Why Are Indian Matrimonial Ads So ‘Extra’ And ‘Optimistic’?

Matrimonials listing brides and grooms are an echo of the real beliefs of a society, despite all the 'woke' ideas and behaviour. A hilarious take.

Matrimonials listing brides and grooms are an echo of the real beliefs of a society, despite all the ‘woke’ ideas and behaviour. A hilarious take.

Upsell, exaggerate, smile! Welcome to the very, very beautiful and very, very smart and slim world of matrimonial ads. This is a utopian land, where only good looking people roam. They are overqualified go getters, travelling the world, earning nothing less than 7 digits, yet are well mannered, cultured and homely.

Have you ever wondered how hard it must be as a parent to place your child in this web of awesomeness where one’s competitor seems only a hundred times better than one’s own child?

The logic of it seems perfect. Everyone does not have to have an organic love story. Two families tick the appropriate boxes, perform a tap dance of testing the waters by probing and asking the right questions, and in the end you have two perfect strangers, perfectly happy to spend their lives together.

But there is something questionable and inherently absurd about the norms in this arena, that have somehow concretised and become acceptable over the years. Taking something that could be natural, easy, useful, and pleasant, to a contrived rat race where it seems you’re putting up fresh products and vegetables for sale rather than prospective brides and grooms.

Grooms wanted! Brides wanted!

My favourite is the title of the section, to begin with. Grooms Wanted! Brides wanted! As if this list is the latest CBI compilation of India’s Most Wanted Criminals!

Cut to the keenly divided sections which read like a menu in a multi-cuisine restaurant. Would you like to choose from Jain, or perhaps you’re in the mood for Punjabi. Nah, give me a Hyderabadi. No, we haven’t moved to biryani, we are still speaking of brides and grooms.

While men in this pool are subjected to similar objectification and commodification, (they are judged by their height and earning potential) my personal favourites, and hence the focus of this remaining write up will be the ladies in the house.

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Let’s review the unique characteristics and various clusters that emerge within this eager, matrimonial loving and determined set of family members.

The ‘Gora Rakshaks’

Very fair, extremely fair, radiantly fair, stunningly fair. You’ll run out of adjectives but they never will. Whether they are offering or seeking, the bride here is alabaster white at all times, bordering on albino. Because not a shade lighter will do.

What’s that I hear? You’re dusky? What does that even mean?!

The Weight Watchers

Slim, thin, very good shape. For you can’t be a bride if you’re not in shape, correct? Of course if you do happen to be a bit well-endowed overall, worry not. This section can be easily omitted, and replaced with your other virtues.

The Confused

Who said you can’t have it all? This world is a real hotbed for all sorts of ‘sarva gun sampanna’ people. While on one hand you can ask for a working, successful, earning girl, she must also be a ‘very, very homely and accommodating’ girl. No one wants a Jhansi ki Rani situation in-house, correct? How on earth can a working girl love and take care of her new family?? Always better to specify what you need!

The Liberals

Let’s be clear. These are the torchbearers of change in the matrimonial world. Sitting atop their cultured and emancipated steeds, ready to charge ahead of physical features and family status. Their sections usually end with a flurry of ‘No bars’! Caste no bar, age no bar, complexion no bar, salary no bar. But if you check baar baar in the fine print at the bottom, you might see some teeny tiny red flags. So keep an eye out!

The Elitists

This lot sits right on top of the riff raff. Away from the madding crowds of matrimonial seekers and their banal requirements. They are visible and aloof.

Here the features fade and are replaced by qualifications and lineage. Of the father, mother, the crazy salary, the most important designation and job on earth. Because of course, knowledge of this financial muscle and family heft is crucial to her decision!

The Essay Writers

They have the longest sections, and spend the most money to stand out. The grooms here are so special that no attribute can be left out. From his MNC job to his brand of underwear. The bride and her family must know it all.

The Professionals

This is the one that cracks me up the most. I can understand that parents would seek safe, similar professions to avoid discord between the couple or the families. But architects calling out for architects? Engineers calling for engineers?

Let’s not laugh. Who are we to judge? In this unreliable world, there are unreliable constructions all around us. A super hero couple must run to save the day in a civil engineering emergency!

The Strivers

Not convinced? Let me say it one more time in a different language. Very fair. Really beautiful. Ati sunder. Sabse guni. By the time they are done with their sales pitch, you will be convinced.

Look, I’m no cynic. I’ve seen two close friends navigating the tricky shores of matrimonial ads and finding the love of their lives. Love can be found anywhere. That gives me hope – that in this increasingly isolating world, there is another way of finding love, a life partner. But does the process have to be this humiliating, prejudiced and commoditized?

I have hope, that along with society, the matrimonial ad wheels will churn and evolve as well. This is the wish of an eternal optimist. Hey, that’s another section to be added to the eclectic menu!

Image source: shutterstock

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About the Author

Richa S Mukherjee

Richa is a Ted X speaker, an award-winning writer, columnist, ex-journalist and advertising professional. She has authored four books of which three are being adapted for screen. She is a blogger and travel read more...

41 Posts | 121,799 Views

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