Friday, 4 March 2016

Weddings, a Family Affair - Habiba and Julie get married!

Just Married!

Habiba and Amin get Married - February 1976

We had never been to a real wedding till my aunt, Habiba, my dad's younger sister got married.  The year was 1976. We were so excited to be having a wedding in the family. My mum was 'best girl' (don't know why we didn't call her maid-of-honour (this sounds even wierder now I think about it!) and Habiba paid for new dresses for my sisters and I, not just new dresses, but dresses made by the best children's seamstress in town, Khatun Samji. She was well known for making the Aga Khan's children's clothes! The beautiful fabric I picked was white with blue flowers, a blue satin ribbon across the waist and butterfly sleeves which were my favourite part. It makes me happy just thinking about that dress!

My sisters and I in our new dresses with Ali Ramji (our parents are cousins - Hamida's son)
Habiba had worked with my dad at Westlands Bookshop. She used to buy us all sorts of fun stuff from the bookshop. I particularly remember these large wall individual cutouts of girls that looked something like these but not quite;

When Habiba was little, she contracted polio which affected her legs and meant that she couldn't walk. She used crutches to get around.  She however, never let that get in the way of the person she was; warm, caring, kind and funny.  My childhood memories are always filled with Habiba laughing and loving!

I'm not sure how Habiba and Uncle Amin (Gillani) met, but I remember before they were married and how he became a part of my aunt's life and also our lives. He was an accountant and worked at John Deere in Nairobi. He first had a VW Beetle and then a Renault. He was such a nice person. He loved my aunt, but he loved the family as well and he took good care of my grandmother.

Habiba married Uncle Amin in February 1976. Hazar Imam (this is what we call the Aga Khan. It translates to present-living Imam) married them. They had a mendi ceremony the day before the wedding and that was like the wedding with lots of people at my grandmother's house, food and festivities. The next day at jamatkhana (mosque) Hazar Imam blessed them and they were married. It was simple and beautiful.

I didn't have any photos of Habiba and Uncle Amin, but hopefully someone does and send me one.

Julie and Zaher Get Married - July 28, 1979

I remember the day my other aunt, my dad's youngest sister, Julie (short for Zuleikha), got married like it was yesterday. She had met this charming man from Sweden. His name was Zaher (Meghji Ahmed). I remember meeting him for the first time at their engagement and feeling special that he would come out of his way to find out who his fiancee's nieces were.

Their wedding was such a party. It started with a pre-music party at the groom's house. A music party is a seated Indian concert. The musicians sat in the front and they cleared up the entire room for people to sit on the floor on cushions. I remember it being fun.

They then had the mendi, where the bride has henna applied on her hands and feet and everyone else applies it too.

My grandmother with a bandni over her head, feeding Julie candy

Waiting to the next person to come. There's me in the right hand corner

The wedding was at Parklands Jamatkhana. My aunt looked beautiful in a gorgeous white lace sari and Zaher looked dashing in a white Nehru suit and his best man wore the same suit in black.

There was a dance after. We had never been to a dance with adults so it was fun watching them!

Just Married!

My beautiful aunt, Julie
Thanks for the photos.

The last day of the wedding ceremonies was what is called 'Gor Thari' but we call it 'Crying Day' because a lot of crying happens! The woman is leaving her mother's house and because my aunt was actually leaving (even though she wasn't going far), everyone cried! I couldn't stop myself! I remember standing on the stairs and watching everyone cry and when I went up to her to say goodbye, I just hugged her and sobbed! So much for her beautiful green sari!

Thank you for Sharing Day 14 of 50 me!

Kahzmir's Day 1 of 10!

My son, Kahzmir turns 10 in 10 days (on March 13th) and he's doing a video blog to mark this milestone, here's Day 1 of 10!

Day 1! The Year is 2006, the Year he was born.


  1. Beautiful!
    PS. I still call it "Crying Day"

  2. So interesting to recall weddings from your childhood. I remember Gulla's wedding to Mo. Mrs.Choyee made dresses for both Gulla and I.