As narrated by Nemo:
In the waiting lounge at the airport:
Pronounced from the epiglottis;-p
I was almost numb with shock! We were in one of the waiting lounges at the airport, to fetch Riza and Laeeka’s parents. We, being Aara, Zoheb and I. And Aara was cooing over Facetime with Immy and Mari’s son! Cooing is one thing, she was doing it loudly and people were staring!
“Where’s foi’s baby…where’s fois babaloo?”, she laughed as she covered her eyes
Babaloo?? Oh Lord!!!
‘How do you deal????”, I whispered to Zoheb
“It’s cute”, he grinned
“Dude, it’s embarrassing! ‘”, I said honestly, “What the heck is babaloo??”
Zoheb strangely found me being mortified, highly amusing!
“You’re supposed to be khala not foi! ” , Maariah laughed on the other side of the screen and I breathed a sigh of relief. The baby talk was over!
“I will always be foi to my darling little Uthmaan ” Aara beamed
And my irritation over the whole baby talk had vanished. Foi, obviously meant that she considered Immy to be her brother. Immy, who had no family, had a mad sister!
“She’s just jealous A ” , Immy laughed and then started talking to me. It was so good catching up. I was grinning to myself, thinking about how Immy had wound up being a part of our group when I noticed Mari getting up to open the door…For Arshoo and Zainab and their little…errr not so little fat kid!
“Do you feed the lighty growing mesh bru!” , I laughed, unable to resist
“Hey he’s a little jumbo this one!” , Arshad winked as he came closer
“Don’t call my son a jumbo how many times must I tell you baby???” …I heard Zainab say in typical Zainab style
Aara smacked the back of my head lightly and stuck her face in front of the screen
“Adnaaaanoooooooo….my doublu pabloo!!!”
Oh Good God!
I covered the side of my face with my hand and pretended not to know her. And Zoheb was beside himself with laughter!
“Look at Nemo Mamajee ” , Zainab said chirpily
And my eyes widened to the point where I thought that they would pop out of their sockets!
“Ay ay ay please don’t…Uncle Naeem is just fine ”
“Oh is it? ” , Zainab grinned
“Yes it is Mrs. Kazee….you look the same ”
“I shall take that as a compliment ” , Zainab smiled, ” your beard suits you but just trim the sides more evenly and maybe use some conditioner ”
I rolled my eyes dramatically at her, which made her pull Arshad in front of the screen and ended up giving me a detailed lecture about how conditioning works for Arshad.
Now I knew what Laeeka meant when she said that Zainab controls Arshad robotically! Not that I was surprised.
I chatted to Zainab and Arshad a little longer and little doublu also…and it wasn’t so bad. Lol…shoot me but I can’t handle kids for longer than five minutes and even THAT was too long.
I closed my eyes and allowed myself to doze off for a bit…until my phone rang
“Hello Naeembhai how are you? ” , a rather loud male voice said on the other side of the line
“Well and you? ” ,I asked, not knowing who it was
“Very well…I wanted to know when could we set up a meeting? ”
“Meeting for? ”
“Meeting for marriage ”
And I immediately sat up straight
“Huh??…I think you have the wrong Naeem ”
“Is this not Naeembhai Moollawala? ”
I looked at Aara, who was grinning at her phone and tapping away. And then at Zoheb…no…He wouldn’t do anything stupid…
“Nothing ” , I answered
Half an hour later, another call .and they also asked for Naeembhai Moollawala!
I cut the call and turned to face her
“What did you do?”
“What did I do.. what? “, she asked trying to look innocent
“Naeembhai Moollawala “, I said, raising my eyebrow at her while Zoheb got off his seat after spotting Aunty Maseeha, ” Coincidence?”
“Who is that??” she said without batting an eyelid
“This is the second call that I received today and someone asks for Naeembhai Moollawala…so spill ”
“I didn’t do anything I promise ” , she said quickly
“Liar! ” , I said, making big eyes at her
And she laughed that same infectious, irritating laugh that she would laugh whenever I didn’t get the joke…and it was as though someone had pressed rewind in my head. All those mad times came flooding into my mind…and I laughed, I laughed properly for the first time in years.
Watching me laugh, Aara also started laughing! And we laughed until tears fell out of our eyes and until our tummies hurt.
“That was a bad joke ” , I sighed,catching my breath
“What joke? ”
“Naeembhai Moollawala ”
“I seriously didn’t do anything…so I have no clue what you’re on about “, Aara said, raising both her hands in defense
“Then why did you laugh? ”
“Because you were laughing..and it was funny “, she said, breaking out into another fit of laughter
“Something is wrong with you ”
“I know ” , she said, and woke up to hug Laeeka’s mom, “but it was good seeing you laugh again ”
It did feel good to laugh again. Weird how the cure is in the pain itself…
After the meet and greet continued, a call marathon began on my phone,with many ladies and men calling to arrange a “meeting” and expressing their desire for me to choose their daughter!
“Your phone is a hot line today Naeem ” , Riza’s dad said to me when we got off the car
And then it hit me.
If not Aara, there was only one person who was always up to nonsense.