My story is a different story altogether, I couldn’t choose my partner in life just based on love. Since the age of 10, I have been taking care of my younger brother. He was born with many handicaps, and is fully dependent on me. I have been taking care of him since I was a child. I take him to the bathroom, I bathe him and he can’t sleep without resting his head on my shoulder.

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Taking care of my brother was always my priority

When I went to university, I met a lot of girls and enjoyed their company but there was always a thin line and I never crossed that. I could not make any type of commitment, because of the responsibilities I shouldered. I worked part time jobs throughout my 5 years of university, sometimes as an usher, a receptionist and towards the end, when my studies got more difficult, as a tuition teacher.  I always needed extra cash; my brother’s medical problems are financially exhausting and I never know what he might suffer from next.

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College Days

After university, I just concentrated on achievements. I worked hard, slowly climbing the corporate ladder, and got my first car, alongside caring for my brother. I was never interested in getting married; I knew my responsibilities and it would not be easy for a normal girl to understand my circumstances.  My family insisted that I should get married, and they suggested Zara, who is my cousin. She has been brought up in an extremely religious and conservative atmosphere and has always stayed in ‘purdah’ since she was a teenager. I remember seeing her when she was in 8th or 9th grade, but couldn’t really remember her face. Even in family events, she would always wear a ‘niqaab’, so I never got to see her.

She was from a very conservative and religious background - she wears Niqab which is one of the stirctest forms of Purdah
She was from a very conservative and religious background – she wears Niqab which covers everything but the eyes

Everyone that I knew praised Zara, they would tell me that she’s really good looking and a really nice person.  Although she was enrolled in university and studying for her BBA, she was not allowed a mobile phone and had social interaction only with females. We got engaged in 2014, and I still didn’t see her –  it was not until our Nikaah which was 7 days before our Ruksati (which is when the bride goes home with the groom – Ed) that I finally got a glimpse of her face. That, too, was for a short while and I instantly took a picture but that was with the family.  Finally on the day of our Wedding, she came and sat next to me on the stage and the dupatta was lifted and I could see her properly.

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I was eager to see her, and get to know her

I was so impatient, I wanted to go home and see her properly and find out if she could even talk….she hadn’t said a word to me. Finally when we came home, my heart was racing and it was as if I was hallucinating; there are only two times in my life that I felt that I have fainted, and this was one of them. As anxious as I was, I knew she must be even more nervous. Once she started to talk though, she hasn’t stopped!

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Waiting was well worth it!

It was so different, such a good feeling – it was definitely worth the wait. She is everything that I ever wanted; she is my best friend, my girlfriend and my wife….what they call the complete package.  Although she is extremely shy, and I am working on that, this was the best decision of my life.

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She is the best thing that happened to me

She understands my commitment towards my brother, but the only problem I have now is at night, when my brother wants to come in and sleep with me. He doesn’t come during the night and is not able to sleep because of that, but he does come in at 6am. Zara understands and realizes that I need to be there for him, no other girl would have been so understanding.

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Almas Haider
Author

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