That one hour seemed too long. I felt somewhat disappointed. I did not expect her to be from a non-muslim background. I asked myself “why not?” and response was ‘ because I had started thinking of her and I together. In the back of my mind I had envisioned the complete love story…getting married, a home, family’ but now it seemed slipping away. I was pretty sure that her mother must have converted else how can her father marry her but then the realization struck me. I was not thinking like her father but these thoughts were of Ayaz. Now what should I do?. Step back and go back to my world or still cling to the hope that she may be a muslim. How could a non-muslim have a name like Sharmeena? Even if her mother is not a muslim, she is muslim from father’s side and she can learn more with me and adopt Islam completely. I kept on thinking while nibbling the salty crackers. The text appeared on my screen

“ hey Ayaz, I am back “
“ Leila, you are late!”
I teased her trying to shed off my own thoughts.
“ am I?…sorry if I am, I got stuck in the traffic”
“ ok now start with the story”
“ you are so eager to hear about my parents”
she smiled
“ no I am interested in the story of love” I responded in the same way.

“ ok, so yes, my father is from Peshawar and belongs to Yusuf Zai tribe. He did his MBA in finance and after few months he was offered a good job in Dubai so he moved there. After a year or so he went to an Indian concert where he saw my mom. He fell in love the moment he saw her. He was handsome too and his stares did not go unnoticed. They both started talking to each other and the cupid worked his way. My mom was visiting Dubai and was staying in a hotel nearby with her parents. Next day my father somehow managed to put a large bouquet of roses in her room like bollywood hero style.”

“ I guess your dad was watching too many Indian movies”
“ I think so too”
she laughed.
“ ok, continue..what happened then?”

“ right, so when my mom came back to her room, she was totally surprised. She tells us that there she knew this was the man. She thanked my father and then they met few more times and made all those promises though they knew that was too difficult to happen specially in those days when Pakistan and India were just recovering from war. My mom told my grandma about it who tried to explain it to my grandfather. My grandfather did not like Pakistanis at all and he got infuriated. He booked the next available flight back to Delhi and before my dad could know of this, they were gone. But fortunately my mom left a message for him giving her contact number and telling him what had happened.”

“ your father must have gone crazy?”

“ yes he did but he could not do anything except trying to contact her, which he did. It went on for ten months and when my grandfather’s anger subsided, my mom took off to Dubai to visit one of her aunt. When my dad met her again they decided to get married. My dad talked to his family and narrated the story. The response was as expected. They were very opposed to it but my dad told them he is marrying the girl anyway.”

“against his parents will?”

“ mom told the same thing to her parents. Both the families flew in to stop them . My dad’s mother was dead set against it and told him she would not accept it but his father realized that his son would do what he had said and, wisely, he agreed to his wishes. On the other side my mom’s mother wanted her daughter to be happy but her father was not willing to accept it. My dad’s father talked to him and told him to be happy in what children have decided. His mother then wanted my mom to convert but my dad told her that he would not force anything. If later in life she would decide to do so , she could do that with her own choice and will.”

“and they got married?”

“yes..then they got married in Dubai in a simple ceremony. My mom and dad stayed in Dubai for one more year and then they moved to US. In the beginning it was difficult for them to settle in an entirely different society and culture but with passing days and good jobs they together built a home. We were born here in US”

“ and your grandparents?”

“ they have accepted the reality and have come to terms with it. My mom tried very hard on both sides. She makes it a point to take us to India as well as Pakistan every couple of years so that we meet and live with our grandparents for some time and see our origins.”

“ so you have been to Pakistan. Do you like it?”

“ who does not like her country , Ayaz?…Pakistan is my country, so is India. I love Pakistan and India alike , they are part of me…and sometimes when I see Pakistanis and Indians here fighting against each other I fail to understand why. Each of the group tries to pull me to its side but I can not do that. For me it is impossible to love half of me and hate the other half.”

– fromLeila – a love untold Copyrights Reserved