we can log onto any dotcom site, and order just about anything.
From groceries, to lingerie, to auto parts. And for those
of you out there who have been spouse hunting, you are well
aware that we can even WWW our way into marriage! The
number of desi matrimonial sites which have crept up over the
past few years is incredible. Not only can you narrow down
size, shape and colour, but even specify particulars such as
caste, prior marital status, children...just about anything
short of what type of credit card your beloved should carry!
More than often, the Indian chat rooms and pen-pal sites, serve
as meeting grounds for prospective brides and grooms.
Nowadays, with a bachelor to bride ratio of 3:1, women have the
pick of the litter. I have several single desi and ABCD
friends here in the Dallas area, all searching endlessly for
that special soul mate (now, the existence of such a person is a
debate which I will save for a future column!). But what
exactly is involved in such an endeavour? There are 2
aspects. Advertising yourself, and then, going shopping.
ad. A 'describe everything about yourself in 300
characters or less, in such a way that someone could make a
decision as to whether they could consider you for their
prospective candidates to marry list' type of ad. No
small task. Sound fun, yet convey the serious side;
impress upon them your open mindedness, yet let them know you
have a good set of morals/values; toot your own horn, yet don't
sound pompous; convey confidence, but not arrogance.
Accomplish this in 35 words or less, because when someone is
surfing for their mate, they will search through an array of
hundreds of ads, and yours had better stand out! Now, add
to this the element of uniqueness. Lastly, some people
have other issues which they may or may not want to reveal at
this point (i.e.: divorce status; disability; dependent parent
living with them). Being honest may result in no callers,
whereas keeping quiet may be perceived as being deceitful.
you perfect your ad, it's time to start looking (phase 2).
So you put in search criteria. My mate should be a
wheatish complexion, deshastha brahmin, who was raised in India
but now resides in the US on a permanent visa, and works in the
high tech industry earning anywhere between $100K-$600K.
He should be fun yet serious, liberal yet conservative, should
drink occasionally, and should not smoke. Then hit ENTER.
Up pops dozens of matches.
then on, comes the pre-courtship phase, which starts with
passing the physical appearance test. If you have not
exchanged electronic pictures by now, this is the time.
Either you find someone attractive or you don't. Those who
don't pass, receive the standard 'thanks but not thanks' form
letter. For those who are appealing to the eye, email
contact ensues. If 'e-talking' is promising, and each
found the other intriguing through the style of writing, then
the next stage follows - the first phone call. If the
conversations flow smoothly, then the final make or break stage
is achieved. The first meeting. Where to meet (his
turf or hers)? How long to meet (if you are in the same
town, you could meet for lunch/cup of coffee, so you can cut it
short in the event it doesn't go well)? How to end it if
you don't like what you see? These are a few issues you'll
have to tackle beforehand.
the case of my ABCD girlfriend, it just so happened that her
first meeting with successful candidate # 1 was on her turf.
The guy had to fly here from New York and spend the weekend in a
hotel. So basically, she was stuck with him all weekend.
Her first reaction at the airport was "Oh, oh - he looks so
different from his picture" (rule number one people - don't
put a glamour shot out there! Builds up expectations).
And unfortunately, the rapport in real life was very different
from their phone conversations. It was very disappointing
for her, and him, especially since he really liked her.
She felt bad that he had to fly out here to meet her (and I
wondered how many times he has had to invest time and money in
such meetings). After he boarded the plane to return home,
they never spoke again. My friend has had such meetings
since, but she is still searching. And the search
continues in parallel; meaning, she talks to several candidates
at the same time. Everyone does this, to optimize on time,
and get the best deal possible.
I had seen this entire task as an adventure. An
opportunity to meet different people, and to make an informed
decision regarding ones choice of life partner. But as I
listened to friends describe one disappointment after another, I
realized that finding your soul mate on a matrimonial site is
like searching for a needle in a haystack. It's definitely
a proactive step for anyone who wants to abandon single hood.
But after countless communiqués, meetings, feelings of
rejection, and having to reject really nice people, I am certain
that while purchasing electronics or books off the web might be
ideal, finding the right spouse requires a different kind of
search engine altogether!
Nash lives in Texas and works in the telecommunications
industry. She is the proud mother of 2
beautiful girls, and enjoys travelling, web
surfing, and writing in her free time. Her email address:
Copyright 2001 Leena
Nashikkar. All Rights
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distributed by others in any manner whatsoever without
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Nashikkar. The author
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