There are two sets of people who are among the most harassed lots. One’s the set of single girls (aged between the mid twenties and late 30s) and the other set are the anxious mothers.
The single girl, first. For a good 10 years, she will suffer the assault of just one question – arey, when will you get married? The barrage comes from all quarters — from the neighbour, the pop-up aunt, her friend, the worried neighbourhood Army uncle and even the soon-to-retire postman. Everyone just rushes to mom and bechari’s aid as if they were a car crash.
And rescue often comes in the form of match-making. In theory it’s always fun to be introduced to new people but in practice, nothing can be more awful.
Because matchmakers often find you people who have been single, for a reason. You have some strange souls who cite, ‘I don’t eat ghutka’, under “best virtues”. Some are hunting for free nurses to care for ageing parents and others are duller than office-walls.
But according to the matchmaker, every boy on that list is pure gold — especially if he’s rich. In the world of professional matchmaking, a boy is rated on the basis of turnover, income and wheel base.
The Indian marriage-industrial complex will even charge girls above 30, 30 per cent extra in “finder’s fees” and this is in addition to the lakh they could be charging for the “finding”.
Then, there are the meetings. Matchmakers expect the girls to make the effort and travel to another city to meet a name on the list. Why? Well, you’re the girl... duh! The meetings themselves are often hilarious. One girl says the guy she met wasn’t sure of his age. “I’m 27 to 28 years old,” he said. Another explained family “hierarchy” and told her to be on the ‘yes sir, yes sir, three bags’ basis with almost every family member. The third gem the girl was introduced to wanted to know if she was still in love with her ex.
Even as this goes on, hordes of well-meaning relatives dive in. The aunts want you to puja everything that’s visible through a telescope and according to some, an education abroad is a strict NO because that means you’ve been alone with the world, exploring cultures — what sacrilege!
The 30s is worse. The matchmaker acts as if he had to dredge the harbour to find you options.
Finally, once a potential is identified, starts the mother of all checks. The matchmaker asks for your entire dating history as if all that’s on a server somewhere. You are even told to take down precious photos which have you celebrating with friends because hey, vodka ruins rishtas. Also, brace for impact if you turn down a potential. “Why would you do that? You should be grateful he agreed, girl’? The only time this process may turn funny is if by one helluva chance you meet Mr Right.
Otherwise, the profitable part of the entire Indian wedding industry is all about a hunt....