“Tell him I miss him,” said my usually stoic dad as his fingers sheepishly drummed the steering wheel. Somewhat surprised, I repeated to my husband, “Babe, Papa is saying he misses you. We ate his biryani last night and…”
“Put him on the speakerphone,” my dad nudged as he continued to fidget. “Talah, kya haal hai? We’re missing you, yaar. I made Pakistani biryani and you’re not here to enjoy it. I’m sending some back with Sehreen, but you really should’ve come with her this weekend.”
I chuckled a little. When Talah and I first met in London eight years ago, I would have called this scenario impossible. Back then we were only “dating.” Marrying Talah was an idea that my parents and myself would have never imagined.
People say identities are fluid. But if my parents respective Pakistani and diasporic-Tanzanian heritage were depicted as a Venn diagram, then my childhood was represented by the overlapping space in the middle labeled “Ismaili Muslim.” Growing up in northern Virginia, the biggest influence on my life and the core bond that tied my parents together was our faith in and regular practice of a sect of Shi’a Islam.
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