7 years ago, a young Pakistani girl landed in the UK to pursue a degree in Psychology from Warwick University. Little did she know, she’d meet her Prince Charming in this land where there were so many just like her – people who looked like her, behaved like her, but were from across the border back in Asia. Soma found her Indian Prince in Hasan, and they’re soon to be married. This is a series on a Pakistani bride marrying an Indian groom, with hopes to settle in India to begin their new life together.
Chapter 1 The Proposal
Being a true desi at heart, I fully believe in destiny. Amusingly, destiny unfolds itself in the most unpredictable ways. When I landed at the famous campus of Warwick University many years ago, it was flooded with people who looked and behaved just like me! The only difference was that they were from the other side of the border. Just like any Pakistani girl, all I knew about Indians was Shah Rukh Khan’s all-time favourite “bade bade shehron mein, aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain, Senorita” and Kareena Kapoor’s famous Bole Churiyaan song, along with the gorgeous bright silk sarees and lehengas, the bindis, and the extravagantly embellished movie sets. Over time, though, India became less about Bollywood and more about my closest friends. I met some of the most wonderful people from India, including Zainab, who is the sister of my soon to be husband!
A few years later, Hasan and I were still in London, completing our Masters program. It was a Saturday afternoon in July when he asked me to visit London’s famous Covent Garden market with him to meet a family friend. As we were walking to the meeting place, a flash mob sprung into action a short distance from where I was. Flash mobs are a fairly common sight on the streets of London, so I didn’t give it a second thought. A girl began dancing to Marry Me by Bruno Mars, and I remember thinking to myself how cute that was because that’s “our song” as well! Of course, I didn’t for a second assume the flash mob was for me because any normal person wouldn’t dare think that a massive crowd and group of synchronised dancers have been planned solely for her personal proposal. Soon there were two dancers, then three, then four…until a complete mob of 20 dancers were waving flags and dancing right in the middle of the busy street. Absolutely oblivious and with Hasan right beside me, I was busy commenting on who I thought the better dancer was when Hasan muttered something like an “I love you” and sped off into the mob of dancers. Those few seconds were the most awkward, surreal and clueless moments of my life. Even if you give me a million pounds and lots of beautiful polki jewellery, I would still NEVER dance in front of a crowd of 500+ people. My first thought when all of this was happening was “Shit, am I going to have to dance with him too?!” Luckily, that never happened. Instead, all the dancers formed an aisle, his sister held my arm (I was never going to walk up to him – I’m really shy!) and walked me towards him amid the massive crowd. He then said some beautiful words that I just couldn’t comprehend in that moment (luckily, I’ve got video coverage to depend on!) and there he was, down on one knee asking me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!
By the next summer, I was preparing to become the traditional Indian bride and bahu. I wanted to plan a trip to India with my mother, because I wanted to see and know more about the country that always felt miles away even though it’s literally just an hour and 45 minutes by air. I always wanted to experience how similar yet different we would be in our cultures and rituals. It was definitely one of the most eye-opening and fun trips I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to tell you all about it in my next post 🙂