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I do not like to attend wedding dinners for obvious reasons. The venue is usually at a great distance from my house, involving a long drive (in most cases, 45 minutes), the dinner is almost invariably served very late, and by the time I return home, it’s an hour and a half after midnight. The next day is usually a working day, which means for the whole day I feel as if the police have beaten me up. I suppose if I were a drinking man, I would describe it as a hangover. And for some reason, my community members (called "Memons") take great pleasure in inviting at least a thousand guests and serving food after midnight. So I take an early dinner whenever I have to go to one of these dinners, and I remain seated calmly while most of the guests fight with each other to get food on their plates before it disappears.

I should have mentioned another reason for my dislike of such dinners. Most Memons are now radicalized, and because I'm clean-shaven, I look and feel like a fish out of water. I try to avoid their suspicious looks by reading online newspapers on my smartphone, which convinces most of them that I'm a dangerous man who should be locked up (even though they themselves look like the man who killed his own mother the other day). 
 Last night, I had to go to a wedding dinner because the bride (who didn’t look older than sixteen) is the niece of my younger brother's wife. The bridegroom too looked like he hasn't yet celebrated his eighteenth birthday. This kind of thing (child marriage, I call it) is now very common among Memons. Most marriages are now between first cousins, and the bride's name is not printed on the wedding invitation cards (although there is no bar on this in Islam). The bride is now referred to as "daughter of.....). In fact, there is almost a complete ban on printing the names of women on wedding invitation cards, as if reading a woman's name will turn a Memon into a rapist.

Of course, this wedding was no different, the food was served just a couple of minutes before midnight, and when I and my wife got home, it was almost two. During the drive back home, I was expecting to be held up, but fortunately the mobile phone snatchers had gone home early last night.


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