My father was mopping the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief.
"Too damn hot," he said. "Let's go downstairs. Maybe it's cooler there."
The large air-conditioners rumbled away, blowing frosty air on the long lines of people forming at the buffet table. My father put away his handkerchief and picked up a plate.
"Okay," said my mother, turning to me. "Have you seen anyone here you like? Any nice boys?"
"Mum, I haven't really been paying attention," I replied. "I wanted to watch the wedding ceremony properly."
Again, my mother sighed and looked around. People carrying plates piled with spicy eggplant and vegetable biryani were starting to fill up the rows of plastic chairs that had been set out.
That's when she spotted him.
"Who's he?" my mother asked, a finger pointing at a stranger in black across the room. "The boy talking to Maharaj Girdhar."
"Mum, stop pointing! And how am I supposed to know?" I was getting testy. This was inevitable, this scouting around for available men at a family wedding. But I was hot and tired, my sari felt like it was coming unwrapped, and, a day away from getting my period, I just wasn't in the mood. My psychic, had he been there, would have said that I was experiencing a mild form of resentment at Nina's new matrimonial state, that it had brought up my worst fears about my own future. Because he had been right about such reactions in the past, I decided on the spot that from now on I'd save the money I'd spent on him for shoes.
But the Great Official Husband-Hunt, as I had come to call it, was well underway. I had been here for several days, and there had been some talk of this boy and that. Tonight, my mother had spotted a real-life prospect.
From For Matrimonial Purposes, by Kavita Daswani . Copyright (c) June 2003, The Putnam Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.
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