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Getting married and having a family is every girls' dream. I, Saira Ali wasn't any different;that's all every girl wants in life, besides career perhaps. Everyone dreams of a perfect life, of a perfect spouse who'll sweep them off their feet, something that happens in fairy tales. I was one of them.
Being a romantic at heart and an obedient daughter to my parents, I had a similar dream too. Youngest of the two daughters, I was the prettiest, at least that's what everyone would tell my mother. But that didnt mean my elder sister Samira wasn't beautiful; she was, especially to me.
She and Ahmed made a beautiful couple and I would pray to Allah to bless me with a husband who would love me, who would always be there for me.
I was done with my graduation and even applied for my post graduation studies but my parents had already started searching proposals for me. Abbu was a retired clerk in a bank. We didn't own anything big, his only assets were us, his two daughters.
"I don't want to get married now" I told my stubborn mother who stared at me with irritation "not right now, I want to pursue my post graduation".
Abbu, who was hidden beneath the newspaper, looked up "you can continue your studies after marriage" he said, going back to his reading.
"Well you can't promise that!" I said, irritated now "who knows what kind of guy I might end up with!"
"That won't happen!" ammi glared at me, "why don't you explain to her?" she looked at my father.
Abbu closed the newspaper and sighed deeply "Saira!" he called out a little loudly. I glared at my mother and moved closer to my father.
"Abbu please!" I held his hand with affection, a little gesture which would melt his heart and heed to my wish. It worked mostly, but I wasnt sure it would now.
"Beta" he squeezed my hand in return "they are very nice people, and well educated too, I assure you they'll look after you without any difficulties".
I didn't know what to say to that, but I held his hand "you know we only want your happiness". I nodded, bending my head down; I never asked for anything materialistic. I'd only wanted to study further, but I was helpless. My parents weren't doing the wrong thing either; they were right in their own way.
"Alright" I said at last and my mother's face brightened like the sun "alhamdulillah!" she exclaimed, hugging me and becoming very sweet all of a sudden; I had to suppress a giggle. Abbu winked at me with understanding.
"What's the guy doing?" I asked ammi that night, after dinner. "He's a software engineer, they are settled in Mumbai" she said, smiling.
I raised an eyebrow "Mumbai?" I exclaimed, surprised. I couldn't imagine going that far, away from my parents, from my hometown "how will I be able to live there? what about their lifestyle? how will I keep up with them?"
Ammi stopped washing the dishes and turned to me " I understand it's very far, but you don't have to worry about them, they're very nice people. We even met the guy, he looks nice too. And he's coming to see you next week".
My heart skipped a beat, I hadn't prepared for the encounter. Ammi must have noticed it too, she patted my head softly "everything will be fine" she said "anyway Samira is coming tomorrow"she added brightly.
"Great!" I squealed happily, hugging my mother. I missed my elder sister very much, especially at this time. Maybe I'll calm down once she has something to say.
"You are here!" screamed Samira, my only sister and my best friend. I got up from the armchair and hugged her "alhamdulillah! I am so happy for you saruu! Congrats" she screamed.
"Okay relax! Let me breathe" I laughed. She can be crazy sometimes. "Did abbu tell you?" I asked. "Of course he did. So my sweety pie,when is he going to swipe you off your feet?"she joked.
I ignored her teasing "did you meet him?" she asked, as we walked inside our house. "He's coming next week, ammi said" I stated casually but my insides were churning at the thought.
She sensed at it too "are you nervous?" she asked. Seeing there was no point in lying, I nodded faithfully. She laughed "relax!it'll be okay".
I almost said something when we heard voices in the dining room. "They want to fix the date as soon as possible"abbu was saying "they can't stay here for long".
"How soon?" ammi asked, as we stood near the door. "Ten days" abbu said and my heart almost stopped beating. Ten days! How was that possible? I was getting married to total stranger, without even getting to know him.
"That's too early!" ammi exclaimed, voicing my thoughts "how will we arrange everything in such a short time? Saira is going to a different place, very far from us".
"I spoke to the guy's father just now, he's coming tomorrow to meet her, let them talk to each other and then she can decide" abbu said.
Ammi nodded, and then spotted us "where were you both?" she asked. "Outside" Samira said, taking a seat beside her, " I think we should wait for Saira's opinion"she said, her eyes on me "before we start with any preparation".
I mouthed a 'thanks'at her for which she smiled. Abbu looked at us both "yeah! I'll tell bhai saab to wait for his son to arrive".
I was unable to sleep that night. It all seemed so sudden and unexpected. Even though my parents wouldn't pressurize me into accepting the proposal, I would have to get married at some point of time and the idea scared me a great deal.
"Are you awake?" Samira lied down beside me, she somehow knew I wouldn't be able to sleep through the night. "This uneasiness is killing me!" I murmured into the darkness.
"I remember my first time meeting Ahmed, I was so anxious back then and so was he" she giggled, probably feeling nostalgic.
"But you both ended up being with each other" I gently reminded her. She nodded "You'll know if he's the one, trust me Saira!" she whispered.