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March 30, 2005

Anita Jain: Is Arranged Marriage Really Any Worse Than Craigslist?

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(posted here with Author's permission)

Recently, i was cc’d on an e-mail addressed to my father. It read, “We liked the girl’s profile. The boy is in good state job in Mississippi and cannot come to New York. The girl must relocate to Mississippi.” The message was signed by Mr. Ramesh Gupta, “the boy’s father.”

That wasn’t as bad as the time I logged on to my computer at home in Fort Greene and got a message that asked, forgoing any preamble, what the date, time, and location of my birth were. Presumably sent to determine how astrologically harmonious a match with a Hindu suitor I’d be, the e-mail was dismayingly abrupt. But I did take heart in the fact that it was addressed only to me.

I’ve been fielding such messages—or, rather, my father has—more and more these days, having crossed the unmarriageable threshold for an Indian woman, 30, two years ago. My parents, in a very earnest bid to secure my eternal happiness, have been trying to marry me off to, well, just about anyone lately. In my childhood home near Sacramento, my father is up at night on arranged-marriage Websites. And the result—strange e-mails from boys’ fathers and stranger dates with those boys themselves—has become so much a part of my dating life that I’ve lost sight of how bizarre it once seemed.

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Anita Jain is currently Technology and telecommunications reporter for Crain's New York Business

March 30, 2005 in Columnists, Humor, Reality | Permalink


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I think that Anita is caught between becoming a Bahou and dancing to the Blue Bayou

She is caught between Shaadi and Sex in the City, Parivar and ParAmour.Her homily against the
"homely", seems like a desperate call to avoid being cast in the image of a Housewife. Her goddesses seem to be somewhere in between Sita and Savithri and Sarah and Susan.(being Indian American she seems to get her pick)

Personal Note to Anita - Have you read Born Confused by Desai Hidier?

Posted by: Srinivas Bharadwaj | Oct 29, 2005 11:43:04 AM

hmm.. to think of it.. we indians are adopting to the fast changing world.. upgrading our skills to become the best of the best of the it world.. working globally... and yet the good old arranged marraige system stays!! Are we just the second most confused tribe after the yankees or what? :-D

Posted by: lucidly awake | Mar 31, 2005 2:11:06 PM

Looking around impartially, I would say marriage is a total crapshoot anyway and probably arranged ones are as likey to succeed as any other kind. The chances of two people making the accommodations and compromises necessary to live together in reasonable harmony depend on the people. It is unfortunate that most cultures require the female to do all the accommodating, at least on the surface... but strong-minded women find ways, I do not doubt, to make the marriage fit them. If both parties have a temperament that is able to see another's point of view, and not flare up at every irritating mannerism, then the thing will probably succeed; otherwise, it will dissolve or be unhappy. There re a LOT of unhappy marriages; but I am not sure the individuals involved would have been happy in any other pairing, either, What a very odd thing human life is, anyway.

Posted by: judith | Mar 30, 2005 8:22:26 AM

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