A while ago, I got out of a terrible relationship. It made me evaluate everything about myself, especially my self-worth, and how terrible my standards are when it came to men. I felt sad about how little I thought of myself. Now, as I fight a daily battle in the war against arranged marriage, I have realised that my parents’ standards for a husband for me are so much worse than mine. As a method of finding a life partner, I believe matrimonial sites are the cesspit of humanity.
Matrimonial sites reek of casteism, classism, regionalism and every other negative –ism there is. It was my least preferred method of finding a mate. But after daily arguments, I got exhausted and gave in to my “bio-data” being put up on one of these sites. The bio-data, as it turns out, is just your kundali, yours and your family’s income, your caste, and other sections which reveal absolutely nothing about you as a person.
Well that, and a small section for people to personalise. It seems most men on such sites are looking for the typical, “fair-skinned, well-educated but homely girl, who will look after my family as her own.” So basically someone who has painstakingly gotten herself an education, only to serve as the caretaker and child-bearer of this patriarchal family. Some use this space to say they want a fun loving and easy-going partner to travel and enjoy life with. The unsaid premises in this seemingly harmless request are that the easy-going woman must be from the same social class and caste. How fun. Some of the most ridiculous are the NRI profiles, who seem to think they are god’s gift to women. God-fearing women, of course. There is no place for godless heathens on holy matrimonies.
As a method of finding a life partner, I believe matrimonies are the cesspit of humanity. Matrimonial sites reek of casteism, classism, regionalism and every other negative –ism there is.
I had to sit and go through these profiles, which made me sick to my core. I had to shortlist some of them. I chose the ones who, in the context of matrimonies, weren’t that bad. But in the real world, I imagine I would have tried to escape from within seconds of meeting them. After parental units had spoken to each other about it being a “suitable match,” I dodged incessant calls from all of them, texted some of them, and met with none of them. For someone like me who is reclusive and takes a while to open up, it was even more difficult to converse with people I didn’t know, and didn’t like what little I knew of them.
I am not a “grammar nazi”, and I do understand the immense privilege I’ve had of learning at English medium schools. But when you know how to type and express yourself, and nevertheless insist on using spellings such as ‘gud’ and ‘nyc’ and ‘luv’, that is where I must draw the line. Another lovely outcome was receiving sexist uncle jokes with a million laugh emojis, in case you forgot how to laugh, after reading such pathetic excuses for jokes.
I have been told that I shouldn’t be too picky; that I’m not getting younger and my biological clock is ticking. More than that, I feel like a ticking time-bomb which my parents have to throw out of their house before I blow up and destroy them somehow. And the matrimony is the bomb squad unit trying to rip me off by showing me how many men I have that could marry me, if only I lowered my standards a little.
The thing is, I have also been on dating sites, and interacting with real human men during this time. I have met a few people, flirted with a lot, and all this while, I was achingly aware how every one of these men are way better than even the best ones of the matrimonial sites. They don’t see me as an amalgamation of caste, religion, language, and family wealth. They are speaking to me because they feel connected to me on a human level, and are getting to know me as a person.
Even though I remain single, I am eternally grateful to these encounters, which remind me that I can find a human instead of a bio-data. That I am not being overly picky; I am just looking for something which cannot be found on matrimonial sites—a personality.
Some of the most ridiculous are the NRI profiles, who seem to think they are god’s gift to women. God-fearing women, of course. There is no place for godless heathens on holy matrimony.
I know that many people have found their spouse through these matrimonial sites, and had good relationships and marriages. But the thought of having caste and class as the basic filter is so repulsive to me. I still have to speak to them on the matrimonial site because my family forces me to. I am told constantly that I am source of disappointment because I won’t get married and provide grandchildren. I still am reminded every day what a massive failure I am and what a burden I am to my parents and the world, all because I am unmarried.
But I will refuse to buy into this narrative, and protect my precious singlehood, so that I can give it up on my terms, and not because our astrology charts and finances match. Until then, I wish to continue enjoying the single life, no matter what my family would like me to do. And to women who are going through the same thing, I would like to say this: always be selfish. Always think about your own happiness, because frankly, no one else will.
Featured Image Source: Travel Triangle