The Indian Matchmaking Circus

A telling account of the madness associated with matchmaking in India, the loss of self respect it causes, and what should be done about it.

A telling account of the madness associated with the Indian matchmaking process, the loss of self respect it causes, and what should be done about it.

I could not think of calling the whole ‘matchmaking thing’ anything other than a circus. Perfectly sane and educated people can start behaving like morons, the minute their son or daughter needs to find a match for marriage. I have had the dis-privilege (is there an antonym for privilege?) of witnessing a few matchmaking events closely and here are some observations:

The fair bride

All brides have to be fair, tall, thin and convent educated. A cursory glance at any matrimonial site will tell you the extent that this madness for beauty and perfection has reached. Of course, if you can speak English with a neutral or better still a ‘phoren’ accent, thats even better.

A loaded father of the bride

If the bride is not very ‘good looking’ or not very ‘fair’ , then to secure a match, the father has to be seriously loaded. He should be able to gift a flat, a car etc – after all, the guy is marrying a girl who is not the epitome of beauty and for carrying out this onerous task, he needs to be compensated adequately.

Hypocrisy in society

People who wax eloquent on equality (we don’t believe in caste system, etc) and engage in philosophical discussions on how ‘beauty should be skin deep’, actually don’t mean a word of what they say. The hypocrisy of our society is at its blatant best here. Well, if this is what you really intend to do, please stop pretending otherwise.

Upper hand of the groom’s family

The boy’s family has first rights on the girls CV and photo. Once they are satisfied , they will share details of their gem of a son. After all, ‘ladke wale hain‘, so clearly the girl’s family is in greater need. There is no question of equal exchange of information.

Ratio between groom’s and bride’s ages

The girl has to be young, preferably less than 25. It doesn’t matter if the man is 35, balding and pot bellied. He is financially well settled and from a good family, so he does have a right to look for a young girl. After all, marrying a girl ten years your junior are some of the perks of being rich.


After being paraded in front of several people and being asked personally intrusive questions and then rejected repeatedly, the girl’s self esteem takes a serious blow. Constant rejection may even lead to severe depression. The society may start viewing the girl as a failure for not being able to get a suitable match by her late twenties.

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Fitness to ‘polish the goods’

Girls start hitting the gym to lose weight so that they can find a good match. Now, staying fit for the sake of fitness is great but for finding a match is lame – it’s like a shopkeeper polishing his goods in the morning to make them look more attractive.

I once told my mother in law that I need to loose weight and frankly, I was startled to hear her response. She said – “Sure, try to lose weight. But how does it matter now, you are married, you have a kid?” Wow, being married with a kid is now the official license to be fat and unfit.

The IIT/IIM educated groom

The girl’s parents are looking out only for IIT/IIM educated guys and ‘eklauta ladka‘ or ‘only son’. In fact, if the guy does not have parents and was air dropped from heaven, that’s even better! The guy is looked at as an ATM whose sole purpose in life is to provide financial security.

So, what’s wrong in all this?

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely not against the institution of marriage. However, there has to be a mature and healthy way of finding a match. I want to ask our Indian parents one question: If you educate your children and expect them to act responsibly in other facets of their life, why can’t you trust them with the most important decision of their life?

Perfectly capable women are subjecting themselves to this humiliation. Women who might be making decisions worth millions at work or running a business are reduced to dimwits when it comes to the question of marriage. Shame on you for treating your daughters as objects. Please empower and allow them to make their own decisions. Let them find love on their own and trust them to be responsible.

I would also request men and women to not allow yourself to be objectified and demeaned. Please walk away from this madness with your self respect and dignity intact.

I have a son, not a daughter, but I take a solemn oath to never subject anyone’s daughter to this. The only thing I would do is to educate and empower my son so that he is capable of taking good decisions.

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About the Author

Nousheen Khan

An HR professional by qualification, have worked for close to 10 years now across Pharma and IT sector, voracious reader and writer at heart. Married, and mother to a 4 year old. I love to read more...

8 Posts | 33,517 Views

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