When I finished writing Hackschool Project, I knew the story of the three Moin siblings remained yet to be told. I could see clearly them continuing along the lines where I had left them. With Leena in college, Inaya just having finished her O Levels and Jasir starting Matric, I see many tales of their educational years yet before us. I decided, however, to put the Hackschool Project sequel on hold to make way for a new story to come through. An older story with more mature characters and a different theme from Hackschool Project, exploring the world of young people once they are past their educational years. I decided to explore the topic of choosing someone to marry through the eyes of three friends, two who are already engaged when the story starts, and the main character, Hina, whose process of getting married is the focus of the story. Hina’s experiences of getting engaged and everything that comes with an engagement unfold in a backdrop of commentary from her friends, who have opinions about every step of the process and do not hesitate to share them.
The Eid Engagement, and Other Weddings flows differently from Hackschool Project in terms of how story points connect to each other. The story builds over time as events progress and one thing leads to another. Wedding-level excitement cannot be present in the beginning chapters of the story, where the engagement is still in the planning stages. In this way, The Eid Engagement, and Other Weddings builds from stage to stage: the pre-engagement stage, the engagement ceremony stage, the immediate post-engagement stage, and so on. At every stage, we see the friends’ commentary of it. The friends’ commentary is a recurring occurrence and its regularity in the story is the bar by which each stage is measured. Is it acceptable? Is it fashionable? Is it current? Hina’s friends run her ongoing engagement experiences past their personal standards. Their most strict standard is comparing Hina’s experiences to their own engagements. Hina’s engagement might fail one friend’s standards of being fashionable, or the other friend’s standards of being authentic, but in the end what comes to light is Hina’s development of her own standard. As Hina determines what she wants, she runs her engagement past her friends’ standards and finds it severely lacking. This, combined with her own wishes to get more out of the situation, ultimately leads her to prioritize what is important to herself first. Will she remain bound to her friends’ standards? Will she find what she is looking for in her engagement? Will she fall in love with her fiance? We will find this out together, as I am still writing The Eid Engagement, and Other Weddings at the time of writing this post. If you’re interested in my published work, you may get Hackschool Project, my story about students using the power of family, fun and friendship to survive school life, here at the Mera Qissa bookstore.