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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Chaalis Saal Pahlay

As a sailor I'd always felt odd about how someone married a girl, took her out of her home and environment where she'd probably been happy, brought her over to his own house, and then left her with his family and sailed away. She was now with a bunch of newly acquired family members - often far away from her own home - with whom she would need to start a whole new life, make acquaintances, tread the lines carefully, behave differently from the way she was brought up. Awful.

Of course, there was also the problem of marriage itself. I had always regarded it as a rather odd idea - something that a societal group had come up with when it was essential … and women did not have the say they are beginning to have now. Sooner, or later, I believed the institution will die out. I still believe that, despite a happily married life. The fact that it's been 40 wonderful years of marriage has not altered my feelings that this was something that may have happened to me but isn't always that way in most marriages.

In 1969, October, I got my first command of a ship and could have my wife on board. That was when marriage seemed better. And Nuzhat was the right person. Not only was she far from religion, at least in those days, but she also thought of marriage in much the same way as I did. She kept asking me, nearly into the day itself, to reconsider the possibility.

But 1970 offered no other way … and, on 8th May, we got married.

My mamooñ - Nuzhat's father - wanted me to be there with the baraat on time. No delays. Five o'clock in the evening at the Hotel Intercontinental. (He couldn't consider having the nikah at his house - something I'd have preferred - because he was afraid of people spitting his hated paan ki peek all over his lawn, I think.)

Five o'clock we were at the Hotel. Nuzhat's elder brothers were outside and we were told that no one had really arrived yet. So much for having your own guests come in at the right time.

It took a little while but, by 5.40, we were all seated for the nikah, to be performed by Maulana Ehtesham-ul-Haq (who became a Thanvi after he came out of the Thana, I suspect). I detested the old man for his ridiculous ideas - like considering blood transfusion as 'haraam' - but Mamoon Jan loved his voice and it was his choice, so we were stuck. (Part of the reason of my successful marriage may be the fact that I always felt that nothing this man did could be serious.)

The usual ceremony was followed by Aarsi Moos'haf  … where some old lady (a friend of Nuzhat's mother) was holding a mirror through which Nuzhat and I were to see each other for the first time since 'marriage'. She could not get the mirror right and I finally saw her looking awkwardly at me in the glass. I winked  and the poor woman nearly dropped the mirror.


What fun it is to sit today and talk of all those wonderful things that happened in those 40 wonderful years.

This is us, now :

And we hope we'll have a great many marriage anniversaries.

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Anonymous Sabeen Mahmud said...

Lovely post. Trust you to have winked at that hapless old lady. Truly diabolical :P

Hugs all round :)

08 May, 2010 22:30

Blogger jehan said...

Great post Zak. You can say and do the most atrocious things and still make us all laugh. Poor old lady could have had a heart attack.

Happy 40th Anniversary. It was good to be able to spend some part of it with you both today. I hope you will have many more happy years together. Lotsa love, hugs and kisses.

08 May, 2010 22:42

Blogger Maleeha said...

Lovely pictures, both! Gorgeous inside and out, both of you! <3

What thoughts must have crossed the poor old lady's mind at that moment..."Oh no, the groom is winking at me, the GROOM!"

It'd be cool if you had a repeat wedding ceremony again next year (some call it renewal of vows but just sounds like you're renewing your license or refilling your prescription or something - in the realm of the uncool). Yeah, so, if you had a second wedding I think that would be quite awesome and it would be the seventh wedding in my life that I would have attended (and only the third one I'd have WILLINGLY attended).

<3 love you both!!

08 May, 2010 22:58

Blogger Mehreen said...

I love reading your blogs. It was truly a great read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
You are very lucky to be happily married for 40 yrs!
I couldnt get through more than 5 yrs of marriage.
Best wishes for your future years together. Maybe some day you can tell us the secrets of a successful marriage.
Mehreen Mir.

08 May, 2010 23:15

Anonymous jz said...

Love the way you write! happy anniversary.. and yes may you both have many more together.

08 May, 2010 23:27

Blogger MJ said...

hahaha love you "two" to "bits" :) Happy Anniversary!

08 May, 2010 23:47

Blogger Sheema said...

Lovely photo- both of you look absolutely beautiful! Bahut bahut mubarak - and many more happy years together. Thanks for sharing - love you both. Sheema

09 May, 2010 00:11

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Sab, JA, Maleeha, Mehreen, JZ, MJ, Sheema - Thanks so much for your love.

Mehreen - There's a secret that all marriages that are successful have. It's called Deception. (No, no. Just kidding!)

09 May, 2010 00:23

Anonymous Khurram Iqbal said...

!!!Happy Anniversary!!!

09 May, 2010 12:15

Blogger bayl said...

that made me cry :) what a wonderful couple. gorgeous!!

09 May, 2010 12:43

Blogger nb- said...

I loved this post! It made my day... many more happy years together to you both :)

09 May, 2010 12:53

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Thanks, Khurram. Love you, Bayl. Lots of hugs, nb-

09 May, 2010 16:55

Blogger Fawad Zakariya said...

Got to this a few days late. Many happy returns of the anniversary to both you and Nuzhat. As always, a candid piece without the standard "Mullama's".

13 May, 2010 03:39

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Thanks, Fawad.

13 May, 2010 06:52

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if both never believed in the instituion of marriage, did you stay true to the contracts of marriage?

Just curious

13 May, 2010 12:36

Blogger Zakintosh said...

a/ we did not believe (and still don't) in the kind of contract that the marriage scenario holds out, especially in the case of women

b/ we never questioned each other about it and that's the way it ought to be if one wants it to be that way. Who knows…

c/ there are others who believe that a multiple open marriage contract is ok and everyone should know about it … and that's fine, too, if the partners feel that way. Some say they do, though I doubt many of them.

13 May, 2010 15:50

Blogger Quizman said...

Good lord, you have an Air India maharajah bust in the corner? Wow, I thought they were extinct!

Love the t-shirt!

Happy anniversary.

18 May, 2010 05:14

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Thanks, Quizman.

The Air India Maharajah is also almost 40 years old …

18 May, 2010 09:27

Blogger Raania Azam Khan Durrani said...

Mashallah. This is very special. and so happy to see my work in the background. I hope it makes you happy!

31 May, 2010 23:07

Blogger Zakintosh said...

@Raania Azam Khan Durrani

Yes. It does. We love it!

31 May, 2010 23:26

Blogger Kasim said...

Best wishes to you and Mrs Kidvai on your 40th anniversary - I'm sure it's been an amazing journey, and there's no doubt in my mind that you guys are truly made for each other!
Here's to the next 40, InshAllah (atheism notwithstanding)!
KK & Sophia

01 June, 2010 00:04


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