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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thank you for the music

What a busy week it’s been! Azfar’s colleague and our friend, Sabeen Jatoi, finally took the big plunge with a Mianwali man (which makes her a mian-waali, according to Azfar). I have a soft spot for this match because: 

(a) Sabeen’s one of the kindest, liveliest, most unaffected people I know,
(b) she’s married her best friend (highly recommended) and
(c) his name is Asfand (close enough).

If I were famous, I’d endorse this wedding.

The great thing about this shaadi, apart from the décor and saliva-inducing fashion parade, was the humour. For starters, Sabeen was the cutest bridezilla ever. Example: we were practicing the skit for her mehndi when she helpfully announced, “Listen, everyone, I just want to let you know: if you’re not that confident about getting into the acting and the roles, PLEASE DON’T WORRY! We’ll just REPLACE you with someone else! NOT an issue!”

To help things along, the bride’s wedding party was a real motley crew, ready and willing to laugh at anything. I met this amazing Indian woman called Zara Khan, married to a Pakistani and settled in London, who made such an unlikely psychiatrist that I’m convinced she’s either an undercover RAW agent or else a tennis player hiding from her adoring fans (as you know, we in Pakistan have happily confined the Indian experience to celebrities, tennis players and spies). Sabeen’s friend Tania was also a barrel of laughs – she left the job scene as a global HR exec and is now pursuing her dream of becoming a DJ. Another person I met was Nazish Brohi, an activist, brilliant hostess and talented writer who’s making the transition from journalism to fiction. Was also super pleased to meet Rizwan Ahmad, a very in-the-moment sort of photographer and the brain behind the iconic ‘Wikileaks – Butterfly Doesn’t’ sanitary napkin ad campaign. In terms of unadulterated entertainment value, though, it was Mohsin Sayeed who was the biggest blast of them all.

If Mohsin had a parallel in the animal kingdom, it would be the peacock. You look at that man and you can almost see the metaphorical tail, fanned out in all its technicolor glory as he happily struts around and works the crowd (he completely disagrees with this comparison and insists that the only thing he has in common with a peacock is his feet). 

I actually met Mohsin briefly at the Karachi Literature Festival earlier in February, distributing flyers for Naya Jeevan. When I praised him for being a good Samaritan he said, “Oh please, no. I hate poor people! I’m just doing this for a friend. You want another one?”

By the time we met at Sabeen’s wedding, he had no recollection of me. But we still had an impassioned and slightly ironic discussion in the middle of her nikah about whether it was necessary to be with someone in order to be happy (ever the serial monogamist, I insisted that it was. He immediately branded that as the “tyranny of love” and informed me that the only person who knows how to make you happy is yourself, and that the chances of finding The Right Person are 1 in 6 billion. I’ve always considered myself lucky to have found Azfar but this little statistic really put things in perspective… note to self: must start making breakfast for him from tomorrow… okay, maybe from next week… OH COME ON! I’m tired from all this dancing!).

It was tricky selling Papercuts, the DWL online magazine, to Mohsin. I mentioned Sanam Maher’s excellent article on Coke Studio and Pakistani identity, at which he exclaimed, “I hate Coke Studio!” Then he said that he hated anything that was blown out of proportion, like Pakistani novelists writing in English these days (Mohsin Hamid interview, anyone?). After that he told me that a magazine cannot be a real magazine until it goes into print. We finally wrapped up with him saying that there was no point to blogging. Suffice to say, Mohsin Sayeed will NOT be reading Papercuts or browsing through this entry any time soon.

Combine the crazy conversations with the ready flow of cake, sandwiches and hand-whipped coffee, and I was hooked, dostos. Friends, food and fun: what more could one ask for in a wedding?! By the time Sabeen took her leave from home on Sunday night, I was getting teary eyed right alongside her mother and cousins. The most touching moment from that rukhsati, however, was the sight of her maid – known simply as Maasi – standing alone in the crowd of family and friends, clutching the aarsi musaf mirror, a deluge of tears quietly rolling down her face.

Thank you and bon voyage, Sabeen Jatoi – may the extraordinary love of your well wishers protect you at every step of your journey in life, inshallah.


  1. Seems like you're having the time of your life in Karachi! Great. Keep the blogs coming.

  2. We've really been having a lot of fun recently!

  3. Afs dahlink,

    Did I not tell you that I am a bi..bilingual, bipolar, bireligious and, hitherto only-intellectually bisexual (karnay ko tau bohat kuchh hai magar kis se karain). I follow two religions: magalomania and narcissism. Somebody from Islamabad told me that she read about me on some blog. How could think I would not visit this blog, even if just to prove you wrong?
    By the by, we are all bi...thought to increase your awareness about it.


    PS: what is this profile non-sense?

  4. My dear boy, that only increases our chances of finding the right person to 1 in 3 billion. Still a lottery, imho!

    Re: PS: what profile nonsense?