By Express Features Service
Three weeks ago, when Indhuja Pillai, 24, decided to write her own matrimonial ad after the profile created by her parents parroted catchwords from the matrimonial lexicon, thousands of Indian women across the world wrote in to salute her decision to represent herself honestly on cyberspace. And while her new profile on her own website is inundated with requests, not all independent women who wander online for a match can boast of a similar positive experience.
Ramya Swayamprakash survived the wringer that is a matrimonial website by ditching it. “I was rejected because I was too qualified and/or too fat and because of the number of domestic help I said I needed,” she says. “The man I was speaking to on one of the sites called me up to talk to me about maids and how many we’d have after we got married. Another man, from the US, Skyped a couple of times. He had his aunt meet me, and then reject me,” she says. Tired of the demands made on her from men she’d never seen, Swayamprakash, 30, abandoned the search for a husband online. Soon, she met a young man through friends and married him last year.
Like most Sunday papers that come with a matrimonial section, the digital platform is modelled on social networking sites and users can create their profiles with almost every aspect of financial, religious and celestial information possible. But make no mistake: it is a battlefield where families size up whether the bride or the groom’s complexion is “wheatish towards dark or fair,” the difference between “normal” and “a few extra pounds” is discussed to the last kilogram, a “convent-educated, homely girl with traditional values” is much preferred, and lest we forget, the family ought to own a “kothi in a respectable locality”. And if love at first sight happens, be sure to zoom in — Photoshop is everybody’s friend.
“On most matrimonial websites, people express interest, without reading, understanding or taking seriously what my profile says,” says Ameya Nagarajan, 32, an editor with a publishing firm. “Another annoying part is when the boy’s parents contact me, addressing my parents. My profile states that I set it up,” she says.
Once, Nagarajan received “an expression of interest” from a Tamil Brahmin man in the UK, who worked in sales for “an international adult toy maker.” “I told myself not to judge the typos, or the shorthand when we were chatting but when he asked me, ‘My professional is okay withu?’, I knew that this was not going to happen,” says Nagarajan. She politely informed the suitor about this. His parting shot was insightful: “I seen many girls runway after telling about my professional. I think we’re saving people from virus. We (Indians) not aware of this products. If people use our products they may not require whore.”
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