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HARIJAI SINGH PART 4

CHAPTER 42 My

CHAPTER 42 My “Nikah” at Saharanpur was a gala affair. My in-laws side had seen to it that the marriage ceremony was a grand show. After all, their NRI son Zaheer from New York is a pride possession of the community. Money was no problem for the Khan family. Their relations had come from all over India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. So powerful were the Khan family bonds. From our side, it was a low-key presence – my parents and a couple of my father’s close friends. We treated the whole show on a lowkey. There was no excitement. No execuberance. Just a routine matter in deference to my wishes. I could feel my father did not like it, but he preferred to take it easy and went along without showing any anguish on his face. But I could feel his reservations. My Amma did hint about my Dadaji’s reservations, but she managed to take him along. I could hear some murmurings among my father’s friends. “I don’t know why she should have decided to play with her life. She could have got any brilliant Hindu boy. I don’t know why she should have staked our religious feelings in this gamble”. That was Jamnadas Lahori, Dadaji’s old friend from our native place of Larkana in undivided India. He was very fond of me. I could feel his inner resentment, though in person he tried his best to hide his feelings. I know how to take things in stride. I wish to move on in my life on my terms,realising fully that it a big gamble. Even my heart of hearts does not endorse it. 147

But I had a purpose. I want to see my life differently in the hope that it will enrich my thoughts and thesis work. Well, I could be wrong. I understand this. I do realize the world does not go by doctoral theories or counter theories. It goes on its own momentum, driven by unknown factors of human behavior, from the streets to corridors of power. “Oh, let me not get lost in life’s philosophy. I am face to face with life’s new reality I had opted for. And this has brought me to UP’s sprawling town of Saharanpur. Solemnizing “nikah” between a Muslim boy and a non- Muslim girl goes by a set procedure. For me, it was a mere formality, after that civil marriage in New York and quietly-paced honeymoon in Mauritius.I was informally briefed about it by a knowledgeable person in Zaheer’s family. The “Nikah” ceremony started with select relatives and guests. My parents and our family friends were very much there. I was first made to recite the first “kalima”– La ilaha illa llah Mohammad-ur-Rasool Allah – with the help of the cleric of Zaheer’s family. My new name – Zarina – was used for my identification for the “Nikah” ceremony. The “Nikah” was performed in the presence of two male witnesses, asking me whether I am ready for my “nikah” with Zaheer. I had to say three times “yes”, “qabool hai, qabool hai, qabool hai”. 148

Part 4
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