As the wedding season has kicked off in India, I thought of writing a little about the same topic.
Basically there are two types of marriage: Arranged and Love. Then there comes the permutation and combination of these two options. Like how people claim that they had an arranged love marriage where it was an arranged setting and they fell in love or there is love marriage which the two chaps set up as arranged. Confusing right!!
In today’s virtual world there emerges a third kind which is “The Matrimonial Site” kind. Half of the eligible population can be found on matrimonial sites. Usually when the family connections prospects list gets exhausted, they resort to these sites. Very advanced! Going beyond the boundaries and reach of family and social groups. It can be kind of an interesting experience. You meet a lot of people and a lot of confused or sorted expectations. But, you will for sure get a lot of funny experiences to remember a lifetime.
I’m here to share mine. Well, a year and a half spent in this process and I have a tale to tell. On a scale of good to crazy, I would like to say I walked almost the entire scale.
Disclaimer: Names of the cartoons will not be mentioned here for obvious reasons!
So as I turned 24, my parents at the very concerned observation of the society, declared that it was time to find a groom for me. Completed my masters I was already doing job. So now I didn’t have any excuse to give the society that was fit for them. “Maybe I wasn’t ready yet!” The counter reasons that come were something like “Oh! These things take time.” “You’ll have time to decide.” “If you start searching now, then you’ll get married by the time you turn 26.” “You aren’t getting any younger now.” It was funny and after a point it was frustrating. I don’t care about the society, but my parents do. So they gave into the society pressure and indirectly so did I. Then started the circus of the showing and seeing of prospects. Some came with an entire team to see the prospective bride for their precious son. Eat snacks, have refreshments, talk about the weather and politics and after an awkward hour they bid goodbye with the promise of calling and letting us know their decision. This is a typical arrange marriage situation. And if you are anything like me, you’ll find it quite hilarious.
After a few months, the idea of these matrimonial sites was dropped by a friend of mine. I said why not try it. Doesn’t hurt, right? So my photos were smeared across 3 biggest matrimonial sites in India. Creating a profile I learned that there is so much to this than it actually seems. It might feel like you are filling out some government form or applying for an account in the Swiss bank. Until then I never knew that there were regional and caste based matrimonial sites as well. I didn’t want to narrow it down to all that, so I signed in 3 generic matrimonial sites. For creating a profile, you have more categories than filling out a bank form and more options than an ice cream shop. You have the basics like, age, height, weight, complexion, education, work experience, and an essay space to describe yourself. You then have filters for your requirements of qualities you are trying to search in your partner. In short a checklist. It’s all advanced. You have mobile apps and even offices of these sites where you can also pay an executive to find you a prospective match based on the requirements you’ve written. So personalized I say! I did not pay any other executive, but went with the madness on my own. The cherry on top was that apart from these caste based branches of the sites, you actually also have something exclusive for the elite class. And it is also known as “elite matrimony site”. I learnt a lot.
After the initial profile making and learning about the app and the working of it, the requests started coming in. I kept the place filter open. So the requests flew in from near and far. I accepted a few prospects. Some panned out some didn’t beyond this stage. Surprisingly I found that all the 3 sites had the same products on display. I connected with a couple of guys on chat. In India, you don’t only need a good guy, a good family from the same caste but you then have the requirement of matching the guy and girl’s horoscopes. So after the initial contact, I had to procure the guy’s horoscope and get it matched. If it matches then and only then was I to talk further. So you can imagine, like an ocean of prospects from which there might be a river of contacts of which choices stream down to the form of tributaries because of the horoscope match and all this in hopes of getting yourself a glass of water according to your taste or liking.
I talked to a lot of guys but in the year and half I only actually met 4 of them. One of which is here to stay! Yay! I found him on the site itself and well he was least of the weird lot. And so I picked him. But this article isn’t about him. Sorry SQUISHY… This article is in fact about the funny incidents that I’ll live to tell. So here it goes.
Sometimes it happens that the parents contact first; sometimes the guys themselves. I wasn’t disappointed just by the guys, I did talk to some really weird parents as well. One instance was where a mother got in contact with me, took rigorous follow ups also. Every second day. Finally I decided to at least talk with her. So there it went, bio-datas and few more photos exchanged. And then came the bomb! She rejected me because I had reading spectacles. I don’t wear them all the time, nor do I have contact lens. But still she went on saying that her son was not ready to talk yet. I had a good laugh and bid her adieu.
Another came. Overseas guy. Talked for about a month on call. Good guy. Sent parents to see me. Parents came. Talked. Loved me. And then a week later said that it can’t work just because I was not a “Patel” (A kind in Gujarati caste. Americans will recognize them easily.) Well, surprise surprise, I wasn’t a Patel before as well. Then why the hell did they even let him talk to me. He said sorry and excused himself. Another lost case.
Another yet, guy settled in USA. Parents were in India. They sent the request. The first question asked was whether I had a visa or not. I reside in India, they were aware of the fact. Then why on earth would they expect me to have a visa. I mean is it that I knew a proposal from them would be coming my way and in anticipation of that I just happen to have a visa ready for them. So now I was rejected because I was stupid to not get a visa even though I did not know of whether I am marrying somebody in India or in USA. The funny thing here was that after a couple of months, the father contacted me denying the fact that they had ever contacted me before and also rejected me. Me being me, after a point of trying to make him understand this politely, I actually had to send him a screenshot of our conversation leading to which I got radio silence from him.
Moving forward, I talked to weird guys who asked me for a selfie in the middle of the night; then there was a clingy one who called my parents and told them how happy will he keep me after marriage, no introductions exchanged. I even got relatives (brothers, sisters, dads, the whole lot of them) messaging me on facebook, some even dropping creepy messages like how absolutely they love my smile and will never let that fade away. No, all this does not look good in the introductory message. Not saying I was the best the site showed, few people might have found me weird, but well it’s my story.
By the end of it, I was just so frustrated, I couldn’t do ‘what are your hobbies, which is your favorite color’, conversations anymore. It got so bad that I had decided I’ve had enough. So when the same old ‘Hello from the matrimony site’ message pinged up on my phone again, I gave the poor guy shit. I was so full of attitude, I would almost get angry at every discussion I had with him. Didn’t think it would last a week also. But his patience and my attitude finally got me my kind of weirdo. Yes, I am engaged soon to get married even though I have spectacles and even though I am not a Patel. The process finally ended on a good note with lots of funny incidents that I would most definitely tell my kids “…and kids, that’s how I met your father!”