Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Search.....

Long ,long time ago, folks got their children married, without them(the couple)  ever meeting before marriage. Those who watch the wonderful Marathi serial "Unch Maaza, Jhoka" will know what I am saying.

In the early and middle part of the last century, you met each other from a distance.

Somewhere in the latter half, families met over kande-pohe, tea etc, and introduced their children, and the couple got several chances to meet over coffee et al later , and decide. (I can only talk about urban middle class Maharashtra).

The last quarter of the century saw a pattern change.  The children were actually asked about their preferences , and parents kept on the lookout for likely candidates, along with their children. Sometimes it was formal introductions, sometimes informal hellos. Sometimes all this led you somewhere, sometimes it didn't and you changed track.

Today , we are in the era of marriage portals, that advertise on television, have web pages, Internet searches, and  specify all kinds of things on their individual pages, , about, say grooms, that you would have found out earlier only a month after you got married.

Like,  he is a limited conversationalist or a non stop talker. Religious/Non religious.   Owns a two wheeler/four wheeler. Desktop. laptop. Sometimes even owns a flat.  Hangs out of Facebook, Linkedin.  For some reason, ownership of a split AC is considered a big plus. He enjoys mainly vegetarian food, of the non spicy type, fast food or non vegetarian  for some change. Most fellows enjoy some sports, some mention proficiencies, and hobbies like music,photography, social service, and so on.  There are instances of someone mentioning " I like to roam"  as a hobby .....

Some portals have a "verified" category of grooms. Some agency telephones  the house to verify what information is given, for an extra charge. When folks at the other end of the phone answer in affirmative to the things asked , the groom is declared "verified" . 

Amazingly, when it comes to expectations of how the girl should be, most fellows specify ability to live in joint families, and that the girl must have the ability to look after his family .  They  specify, not just their choice in terms of height, build, community,  existence of glasses/contact lenses, complexion, job, possible salary,  acceptable cities (where she might hail from) , diet preferences, but a set of acceptable degrees !

Grooms resident abroad with parents ask for GRE-TOEFL exam scores of prospective brides. It is not unusual for fellows to specify highly qualified, and educated brides, with say one or more of CA, LL.B, CS, CWA, BTECH, BE, MBA, B.Arch, MBBS, M.D., Interior Decorator, BBA, B.Com . And before I forget, B. Physiotherapy.  Of course, M.Sc, Ph.D  are also tolerated.  Some even specify  the MBA specialization; HR, Finance et al.  (All the above choices were actually specified by a single groom candidate).

Some parents are known to send regrets saying "we are looking for a BE ot IT  girl"....  despite everything about the girl being nice , except her wrong degree.
Is this a collaboration , merger or both ?

Then there are what one may call personal details of his own that the groom supplies.  Like a traditional, or  modern, family background, food preferences,  religious views. One guy even said "   Self-proclamation is difficult thing for me. Honesty, modesty and passion describe me."  Another actually described himself as "charming. ".  Some magnanimously say, they couldn't care about the girl's having or not having a job, but almost always specify a salary

And then there is what I call euphemistic terminology. "Sales professional"  for salesman in a shop, health care professional  for front office worker in a doctor's office or pharmacist's assistant, and the best is the use of the word "HR professional". I mean you are human and a resource, what more classification do you want ?  Covers everything from an officer to administrative assistant, secretary, Man Friday etc . Another one is "Banking Services".

Sometimes one wonders if the system actually groans under so much specification.     
 Of course, a horoscope is ALWAYS asked, although, some do mention that they will be taking only a "cursory" look at it and not look for "exact" matches. I guess that allows exit loopholes.   Whatever that means.

I wonder what else will happen in the future.  Will they conduct "recruitments "?  Will a bunch of girls attend a group discussion ?  Will they have levels of selection and shortlists ?   Why not contracts with terms and conditions ?

The irony lies in the meaning of "ON LINE".

In the older days, with much less information about each other, people got married, had kids, lived with elders, moved on their own, fought,laughed , cried and in general,  life was lived in an on-line mode, facing up to new discoveries about each other, and learning to handle them in real time, sometimes, with a few mental injuries and hurts, but lessons learned.

Today, with such a flood of information , and this weird insistence of educational degrees having to do something with it all,  time and again, people find, that they are ill equipped to deal with situations post marriage, because of faulty system specifications, and outlandish expectations.

There exists no algorithm for spousal selection. Definitely not in a discretized world, where 1 + 1 is always 2 and many are not able to handle any other result. 

Early on, 1 + 1 could always be 2, 0r 3 or even 4., and whatever the result , it was valid and manageable.

Between Kande-Pohe systems and  relational database query systems, there has to be a middle path.  

Some find it at work, some in college, some amidst their hobbies they share.  But it is important that it is found for society at large , regardless of the strata to which one belongs.




  1. What I hear sometime is ..... a couple meeting at work place or on internet and liking each other after meeting (or without meeting ?)and then may be leaking the news to father via mother and then'Kande Pohe' program betweena the 2 families and declarint it as 'arranged marriage'.

  2. Wow, it sounds so complex. I know that internet dating here is also very big now with the majority of people getting married meeting on the internet dating sites.

    I do not like the thought of putting in such a detiled order as it were for your ideal mate. It almost seems as if they are ordering a new piece of furniture or the latest electronic gadget with all the bells and whistles. As we old people know the person is far more than their looks or the certificates they hold.

    I think you are right, perhaps it will end up with group selections like as if they were trying out for a movie or something. I like the idea of families being involved as that was how it was kind of done here in years gone by. In the country anyway. Families would get together informally and then bring their kids together. My uncle and aunty met their spouses this way.

    In my generation you usually met your partner at school, university or work. Today it is all a bit more complex I think. Even here, young people are finding it more difficult to find their mate. That is why online internet dating sites are so popular. The secret is that you must meet in person quickly after you interact online to see if the person is who they say they are. There are a lot of stories of people saying they are 'more' than they are or even fraudsters. It is fascinating Suranga and I know it is even more complex for you there.

    Melbourne would be an ideal visit for you if you only could.:)