Saif Kazim Weds Nermeen Khan


The newlyweds, Saif Kazim and Narmeen Khan, with the groom’s parents; Haider (left) and Asra at the wedding reception on Sunday, January 3.
Photo: Jawahar Malhotra

By  Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: They were almost neighbors living in the northwest part of the city and certainly went to the same school district but different high schools: he went to Cy-Falls and she went to Cy-Fairs but their paths didn’t cross then. Call it Fate or one of those happy coincidences in Life; they finally met through some common friends while going to the University of Texas in Austin. And then, slowly, they became inseparable.

And then the paced picked up. Soon, before his sister Hiba got married, Saif Ali Kazim and Nermeen Simone Khan were married according to Muslim traditional rites with the nikah ceremony taking place last June. The rukhsati or bidayee ceremony was set for January and two receptions were held in the past few days. In some parts of India, they call this the gauna when the bride goes to the groom’s house months after the formal wedding.

The bride’s parents held the first reception, a colorful ceremony, on Friday, January 1 at the Doubletree Hilton. This was followed a couple of days later, on Sunday afternoon, January 3 with a traditional Muslim Valima reception hosted by Saif’s parents at the Texas Safari Ranch in Sugar Land. Saif’s friends and sister delighted in ribbing him one last time as a newlywed, much to his consternation. His college professor, Dr. Akbar Hyder who teaches Comparative Literature at UT Austin read a long poem in Urdu (giving English translations in between) as he gave some words of advice to the young couple who sat nervously on stage in tall armchairs.

Saif Kazim, 24, graduated in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and is now finishing his law degree at the University of Chicago, from where he will graduate in June 2016. He is the son of Haider Kazim, a veteran journalist who has worked in several newspapers in India, the Middle East and the United States, including this newspaper. His mother Asra is a former school-teacher who currently owns and operates a daycare, Little Scholars Learning Center, on Westheimer. Saif has an older sister, Hiba, who was married last June to Hadi Mirza.

Nermeen Khan, also 24, majored in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and is now working at Brown and Caldwell, an environmental engineering firm, in Houston. Her father Irfan Khan, an engineer by profession, runs a postal business and her mother, Saadia, is also an engineer by profession and works for FMC Technologies in Houston.

Both receptions were attended by a large number of people, including many guests from India, the Middle East and Canada as well as friends and relatives from across the US. After a honeymoon in Belize, the couple intends to make their home, for the time being, in Houston until Saif graduates and chooses the next step in his career.