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.
Labels: Bloggers, Personal, Urdu, Yooñhee