Joined: 30 March 2006
"Navin, I'm afraid that we've got a problem."
Navin Singh Ahluwalia, second year cadet at KMA, looked up from his lunch to find his girlfriend Tanisha looking at him with a very serious expression on her face.
"What happened, Tanu?" he asked her concerned, Tanisha never joked about things like this, if she said something was wrong then it definitely was.
"My mother just called." she told him with a sigh, sitting down opposite him. "She's talking about getting me married off."
"So what did you say?" he asked, feeling nervous. They'd been together for almost a year now, and were very much in love but Tanu's mother kept asking her to agree to get married. She seemed to think that once Tanisha became an army officer, no man would want to marry her anymore.
"Well I told her no of course," Tanisha replied, "But Navin, you know that she thinks you're not serious about me."
"I know," Navin said sighing, "But you know what my situation is like. Until my little sister Naina gets married, my parents won't agree to my marriage. They're quite traditional about these things, and there's still almost a year left until we finish the academy…"
Tanisha rolled her eyes, "And then the very next day my mother will arrange my wedding, Navin. You know what she's like!"
"Alright," Navin said, realising that Tanu was right about her mother. He had met the woman last year and had found her truly terrifying. "But that doesn't solve the problem of how we're supposed to get married when there's no sign of my sister being ready to settle down."
Navin had just turned twenty two while his sister was nineteen and going to turn twenty in a few months. She was currently studying a business degree and last time Navin had brought up the subject of her marriage, she had flat out refused.
"Naina has her own ideas about marriage, she's determined that she will never agree for an arranged marriage, so that idea's out. I keep hoping she'll fall in love with somebody, but she just doesn't like any of the boys she knows."
Navin supposed that he was the first brother in the world who actually wanted his sister to fall in love with somebody. To be honest, he wasn't that keen on the idea, but he was afraid of losing Tanisha.
Suddenly Tanu's eyes brightened, "I have an idea!" she exclaims.
Navin groans, "Oh no, Tanu. This isn't going to turn out like most of your ideas is it?" He still remembered the time she had tried to set up Major Nair for a date with their yoga teacher in an effort to improve his mood….
"My ideas do not always turn out that bad!" Tanu exclaimed, "And this is the most sensible idea that I've had in a long time."
"Alright, tell me." Navin agreed reluctantly.
"Well Naina doesn't want an arranged marriage, and she doesn't like any of the boys she knows. So why don't we introduce her to a boy, do some subtle matchmaking and let true love take its course!"
Navin privately thought that Tanisha was being overly optimistic about the chances of the success of this plan, but didn't say so. He didn't want his girlfriend getting angry at him. "Alright Tanu, let's pretend that we put this plan into action, where do we get a guy from?"
"Navin, we are in a military academy, there's not exactly a lack of boys here in case you haven't noticed."
"You mean one of my friends???" Navin asked, horrified at the thought.
"Why not?" Tanu asked him, "It's not as if your friends are all that bad, just choose one of them. At least that way you'd get on well with your brother-in-law!"
She had a point there, no tensions about his sister going to a bad house. However Navin knew what most of the boys at this academy were like, and there was no way he wanted Naina anywhere near them.
"Tanisha, I really don't know, do you think that any of the boys here are suitable for Naina? I mean, they're all so…"
"Look Navin, it's just a suggestion. If it doesn't work out then it doesn't but you can at least think about it."
"Okay, okay, I'm thinking, it's just that, well you know, she's my little sister and I'm not going to fix her up with just anybody. I want her settled well, with exactly the right guy."
"I agree with you, Navin." Tanisha told him seriously, "I'm not about to ruin your sister's life just to fix mine, so we'll only put the plan into action if we can get the right guy."
"Well what are our options?" Navin asked her, peering around the mess and looking at the faces there.
"Okay, well we'll use a process of elimination and short list them!" Tanisha announced, Navin was still slightly suspicious of this plan working as Tanisha seemed far too excited.
"Yudi." Tanisha suggested, seeing their friend seated at a nearby table.
"Too nervous," Navin replied, "I know my sister, Naina would turn him into a shivering heap on the very first date. And besides, he's been following Shalini around for months anyway."
"Ali." Tanisha said, looking at the boy next to Yudi, she wasn't about to reject anybody simply on the basis of a different religion. They had to examine all possibilities.
"Waaaay too traditional and shy, Naina would be bored within a few hours." Navin said rolling his eyes, "Besides, haven't you realised that he's in love with Pooja yet?"
Tanisha nodded, conceding that he had a point, she also thought there was something going on between those two.
"Okay, what about Alekh then. Naina already knows him, right?"
"No offense to Alekh, but no way am I getting my sister married to an alcoholic tapori guy." Navin tells her, "Besides, when I took Alekh home last holidays they showed absolutely no interest in each other that way whatsoever. I wouldn't be surprised if Naina sends him a rakhi this year." Navin added.
"Okaay, Abhimanyu then." Tanisha suggested, as their long haired friend walked into the room. "Just imagine, your sister could be a princess!"
"And have you forgotten that Abhimanyu is already going out with Nandini?" Navin asked her, "Besides, I really don't think that the life of a princess would suit my sister."
Navin studied the rest of the room in despair, not a single good candidate among the lot of them. He was just about to tell Tanu that her plan was a dud and they might as well give up, when his best friend walked into the room.
Navin suddenly regained hope, yes, this could work, this could definitely work! He was good looking, intelligent, funny and polite, but still had a sense of humour and fun. Basically he had all of the qualities that Naina had stated she wanted in a man. Navin watched as his friend grabbed a plate and piled food onto it, then made his way over to sit next to them.
"What's up guys?" Raj asked, "You haven't touched your food yet."
Navin and Tanisha exchanged knowing glances, they had found their scapegoat.
Navin grinned mischievously, Raj would never know what hit him.
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