Is there no way one can find an ideal life partner these days by being simply themselves? Irrespective of the mushrooming matrimonial sites, singlehood, like motherhood or fatherhood, seems to be eluding the upwardly mobile men and women. We may have become too educated for our own good, because it has changed the rules of the game.
It is no longer about a steady income (contributed by the man) and multi-tasking abilities (expected from the woman). Marriage by the rules of our forefathers is now extinct. Men are seeking women ten years older than themselves, and women are looking for men who have more than incomes. Strangely, during the search process, women come out looking stranger than fiction, because they dare to be honest about their goals and dreams. The fastest way to lose a prospective groom online is to tell him the true story. Perhaps women need to focus only on their culinary skills in the brief description of themselves that matrimonial sites encourage. Men on the other hand, downplay their affluence to test the women. “Ah, let us see if she’s after my money or she really likes me!”
Imagine going through your whole life without finding that special someone — and then naively believing that ‘The One’ like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix (my favourite, really) is tucked in somewhere between the pages of a matrimonial site! Imagine believing that every word said and exchanged online with a complete stranger is all true, without even having conversed or met the person in question. Also, while surfing through the ocean of so-called ‘great catches’ you are likely to find profiles of men blatantly claiming they are “separated” or “in the process of divorce”… which means… what? Are they emotionally available for another marriage when they haven’t even finished the first one? Well, your guess is as good as anyone else’s on the planet!
So, where does that leave the quest for that elusive soul mate via the tantalising world of matrimonial sites? Increasingly, statistics displayed on matrimonial sites alarm prospects of either gender when it screams, “More than 10,000 new people register every day”. If only choosing a partner online could be as easy as shopping for a dress or an accessory on an online store where everything was clearly mandated: SX, S, M, L, XL? Black, red, green, white?
Agreed — that is wild thought and possibly not practical, but it is certainly not wilder than what happened to a friend of mine (let’s call her Gina). Some years ago, Gina wanted to marry an American-Indian citizen (let’s call him Robert), whom she had met on one of the matrimonial websites. The romance progressed well for several months — declarations of love and parcels between continents were exchanged.
Then Gina went to California on a paid holiday by Robert to meet with his family. Imagine her horror when Robert suggested she join the ‘family bath’ on the second day of her visit. A bit perplexed, Gina asked what he meant. Robert explained (without batting an eyelid) that his family members bathed together every day in a common bathroom ever since he could remember. Needless to say, Gina fled back to Mumbai.
Where does this leave the hopeful, unwed millions then? Well, right at the beginning. Online or offline, the basis of an intended life-long relationship cannot be intrigue or politeness. The sooner the real truth is revealed, the better it is for both parties because the seekers do not have the time to assess and romance for years before they marry. Online technology could be used to speed up the process, but it can’t replace the ‘right to information’. So, don’t give up yet. The key to finding your soul mate, irrespective of the mode of search, is awfully simple: Just keep it honest.
(The writer is a communication specialist)