As narrated by Nemo
They say that all things come to an end. But is it the end, or is it simply a new beginning?
I can go on and on about what we went through and how far we have come.. And it would honestly not be enough.
But today again, like many, many times in the past.. Here we are, together again. For the wedding of my precious baby girl to the son of an idiot. Yep, Arshad is an idiot! Who allows their son to become a sock designer?? Out of all the many things that a person can become in their lives, Adnaan becomes a sock designer!! Is that even a thing anyway?
“You’re wearing socks aren’t you?”, Aara said while looking for God knows what in her closet. She was already dressed but still digging as usual. And yes, I realized that I had been voicing my thoughts aloud all this while.
“I wear underwear too”, I replied and mentally rolled my eyes, “but I don’t design it”
“Nemo we’ve been through this already!”, she sighed, both her hands on her hips as she blew a strand of hair from her face.
Irritation aside, even at 48, my wife looked absolutely gorgeous. And I momentarily forgot what I was thinking about…
“He gave me a sock kuncha!”, I protested in vain
“You gave him a pair of shorts with dhall drizzled in it”, she said, raising her eyebrow at me
I laughed aloud. “I’ve actually always wanted to do that!”
“You and Riza both”, she grinned, “one would never say that you’re almost 50”
“Age is nothing but a number”, I smirked as I wrapped my arms around her.
“And arthritis is nothing but a dream”, she laughed
I could never win.
I closed my eyes and sighed into her hair. I would have to suck it up, she was right, Adnaan, even though he was a sock designer, was a great guy. In fact, he was the best from the lot of them. I would have pulled my teeth out one by one if Hana were marrying Riza’s Yayha with his long hair and reckless behavior or Isa, who was too slow for my liking. I wonder how Immy’s Humayra put up with him. Another great guy was Uthmaan who was just like Immy, and I was happier than him when he proposed to Sahal’s daughter.
All in all, we had much to be grateful for. I was happy that my daughter was going to a good home even though Zainab was going to be her mother in law….
It was a small, intimate affair with just close friends and family invited. There was no stage or much pomp and show. It was a happy day, but inside me somewhere, there was a sadness that would probably never go away. I guess that’s how all parents of daughters felt eventually…
As narrated by Laeeka
Three sons, and not one in sight. There was only one place that all three of them would be right now and as much as I hated to intrude, I needed atleast one of them to help me offload the boot. And so I quickly made my way to the back of Aara’s house where loud cheering could be heard.
“Noooooo come on come on”
“Kick it already!!”
“Nay man uhuh bra uhuh bra you have to score!!!”
“Come on come on!!!!”
I watched all of them glued to Yayha’s iPad cheering like barbarians, at the last few minutes of the last game of the season. And I knew that somewhere around the house Riza, Arshad, Nemo and Immy were doing exactly that too.
And now looking at this bunch, was like looking at a bunch of mini thems. My handsome Yahya, tall and lanky, His unruly hair tied in a man bun, a piercing on his left ear, my adorable Isa who was the epitome of innocence and humbleness and it radiated in the way in which he looked and carried himself. My rascal AbdurRahman with his dimpled cheek and equally unruly hair like his big brother. Immy’s Uthmaan who just like his father was tall and handsome, and Yusuf who resembled Maariah so much with his light brown hair and ever so charming smile. Adnaan our once upon a time little motu, was now tall, lean and dashing, Abu Bakr who was a carbon copy of Arshad, and I laughed as I thought about just how much he behaved like him too! And of course, our miracle baby Sa’ad who fought against all odds to survive after Aara’s fall when she was expecting him, was always behind all the big boys.
“But you forgot about me”, he said, catching me red handed, sneaking up on them.
“Anddddd gooooaaaaaaallllllllllll”!!!!!! “all of them cheered in unison, giving me a mini headache.
I turned around and smiled.
” You forgot about us”, I laughed as I playfully hit him on his head, “you keep promising to come and visit us and you never do”
“Because his heart was in the eastern cape all along Mama”, Isa teased
And Akbar blushed profusely, confirming what Isa had blurted out.
Akbar studied for a short while in Jhb before he decided that it wasn’t for him and he headed back home. What a nice boy he was. He befriended my boys while on campus and they had remained friends ever since. He was a part of our family for a good few years now and Adnaan and him got along so well that there was no question about him not being at the wedding.
And that reminded me of the reason I was here in the first place!
“Get off your butts now guys I need help with all the kunchas and stuff from the boot”
“Yess boss”, they laughed, almost in unison as they either hugged or kissed me one by one before making their way to help.
As narrated by Zainab
Watching Hana smile at the girls while they helped with her hair and makeup made me think of Zoheb so much. She had his set of dimples and his infectious laugh. I was so grateful that she would now be a part of my family and I thought back to when Zoheb “adopted” Laeeka and I as his sisters. The fact that all of us lived on more than 20 years after he passed away was always a reminder to me of how life could just change in an instant. Today, his daughter was getting married. A daughter whose words he had never gotten the opportunity to hear, a daughter who grew up so quickly.
Hana hugged Maaherah tightly as she fixed a beautiful brooch on her dress. She was crazy about her and as was Maaherah. Who would have thought…
Humayrah and Faatimah busied themselves with something or the other as usual, like their mother, they could never sit still and Yusra… Lol… Yusra was just too influenced by her guy cousins, for with a beautiful dress she wore takkies, apparently she had no interest in hurting her feet to look good and takkies were more practical. Her tomboyish style according to Nemo meant that she would terrorize any guy who came near her. He clearly forgot that she was just 14 years old.
I made my way out of the room towards the kitchen where Maariah placed the finishing touches on her delicious desserts and Aara pinched from it as usual. Aunty Salma, Nemo’s mummy and Zohebs mummy were out on the lawn welcoming the guests who started to come in and by now I’m pretty sure that Riza was handing Nemo his 5th or 6th Grandpa.
We would be missing a few people today.. Uncle A. K who passed away last year and Zohebs father who was unable to travel. Their duas would always be with us though.
As narrated by Riza
“We’re like me memons you know”, Arshad grinned
“Huh?”, was all that came out of my mouth
“Keeping it in the family boss”, he laughed, “Immy’s son is marrying Sahals daughter, your Isa married Immy’s daughter, my Adnaan is marrying Nemos daughter so who’s next!”
“Put a sock in it will you, like literally!”, Nemo chided, “heck you’ll even get it for free”
“You always have a problem”, Arshad stated, but not without an exaggerated eye roll
Nemo was flustered. Maybe it wasn’t the wedding, maybe it was menopause? I didn’t know if men suffered from that though.. Note to self, find out!
“Just relax please, it’s going to be okay”, I reassured him. “Adnaan is going to be a good husband and a good son in law”
Nemo nodded. “I know that he is, these milestones are just very overwhelming”
I looked at my friend, as he pondered to himself. Streaks of grey hair littered his hair and beard, as was the same with all of us. Yes we have certainly matured over the years but a part of me still feels 23 when we’re all together. Age is after all how you allow yourself to feel… There was never more truth to that statement than now.
Our youth, our marriages, our losses, our children, their marriages, careers and life paths. We have been much stricter with them than our parents were with us and I know that I sound like my father here when I say this, but times were different then. Its not that we didn’t trust our children but that’s what kids do to you and that is what being a parent does to you. You are always primarily concerned about them only and yourself last. So I understood how Nemo felt, even though I had no daughters of my own. But Hana was just extra special to all of us. Aara, Zoheb and Nemo were very close to our hearts so naturally their daughter would be too. And more so because of their story. Our story.
As narrated by Aara
As always, you know that I have to have the final say! Its been a long journey and you have been with me every single word of the way, with every single tear and every single laugh and so this is very appropriate.
When our story began, none of us imagined what would happen next. As it is with life. We have probably had a much more eventful life with lots of adventure, drama and heartbreak. I fell in love with my best friend when I didn’t know exactly what love was. All I knew was that it was a feeling that I had never experienced before and I was hooked. Loving Nemo came naturally to me, after all, he was with me in my life from the age of 6. When our lives took on a new phase, no longer being in the same class and same space, I fought against time, lectures, assignments to be close to him. But Nemo was on his own beat and while he had never forgotten about me completely, I was no longer the central point of his life. I had made a new set of friends, friends who are with us as family to this day. A friend in particular, who would surpass all expectations that I would have from my own blood brother. A friend who stood by me, helped me grow as a person, who taught me many life lessons, a friend who is a blessing, Riza.
Riza came into my life when campus was brand new to all of us. And with him he brought along his heartbeat and my BFF, Laeeka. I had never met a girl before who was so utterly selfless and simple with the most beautiful heart and soul. Laeeka had brought along with her Maariah and Zainab who also carved their places in my heart. Maariah and I have had our differences, and the common factor was Nemo. I can’t entirely blame her, we were far too young and far too dumb to put it mildly.
My life was very sheltered, my parents were always there, always taking care of me, and when Nemo started going downhill, it was a rude shock to my orderly world. It took me to places that I wouldn’t have been to in all of my senses, in all of my wildest dreams. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. I had never known the resilience that I was capable of, I had never seen human dedication the way I had seen from Arshad and Riza, I had never known the pain of sacrifice, as I burnt all of my feelings for Nemo to be what he needed to heal, to live.. A friend, a friend only.
It was a very strange and trying time and when Nemo started getting better, I immersed myself into my work. I loved my job passionately as not only was it an escape, but also a release. It made me independent, it made me stronger. But we are human, and as much as I had my friends, I also had a great emptiness in my soul, one that I had brought upon my self entirely . And that’s when Zoheb happened.
A breath of fresh air, a golden ray of sunlight, like rain on a summers day and like snowflakes falling on your palm, how easily did I find myself balancing on his shoes, how easily did I lose myself in his dimpled smile and for the first time in my life ,I was experiencing that incredible feeling of being completely free. Zoheb was my whole world. He had changed my life and gave me so much of love, so much of himself. He truly was a gift from The Almighty.
I lost a great part of me when I lost him. But I gained so much too. Albeit late, but a dream of his fulfilled. We have a fantastic relationship with his family, something that he never had and even this didn’t come easily.
There will always be a hole in my heart, there will always be something missing, because some people are like that and I suppose that it stays like that so that we can remember their reason in our lives, always.
Never in a million years did I ever imagine getting married again. But I did, and I don’t regret it for a second. I married a different Nemo and he is a wonderful husband and an even better father. He has a beautiful relationship not just with our families but with Zohebs family too, and he is always talking about him, keeping his memories alive in the kids hearts especially. For a man like him, for the man who he has become, the respect that I have, has no bounds. Our love for each other grew out of each other’s pain, and it is still growing with every passing day.
It’s funny how we think that we are always right about everything. As young adults we were just “the bomb” but as parents, we’re probably worse than our parents. I will, thank you very much, blame Bollywood for my over dramatism and overly unrealistic expectations. Somewhere down the line, somewhere deep inside, while getting lost in their version of literally everything, we end up expecting the same in our lives. And then we end up getting disappointed. It is true. But at the same time it’s also true that we can use our own brains.
We haven’t allowed our children to indulge in this kind of fanaticism. Whether it is because we know, or that we know that we were smarter-that’s just being a parent for you.
We are just absolutely grateful that Allah Ta’ala guided us and helped us become better, there is still a long way to go and we will never be perfect. But we are given the knowledge and the strength to always try.
We’re almost 50.
I’m not sure how this is supposed to feel because I’ve never been obsessed with age but 50 is a long time and I’m grateful for that.
Anyway I have a wedding to get to, and it is one that I am looking forward to with my whole heart.
You would have been so proud of her, Zoheb. So, so proud. She has the best of us three imbibed in her. And I hope and pray that she has the best life ahead of her too.
Life is so short, life is so beautiful. Don’t waste it on things that you will live to regret, turn regret into hope, turn sadness into love, turn to Allah Ta’ala and you will never ever be sorry.
Thank you for your company on our journey. It has without a doubt, been absolutely epic! If we have left you with anything at all, I hope that it is with positivity, love and only good.