Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

This week was the final part of my brother’s wedding – a civil ceremony at a register office, then an evening reception at the top of Centre Point in London. I sat on a table with Mum and Dad, my younger brother, the bride’s parents and other relatives. Just as food was about to be served, Mum announces that she’s fasting. Dad says, “But it’s not Ramadan. Why are you fasting today?”

“Because today is very important.”

“Yes, it’s your son’s wedding!” shouts Dad.

So while we eat steak and potatoes, my mum sits and watches us.

When the speeches begin, I notice that Mum is missing – I assume she’s in the toilet. My brother gets up to make his speech. He thanks my dad, who seems quite moved – he even sheds a tear. I was so shocked to see him express an emotion, I filmed it. Last time he cried was when Diana Dors died in 1984. Then my brother began to thank Mum, but she was nowhere to be seen. I ran to the loos to get her, but she wasn’t there. The fire exit was open, so I looked out: Mum was on the steps facing Mecca.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m praying.”

“Why are you praying now, at the most important point of the night? The thing you’ve been praying for all your life is happening a floor below.”

I dragged her downstairs and she arrived as the speeches had ended. After this, I really hope there is a God.