I was all for this desert safari. I was even excited. But I can’t tell you how hot it was. And to be in the desert in the scorching heat under the sizzling sun made me wish we were back in London’s grim weather.
Yasmeen: I don’t know what to wear!
Yasmeen: Well aren’t you super helpful?
Zaheer: Yasoo, wear anything.
Yasmeen: Zaheeroo, please go eat breakfast downstairs. You’re not helping me.
He laughed, kissed my forehead and opened the room door.
Zaheer: Don’t be too long. Breakfast ends soon.
Once he left I huffed and fell onto my bed that was covered in clothes.
The dilemma was that as much as I loved wearing black, it would absorb the heat and I wanted to stay cool today.
On top of that, jeans always made me feel clammy, but I couldn’t wear a skirt or dress. That would be impractical!
Here I was complaining like I had first world problems when I really didn’t. Sometimes I really thought I needed to look at life through the eyes of selfless person, someone like Uzair for example!
Deciding that I had made a mountain out of a mole hill, I stressed less about what I wore and settled for beige cotton pants with a white lace blouse. I don’t think I looked particularly Arab for this desert safari so I wore an Arabian styled scarf to bring a touch of Arabia!
All the friends of the bride and groom were set to meet at the hotel Ismaeel and Camilla were staying at. Many of the faces were familiar to me but majority of them were foreign. I figured they were Camilla’s cousins whom I’d never met along with Ismaeel’s friends.
Zaheer and I found our group of Bobats and stuck with them, waiting for the safari cars to arrive. Once they did we were seated in groups of 6.
Fathima: We’re only 5 people.
Car Driver: You’ll have to find one more person.
I saw Ashley standing outside the car and ushered her over.
Yasmeen: Mind jumping in with us? We need one more person.
Ashley: Err, sure. Where do I sit?
I looked around. Zayaan had taken the passenger seat leaving Fathima to sit with Zaheer and I in the middle three seats. That meant Ashley could sit on the two seater in the back with Uzair.
Yasmeen: Do you mind sitting with Uzair?
Ashley: Not a problem.
I rubbed my hands together in silent glee! Fathima noticed and shot me an ‘are you crazy’ look.
The cars set off towards the desert. The ride didn’t feel long and that was all because of the company we had.
Zayaan kept the banter going with Zaheer giving his two sense every so often. Fathima and I were there laughing hysterically but the voices you couldn’t hear were Uzair’s and Ashley’s.
And when I turned around I realized we couldn’t hear their voices because they were deep in conversation talking to each other.
I quickly shifted my body so that I was facing front, not wanting to pry.
I couldn’t even strain my ears to hear what they were saying because, come on, spying is frowned upon in Islam.
So I whispered in Zaheer’s ear.
Yasmeen: Distract me.
Zaheer: From what?
Yasmeen: The two behind me. I’m trying so hard to NOT hear what they’re saying so I need you to distract me.
Zaheer: This is dumb.
Yasmeen: Distract me!
Zaheer: Fine, I don’t know if I ever told you but I’m scared of this.
Yasmeen: Of what?
Zaheer: THIS! This desert dune driving.
I looked at him with a confused expression.
Zaheer: When I was maybe twelve years old we went for one of these with my grandparents. And let’s just say the car kind of fell over.
I put my hand over his and put my head on his shoulder.
Zaheer: Never been on a desert safari since because-
Yasmeen: Because you’re a pitchkar?
Zaheer: Im a what?
Yasmeen: A scaredy cat! Whatever happened to facing your fears Zah?
Zaheer: I’m facing it now aren’t I? With you.
I smiled and laughed.
Yasmeen: Well yes, valid point.
Zaheer: Was that distracting enough for you Mrs Mohamed?
Yasmeen: Indeed it was Mr Mohamed, thank you.
Fathima: What are you two whispering about over there?
Zayaan: Has Yasmeen finally admitted she’s pregnant?
Fathima swatted Zayaan from the back and Ashley exclaimed…
Ashley: YOU’RE PREGNANT!? What? I’m not even married and you’re having a kid?
Yasmeen: Nooooo! I’m not! Zayaan is just… Zayaan.
Ashley: You scared me for a second Yaz. But wouldn’t it be cute to have a mini Yasmeen or a Zaheer Junior?
Zayaan: That’s what I keep saying. You two need to hurry up. Hafsa needs company.
Yasmeen: Guys this is so pressurizing.
Uzair: She gets enough beans about this from the old aunties, leave it.
And I saw Ashley turn to look at Uzair as he came to my defense.
The look was one of admiration.
I saw her smile at him before she turned to look out the car window.
I smiled in glee once again while Fathima looked less than impressed.
It was her turn to whisper.
Fathima: You better know what you’re doing. He’s a good guy, he deserves someone amazing.
Yasmeen: Fatz, trust me on this. Ashley has had a bit of a tough run in her life but I genuinely think Uzair is good for her. And Ashley will help Uzair lighten up a little. Uzair is so Uzair!
I accidentally said the last sentence a bit too loud.
Uzair: I heard my name.
Yasmeen: Err.. Umm.. I was just, I was just talking about-
Fathima: About the charity work you do.
Ashley: Charity work?
Uzair: Not really charity work.
Yasmeen: Yes really charity work. He is like mother Theresa.
Uzair: And she is exaggerating.
Ashley: But I’m intrigued now. Please, tell me more.
And Uzair dived into the topic of how he travels around the world and the work he does, although he kept on insisting what he does is nothing.
While Uzair and Ashley were still deep in conversation, we stopped at the start of the sand area momentarily before the dune bashing began.
And boy was it fun!
Even Zaheer enjoyed himself with all the screaming he did.
Once the dune bashing segment of the day was done, we all got off the car at our safari destination, the camp!
There were quad bikes and camel rides and mini stores and henna. Could life get any more Arabian than this?
Camilla and Ismaeel started the fun by taking the quad bikes for a spin before everyone else.
We watched them go up and down hills and my stomach went in knots as I stood next to Zaheer and watched them.
Yasmeen: Want to know a little secret? I’m scared of quad bikes.
His jaw went low and his mouth went into a big O.
Yasmeen: Close your mouth. Flies will go inside.
Zaheer: And you call me a pitchkar?
Yasmeen: Well quad biking is dangerous. People die from it.
He took my hand in his.
Zaheer: Come on drama queen, it’s time to face your fears.
And that was how I ended up sitting behind Zaheer on a quad bike holding onto his waist for dear life!
It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time and when it was over, Zaheer’s face was beaming; it was a rare smile he had only when he was ecstatic.
Yasmeen: This is a total Kodak moment.
Zaheer: What, you on a quad bike?
Yasmeen: No, your smile! It’s my favorite smile of yours.
Zaheer: I have different smiles?
I nodded my head in agreement.
Yasmeen: Aha, you do. Come on now, I want to go on the camel.
After camel rides and quad bikes and lots and lots of pictures, half the group sat down around the belly dance stage while the rest of us went our own way into the desert to gaze at the stars.
Zaheer: So I have a question, when are you actually going to start your Cupid company?
Yasmeen: Have you been paying any attention? It’s already in action!
Zaheer: Where? I don’t see you introducing Uzair to any girl.
Yasmeen: Zaheer, look around; where is Uzair right now?
Zaheer looked around.
Zaheer: Ahhhh, I see him. Ashley and Uzair? Really?
Yasmeen: Yes really.
Zaheer: Well, I see why widow would want them together.
Yasmeen: YOU DO!? Finally! Someone that sees it!
Zaheer: Yeah, I mean I knew Ashley and I knew that she was, still is capable of a lot of love.
Yasmeen: Wow that sounded a little feminine babes.
Zaheer: Don’t babes me babe.
Zayaan: You two speak so loudly and your flanter is making me nauseous.
Good old Zayaan! Always there to ruin the moment!
Ashley and Uzair spoke the entire night. There was not a single moment I could corner Uzair or Ashley to ask how their night was going, until Ashley got up to get herself a bottle of water.
Yasmeen: Uzair… Come here!
Uzair: Bossy, were you ever taught to say please?
Yasmeen: Why does it feel like you’re not even here with us?
Zaheer: Because he’s too busy chatting up the ladies
Uzair: Not ladies. Just one lady.
And his gaze shifted to the direction Ashley had walked away in.
Yasmeen: Tell me all! And don’t even say there’s nothing because I know and I sort of kind of planned it.
Uzair: You planned it? So you intentionally made her come into our car?
Yasmeen: Cupid at your service. I won’t pry, I just want to know what you think of her.
Uzair: She surprised me. In one day I saw her differently.
Yasmeen: Differently how?
Uzair: From the little I remembered about her, which was that she was not the most loyal of friends to you, my opinion changed. Her interest in Islam blew me away. You already know that though, she said she was talking to you about it.
Yasmeen: Yes, that shocked me too, but do you see this going anywhere?
He brushed his hand through his hair and pondered.
Uzair: Yes, I do. I mean, she is SO not a girl I would ever picture myself with. But in one day she opened up to me and I figured her out.
Yasmeen: And what is she?
Uzair: She is one helluva girl. Works too much, I told her that but her witt, her intelligence, her slight sense of shyness makes me think, makes me hope that I could I don’t know-
He trailed off and I looked at Zaheer with wide eyes and a big smile.
I wanted to express my joy at hearing what Uzair had just said, but I remained cool calm and composed.
Yasmeen: Well, we all know you won’t do anything too haram. But I hope if it’s what you want, hopefully it works out.
Uzair: Thanks Yas. I’ll see you’ll later, going to check up on Ashley.
And he walked away leaving Zaheer and I on our own.
I rested my head on Zaheer’s shoulder and sighed.
Yasmeen: Ah, young love.
Zaheer: You make it sound like we’re old.
Yasmeen: Well with all this baby talk I sometimes feel really old.
Zaheer: Don’t listen to everyone else Yas. When we’re ready for a baby, we’ll know.
And he kissed my forehead.
Yasmeen: You’re right. The Mohamed Baby will come when it comes. Right now, we can just enjoy being a pair.
Zaheer: Two peas in a pod? Or is that too lame?
Yasmeen: That was lame! This is why we can’t be parents yet, our kids will say lame stuff like that.
Zaheer: And they’ll have a big mouth like their mother.
Yasmeen: And they’ll be conceited like their father.
Hmm, still so many mixed reactions about Uzair and Ashley but what to do, I’ve made up me mind!
I should warn you, I will be slightly busy for the first week of August so if I don’t post every second day, I apologize in advance.
Enjoy le post.
Much Love, Tasmiyah x