Dating has traditionally been hard and when I hear the horror stories my friends go through and having gone through them myself, I must admit I can't help but feel a certain sense of relief for successfully choosing the right guy and crossing the border without much incident. (Well, there were incidents before I found the man I married. Many, many incidents but I'll regale you with those stories at a later date.)
There is one thing I do fear, however, and that is the dreaded, "Where did you guys meet?" Ah, if only I had a romantic story like, "He dialed the wrong office extension, fell in love with my voice, and decided he HAD to have me," or I would even settle for, "We met at a friend's wedding and had a fierce fight over the groom's shoe and then, click, we fell madly in love."
But, no, that is NOT what happened. Not even close. The husband and I met via—brace yourself—bangalimatrimony.com! Yes, that's true! Very UNCOOL.
Where was I to find this man? Bars? Nope. Satsangs? Nope. Auntiji's daughter's wedding? Hell, no! Gym? Hahaha. So I grabbed the mouse, opened the site, and started hunting.
I'm essentially a very lazy person. So, after a few heartbreaks—I decided it was time I found myself a partner for good. Someone to have deep meaningful conversations with (never happened), someone to share food with (I can hear the husband chuckling 'lolwut'), someone to watch movies with, someone to travel with, someone to harass, someone to tease, someone to make obnoxious demands from (rarely met) and most importantly, someone who would buy me gifts (sometimes met)!
But where was I to find this man? Bars? Nope. Satsangs? Nope. Auntiji's daughter's wedding? Hell, no! Gym? Hahaha. So I grabbed the mouse, opened the site, and started hunting.
This was the pre-Tinder era but I assume the process is somewhat similar. You sift out the potential serial killers, pretentious pricks, deadbeat junkies, and of course vegetarians (hey, don't judge me, this is my list). Once the first round of accepts and rejects was done, I felt a surge of relief. But what followed was a surge of dread—what if I had been sifted out as a potential serial killer, or whatever criteria the other party had set for a wife/bahu? Still, the ball had been set rolling.
You sift out the potential serial killers, pretentious pricks, deadbeat junkies, and of course vegetarians (hey, don't judge me, this is my list).
The next day, I logged in again and noticed a bunch of those "accepts" sent the initial note of acknowledgement and a "more info" request. Of these, one looked particularly promising. A bhodro (decent) looking techie whose father, a retired professor, wanted to drop by for tea and meet me.
Hallelujah, cried out my mother! I didn't want her to get her hopes up but hey, what the heck, the process has to start somewhere. Everything was set up and within a week, they came over. Father, mother, brother, brother's wife, brother's kids, but hark, what do we have here, no boy! Upon inquiry, boy's mother said, unfortunately, he was "busy". The evening was reasonably pleasant, good food was eaten and the family left. My mother was quite upset, "How can they expect me to 'show' my daughter, and not 'show' their son?"
My mother was quite upset, "How can they expect me to 'show' my daughter, and not 'show' their son?"
That was that. Everything went quiet. To be honest, I couldn't care less, I always knew this would be a long and daunting process. But then a call came, and the father asked if it was okay for the boy to call me. My mother reluctantly gave him my number.
Then it happened—something remarkably strange, something totally unanticipated. The boy called and we talked like we knew each other forever. No small talk, just a simple conversation about a lizard in his room that wags its tail every time he sings. Bingo! This was it. Then we met for coffee that lasted for about four hours and by the end of the meeting, we both knew this was it. Yes, my friends, one call and one meeting are all it took to decide this was it. In fact, I sometimes felt it was too easy. Like, what, will I get married just like that without someone chasing me to the airport, fighting with security and singing a song all at the same time? Turns out it works out just fine, with no added drama.
Why the hell am I telling you all this? Well, come on, don't tell me you didn't always hope you'd read a 'love story' starring a lizard one day. Your wish just came true! And whenever I am trawling the internet for discounts and taking Facebook/YouTube breaks in between, out of five 'jokes' I come across two will be on apparently the bizarreness of arranged marriages. Like, Tinder? Check. Matrimony.com? WTF, never-check-are-you-crazy-I-don't-want-to-hang-out-with-you.
Yes, some of these e-arranged processes are bizarre, perpetuate gender stereotypes and caste biases, and sometimes you end up with a bhodro person who'll hold hour-long conversations about lizards on good days and not share a morsel of food on bad.
Well, I guess I just want to tell all you single people who want a partner that though falling in love is hard and having someone reciprocate that love is even harder, it is perfectly okay to want to make an effort. Or want to be not single and also realise your singledom won't just end magically while you binge on Netflix and aloo bhujia. At times, it's okay to go with your gut.