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September 4, 2002 | 2200 IST

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Kirmani's daughter weds
Abid Ali's son

M D Riti

Almost two decades ago, he used to carry him around and play with him. At that time, Syed M H Kirmani certainly never imagined that his friend Abid Ali's only son, Syed Fakhar Ali, would some day become his son-in-law.

Fakhar, as Kirmani affectionately calls him, now works as regional director of a software company called Multimedia Inc in Stracey in California. His father Abid Ali lives with him.

Kirmani's 20-year-old daughter Nishad Fatima married Fakhar in a private nikah ceremony in Bangalore eight months ago. After she got her visa to move to the United States, Kirmani gave the couple a reception in Bangalore, on August 29. Until then, the couple lived apart, just like any affianced couple would.

Now, they are on honeymoon in the Maldives. They will return to Hyderabad for a valima, hosted by Abid Ali, and then go back to California.

"It all began two years ago," says Kirmani. "I have, of course, known Abid Ali and his family from my playing days. I have known these two little kids, Abidbhai's son and daughter, when they were just about five or six years old in Hyderabad. I have actually carried my son-in-law in my arms! His daughter too. We never imagined this would culminate in any kind of relationship: my daughter was not even born then!

"The whole world knows who has a daughter and who has a son. We have numerous friends and wellwishers in common who had told our families about each other. Two years ago, a cousin of mine came down from the US for a wedding in Hyderabad. Fakhar and his family, except for Abidbhai himself, came along with them. We were all together in Hyderabad.

"Apparently, Fakhar liked what he saw of my daughter there. He decided he wanted her as his partner. I never knew all this. Then, a little over a year ago, Abidbhai called from the US, and said, 'Look, bhai, I want to take your daughter away from you; I want her to marry my son.'

"I said, sure, but I need to know what your son does for a living and so on. We exchanged all relevant information by e-mail. He sent me his son's biodata, I sent him my daughter's. There was a lot of information exchanged. As a parent, I wanted a lot of specific information from him. Everything seemed to fit perfectly. The will of the Almighty was also there. The marriage was fixed."

Interestingly, the couple never met in between. They just saw each other at the wedding in Hyderabad, and met again at their own nikah.

"This was a very traditionall arranged match," says Kirmani now. "They never met, talked or dated! Abid Ali made the proposal, I accepted, that was it!"

Kirmani himself has three children. Nishad Fathima is the oldest, and has just graduated with a bachelor's degree in arts from Bishop Cotton's women's college in Bangalore. The next one, Mehnaz Fathima, is doing her second year of a pre-university course at Jyoti Nivas College in Bangalore. The youngest, Sadiq Kirmani, is still in Frank Anthony's Public School.

Kirmani's mother, who was terminally ill, died just two days before the wedding reception. She was in hospital for some days before, and Kirmani was constantly at her bedside.

"I did everything for her that an ayah would do," he says now, with tears in his eyes. "That is the least a son can do for his mother, who has devoted her whole life to her children. I am so grateful that she was quite well when the actual nikah took place, and was able to bless the couple."

Interestingly, Kirmani says that what he likes most about the young man who later became his son-in-law were the stories he had heard over the years of how devoted he was to his own parents. Abid Ali had a stroke and needed a bypass surgery when Fakhar was doing his final year of studies. He had to quit studying and earn money to take care of his father's medical bills.

"I was so happy that this young man was so responsible and caring. I am sure he will take care of my daughter with the same devotion!"

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