Picture a castle, standing alone and strong in the middle of a lush green field.
Picture flowers growing all around, the sun out and not a cloud in sight.
This was the venue of Uzair and Aishah’s wedding, or what they liked to call their ‘Garden Reception.’
Either way, it was a beautiful day and we were all spending it at a beautiful place!
Zaheer, Zayaan Fathima and I arrived together, deciding that we would car pool instead of trekking to the castle alone. We weren’t car pooling for any economical or social reason. It was the fear factor that we would get lost travelling to this land far far away!
Trust Uzair’s mother to find a venue that was an hours drive from home…
We got off the car and a gush of wind greeted us. Fathima and I held onto our dresses making sure they wouldn’t fly up our legs.
Dressed in a flowing summery peach dress was Fathima who was carrying an equally peach Hafsa.
Yasmeen: Cute, you’re wearing matchy matchy!
Fathima: You would not believe how she insisted to wear the same colour as me. I bought her such a pretty white dress but no. Madame has to wear the same as her mother. She’s so young yet so bossy.
Yasmeen: Not bossy, sassy! Like her mother.
Hafsa looked every inch of a Princess, donning a mini crown on her head while prancing around in silver shiny ballet flats.
Yasmeen: I love her shoes! They are adorable.
Fathima: Zayaan bought them for her.
I was shocked!
Yasmeen: Seriously?! He has good taste. Who knew…
We made our way onto the lawn. There before our eyes was a massive white canopy tent. Underneath it were tables and couches and chairs and bean bags!
Fathima: Wow… this is-
Yasmeen: Breath taking!
It wasn’t just the tent that was done up really nicely. It was everything! It was the tent, and the castle in the background, and the glorious summer weather we were blessed with.
Yasmeen: Aren’t I glad for wearing flats!
Fathima: Thank god, otherwise your heels would have been sinking into the grass. And heels wouldn’t have been the most ideal footwear for a pregnant woman!
I rolled my eyes.
Yes, I was 20 weeks pregnant and my baby bump was hidden beneath a flowing lilac dress. Ever since my pregnancy started, lilac seemed to be the colour that caught my eye!
It was an Alexander McQueen dress that jumped out at me begging me to buy it a few months ago in London. The cut was loose and I knew that it would be the perfect dress to wear for Uzair and Aishah’s reception.
Fathima, Hafsa and I took our seats where our name cards were placed.
I noticed that it was on the same table that Aisha’s mother and her sister were to be seated at.
Fathima: Mrs Lilac! Is there anything you have worn in the past week that isn’t lilac?!
Yasmeen: Well yes! I wore black a few days ago…
Fathima: Your jeans were black! You wore it with a lilac top!
Yasmeen: Oh whatever! I’m enjoying my lilac phase, leave me be.
She shook her head and laughed.
Fathima: I must say the dress looks really nice worn.
Yasmeen: Why thank you! You know, a lot of people say being pregnant makes you bossy and moody. But I feel like I’m floating on cloud nine.
Fathima: That’s because you’re normally bossy and moody so it had the reverse effect on you
Zaheer: Tsk tsk tsk, insulting a pregnant woman. You should be ashamed of your self!
Zayaan and Zaheer appeared behind us and we chatted a while longer with them before they went to the mens side of the tent, Hafsa deciding to go sit with her father. Fathima and I took this opportunity to do a round of the place.
Aunty Salma had out done her self!
Every detail you could think of in terms of food and decor, was covered!
Just looking at the dessert table, my mouth was watering and I knew that I’d be eating double desserts, for my baby and I.
Fathima and I were in awe and we weren’t surprised to see live cooking stations. The reception hadn’t even begun and they had chefs making bite size starters for the guests.
Yasmeen: Mmm… I officially love Aunty Salma! These starters are to die for!
I’d already downed three mini chicken tikka starters and I was onto my fourth.
Fathima: Right, thats enough for you missy! I’m cutting you off. No more chicken tikka for you! Now lets go look for Nuha.
And so we walked a little while longer before we found Nuha and Omar fussing around with Rayaan’s pram.
Yasmeen: Someones having pram trouble I see?
Nuha: Can’t even make salaam nor offer to help us!
I laughed aloud.
Yasmeen: Hey, I’m the pregnant lady here! You should be asking me if you can rub my feet or get me anything.
Nuha: Yeah, that isn’t going to happen Yass. Fathima please help with this pram!
Omar: You ladies can figure this out. I’m taking my son to play over there.
And he walked off with Rayaan in his arms towards the children’s entertainment section where a clown and jumping castle awaited.
Yes they had a jumping castle!
Fathima: So what seems to be the problem?
Nuha: I can’t get this to close!
Yasmeen: Remind me again, how long have you been a mother for?
Nuha: Oh shush you. This pram is new! His grandparents bought it for him and this is the first time I’m using it and its too fancy for me.
Fathima: Oh wow! Something is too fancy for Nuha?! Who knew this day would come!
Nuha: You guys are being really unsupportive and unhelpful right now.
Yasmeen: Fine fine… Fathima help her!
And with that I turned on my heel and walked away before they could shout me for not helping.
I went off in search of Aunty Salma to ask her if I could do anything.
Aunty Salma: No sweetie, you just sit tight. You’ve got a baby coming along so you just enjoy the day my darling!
Yasmeen: You’re too sweet. Is everything set for today? No hiccups?
Aunty Salma: Well I think the bride and groom are running a bit late-
Aunty Salma: And I see Aishah’s family walking in. Come, lets go greet them.
And so I accompanied Aunty Salma to greet Aishah’s family. Some had come from abroad to attend this spectacular reception.
It just so happened that this was the time my parents arrived with Armaan.
Mummy: Oh so you’re part of the welcoming party now hey?
Yasmeen: I was greeting the bride’s family. Have to show my hospitable side!
My mother hugged me and looked around, taking in the venue.
Mummy: This place is, breath taking! Salma you did a fantastic job!
Aunty Salma: Oh it wasn’t just me…
And she dived into the topic of who helped her with what, and what wedding planner she recruited and which caterers were here.
The list goes on and on.
I greeted my father and brother before making my way back to my table.
My feet were starting to ache.
I will admit, in the past month I was getting tired really quickly, and standing around didn’t help with that.
I was soon joined on the table by Fathima and Nuha. By now, Aishah’s mother, sister and a lady who I learned was her grandmother, were also seated.
Everyone awaited the arrival of the bride and groom.
And then they walked in, hand in hand, smiling.
Aishah was dressed in a beautiful white lace dress while Uzair donned a white blazer.
This was no ordinary wedding reception. There was no stage and there was no couch on a stage where the couple would normally sit.
Instead Uzair deposited Aishah at a table where her closest friends were seated while he went to the men’s side of the tent to sit.
Everyone gushed over the radiant glow on Aishah’s face and the stunning lace work on her dress as we ate lunch.
Lunch soon turned into dessert, and dessert into tea and the whole time we all talked about the bride and groom, about the venue and about my growing baby bump.
‘So when are you due?’
‘Are you going to find out if its a girl or a boy?’
‘So you’re having the baby in London?’
Question after question was hurled at me and I finally had a sense of what Nuha and Fathima went though when they were pregnant. Only I was lucky because I’d only have to endure this for a week before I went back to London. They endured it for months!
The bride and groom walked around socialising with guests while everyone had dessert and tea.
Yasmeen: Aishah! Get over here you beautiful bride!
Aishah: You do know I was a bride 5 months ago?
Yasmeen: Yes, well now you’re the total image of a bride! Your dress is beautiful, this day is beautiful, I’m just so happy!
Aishah: I see that. The mother to be is really excited and happy. Its good to see you being nice for once.
Yasmeen: Ha ha, funny!
Aishah: I love you really.
Yasmeen: Sure you do. So hows married life treating you?
Aishah: Is it weird that I’m still in the honeymoon phase?
Yasmeen: Not weird at all. I’ve been married for nearly 2 years and I’m still honeymooning with Zaheer.
Zaheer: Did someone say my name?
Zaheer appeared and pulled up a chair next to mine before he started talking to my belly.
Aishah looked at the sight in front of her and was shocked.
Aishah: Wow…. I am speechless!
Yasmeen: Oh this? This is normal. He talks to my belly all the time.
Aishah: Wow… I’m still speechless!
Zaheer: You’re interrupting my baby talk time.
Aishah: Sorry, sorry. I’ll leave you to your ‘baby talk time.’ I’ll see you later Yas.
She bent down, hugged me and walked away into the sea of people to carry on greeting and meeting.
I turned to Zaheer and raised an eyebrow.
Zaheer: Why are you looking at me like that?
Yasmeen: Is it necessary for you to publically speak to my stomach?
Zaheer: I was missing my baby boy. I had to come and say hello.
Yasmeen: For the last time Zaheer Mohamed, you dont know if its a boy! And I refuse to find out early!
Zaheer: For the last time Yasmeen Mohamed, it would make our lives so much easier if we knew!
I sighed and rubbed my temples.
Yasmeen: I like surprises and I want to be surprised. End of story.
And we left the conversation like that. Sure he was a pain, but I knew he was going to be the world’s greatest father! My unborn baby was getting a LOT of attention being inside me, imagine how much more love and care it would get once it came out into the world!
As the reception was coming to an end and as people were getting ready to leave, Uzair and Aishah made their way to the front of the hall with a mic in hand.
Well this was unconventional.
Aishah greeted everyone before saying a few words.
Aishah: I just wanted to thank everyone for being here today. To all my family who have travelled so far, this day would not have been as joyous without you. To the Bobat family, thank you for welcoming me into your homes with open arms.The transition to Durban was a lot easier because of you. I’d like to thank the guests that travelled from abroad, Yasmeen and Zaheer in particular. I would not have been standing here today if it wasn’t for you guys. And finally, I’d like to thank my husband, for believing in me and loving me, flaws and all.
And there was an eruption of applause.
Uzair hugged Aishah and in that moment I swear every heart in that tent swooned.
Everyone could feel the pure love Aishah and Uzair had between them.
And to feel someone else’s love was by far the most magical moment I had ever experienced.
Zaheer and Yasmeen continued to live in London for another 5 years. Yasmeen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital. She was the apple of her father’s eye and she was her mother’s little princess. They named her Aziza, precious, for she was precious to them.
Fathima and Zayaan had another girl 4 years after Hafsa. Zayaan got promoted and moved to Cape Town with his family. So after spending all her life in Durban, Fathima had the chance at a new life in a new city.
Nuha and Omar moved to the countryside when Omar’s father could no longer take care of the farm they owned. Rayaan grew and soon became the older brother of his sister Radhia. Nuha adapted to the countryside and began to love it, to the extent that she didn’t want to move back home anymore.
Uzair and Aishah never moved out of Durban for that was where Uzair’s home would always be. Aishah adapted to the life there. 5 years into their marriage, Aishah gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. The boy was named Mohammed and the girl Yasmeen.
Yasmeen’s parents, after spending 10 years in Dubai, moved back to Durban retiring to the life of family and friends.
Armaan studied medicine in Dubai and became a doctor. Inspired by Uzair, he too set off on an adventure to help others in destitute areas.
And Tariq, after many years and much pestering, married a Brazilian muslim girl. The wedding was grand. Yasmeen and Zaheer were in attendance with Aziza. Tariq had become like an uncle to Aziza, spoiling her with gifts and love while in London.
Though her life was full circle as Yasmeen ended up back in Durban, a part of her would always miss living in a foreign country. The excitement that came with living abroad could not be found in her home city. But home is where the heart is, and wherever Zaheer was, that was Yasmeen’s home…
Or good afternoon considering there’s still light outside..
That marks the end of DOAD (again). I hope all loose ends are tied up. Special thanks to all my ‘fangirls’ out there that babble on about the blog and give me their commentary and opinions.
This was really fun, but all fun things must come to an end, and my summer has come to an end and now its time to return back to life.
So, to the people that read Finding solace, I’l chat to ya soon…
And to the readers that don’t, its been good writing for you guys again!
Shoutout to Aaliya who doesn’t believe I’m the writer of DOAD…
TA-DA! I am.
Anyway, yeah, have a good week/month/year ahead!
Much Love, Tasmiyah x