I was fearfully expectant of a favourable response from madam’s dad. A week down the line, nothing desirable was elicited. I would pester her, and she would tell me she hadn’t heard anything from her dad. I wish I could talk to him myself, but that would mean jumping the gun and the whole process might be ruined beyond repairs. My head was ceaselessly lowered in prayer to the One in whose Hand his heart was. I invoked Him to soften it to my favour. I was eager to hear the final glad tiding but it wasn’t coming so easily.
I had started imagining myself being a husband – how I would be elegantly attired in babariga on our nikaah day and madam’s hand given to me as wife; how I would finally become “deflowered” and how such nobility would be used as tawassul to make request from Allah. I was imagining how I would someday turn father and would be addressed as baba… Many figments had had my mind occupied. Rejection or any form of negativeness from madam’s dad could sadden me to a lifetime illness. The prayer tempo was therefore heightened.
Lo and behold, it was prayer-answered when the newsy tale of how dad accorded my request a favourable consideration. It was two weeks after, and my euphoria knew no bound. He sent a date for the ‘Aqdu-n-nikaah. How miraculous and marvellous prayers could be answered. Date fixed even without knowing my parents. We were conditioned not to exceed 10, since it was going to be a palour phenomenon. It was April and we were asked to show up May.
My dad informed a couple of friends to join in gracing the occasion. Some of them dissuaded him from doing my bidding. They were of the shallow opinion that I complete my anticipated national service and a lucrative job secured before marriage. Dad was rather convinced beyond doubts that my decision was okay. He politely refused his friends prevailing on him. He told them my story – why he had to give in to my passion – but it fell on deaf ears. To them, their friend was as stupid as his son.
With boundless joy, I announced my nikaah date to brethren on campus. Many wanted to go to Agege with me but they were taken aback by my in-law’s restriction. We could not be more than 10 as humbly mandated.
Dad did well. He singlehandedly bought for the two of us the cloth we wore on the D-Day. We unavoidably flouted my in-law’s order. They didn’t want more than 10, but we were times-4 of the number, including my friends who could never miss the lifetime experience. A show scheduled to hold in the palour was finally held under a rented canopy at the frontage of their house.
When we landed at the venue, a generous uncle of mine called me to a corner. “Have you any cash on you, or you want to go embarrass yourself over there?” he asked jestingly. Honestly, I never realised I was going to spend money there until uncle gave the hint. “Eeemmm… I have a little cash on me, sir.” “You’re not serious. You want to go embarrass us before those women, right?” I was mute and short of words. Uncle gave me new notes of different denominations, I spread them across my pockets and I raised my wings to spend like a real man.
Little steps had we made than the women crossed our path requesting for their customary right. With joyful arrogance, I brought out some of the gifted notes and spent them as would do a star. Family members and friends followed suit and we were offered seats so respectfully
I had envisaged that the officiating imam that would be invited to anchor the show might fumble. I would neither bow nor prostrate to greet my in-laws. Madam would not go on her kneels to greet her in-laws either. Hmm! Something happened…