With a little help from parents, couples are getting engaged in a day after meeting online
The romance of a slow courtship, of a period of slipping lazily into love is a luxury that many do not have now.
When the groom is in Los Angeles and the bride in Calcutta, whirlwind marriages, settled sometimes in a day, are what the youth is settling for. But they are leaving the hard work to the parents.
As they are getting speedier, marriages are also going retro.
Twenty-four-year-old Namita Nair met her future husband for the first time on a Sunday. On Tuesday, she was engaged to him.
Namita and Ramesh had a good reason. “Ramesh works in Mumbai, while I live and work in Calcutta. He couldn’t take leave twice, first to meet me and then for the wedding rituals. Since the horoscopes matched, the families had met, it was just left for us to meet,” she explains. That was in March. The wedding is in September.
“The bride and groom now reach a decision after one or two meetings. Yes, that way marriages are definitely being fixed quicker today,” agrees Soumendu Sen of Astha marriage bureau. He talks of a socio-economic divide. “Among the upper middle class, 80-90 per cent follow this pattern. In the lower economic groups though, match-making is as time-taking as ever. Because they still follow the traditional norms.”
Like Namita, Prasoon Gupta, a 29-year-old surgeon working in Calcutta met his fiancee Karishma once on a trip home before agreeing to the match.
He insists that he wouldn’t have said yes if he didn’t like Karishma.
Deep Roy’s 30-year-old son who works in TCS Chennai also met his would-be bride just once before communicating his acceptance to his father. “He completely depended on me for finding him the right girl,” says the happy father.
Twenty-seven-year-old Priya’s profile was posted on an online marriage portal in January 2010. In a month she had found her partner, and the wedding is scheduled for June.
Her friend Moumita, who got married in January and now lives in Hyderabad, went through a similar swift process. The MBA degree-holder, who used to work in Calcutta before shifting to Hyderabad after her marriage, thinks that arranged marriages have become smoother and quicker because of online marriage portals and technology. “Even before I met him I knew my husband was 5ft 10inches tall,” says Moumita. But then you have to have your faith in the online portraits.
The seniors believe that the hunt for the bride or groom is swifter now because there are fewer people to please. “In our times so many elders were involved. Now the meeting is restricted to the bride and groom and their parents,” says Moumita’s mother-in-law.
Sen, however, doesn’t favour a great deal of haste. “It’s not right to rush in,” he says. People can lie, especially online.
Besides, pre-marital romance is not a bad thing. In the age of technology, it’s long phone calls and online chats. Namita got engaged in two days. “But we catch up on Sundays,” she laughs. Online.
(Some names have been changed)