Saturday, 14th August marked 57 years of Pakistan’s independance, gained from the British empire. Sunday (the 15th) was India’s turn to do the same. These were also the days during which my friend Sufyan got married in his village around the edge of the northern border. It was my first Pashtun wedding and I really enjoyed how simple yet fun it was.
The rest of the guys and I had decided to leave on Friday night, but as usual I was the only one to arrive at Babar’s place (the starting point) on time. As usual, we were delayed by several hours until Sufyan called and told us to come in the morning since the area can be quite dangerous late at night.
We spent the night at Babar’s and left in the morning. One of the nine guys that were supposed to go wasn’t feeling well so had to stay behind. The trip went well though lasted almost six hours instead of the usual three or so, mainly because of the frequent stops we made on the way.
We got to Sufi’s house just in time for lunch (which happened to be very delicious). Next, we drove all the way back to Naushera to the bride’s house for the main ceremony. The “Nikah”, the most important part of a Muslim wedding, was held in a nearby mosque and that was pretty much it. No long processions, no big fireworks and no other time-wasting and costly rituals. The rest of the evening passed while we were getting back to the village.
The next morning, we drove around for a while and then went to a small irrigation canal for bathing which was a lot of fun. Around the big cities of Pakistan, there aren’t many open-air, unpolluted places like this where you can swim or bathe safely so it was a rare experience. The water was very shallow though.
We got back in time for the “walima”, a meal arranged by the groom’s family to announce the marriage. After more of that delicious food, we sprung the surprise we had arranged the day before: a garland made out of a wall-clock. We learned that it isn’t commonly used these days, which made it more fun. Nobody seems to know its significance and when Victor was here earlier this year, he also went away puzzled as to what it meant. I just guessed it stands for “time is up”.
The highlight of the trip (at least for me) was getting a chance to fire a round from a real AK-47, also a first.
Congratulations Sufyan and welcome to the club.