My husband hated me at first sight.
I thought he was mean and heartless.
From there on, we became friends under the strangest of circumstances. From strangers, to friends, to me taking him as a brother, to best friends. And somehow we reached a point where if I hurt, he hurt; if he hurt, I would get hurt.
His baat got pakki almost twice. I was liked by, and was asked for by a woman, for her son in Ireland. In fact, to her, I was her ghar ki izzat until they come here for a proper engagement.
Until one day, his best friend told him what his girlfriend thought, which was:
“If Fareed cares for Heba so much, and Heba cares for Fareed so much, why dont they get married.”
Fareed laughed it off.
But narrated this incident to my best friend at the time. She, however, jumped at the idea! And was ecstatic. She encouraged him to propose to me.
So last day of exams in 3rd year of medicine, 30th September, he took me to Cafe Fresh at Zamzama (closed down now); and very casually asked me to marry him, stating the same thing, that since we care for each other so much, we’d be a great couple. I found this sweet, yet non compatible, and kept refusing. He kept insisting.
I listed all my flaws, all his flaws, and all other reasons as to why we cannot get married, to which his answer was the same, “that can be handled”.
One of which was: I hated him smoking. His answer was: quiting smoking is easy, and I can do it. But the day i get engaged to the girl of my choice, that day I will smoke my last cigarette so the girl knows the lengths I’m willing to go to, for her.
That night we went for a long drive, and dinner to al Habib on the highway with friends. and i saw how decent he really was. For the first time ever, I realised how he never ever tried taking advantage of a girl, and especially not me. And since he’d proposed, he started trying to woo me. Case in point; I cannot break off meat from chicken dishes, and at Al Habib that night, he broke off the meat of a very piping hot chicken karhai just so i could have boneless chicken to eat easily. Before then, that job was my mum’s, or my best friend’s.
And at 4am that night, I messaged him:
I will be the girl who makes you quit smoking.
4 days post that we were not able to communicate at all. The time alone was what it took. 3rd October it finally hit us. We were in love with each other all this time, and it took his best friend’s girlfriend to set things in motion.
He told his parents. I told my mum. She spoke to my dad.
We got engaged on 14th Feb but he didnt quit smoking!
2 years later, 3rd Feb, we had our nikkah and our 6th anniversary is just around the corner.. Alhumdullillah..
However fairytale-ish my story is, we have had our share of fights, we aren’t perfect, nor do we want to pretend about it. We’ve grown together, from 20 year old immature idiots to 29 year old adults. We are still finding out about each other. We’ve adapted to what the other likes.
Once annoyed at us colour coordinating at events, today he himself looks for matching ties and waistcoats. He hated me taking pictures, today he takes selfies of us. He hated me doing makeup, and today he yearns to get me makeup. He hated shopping, but now entices me to go shopping, wanting to buy things for me. He hated doing breakfast outside, today he himself makes plans for breakfast.
I too, changed over time. Once an always angry, nakhreli naive girl, today I take in his jokes on me with love and miss it when he doesnt crack jokes about me. Never had any meat except chicken, hated trying different things, today i eat what he eats, seafood, beef, mutton. Iwatch what he watches and end up enjoying it too. I laugh at all his jokes, even when they are not funny.
These past 9 to almost 10 years, many people have commented on our external differences, no one knows what’s in our heart.
My parents always say, Fareed heera hai. (Fareed is a Gem)
I like to think I am to him what my name means – God’s gift!
This article is written by Heba Saleem Kashmiri