Winter had never come easy upon the denizens of Delhi; it had always been harsh and foggy. Still, there was something very special and intriguing about its chilly long nights and hazy, moist mornings, which made it the most beautiful season amongst all for them. When the thick layer of vapor blankets the capital city under its murkiness, people usually start their day late and end it early. December and January are the coldest months of the year, but they are also considered the most beautiful and feverish with festivity.
Located in a posh locality of south Delhi, Meer house was being prepared and decorated with extravagant flourish for the upcoming event of Bilal Nawaaz Meer’s Nikah ceremony. Every corner of the vast mansion was adorned with a white and gold colored theme. Everything was being organized under the guidance of the groom’s only sister-in-law, who was also his sister and his bestest friend, as per Bilal Meer’s words. She seemed more excited than anyone else in the house, consulting with the supervisor of the event management company in-charge of the ceremony.
“I need every corner embellished and detailed with flowers and drapes. The stage will be in the center, in a round canopy style with carnations chained and held from the top in gold piping,” she enthusiastically told the supervisor while tapping over her iPad in search of something. Her happiness for her brother’s big day could not be described in words. The elderly people who were having their evening tea in the garden, which included Asma, her husband and her mother-in-law, smiled over their daughter-in-law’s excitement. The whole mansion was screaming ‘class’. It was filled with smiling faces and the squeals of happy guests, who had come to bless the youngest son of Nawaaz Meer on this special occasion. Their laughter could be heard in every corner of the house. It was one of those moments, in which, wherever you looked, you could see prosperity and happiness showcasing in the mansion’s residents’ glowing faces and broad smiles. Those smiles were so big and beautiful that one could easily bask in their glory.
“No doubt Bilal doesn’t trust anyone except her for the decorations. She is so engrossed with even the tiny bits of details. Look at the father-son duo, struggling to get her attention. Zaiby is on the verge of destroying everything to shreds if she takes a minute more with the supervisor.” Asma laughed mirthfully at her elder nephew’s pissed face, who was trying to play cricket with his one year old son, just beside his wife.
“Zoya stop it yaar, he knows his job better than you. Come on, see Ruhaan is also feeling sleepy; come, let the man do his work.” Shahzeb finally spoke, lifting his tired son into one arm and pulling his wife by her waist with the other.
She looked at her son, who immediately held his tiny arms forward for his mother. As soon as she took the baby, he hid his face in her bosom and gripped the hem of her pashmina in his fist.
“Zoya, he is hungry chanda, take him inside.” Saba lovingly ordered her daughter-in-law.
Zoya kissed her son’s head. He tried to push the drape of his mother’s shawl aside.
“Come on champ, we are hitting the salon for your haircut.” Zoya was at the entrance of the manor when Bilal’s high pitched voice stopped her.
“No Billy, Ruhaan is hungry and sleepy. You go now; I will take him tomorrow morning.”
“Not at all bro, we have an appointment, and I cannot trust you with his haircut. He has to look his best tomorrow. After all it’s his chachu’s (uncle’s) wedding.”
“Not wedding, it’s just Nikah.” Shahzeb mocked his younger brother with an evil smirk; the reminder actually made Bilal irritated.
“‘Just Nikah‘ is everything, for your kind information. You don’t have to remind me about my half-wedding every time.” Bilal took the baby into his arms, who smiled broadly for his uncle.
“See, how sleepy and hungry he was acting before; such a naughty boy.” Zoya scoffed at her son’s sudden energized smiling face. Ruhaan was one of those kids who spend more time with their uncle than their father.
“No, feed him first Zoya, he will be cranky at the salon later.” Shahzeb took his son back.
“Accha, make it quick; meanwhile I will see if Sarah needs anything.”
“No she doesn’t need anything, and you are not allowed in her room, or anywhere near her. So better not try anyway, otherwise you will be banned from seeing her after the Nikah too.” Saba announced from her place in a stern voice. Sarah’s parents were also sitting with them and she knew how Shoeb would react on her son’s boisterous behavior in front of the guests.
“Mum, I just wanted to check on he…”
“We are here darling to check on her as well as her needs. You are not ‘Allowed’ to meet the girl.” She appropriately smiled.
Zoya giggled like a school girl behind Shahzeb’s back, ignoring Bilal’s murderous glare, while Shahzeb chewed on his lower lip to hide his smile over his pissed face.
“Then I am going alone to the salon. You can take Ruhaan tomorrow; I have no time to waste here.” He exclaimed annoyingly and ran for his Mercedes Benz convertible.
Saba and Nawaaz looked at one another, feeling a little embarrassed at Bilal’s dramatic outburst in front of the guests, especially Sarah’s father, who had a serious look plastered on his face as he sipped his coffee silently.
“Come on, lover boy got pissed, his dreams crushed at the first step.” Shahzeb’s musings were loud enough to be heard by a lot of elders. Saba glared at her elder son, who only winked at his mother and aunt while gesturing towards Shoeb, whose back was facing him. He then left with his wife and son towards their room.