This is the story of a red gharara and a tissue dupatta and tied to our 12th Nikah anniversary which was today. This is the story of my Nikah gharara.
It was June 2008 and Jaffar came to Pakistan to meet me and my family. We had been talking since April with the consent of our families. Jaffar’s grandmother brought the official “proposal” in May and I had wanted to meet him in person before making my decision.
I met Jaffar and said yes.
I met his parents after everything was arranged.
They were loving, friendly and welcoming like all of Jaffar’s family MashaAllah.
After both sides of the families had hugged, cried tears of happiness and eaten Nihari flown in especially from Karachi to Islamabad, it was time to get down to the logistics.
It was decided that there was no time for an engagement really and we should get a Nikah done to start the Canadian immigration processing before the “rukhsati” (the actual wedding in December). So I met Jaffar on June 15 and our Nikah took place on June 23, 2008.
Amongst all this, what was I concerned about: What will I wear!…ofcourse!
I quickly did a few bazaar trips and finalized a turquoise pishwas with a burnt orange dupatta and pishwas. Blue was my favourite color and it was perfect.
That was till my mother called me while I was at work and asked me to come home as soon as possible! I asked her, what’s up and she quickly said: “Jaffar’s mother is here with her wedding gharara, and she wants you to wear it at the Nikah and you will!” That’s it. She shut the phone after that.
I called Jaffar on the way home and he said in his typical casual manner: “Yea, mom was saying something this morning, but don’t worry you don’t have to do it!”
I knew the situation was serious when I got home and saw that my sister’s car was there and Ammie had summoned her from work also.
I neither agreed with Ammie’s command nor Jaffar’s (extremely dangerous) advice.
I realized this was a new relationship and I wanted to handle the situation as best as I could. So I walked inside my parent’s drawing room braving myself to witness a hideous out-of-fashion outfit and bracing myself for a ton of expectations and a maze of emotions.
What I met though was a woman clutching a wedding dress that she had lovingly preserved over the last 31 years layered in malmal and cloves.
She gently asked me, with big telling tears in her eyes, if I could wear just her red nikah gharara with any shirt and dupatta I wanted, since she had always wanted to pass it onto her daughter (she has two sons).
The nikah gharara was gorgeous with genuine gold work glittering brilliantly. I held my future mother-in-law’s hands and told her that I will be honoured to wear both the gharara and the dupatta.
Somewhere in the background, my mother probably fainted in relief.
For me it was an easy decision. The gharara was gorgeous and I was honoured to start this new relationship amongst blessings, love and duas.
My sister had worn our mother’s Nikah gharara at her Nikah. I have always loved traditions and here I could uphold a new one since I didn’t know anyone till than who had worn their mother-in-law’s gharara.
I got a new shirt made from our tailor to go with the tissue dupatta and gharara. The gold set I wore had been passed down to the eldest daughter-in-law in Jaffar’s family for four generations.
In Tariq Amin’s words, who did my makeup, I was the only relic under 30 years in that ensemble.
The nikah gharara and the whole dress was quite a hit. All the aunties felt nostalgic about their own wedding ghararas from the 70s and the 80s. I wore the turquoise pishwas and burnt orange dupatta on my valima six months later in December.
It was and is a lovely story. A story I hope to pass onto my children about love, family and traditions.
Here is a side-by-side shot of the same red nikah gharara and tissue dupatta 31 years apart.
I also wore my Nikah gharara many times afterwards also.
Once at my cousin’s wedding before kids:
I also wore the gharara again a couple of years ago at another family wedding:
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Hope you enjoyed this story of my nikah gharara. Should I share pictures from the function also?
Here are the pictures from the wedding functions I had shared earlier.