on her wedding day!
“Food will always be my first love okay so would you stop looking at me like that ” , she mumbled through her stuffed mouth
“I didn’t say anything ” , I lied
Aara rolled her eyes at me and continued devouring her steak. She finally has her happiness…and I’m not talking about the steak, but her happily ever after. Life is full of twists and turns but I hoped that hers was a straight road from here onwards.
I couldn’t help but think about all the years that we had known each other and all the memories we had made in them. She truly is the sister of my heart and nothing would ever change that.
“I can’t believe you have and Ice Cream and Milkshake Station! That was just the cherry on the top man”. You see waffle stations but you hardly see an Ice Cream Station at any wedding and boy was I chaffed!
“Thank my father, it was his great idea”, Aara laughed
And I made a mental note to thank Uncle Hassan because hey, credit should be given where credit is due:)
“You will not believe what your mother just told me ” , Laeeka said as she joined us
Aara looked at me and both our faces fell for a second. Was there a new drama? ?
‘What. ..what did mummy say? ” , I stammered , hoping that my mother didn’t go cuckoo on my new bride
“Welllll both of us were playing with the kids and then out of the blue, mummy just says..”I can’t believe how shallow I was harping about blood relations when the world is full of children begging to be loved “..” , Laeeka said excitedly
My mouth fell open in shock. Laeeka looked at me in anticipation and all I could do was stare at her like an idiot! I didn’t know what to say. Did my mother really mean that? ?
“Riza. .? ” , she said for the third time
“Huh? “, was all that I could say out aloud
” Leave him he’s going deaf ” , Aara said as she hugged Laeeka,”THAT IS AWESOME TO HEAR LAEEKS I’M SOOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU”
“I knowwww right ” , Laeeka squealed, “I mean I know that we’re only married for a week but it’s so comforting…For the future you know ”
“I knew that those kids would melt Aunty Maseeha’s heart…she is a softie under all those snooty layers of silk ” , Aara said warmly , ” now can you kindly open your mouth Riza! ”
I just started laughing. And both of them looked at me like I had just lost it!
“I’m sorry..I just can’t believe that my mother would melt so easily…I underestimated her ” , I said, holding my head
Laeeka jumped out at me and hugged me tightly. Peace, serenity, bliss….those words were just not enough to describe how I felt as I hugged her back.
As narrated by Nemo :
Aara’s wedding day. Aara’s wedding day. Those words repeated themselves over and over again in my head. My father had placed a comforting hand on my shoulder during the nikah, silently understanding the emotional scarring that my heart had to suffer with every single word that was spoken. I expected to feel some kind of closure when Zoheb uttered those life changing words, but like most things in my life , nothing happened.
I smiled though, throughout it all. And I allowed myself to be free during the celebration that was taking place on the beach. Except for one thing. I stayed miles away from the kids! It was an extremely sweet gesture etc etc but I can’t handle children. It might sound cold but I really can’t help it. Perhaps one day it would change. But for now uhuh! I enjoyed watching them having fun but that was about it.
Aara looked adorable in her dress and I had teased her that if she had to get swept into the sea, she would float happily! Lol even sharks would steer clear of her and her poofy dress, thinking it to be a giant new species!
The day was almost over and everything had gone down so beautifully…and after saying goodbye to the kids and while the caterers cleared up, I noticed everyone scattered and doing their own thing. Immy and Maariah had gone for a walk, hand in hand. So did Zainab and Arshad. Riza and Laeeka were collecting seashells, Yazeed and Mangashika were cutely building sandcastles together, Zaeem and Sahal were still sitting at the Ice cream station for the past one hour, with no sign of getting up from there. Zoheb was chatting to Uzair and Aisha. And Shaakirah, Farah ,Sabeeha and Humairah were busy taking selfies.
Aara on the other hand, stood alone on one end of the beach, busy writing on the sand. She looked like something out of a fairytale, with her pretty blue dress and the wind in her hair. I made my way towards her with a very heavy heart, because even though she was right infront of me…she was already gone…
“Look at your dress! ” , I exclaimed, quite horrified at the sight of the bottom of her dress covered in sea sand!
“This is exactly the way that it should be ” ,she laughed, and carried on drawing on the sand, “free and without any care in the world ”
” I’ve never seen a bride like you for sure ” ,I chuckled
“You better mean that in a good way ” , she said without looking up
“Of course ” , I lied…”so…what do we have here ”
And I stood a little behind her to examine her handiwork. Graffiti on the shore..not bad.
“Life, Love, Destiny huh”
“Yyyyyep ” , she replied, as she drew more lines and squiggles and began to write everyone’s names as well …”let’s see…Immy and Maariah..life, love or destiny? ”
I took the hint and picked up this stick thing lying nearby and wrote under their names.
“Maariah…life I guess ” , I said as I wrote and L under her name
“Immy…love” ,Aara said and wrote an L under his name, and finally encircling their names in a heart
“Zainab…” , I asked, looking at Aara
An L it was for Zai!
“Arshoo is definitely Life ” , I laughed
“Riza and Laeeka are both Love! ” , Aara said happily
“Aara is also love ” , I said softly, and wrote an L under her name , “and I am definitely Life, a messed up version anyway ”
She frowned at me and for a second there I thought that she was going to hit me!
“Zoheb is love too ” , she smiled
“Nope…” , I said as I began writing a D under his name…”Zoheb is Destiny ”
We stood in silence for a second, letting the idea of it sink in, and since she was still daydreaming, I started drawing a heart around their names, when she stopped me.
“Love and Destiny are nothing without Life ” , she said and kicked my stick out of the way. And then she drew a heart around our names, all 3 of them.
“Rizaaaaa” , Aara shouted to Riza, who wasn’t too far away from us ,”I think I found a name for your journal bro! ”
Riza, who by now was all ears, quickly made his way with Laeeka towards us
“Why does my journal need a name? ” , he asked and I wanted to laugh because the same question was on my mind too
“Because you can’t just call it journal! Just like how you’re a boy but we don’t call you Boy, you have a name ” ,she sighed
“Okay okay…so what is it? ”
“Life Love Destiny! ” , Aara said happily
“LLD…I like it ” , Riza said, with a smile that gradually built up on his face as the words began to fit the pieces of a puzzle that he had been making in his mind…
Aara beamed happily..almost as though she had discovered platinum on the beach!
It was strange how just a single smile of hers would make everything disappear. And I knew that I would have to learn to deal with it, she was a married woman now. And she wasn’t married to me. I would have to learn to accept and adapt, it was as simple and painful as that.
My eyes fell upon her words once more, while she laughed with Maariah, as they too joined us…
Life Love Destiny.
Separate words, separate meanings. As separate as all of us are individually..
Separated, they don’t carry as much weight…
Together, they become an electric fusion of celebration.