The Amazonification of Arranged Marriages


The digitization of life is getting very real. From the next mobile phone to buy to movies to catch on date night, recommendations and ratings have become the de facto way of  decision making. I am all for it. Even if it means sifting through reams of nonsense written by frustrated souls who were meted out ‘unsatisfactory’ service. After all, it is the triumph of democracy for everyone’s voices to be heard, no matter how insipid or colourful. I never imagined there would be a day when I would complain.

But I am now. After embarrassing and sometimes just plain infuriating experiences and exchanging shared moments of despair with fellow 26 year old girls of ‘marriegeable’ age.

What HAS gotten into the boys and girls (or more appropriately, men and women) of my generation? We keep looking for a better deal/package/any other half offensive term for a potential partner. Without disparaging the entire institution of arranged marriage, a year into the search, I can’t help feeling that the entire exercise is just an accepted display of pomposity, narcissim and blatant insensitivity.

For those fortunate enough to not have gone through this experience, let me break it down for you. Single (and sometimes non-single) ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ parents register their children (or occasionally, the  prospective bride or groom register themselves ) on matrimonial websites – monstrously larger versions of the good old newspaper that our grandparents relied on to get their children married. Filling out the profile listing physical attributes , hobbies, family background and the all important professional (read: ‘pay’) information follow.I must credit the search box here: the all important tool to find the dream partner, trumping even Google’s advanced search features. High potential prospective spouse identified, a few months of approved dating follows, which eventually might lead to marriage.

The result of such a high tech approach to an age old tradition? A never ending search..the next rishta will be the perfect one after all- a guy with a higher salary or a better looking girl from a more respectable family. And thus the long tail phenomenon from business school theory entered my life.

While I was just steadying myself to a good long search, my friend broke the news of her impending divorce to me yesterday. No prizes for guessing whether it was an arranged match. And so it happens that on Valentine’s Day, I am left to ponder the role and nature of love/romance in my life. Am I doomed forever to a life of selfish love? Is it because of what I let myself be privy to? Or am I going to be as lucky as my parents, grandparents and the previous ten generations of my family and defy the Amazonification  of my life and find true love?