A few weeks back, Netflix came up with a show based on the Indian Matchmaking process that quickly rose to number one slot in India. I watched the show in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it considering it as a satire on the “arranged marriage” culture in India. Though many viewpoints and comments made on the show were horribly wrong, I managed to get a good laugh out of it. However, there were many who thought that the viewpoints expressed on the show were grossly inaccurate and shows our country’s culture in bad light.
Well, I can’t speak for the country in general, but my experience in this regard has been somewhat similar to the show. About 2 years back, I registered myself on a matrimonial website. Ever since I created an account on it, the only thing I wished to do was to delete it ASAP. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many people who have managed to find their life partners through such websites. After being on it for more than 2 years (unfortunately I’m still a part of it), I have concluded that virtual dating/marriage is not my cup of tea. The process is so technical and mundane, it makes working in a corporate job a joy ride compared to it.
The initial few requests that I received wanted to match our “kundalis” (horoscopes) before initiating a conversation. Yes, it’s 2020 and we still allow the position of stars and moon to dictate the terms of our life. Then came a gentleman (at least he considered himself one) who tried very hard to show that he is the ‘quintessential modern’ guy with an open mindset. After barely talking for a week, he wanted to know if I had made up my mind to marry him, say WHAT? I didn’t give him an answer as I was unsure at that moment. A few more days in and he tells me that he is talking to other girls as well. Come again? Did I hear it right? I was extremely upset and wanted to call it off but he sweet talked me into believing that I was the only person he has connected with and he wanted to continue talking with me to know me better. Call me naive or extremely DUMB, I believed him and continued. After almost 1.5 months of daily calls and messages, I had made up my mind but he had another plans. The moment I asked him to decide about our future, he gave me a lame ass reply and ghosted me.
Yeah, this incident hurt me terribly at that time and I took a long time to recover from it. It took me a while to try my luck again with these websites. After a lot of misses, I connected with a guy who made it easier for me to converse with. We (rather I) had a lot of good conversations for week when he asked me a question which ended up becoming a deal breaker for him. He asked me if I had any addictions, when I replied in the negative, his demeanor had a visible change. He started conversing less and gave me to the point replies. Owing to my last experience, I didn’t want to leave without finding out the reason behind the change in his behavior. Turns out he found me too “perfect” for him and felt that I would change him if we got together. I really didn’t know what to say. I was glad that it ended and I got my closure.
After a long time of believing that I needed to be married to be happy, I’m finally at a place in my life where I’m truly enjoying (or at least try to) every tiny detail about my life. I don’t have the intense desire to be with someone who can change my life for the better. I somehow have found solace in my own self and realized that the only person who can change my life is I, me and myself. Ever since, I’ve had this realization, I don’t feel unhappy with such experiences or disappointments. I have found the strength to stand up for myself and know what’s completely right for me.
Meanwhile, my life in the “Indian matchmaking” scene is still the same. No matter how educated or successful you are in life, a girl is made to feel incomplete if she isn’t married. A distant uncle called my mother today to tell her how happy my cousin made him by calling off her inter-caste marriage, quitting her job as an air hostess and marrying a guy from our community. Apparently, my cousin had a “bad” image for hanging around with her guy friends and partying in clubs (seriously?????). He sent my mother a proposal for me. I found the guy decent enough to share my details with. My mother gets a call back in an instant, “Don’t let her know, but do we have any pictures of her in a saree or salwar kameez instead of jeans? And there we go again!!