Tuesday, August 4

Zafar and Nadia

The following is the transcript of the speech I gave during the valima.

Thank you. I've been asked to say a few words on behalf of the groom, Zafar. Firstly I'd like to thank you all for coming to celebrate such a happy occasion, we hope that you've all had a good time. I'd also like to personally congratulate the bride and groom and say how gorgeous Nadia Butt... I mean Shaikh... Hmm. Butt-Shaikh? Anyway you're looking good!

For those of you who don't know, my name is Shak and I've come over from jolly old England with my family to join in with all the festivities. Some of you may have seen us wandering about, talking like we've just come out of a Harry Potter movie. Anyway we've been to Canada a few times already – the last time I was here was around 8 years ago. I'm sure many of you who go back to Pakistan or India will know what it's like to come and see family after a gap of many years; you miss out on so much and everything changes so rapidly with each visit. On the other hand, this distance allows us to sometimes see how our loved ones have grown.

Take Zafar for example. I was there when he first left Pakistan: a little scrawny kid who spoke no English - he really was the freshest of the fresh and had a...unique sense of style which I won't go into right now. And now? Well, he's grown into a fine young wannabie gangster, totally comfortable with where and who he is and can even string a basic sentence together. Nadia on the other hand was born and bred in Canada. She knows what's what, thinks in another way, sees things differently. To be honest they're really quite different in that respect.

And yet they obviously work so well together; together they prove that things like literal backgrounds and varying cultures don't really matter when you have a mutual love and appreciation for one another. Despite their backgrounds they've found a commonality strong enough on which to base both a friendship and a marriage; a lesson I think that we can all take away and apply in our own lives too, be that at home, work or in the community; that whether our differences are cultural, ethnic or even religious in nature that we can always find something in common on which to base friendships, relationships or even a whole community on.

But I've also seen the things in Zafar that haven't changed. He's still that funny (often annoyingly so) kid who is always messing around and entertaining his mates. He's still a little fresh even, but that's something he'll never really shake off (and we love him for that). But most importantly he is someone who's totally dependable and committed to his friends and family. He knows what he has to do and will always do that (eventually), and it's this attitude that will make him such a good husband. Now I've not really known Nadia for that long, but in the little time I have it's become obvious to me how intelligent, kind and strong she is – the perfect complement to Zafar in many ways and we proudly receive her into our family as a wife, daughter sister and friend.

I'm sure you've had enough of me so I won't prattle on; I am on Facebook if anyone's interested though. I'll just congratulate the bride and groom again, and further ask you all to raise a glass to them: Nadia and Zafar: I won't wish you luck since it's clear what you have isn't something that will ever rely on chance but instead on what you know to be in each other but instead we pray that Allah grants you all the happiness and success in the life you will now create together. Cheers. Thanks for listening and wasalaam.