For all those wondering about the “story” behind my “sudden” marriage to Sarah Kureshi, here’s my Cliff notes summary.
Our friendship was ignited by our mutual adoration for all things “hagoo,” which is a common South Asian word for “poop” – an utterly appropriate foundation for a couple whose combined maturity is that of an 8-year-old.
We’ve been purely platonic for years. In the past, SHE initiated interest due to my masculine scent, rippling muscles, Adonis good looks and rapier wit. Although humbled, flattered and taken aback by her boldness and panther-like aggression, I had to decline because my life at the time couldn’t accommodate a relationship.
Fortuitously, we remained very good friends afterward. I even tried hooking her up with dudes, which was a gratuitous exercise because she is very “popular” with the men-folk. Likewise, she recommended ladies for me.
In July of this year, we started “talking” after a mutual friend kept harassing us to at least “consider” each other. After the third phone conversation, I displayed my romantic flair by bluntly asking, “Hey, so, you wanna get married or what?” She said yes, however since she’s been married like 823 times before, she was naturally apprehensive.
Accordingly, she made me answer like 1,000 questions from several pre-marital questionnaires. This included several of her original, insane hypothetical questions such as:
“Like, suppose aliens invaded Earth and, like, kidnapped me and then said you had to fight to get me back, how long would you fight for?
Or other gems: “So, suppose, like, I went insane after my marriage and totally had a different personality, what would you do?” To which I logically replied, “Well, I guess I would have to leave you then.”
This shocked her beyond belief .“What?! You’d divorce me. You say it so calmly!”
“Well, that is the only appropriate response to your ridiculous hypothetical,” I replied.
Answering her creative questions was quite a lot of fun.
We introduced each other to our parents and they really liked the idea of “us.” In August I called up her father and said, “Listen, I’m stopping in D.C. before leaving on a month-long trip. We are thinking about getting married, but will only proceed after I receive your blessing. Do I have your permission?” He said, “Sure.
My parents said I was a “loser” and an “idiot” for not proposing to her earlier, so I had that approval squared away already.
We decided that since we had our parents’ blessings we’d elope whenever the schedule allowed it, because she’s been married like 9,234 times before and I’m too broke to pay for a South Asian wedding (I’m just kidding…not really.)
I brought the ring along with me just in case.
At the last second, I had extra time in D.C. and Imam Maagid of ADAMS Center, one of the most respected and busy imams in the nation, made time for us and said, “Come to Adams Center before Asr (the afternoon prayer) on the Friday before Eid, and we’ll get this done!”
I brought the ring, my fiancé, one witness and we grabbed 2 random ADAMS Center dudes as the other witnesses and did the marriage contract in the conference room.
Sarah’s parents were able to Skype in and witness the proceedings.
So, imagine a giant, talking cat with the voice of Pakistani-American parents on a large plasma screen overlooking the conference room. This was our audience. Awesome.
Imam Magid said congratulations to the screen, and an animated cat replied, “Mubarak baat to all of you (congratulations)!”
We have photographic proof.
We got married and two days later I left for my month-long work trip. Since it was so sudden, unplanned and surreal, we had no time to tell most family members and close friends.
Currently, the wife and I are in a heated debate over who is the more selfless, kindhearted Sufi. I make a compelling case that I married an older, wealthier woman, who has been married twice before. She says she married a poor, broke, jobless, starving artist with zero fashion sense.
I tell her straight up, “Dude, I married my future rent.” My nickname for her is “Rent in a Ponytail.”
Please rest assured D.C. folks, that my wife will continue competitively playing insane games like “Pronus” and volleyball, most likely being the sole female in the company of a dozen men. I am not jealous. Go forth and play.
Finally, I am a huge, massive “nazr freak,” which means I’m terrified of the “evil eye.” Ever since we announced it on Facebook, I’m convinced our lives will be like the “Final Destination” movies with impending danger and catastrophe at every corner. Upon hearing this, my wife – the eternal cheerleader – remarked, “Yay! That sounds fun! It’ll be like an obstacle course, and we’ll have to dodge dangerous objects!” (This is an EXACT quote.)
I can only shake my head.
In all seriousness, please remember us in your prayers and well wishes. Our marriage really benefits from honest discussions, pre-marital counseling, a long, sincere friendship and transparency. I highly recommend this type of communication for other lovebirds.
Furthermore, this cautious cynic, perpetual bachelor, marriage-phobe is pleasantly surprised to confess that marriage has been a tremendous unburdening of the soul. I highly recommend it ,especially if you’re lucky enough to find a selfless, kind-hearted, non-materialistic, goofy, spiritually aware, “rent in a ponytail” partner who won’t pour cyanide in your mother’s chai.
Wajahat Ali, a playwright, attorney, essayist, humorist, consultant and researcher. His essays and commentaries have appeared in The Guardian, Salon, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post and other media outlets. His award-winning play, The Domestic Crusaders, was published by McSweeney’s, and he is the co-editor of the All American: 45 Men on Being Muslim.