Though we’ve exchanged e-mails and spoke over the phone a few times, I met her for the first time at her wedding reception on the eve of July 16. It was a very intimate gathering, where I felt very comfortable right away. I had a great time; one I’ll remember for a very long time – because this was also the very first time I’ve met a blogger-friend in person.
She’s a great writer, mashaAllah, and her posts mainly focuses on personal experiences with emphasis on Qur’an and ahadith. In short, each post has a moral lesson. However, she has carefully avoided giving away too much information about herself. And respecting her privacy, I will not mention who this blogger-friend is, unless she permits me to.
Since I didn’t know anyone except the bride, I asked her if I could bring my sister along. But she was kind enough to allow me to bring my mother and husband as well! I couldn’t be happier; both mom and sister agreed. Masood, however, was a bit reluctant. Men and women were to be seated in separate ballrooms and he didn’t know anyone. And when I told the bride over the phone how Masood felt, she assured me that her brothers will take good care of him.
So on Thursday evening, Masood and I went over to my parent’s house after work. While mom prepared tea, I ironed 7 meters of fabric – my blue and pink saree (I’m so into wearing sarees since my recent trip to Hyderabad). The hotel was in a prime location, hence it was easy to find our way. The invitation said 8:30 pm, but we arrived by 10:30 pm (we left office at 9 pm, took sometime to get dressed, plus 40 minutes on Shaikh Zayed Road due to traffic … there was a horrible accident, unfortunately).
Once inside the hotel, Masood was escorted into the men’s section while we (mom, sister and I) went into the ladies’. It felt slightly awkward in the beginning; I knew only the bride, whom I’ve never met before. I walked straight ahead, smiling and greeting women as I pass them. Then there was this particular woman who smiled very sweetly, so I approached her and asked, “Has *bride’s name* arrived already?” I made it sound as if I knew the bride since birth. “Oh yes, she’s in that room.”
Naturally, she was surrounded by a lot of women. I looked at her … she looked very lovely, mashaAllah. “So this is the lady behind that wonderful blog,” I thought to myself. Once the crowd around her started to lessen, I approached her and greeted her with a salaam. We shook hands, and when I introduced myself to her as Nadia Masood, she gave me the sweetest smile. Masood later told me that I should’ve introduced myself as “I’m the Purple Journal, wife of Thoughts from Dubai.” I introduced my mom and sister to her, and she introduced us to her mother and aunt. I sat with her and we talked for sometime. She’s amazing, mashaAllah, and I’m very much impressed. One can not, however, sit too long with the bride since everyone wants to talk to her, hence I excused myself and joined my family at the table.
When my sister and I lined up for the buffet dinner, we heard a couple of ladies behind us speak Tagalog. “There are a lot of Filipinos here,” my sister whispers. “Should we speak to them?” I ask her. At that moment, another lady – who didn’t look or dressed like a Filipino – walks up to the ladies behind us and start talking to them in Tagalog, much to their surprise. “You’re a Filipino?” they asked. “Yes, of course.” “Half Filipino?” the astonished ladies asked, thinking she probably might be half Pakistani. “No, I’m 100% Filipino!” she laughed, yet the ladies still looked surprised. My sister and I looked at each other, “If we go and tell them right now that we are also Filipinos, they’ll faint!” said my sister, specially with her wearing a very traditional shalwar kameez, me wearing a saree, and both of us having conversation in Urdu. So we remained Pakistanis that night.
Oh, and Masood called me on the phone, “I’m alone here. Please ask your friend who her brother is among these men.” I walked over to the bride and she told me her brothers’ names, and that they were expecting Masood. “One of my brother is the guy in black suit and red tie,” she added. So Masood found her brothers, and when he introduced himself, they welcomed him. Masood was pleasantly surprised when the father also knew him by name! “So you are Mr. Masood!” he said cheerfully, “Come, let me introduce you to my friends.” Thereafter, Masood enjoyed the evening.
Food was great, alhumdulillah.
The best part of the wedding reception was that it was very solemn: men and women were in separate rooms, there was no music at all, no annoying photographers, everyone spoke softly, and nobody left food in their plates. I was very much impressed. I love her mom and aunt, very sweet ladies, mashaAllah. They all made me and my family feel very comfortable. Of course, it definitely helped that mom and sister came along.
We left around midnight.
To the bride and groom, thank you so much for making us part of this important moment of your lives. May Allah bless your marriage with so much love, health and happiness.