CHAPTER 6 (continued)

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


CHAPTER 6 (Continued)

Sometimes the people who you think are entirely perfect, usually end up to be the ones with many faults – Unknown

The guests were scheduled to arrive at two o’clock this afternoon. Sameera and her family were here since before lunch, and thankfully began on the preparations for the party. Of course, my mother in law arrived early to “Check the house out” as she said, but really she needed to ensure that it was up to her standards of living. “Keep an eye on the children” she told my father – in law, “You can see the house later”, when Yusuf offered them a private tour of the house. Yusuf’s father loves his grandchildren dearly,  so he was happy to seek out Jameela and Bilal for a game or two.

My father in law, a successful businessman, lives the good life without actually having to work. As I understand it, he spent most of his adulthood building up a clothing legacy that and had invested his money wisely. He has property all around  the country that earns him a passive income. He thinks of himself as retired while raking in a  president’s  income annually, much to the delight of my mother in law. As I watch her eagily leave for her private tour of the house, I wonder how long her list of disapprovals will be. My eyes wander back to my father in law, who has jumped up and is now chasing Jameela in a serious game of tag. Bilal not to be left out tries to rugby tackle his Dadda, clearly not understanding the game. Dadda allows himself to be tackled by my three year old son, and Bilal excitedly screams, “Got you Dadda” , as he clings to his grandfathers pants. I laugh as Jameela joins them, furious that she is no longer being chased. Any one who can get along with children, has to have a good heart, I think. Yusuf  is just like his father I think appreciatively. Not only does he look like his father but he also possesses his fathers gentle nature and magnetic personality. It was my father in law who, when I first became part of the family, did everything to make me feel welcome while his wife did the opposite.

At twenty years of age I was naïve to think that the fairy tale ends at happily ever after. Of course I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have married Yusuf. Was it possible to love someone so much, it hurts? Is it possible to have your girlish fantasies of  love and romance actually turn out to be true? Well for the most part-yes, But no one writes about Cinderella’s mother in law. In all the fairy tales I have read there was no way to predict how the Queen would react to her royal son marrying the daughter of a poor peasant? And that’s pretty much what happened.

My thoughts are disturbed by the doorbell. Oh, Yes I think. The party. Not that I could forget, but a moment to myself after all the hectic preparations and my thoughts are racing faster than Sameera at an end of season sale. I graciously pack my thoughts of my mother in law back in my minds shelf of things-I-tolerate-for-my-husband together with English premier league soccer and fishing.

My brother was the first to arrive. Waseem with his wife Shaheeda closely followed by their two young sons and Anna, their live-in nanny who carries in their new six month old baby. Shaheeda is a stunning woman, my brother clearly has taste. She is dressed to impress in a white sleeveless t-shirt under a gold shimmer sheer button up shirt, belted at the waist in a sequin belt. Her white skinny jeans cling to her like a second skin, making it unbelievable that she just had a baby, and have two other children under 5 years. No other new mother would be brave enough to wear white to a kids party, but not our Shaheeda. Her outfit is accentuated with a nude stiletto heel and Gucci bag to match.

“Assalamu alaikum”, Shaheeda beams at me taking in the house almost at once. She kisses the air on either side of my cheeks and says, “Wow you really did a good job here , Barbie, I can’t wait to see the rest of it”. Barbie is the Indian word for sister in law, and I thought it strange that she chose to call me that since the Indian in her is almost like a split personality pushed out into her unconscious.

“Thank you”, I reply. “Yusuf will show you all around later” I smile. “Oooh” I gush when the nanny walks to me to show off the baby as she has obviously been instructed to do. Baby Nasreen is a bundle of frills and bows, dressed in pink and white. Shaheeda is clearly glad to be third time lucky with a daughter. “Masha Allah, Shaheeda she is gorgeous”, I say and I can’t mistake those hazel grey eyes and thin nose, which belong to my brother. I look up at Anna and smile at her. Shaheeda catches my gesture and says “ a nanny is a wonderful thing Barbie, I can’t leave home without her” and she too flashes a genuine warm smile to Anna. My inner chachima raises her eyebrows at this.

Waseem greets me warmly with a kiss on my forehead. “How are you Hasina?” his voice full of brotherly concern. I smile at him a full happy smile. “Alhamdulillah”, is my reply, and he looks at me, scanning my face for something. Jus as if he has found what he is looking for he says, “We all have to carry on, but remember I’m your brother and whenever you need me I’m just a phone call away”, he squeezes my hand gently, then changing his tone drastically and continues, “So when Yusuf called to invite us, I couldn’t wait to come and see what my sister has been up to” he finishes high with a wink to Yusuf. “Where is my niece and nephew?” he says now as he heads in the house with Shaheeda, in search of my children.

Still standing at the front door, I turn to follow the sound of a low rumble outside. I watch as a silver grey Aston Martin pulls up and parks in the last spot in our driveway. Yusuf flashes me a raised eyebrow followed by shrugged shoulders. The windows of the sexy sports car are tinted so although I look really hard, I cant tell who is driving it. The car idles for a few seconds then switches off. My other brother Suhail, in a white cargo pants and black T shirt, steps out of the flashy sports car. Without even a look in our direction, he walks around the car to open the passenger side door. A young woman steps out. I hope silently that it is Rahima, a pleasant girl he introduced me to a few months ago, although the chances of that is slim, since I have seen him with a different girl at each family function we attended together this year. From what I remember the pickings have slowly deteriorated. He had introduced each of them as his friend but we knew better. As the two of them walk towards us I searched my memory and came up short. Nope – I think with some disappointment– this one is new. Why can’t he stay in a relationship? He is thirty two years old and should be settling down. I push the thought aside and plaster on a smile, just as they climb the steps to the front entrance to meet Yusuf and I.

“Hey pops” he says to me as he kisses my right cheek, and gives me a quick squeeze. His happy genuine greeting turns my false, forced smile genuine. “Salaam, Suhail” I greet, “I’m so happy you came, what have you been up to?” I ask looking at the girl next to him. He smiles guiltily taking the hint and replies neutrally , “Agh, this and that”. He then turns to what looks like a teenage girl dressed as a walking advertisement for designer labels, and introduces his ‘friend’ Ilhaam. She greets me, kissing the air next to my cheeks, like Shaheeda did, but she misses by a deliberate mile. Suhail then turns to greet Yusuf, this time with salaam and both hands. He has always treated Yusuf with such respect, I think warmly. “DB9?” Yusuf asks him, inquiring about his car, and Suhail confirms proudly. Yusuf is clearly impressed, and looking at Ilhaam, so is she. “Waseem is by the pool” I say to him gesturing the easiest route and watch them walk into the house. “we will join you later” I say as I watch Suhail allow Ilhaam to lead him guiding her with his hand on her back. As Yusuf and I walk to the kitchen to check on the party preparations my skepticism about my brothers relationships return with a vengeance. Yusuf shakes his head and laughs softly. “It’s not funny” I scold him sternly, “She must be like 12 years old” I say now sarcastically. “you better have a chat with him” I instruct Yusuf. “Waseem can speak to him.” he responds.

“You know he won’t listen to Waseem”.

I just manage to convince Yusuf to have a heart-to-heart with Suhail, when the doorbell rings again. With all the family here, and most of the neighbours, I wonder who else it could be.

I had left Yusuf in charge of the invitations, and by the looks of it, I think he may have invited everyone within a five kilometer radius. After the doorbell stops ringing like crazy, I am able to go and mingle with the guests by the pool.



guests at the party


suhails car



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