The daily chronicle of my family as we embark on our quest to relocate from New York to Cairo... the impending journey to get there and the daily lives of myself, my husband and our four children... and other random thoughts while living in Cairo!

Looking to make contact with other Muslimahs who are like myself with small children living or will be living in a foreign country.

I invite you to share the experience with us as we try to make this happen!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reminiscing about my marriage weekend...



















My beautiful sister, Hijabee in DC, had a post concerning family and it talked about a certain Hindi movie- I used to watch them ALL the time and my first intro to Bollywood films was thru my husband (wasn't the hubby then) and being as sweet as he is, MashaAllah, he translated the entire movie, Devdas.

When I thought of Devdas, I thought about the weekend we got married and how I ran around looking for a beautiful lehenga that I knew would please my hubby... now of course, I'm not Desi but I knew it would bring a smile to his face to see me dressed in the traditional garment of his culture... and he had no idea!

So, if any of you know anything about New York, the best place to shop for traditional bridal wear is in a place (area) called Jackson Heights in Queens- you can always go there and find brides and their sisters and Moms checking out lehenga cholis, salwar kameez and saris... all heavily beaded and quite exquisite! Now, me being a big girl and tall, the quest wasn't an easy one as most bridal shops carry no sleeve, cap sleeves, mid section exposed, back out lehengas- and not in ample plus sizes! I didn't want to go the salwar kameez way- felt funny with wearing pants to the masjid... so I searched and searched until I found the perfect one!

I ended up with a VERY beautiful soft powder blue one nicely beaded with long sleeves- it was meant to be! I thought of my husband's face when he would see me- and it made the mad hunt worth it!

We were married on a Friday after prayers and there was a nice gathering at the nikkah- then we went home to a few friends and family to have a nice lunch. We had established before we married we wouldn't get crazy with the expenses (it's not like we were 18 anyway... lol) so we could put alot of money to the side for something else. My walimah was the next day- and it was fabulous, MashaAllah! I left home hours before him to go to the mall in Long Island to have my makeup done at M.A.C. and I took my dupatta so they could see what I was wearing to use complimentary colors on my chocolate brown skin... and the end result? Simply stunning if I say so myself, MashaAllah... it all turned out better than expected!

When I arrived at the masjid, everything was in place in the sister's section and the guests was arriving in a steady stream and next thing you know, the place was packed! Everyone had a wonderful time and my family and friends (who are all Non-Muslims) had a great time as well... you should've seen everyone's face when they saw me! It was nice to play "dress up" since we can't do such things everyday... but we sisters have worn ours lehengas to our all-girl Eid get-togethers- all of us modelling our finest Desi wear... I'm gonna miss that *sigh*

Later that day when my hubby wanted to speak to me, I met him by a door and when I opened it he said, "Wow..... MashaAllah!"- and it made the running around in the freezing cold worth every second! I'm obviously not Pakistani but I was his Pakistani bride that day- only a chocolate version! I thank Allah (SWT) for my hubby... he was my friend, introduced me to Islam and became my other half... what more can a girl ask for?

31 comments:

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

aww mashaAllah, i enjoyed reading this! how sweet! =) dunno how long ago you were married but Jackson Heights is crazy expensive now! Ouch! I'd really like some cute salwar kamees to wear around the house but they would be my only hook up to get those types of outfits and I am NOT spending that much on something to wear at home haha.

Empress Anisa said...

Lazeena- salaam 'alaikum sis- I was married 6 years ago and my lehenga was modestly priced but as we know they can range from $350.00(very plain) to which I've seen, well over $10,000.00- depends on what your budget is- since it was for a few hours I didn't spend that much (wanted one for 1G) but settled on one almost as beautiful for a couple of hundred.
Salwars still are moderately priced depend on whose store you walked into! I just bought a few salwars over the summer there (in August to be exact before I gave birth) so I could have some nice ones when I came home from the hospital to receive my guests in... the one I shopped at is called Rahul- they're downstairs off the street- right when you turn the corner to 74th Street: here's the hookup 718-205-1987... I bought a few and of course, wherever you go and buying multiples, you need to haggle! lol

Millz said...

Salaams sister Anisa! I love love LOVE Jackson Heights! I went their to buy some outfits for a wedding I attended a few months ago. It was so fun and sooo many stores to choose from. Most of them were fairly expensive but a lot of the stores you can bargain with them. I found some beautiful saris for under $30 and some lenghas running from $190 - $400. I found a really gorgeous salwar kameez for $80. My future hubby is Indian so I'm hoping to make a trip soon to become his beautiful Indian bride lol!

Empress Anisa said...

Millz- salaam 'alaikum sis... there's another store on the corner of... I can't think of which street but EVERYBODY knows Kabab King restaurant there... if ur standing in their doorway and look left, you'll see about 2 sari shops there- the first one has beautiful salwars- plain to very fancy- I've bought skirts there for everyday and my girlfriend's daughter who married over 2 years ago bought a beautiful outfit from them- just can't find the card to give u the name- I would suggest them highly when u look for your lehenga, InshaAllah- the owner is a lady and extremely nice- I've bought my princess 2 lehengas from her- another place for the ULTIMATE sari, salwar or lehenga? A website called Utsav Sarees in India- I had a beautiful heavily beaded lehenga made for the same girl wedding over 2 years ago- pick ur style, send them ur measurements and you WON'T be disappointed... at the wedding, everybody was kidding with me, "Whose the bride? You or Anisa?" (her name is the same) LOL

http://www.utsavsarees.com/

Empress Anisa said...

And oh Millz, marrying a nice Desi guy? You'll need to know how to make paratha roti for sure... which is something I still have not conquered- LOL

Halal Honey said...

Salams Empress Anisa
What a sweet story mashAllah!:) And I think it's sooo cute that you wore a traditional Pakistani outfit for your nikaah to please him!
Btw, I just wanted to say thank you for all your comments and advice regarding the little debate going on over @ my blog. I read your comment on Aalia's and wanted to say thank you for sticking up for me sista gurl;).

Empress Anisa said...

Millz... oh yesssss, forgot to mention (I don't know how much you do about them) make sure you BOXES of various "Shan" seasonings in your cupboard- every Indian home have them not unless the Aunties make their from scratch (Oy!)- maybe ur MIL will show you that one! Lots of Shan, okay?

Empress Anisa said...

Halal dahling... no need to thank me- I stand for what is correct regardless of any anything else... like I said, I don't (and won't ever) co-sign garbage (that's me and LIFE experiences has taught me that)
Yeah, you shoulda seen the hubby- I'll never forget his face...

Millz said...

Wa Alaikum As Salaam! I've heard of Utsav Saris. I was going to order something from there for Eid but I always get nervous ordering things overseas. But if you've said you had a good experience maybe I'll try them out. And I am working on my Indian cooking now. I'm awful at making breads though. I did make this chick pea and potato curry and my future MIL really liked it! Ooo and I've seen the Shan seasoning in her kitchen too lol

Empress Anisa said...

Millz- if u made curry and ur MIL liked it, you have NO worries as they are the hardest to please (they make sure you feed their sons right! lol)
Told ya about that Shan!..... and you have nothing to fear with ordering from Utsav- my daughter lehenga from them and mine (we matched at the wedding) was beautiful, MashaAllah and perfect! I plan to order some saris for me (I ordered a nice colorful one but couldn't wrap it for nothing so I gave it away) to have use around the house

Millz said...

Oh good I will definitely have to order something from there then! I was just looking at their site. Everything is so beautiful!

I wore a sari to my friend's wedding. It took me forever to learn how to drape it. I actually went on youtube and found a video that showed to wrap a sari I think 5 different ways. Looks like the videos have been removed though now. They also can pre-stitch saris too so it's kinda like putting on a skirt but that feels like it's cheating lol

Empress Anisa said...

Millz- didn't know about the prestitching kind- oh, I gotta order me some! I'm gonna cheat... with the kiddies ALWYAS pulling on me, prestitched sounds perfect! lol

Hajar said...

What a wonderful story. That is so sweet of you ... ^^

American Muslima Writer said...

Masha'Allagh sounds like a perfect wedding!!!! Reminds me fondly of my friend's wedding Indian stlye (cause she married Indian man) and I got to wear the shwar khameez too lol. It was fun. She looked stunning too subhan'Allah. Masha'Allah it is sooo sweet about how your husb saw you XOXOXOX

Empress Anisa said...

Hajar... assalaam 'alaikum and welcome my sister! To me it's always the "little" things- I knew he would appreciate my efforts so why not bring a BIG smile to his face?

American Muslima- assalaam 'alaikum sister! Yes, wearing the traditional clothes is always nice- colorful, beaded, embroidered... every woman looks beautiful in them. And his face that day- I still it before me as if it was just yesterday, MashaAllah...

desertmonsoon said...

Hi,

I just want to say your description of your wedding was beautiful and I am glad you are still happy in your mixed marriage, because I know from experience they can be tough.

I am sure your children must be beautiful with the mix they are (I believe I saw that you wrote you are a mix of native american and african). I am curious, have you met any of his family? How did they receive you / treat you if they did?

I am asking because I am an American of Northern European ancestry, and my husband is/was a Muslim Punjabi from Kenya - actually they were of mixed - race Afghani, Pakistani,Rajasthani, AND some Mkamba (Kenyan tribe) and Ugandan (don't know the name of the tribe) mixed in for good measure,The British had brought their Asian great grandfathers over to build the railroad to Lake Victoria and they had stayed and married African women -there weren't any Asian ones there- as more Asians moved to the area they then started to marry back into the Asian community. SO, the prevailing culture in the family was the Muslim / Pakistani one and their home language was Punjabi though they also used Swahili a lot.) Unfortunately, I learned, as I got deeper into the marriage, that they had issues because of being of mixed race so they always went around trying to pretend to be Pure Punjabis - the Asian community in Kenya is terribly racist and acknowledging their African roots would have been social suicide(for anyone wishing to get in with that community)... needless to say my husband ended up having deep rooted ISSUES. I wasn't good enough for them either - I am "fair" which for some reason they think is great - as if it is such a prize to be able to sunburn easily and age fast, but I am NOT an Indian or Pakistani and therefore I don't deserve the same consideration they would give to a Pakistani / Indian woman.

hijabee said...

What a beautiful story! May Allah bless you and your hubbie forever. I also wore a sari the morning of my wedding and a lehenga @ the nikah, go figure I did not even marry an Indian lol. I just love Indian clothing, it's so colorful and beautiful!

Empress Anisa said...

Desertmonsoon: The only I've met so far from the hubby's family is my MIL which happened on my 1st trip to Cairo- she flew from Dubai where she has lived for the past 35+ years and I've met her brother who lives about 15 minutes away from me. My hubby was born in Pakistan and left there live in Dubai when he was about 5... so in that span of time, his Mom's siblings all loved there- I have yet to meet my FIL as he still resides in Pakistan. Her reception of me was fine and we hit it off okay... I know many had reservations when they heard he wanted to marry me but I can tell you after my daughter was born 4 years ago and we sent the pics to Dubai, any negativity was erased!

Yes, MashaAllah, Allah has blessed me with beautiful children- most say they look somewhat Dominican others see the "Native" in them- but everyone says my little Papi (my last son) looks like a straight East Indian baby! I would show pics but my hubby would have my head for it! ;)

Well, usually Pakistani people only marry their own- very rarely do they stray especially by marrying someone of my mixture but what Allah has ordained no one can change!

I hope you're still married and Allah give his family more understanding, Inshallah (Ameen)

And oh yes Desert... welcome to my blog, sis!

Empress Anisa said...

Hijabee: stylin and profilin those Indian garbs, eh? MashaAllah, they look good on everyone... InshaAllah, I can't wait for my princess to get married to dress her up!

Empress Anisa said...

Desert: always find the typos after I post: tsk tsk

Anyhoo, I meant to say during the period when his Mom moved there almost all of her brothers and sisters followed... after I get settled in Cairo, I plan to take the kids to Dubai so everyone see them instead of pics, InshaAllah

desertmonsoon said...

:) I do the same, sometimes I cringe when I read my typos or mistakes I make because of changing a thought mid sentence - or because I am blogging from work (sshhh don't tell anyone) and I am getting distracted and adding words the woman next to me is saying in her phone conversation instead of what I meant to type, and even if you proofread at the same time it isn't effective.

My husband and I, well, we are still married if absence of an attested court paper saying we are not equals a marriage - he abandoned us three years ago, and the boys and I haven't seen him since :( I am glad your in-laws were big enough people to get over whatever culturally inbrad prejudices they might have had for the sake of your children - unfortunately mine did not consider my kids until it was too late - perhaps they thought if they broke us up he would be the one to end up with them so they would not lose out - but really they never made much of an effort with them anyway.

I forgot to add before that I love the Indian clothes too - though some of them are just way too bright to suit my fair complexion -(neon green on white skin = a green sheen on your skin) I like just looking at them in the shops - the different patterns, color combinations, embroidery, beading, etc... I used to wear them a lot when I lived in Zanzibar and some here too but since he left I feel kind of dumb or like an imposter. The arabic dresses are nice too by the way - think they are made by Indians / Pakistanis - since the Gulf Arab don't seem to do any sort of menial labor - and that would include talioring.

Empress Anisa said...

Desert- sorry to hear sis that he abandoned you and your babies... InshaAllah, may Allah make dealing with him being gone easy for you (Ameen). May Allah will change his mode of thinking and bring him back to your family- pray for him.

Even though he's not there, don't feel like an imposter waering those clothes! I don't go for mega bright either- kinda clashes with the skin tone but I'm sure you look nice in them...

If you ever want to chat outside of this email me: thebarefootempress@hotmail.com or my exclusively personal one cococherokeegirl@hotmail.com (yeah, that's me!)

Hajar said...

W'salam and thank you. ^^

Exactly. :) Because it is little, we tend to overlook it, though I think that these are really the kind of things that make a huge impact to people.

Empress Anisa said...

Hajar... the little things make much more of an effect- we were married over 6 years ago but he still hasn't forgotten... ;)

desertmonsoon said...

Thanks for your message - by the way - speaking of typos I meant to write "inbred prejudices" ...

I will try to write to you on your email - thanks for giving me your address... I like your blog a lot and your level-headed approach to "hot" topics :)

Mina said...

Awww Mashallah what a lovely story...

Made my heart smile, so cute you wore a traditonal gown for your husband:)

NiDa said...

MashaAllah! I am a bollywood freak too :P...InshaAllah I'd lov to have above all an ISLAMIC dress and blend the east and west and everything in between together :D! A butiful abaya hijaab and a gorges colorful dupatta!! YAAy awsome story sis! May Allah keep you two happy!

Empress Anisa said...

Mina- thanks for the compliment sis!

Nida- Now, I can't wait until it's my princess turn to get married, InshaAllah... I have a LONG wait to go all out with her dress up... she's only 4! lol

Blabber and Ranter! said...

hey salaam sis
lol i love indian clothes
too
but being arabian & somali
i think
that wud be just weird
plus my familly would think ive gone mad
lol but i think indian/pakistani er south asian desi clothes are really cool
i love ur blog too
that story made me smile lol
owk salaam sis

Inspired Muslimah said...

I loved reading that post..it made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. lol. seriously, I can picture you and everything!

Empress Anisa said...

Blabber and ranter- Wa 'Alaikum Assalaam! Being an Arabian/Somali mix sounds strikingly beautiful, MashaAllah! Any woman can wear them- that what makes Indian clothing so unique and beautiful!

Inspired- warm & fuzzy... u too cute! lol

Actually, that's how I feel when I remember the whole episode of him asking me to marry him (total shock!) and the whole thing happening 10 days later! My impatient hubby wasn't interested in a summer wedding (which I wanted and something small) so we married in the very cold month of February! Anniversary will be here soon, InshaAllah!