Ma – The Later Years — Shelina Shariff-Zia


An Ismaili Council meeting, at the Town Jamaat Khanna in Nairobi.
An Ismaili Council meeting, at the Town Jamaat Khanna in Nairobi.

Ma’s own daughter Gulshan fell head over heels in love with Haider. She met Haider at Saku’s wedding as he was a distant relative of theirs. Pretending she was going to driving lessons, she would get out of the car on the corner and sneak off to meet Haider. She never did learn how to drive! This went on for a couple of years until she was found out. Haider was tall, serious and dark skinned; a total contrast to bubbly, plump Gulshan.

“Gulshan, you can’t marry him. He has no money, what will you live on?” Ma told her lovelorn daughter. She did not want her daughter to suffer the trails and tribulations of being married to a poor man.

“Please Ma. I have known him for so long now. You can help him get a good job,” Gulshan said.

“No. I can’t agree to this. Forget about Haider,” Ma said.

Gulshan cried, sulked and even pretended to take an overdose of sleeping pills. So Ma finally gave in and got the young couple married in 1955. Then she sent them to live in Kigali, Rwanda. Her brothers the Rajans were there and there were more opportunities for a hard working young man there than in Kenya. Many years later, Haider became one of the richest men in Africa. But Ma was long gone by then.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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