Via TheAtlantic.com The online dating scene in India is primarily matrimonial websites, predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding. It highlights a false dichotomy between modern arranged marriages and fairytale love.
Last week, I joined Shaadi.com, India’s oldest and most popular matrimonial website.
Call it anthropological curiosity; call it a metric of my own narcissism. Call it acclimating to the Indian single life after coming of age in the West, where India is often seen as a country of arranged marriages and impenetrable glass ceilings. If there’s truth to caricature, then call my joining the online matrimony network a modern-day leap onto a bandwagon of millennia-old social custom.
“Shaadi” is the Hindi word for wedding; Shaadi.com is, intuitively, a wedding arranged via the Internet. It’s one of more than 100 Indian websites that comprise the country’s thriving online matrimonial market, where an individual can browse for his or her ideal spouse among a catalog of potential candidates organized by the personal information that apparently matters most: religion, caste, income, fairness of skin, family background, and so on.
Imagine eHarmony if it cut to the chase. Unlike online dating services, which at least superficially foster some sort of romantic connection, and which are effectively nonexistent in India, matrimonial websites are predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding. They succeed for the same reason every online resource does: They offer convenience and expediency in an arena with high demand for it.