October – Anjali

“Raj come on get ready we’re going to be late for Ali & Salma’s Eid party!”

“Why do we have to go to the Eid party, it’s not like we’re Muslim.  We’re not breaking a fast.  Can’t we just go out to dinner tonight?”

“Raj, come one, Ali is like a brother to me and they always come over to celebrate Diwali with us even though they’re not Hindu.  What’s the big deal?”

“There’s no alcohol.  What kind of party doesn’t have alcohol?”

“Raj now you’re just making stupid excuses.  We go to plenty of parties that don’t have alcohol.  Why do you always give me a hard time when we go to Ali’s and Salma’s?”

He sits down on our bed and then falls back on it.

“Truthfully?”

“Yes, truthfully, what is your issue? You know Ali and Salma are important to me.”

“I don’t like Ali.”

I stare at Raj, completely shocked.  Finally, I ask, “Why?”

“That could take all night to explain.  Can’t we just leave it at I don’t like the guy.”

“No you can’t drop a bomb like that on me and not explain.”

“I think that it’s odd how close the two of you are and how much he knows about you.  It makes me wonder if he wasn’t Muslim if things would have been different between the two of you.  I mean I had female friends in college but I never knew the number of details about my female friends the way he knows about you.”

“But we tie rakhi on each other every year, he’s like a brother to me, how can you even think he’d have any romantic interest in me.”

“Have you ever thought that maybe he has you tie a rakhi on him so he wouldn’t get tempted by you? He’s a traditional Muslim boy from Pakistan and the eldest son; he’d never go against his parents.  Tradition plays a higher priority over passion.  So yeah I don’t like it when you’re with him.  Call me old fashioned.  But a husband doesn’t like the thought of his wife with another man or another man having such a keen interest in his wife.”

“You’re reading too much into this.”

“And you’re extremely naive.  Which by the way I find very sexy and it also drives me crazy.” He says as he pulls me into his arms and kisses me on my forehead.

“Give me fifteen minutes and I’ll be ready.  I know you want to go.”

An hour later we arrive at Ali and Salma’s home.

I greet Ali first, “Eid Mubarack.” 

“Thanks Anjali, Eid Mubarck.”Ali hugs me back and then shakes Raj’s hand.

We go inside and I mingle and munch on the delicious appetizers Salma has probably spent days cooking.

As I’m shoving a kebab in my mouth I tell Ali, “Salma has really outdone herself this year. You’re really lucky you found her.”

“Yeah I’m lucky I found her and it certainly doesn’t hurt that she can cook so well.”

I sip some water and get the nerve to ask Ali, “What if Salma hadn’t been Muslim would you have married her?”

“Of course not.”

I looked at Ali completely shocked.  “But you said you loved her.”

“Of course I love her and one of the things I love about her is that she is Muslim and we share the same culture.”

“But, I remember how smitten you were when you met her at the hospital.  It was like serendipity that you met her even though she worked in a different department at the hospital.”

Ali looked at me funnily.  “My cousin’s wife knew her and told me about her.  Anjali I looked into her background before I ever asked her out.  I would never have made the first move if I didn’t think she would fit into my life.  I spied on her and I liked the way she looked and her family background checked out and only after that did I ask her out.  I would never have been with someone that didn’t make my family happy.”

“I had no idea you went through all of that.  I thought it was a romantic love story between the two of you.” I said trying to disguise my shock.

“Why are you so shocked? Come on you have Raj, you should know.  It’s not like you ever would have married Josh.”

“I would have if had asked.”

“But he did ask and you said no.”

“I was already engaged to Raj.” I defended.

“If it was love why didn’t you break it off with Raj and get back with Josh? I’ll tell you why because Josh wouldn’t have gotten the cultural stuff that Raj gets.  Raj was there for you when your mom needed you last year.  He knew to propose to you and marry you after dating you for a while.  You didn’t go for Josh because the passion may have been there but what about all of the other stuff that makes a marriage go smoothly?” 

I couldn’t say anything in response.

“You really didn’t expect Josh to marry you at 21 did you? That’s not in his culture.  His culture says to go out and sow your oats discover yourself before committing yourself.  You were ridiculous to even think that he could marry you out of college.  You were applying your Indian cultural expectations on someone who doesn’t even know what they are.  That’s why you got disappointed.  But, that really wasn’t fair to him.”

“You have three daughters are you going to let them marry whoever they want?”

“No.  I’m going to raise them to marry Muslim.”

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anyone have a suggestion for an Eid song I can link to through YouTube???

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