In India, 10 years back parents would have actually shunned the concept of love marriages in India and considered it taboo. If one love letter got caught, or if someone in the locality saw the girl on a bike with a boy, it meant serious things for both the boy and the girl. Girl might be forced to leave college, boy might be threatened. But this force to restrain added in the challenge to some sweet couple in India. Now, it just seems like world got flatter faster. Parents are happy, more happy are the girls parents when they realize that their daughter is in love. Because in this highly networked world, where concepts of nuclear family, freedom, personal spaces have come into existence in India makes arranged marriage sustainability increasingly challenging. An increasing trend which somehow exposes marriages to more divorces in the educated and liberated India (Debatable?). So, if your girl comes home one day, keeps her bag on the table and tells you – Dad! I want you to meet someone special. And I want to marry him. You are no longer worried. You are just like – Phew! Atleast my daughter will feel happy and safe for her life.
But you know what. Where there is a challenge, there is fun. And arranged marriages are somehow back in action. I had so far ignored this and was searching for soulmates in Yahoo chats, Rediffbols and the like. All I got were bots sending me invites to view them. If I started viewing them, my vaio would see all the infections as well. So I had resisted but now I had a perfect match platform – Genuine human beings, females in particular, single and asking prospective searchers to mingle! Nice. Suits the needs of both parties. As I hit the search button on the Bharat Matrimony website, I was already feeling the adrenalin in my body pump up! 975 profiles. Amazing.
23, Software Engineer, Fair, Slim, Convent Educated, 4 Lakhs per annum. Arunita. Photographs? I clicked on all the links which said photographs. But all it opened up was a pop up – Do you want to request Arunita to upload her photograph. I declined. There are 974 more anyway. Who cares to request.
Changed my search criteria. This time I selected the small box which said – Show results for profiles with Photograph displayed. 647. Smaller. Yet Better. Atleast I get to see who I am going to marry.
24, Software Engineer (presently in Onsite, UK), Fair, Down to earth, Believes in simple living high thinking. 27, MBA, Non-working (Blessed by recession, I thought). Moved on. 26, Athletic, PG in Sociology, Lecturer. Cool Types. Hot types wear jeans in matrimony sites. Cool types actually wear salwars in these sites and wear anything and everything outside the matrimony sites. I don’t say this. Parents say this. They are the first and major target market for sites like these. 24, B.A, Not working. 23, Engineer, Non-IT.. I just kept browsing and occasionally maximizing the thumbnail photos. I stopped at many. There is a concept of Send Interest! And I made good use of that in the free profile I created. I uploaded some of my US snaps. Those would cut the competition of the available grooms I thought. Somehow the photos you take in the US are the ones you look best in. So had uploaded my best snaps. Every interest I sent, I thought to myself, if she responds, I would be the happiest man on earth. Like this was the only step before marriage. There are tons of steps ahead, I realized much later. Welcome to the world of e-arranged marriages.
The amazing number of searches, types of searches mesmerized me. There is a facial search which you can use to search for the girl who looks like Aishwarya or Katrina. Engrossed, I was fast learning the website as well as browsing fast. Thanks to the Reliance Netconnect which matched to the speed at which I was browsing.
When I stopped, it was already 32 interests sent. 271 profiles browsed. Then I tagged on the search to continue next day. Way past midnight already. When I went to sleep, I was excited. 2 Things – One, I did not feel alone in the apartment today. Two, I would not feel alone in the apartment tomorrow. Because someone would respond with an interest tomorrow. If not, then I would start browsing from profile number 272! Once this website is over, will hop to Jeevansathi. Then Shaadi. Then SimplyMarry. The list is never ending. Then I can always come back to Bharat matrimony to check the new profiles.
Amazing. Nick thought looking at the fan in the ceiling. He was suddenly no more lonely.
He did not need any beer. Not that anything was there in the kitchen. 6 more days to go and the last week in office. Time for farewell parties and movers and packers.