Chapter One: First Encounters I

Chapter One: First Encounters I

© Abu Zaynah


The following is a fictitious tale that I am writing to explore some themes that are floating around in my head at the moment. Characters and situations are completely made up and do not resemble any real life events. I hope that there will be a good moral to the story but I have yet to develop it to that detailed stage.  

It’s 8pm. He had just returned home from a hard days work. After some dinner, he is relaxing on the living room couch catching up on the days telly. His mum walks into the room and hands him an envelope. She tells him to have a look at the contents of the envelope and then let her know what he thinks.

He is used to this particular scenario as it has taken place before, in the same manner as has just been related. He would be sitting on the couch watching telly, or on the dining table eating, or making a cup of tea in the kitchen and his mum would approach him and hand over an envelope asking him to look at it in private and respond to her with an answer.

This was possibly the fourth or fifth similar occasion. He took the envelope upstairs to his room, shut the door and opened it up. In it was a standard white sheet of paper with some text on it along with a photograph. He took out the photograph and looked at it. Then he read the paper that accompanied the photo.

The photo was that of young lady, 22 years of age, and a recent graduate of Imperial College London. She had studied Biochemistry and achieved a 2:1 degree from university. Her name was Afsana Nadeer and she lived in Tooting, South London. She had 2 sisters and 3 brothers. She was the 3rd eldest of her siblings. She lived at home with her parents and 4 siblings. She currently worked at a Pharmacy. She considers herself to be a practising Muslima and enjoys reading books, attending events, and socialising with friends. This was all of the information that was available on the printed paper that accompanied the photograph. In some cultures this paper is known as a ‘Marriage CV’.

He looked at the photograph and perused the ‘CV’ with great attention and detail. The lady in the photo was attractive, came from a decent family, had a good education and a good job. She ticked all  the right boxes.

Amjad was our prospective groom. He was 29 years old. His parents had been seeking a spouse for him for the past 18 months and this was just another one of the possible matches that they had found for him. Amjad was a car salesman and worked at the BMW showroom in Canary Wharf. Amjad was the eldest in the family and had 1 brother and 1 sister. They all lived in the family home in Canning Town, East London.

Amjad was happy with the current match but before going down to tell his mum that things may proceed onto the ‘next stage’ he wanted to find out a little bit more about the bride. He stayed in his room and …..

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