Natasha and Muizz
How We Met
Just like any other fairy tale, I met Muizz in the hallways of the infamous Victoria Park Collegiate Institute (VPCI) – back then it was known as Victoria Park Secondary School. This fresh off the boat (literally) kid, would roam the halls with his backpack hanging down all the way to his bum. In his right hand, his lunch wrapped in some sort of aluminum foil and a French-English dictionary (oh yeah, he was from Montreal and spoke fluent French, something he loved to boast to everyone else in French class). In his left hand, a chubby soda drink you know, because who didn’t have a chubby soda drink for lunch back then?!
One afternoon, me and my girls were walking down the halls with our purses swinging in full force (mean girls style) and BAMN! I heard a scream from behind me. I turned around and on the floor in front of me was a tall brown boy with his hair parted right from the middle, his face was steaming red and both of his hands were cradling his ‘family jewels’ (as he keeps on referring to them). Apparently, my purse had swung back with such force it had hit him right in the gonads and down he went! And that’s how it all began, the next four years we hung out almost everyday, called each other every night even while dating our ‘significant others’ – not so significant anymore.
We were best friends first and yes there was the occasional teasing from our close friends and family as to when we would start dating, but we were too caught up being teenagers and living out the drama before we could see that everything we were searching for was right in front of us the whole time. We stayed in touch all throughout the years including when the both of us were in different towns for University. He would come and visit me at McMaster and I would drive down to Waterloo, ON at least once a week to go and see him. Even at this point, we had not started dating but we knew that our lives felt empty without having each other there so we rode out the friendship wagon until Muizz finally gathered up the guts to ask me out during his last year of Undergraduate studies.
I’ve always known him to be quite the romantic, and all of his room-mates served as special advisors to his master plan. He took me to Niagara Falls, ON, on Valentines day in 2012 and made me put on a shirt he had gotten custom made for this occasion. He made me face a mirror in an attempt to read out what was imprinted on the shirt which was ‘Let’s make it – (and there was a picture of a referee i.e. another word for official). Two things went wrong with his plan, 1. I could not figure out that the referee meant official, and 2. The mirror made all the text as a reverse image so I could not read what the shirt said. After frustratingly trying to explain the shirt to me, he swung me around and planted a kiss on my lips before shouting ‘IT SAYS LET’S MAKE IT OFFICIAL !!’.
how they asked
Prepare the box of tissues! A week before the ‘main event’, I received a call from my older sister. For those of you who know me, you can probably get me to drop anything that I’m doing if you utter the magic words ‘Farmer’s Market’; which is precisely what she did. During our chat, my sister sent me on an emotional guilt trip making sure to include things like ‘you always take time off for Muizz and never for me’ and ‘I want to go to St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market so take a day off work’ and she oh very so conveniently played the pregnancy card ‘I’m having a baby and babies are aliens so who knows if I will ever see you again’.
The next day, I decided to ask my manager for a day off which to my surprise she offered to me on a silver platter yet nothing too out of the ordinary had happened thus far. Here comes Thursday and me and my sister are off to St. Jacobs farmers market in Waterloo, ON, minutes away from where I used to go visit Muizz during his undergrad years. My sister and I spent the greater part of the afternoon at the market, after which she convinced me to go into town for a late lunch. We made our way into town and stopped by a local Starbucks at Waterloo Square. Across the Starbucks was a gentleman standing in front of a beautiful horse and carriage and ultimately my sister pleaded us to go for a ride. Little did she know, I had never actually sat on a horse carriage before and my subconscious fear of Wild West kicked in. I resisted as long as I could until my sister blatantly said ‘GET ON THE HORSE NOW!’.
Confused as to why my sister or anyone would be absurd enough to get on a horse carriage in the middle of October while it was at least -8 Celcius outside. But off we went, bundled up and teeth chattering. A few minutes into the ride, the gentleman pulled out a few items from underneath his seat which seemed ordinary at the last given it was his carriage. But then he proceeded to hand those items over to my sister all of which included an iPad, a portable Bluetooth speaker and a GoPro. Still confused, my sister managed to get everything in the order she needed and handed me the IPad and hit play – and thus began the most wonderful and most memorable evening of my entire life.
The video started off with Muizz telling me that today was a special day and he wanted to tell me how much he loved me but he had decided to ‘outsource’ that task to all of our close friends and family and to sit back, relax and that I would be seeing him very soon. The next 30 minutes was followed by a beautiful compilation of all of my close friends reminding me of their friendship with me and how much they loved me and yes – the waterworks had started! The horse proceeded to enter Waterloo Park and maybe it was the cold weather but the baby hairs on the back of my neck were all the way up. This was it, the place me and Muizz would spend hours and hours on end going for walks and talking about life. This place had so much history and that’s when it hit me – it was happening! The horse carriage stopped and there he was – the man of my dreams at the bed of the carriage waiting to whisk me off. I was still in tears from the video and he laughed and said ‘I guess the video did it’s job- you are emotionally riled up!’. He asked me to follow him down a set of stairs from the parking lot and onto the boardwalk.
At first, from our line of sight I could only see the first Gazebo; it was completely dark and not decorated but because both of the Gazebos on the boardwalk looked identical I started to scream to Muizz ‘YOU FOUND IT, OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FOUND IT WE USED TO SIT HERE AND TALK FOR HOURS’. Little did I realize, this was NOT the Gazebo we used to sit and talk for hours in, because the one sole difference between this Gazebo and the one across on the East end of the boardwalk is that the other Gazebo had a bench (key factor as to where we actually used to sit and talk for hours). Yet, Muizz still played along and told me it had been many years but yes he had found the ‘Gazebo’ and asked me to close my eyes. He walked me through the first Gazebo and upon turning the corner, asked me to listen… and there it was… I could hear a violin playing in the distance… (insert theme song of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai), and then Muizz asked me to open my eyes.`
In the near distance, I could see it – the brightest object in all the surroundings. The other Gazebo on the East side lit up gloriously. I was in complete awe and the waterworks started again. Muizz walked me down to the Gazebo and on the entrance he had a sign hung which read ‘Every love story is beautiful…but ours is my favorite’. A string of pictures from our past on each side of the entrance and a string of lights surrounded the entire Gazebo. There was a violinist playing another one of our favorite songs, ‘Photograph by Ed Sheeran’. Muizz guided me into the Gazebo, he held both of my hands and in the middle of the coldest night of October he made the following vows; that he would always love me, care for me and always protect me, and that we would grow old together and even though I was the nurse in our relationship, he would nurse me back to health when I needed it.
He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and by then the glove had already come off of my hands, and I said yes!!
He asked for one more minute to enjoy a slow dance, something we had always done in the Gazebo but this was the first time as his fiance. More to my surprise, he had called all of our close family and friends, and his two best men who helped organize everything. They all ran out of the bushes near the Gazebo to congratulate us!
The video captures the whole moment beautifully, so please watch it and enjoy :)