From an Indian perspective, gone are the days when millennials depend on parents to find a suitable life partner for them, which falls in line with all ‘requirements and expectations’ of an arranged marriage. A 50+ year old internet has shook off the world in almost all domains and marriage industry is no exception. Dating websites have now in a sense undergone a ‘metamorphosis’ into what is called as matrimonial websites which can be in a way looked at as its licensed version. At this juncture, both parents are children come to a compromise on what they are expecting for, considering youngster’s preferences while parents’ expectations on traditional etiquettes and social status are also met. Unless there is a known case of love relationship identified by parents, it has become a new tradition to create a profile in any of the reputed matrimonial websites. Creating a matrimony profile is quite straightforward; all you need is a long list of preferences, a contact option and a photo. Anyone can create a profile for anyone and your marriage is not going to be at the mercy of any local match makers and hundreds of lies. Once you have a profile, irrespective of anyone who creates it, thousands of suitable profiles will be hovering over you with plentiful ‘selling features’ (it could be including but not limited to caste, financial status, societal status, white collar jobs, physical appearance and so on) all at your fingertips . Sounds cool, isn’t it.?
Considering the fact that a matrimonial profile has become an integral part of millennials, there is a budding ‘matrimonial culture’ that is getting developed. Due to the easiness of creating a profile, matrimonial surfing has evolved as a new hobby. Most of the matrimonial websites allow free service and it’s optional to have a premium membership. Irrespective of whether they’re serious about a marriage or not, it has become a custom for youngsters to have one profile created and simply hangout. Some pro-active youth have a different approach; they’re doing a test run to have a self-assessment about their ‘sellability’ in marriage market. Anyways, the whole idea is to find a suitable match without much ado.
As a person who has done tremendous expeditions in various matrimonial websites over years, I would like to share few of my matrimonial observations that led me to think about something like matrimony literacy. Before that I should add a disclaimer that I’m not an advocate of any such websites or gender. The first group of people comes to my mind is those with profile name ‘Later’. It is just that they will reveal their name only when you request them to do so! Isn’t it a very basic courtesy to introduce by your name? There’s no point in responding to a person who’s not even ready to reveal their name. Or is it because they’ve got a hidden agenda like we are hearing about matrimonial fraudsters? I have no idea.
The second group of people belong to those who add meaningless or information in their profile description that are not at all useful (to the seeker) . For some, it just looks like a collection of adjectives such as beautiful, wonderful, funny, smart, dedicated, handsome etc. etc.. Instead isn’t that worthwhile to describe briefly about what do you do, your education, attitudes towards life, lifestyle, career, family and so on, so that it’s helpful for others to have a minimal idea about that person? I don’t see anything wrong in listing out X,Y,Z requirements/preferences honestly as the website’s existential function is to connect people with compatible requirements, whether they sound sensible or not is a different story. Transparency is the key. It is illogical that one doesn’t have any preference over anything as some people have “any” as answer for all questions. For example, age preference= any, country of residence= any, occupation=any, residing city= any, mother tongue= any, citizenship= any…
The third type of people are just opposite to the second; they provide too much; a full-fledged biography with every possible infinitesimal data they could bring in. It’s not only that the reader gets bored to tears, but it also poses security issues. Lucrative matrimonial profiles boasting off their affluent ancestral history invite attention of online scammers.
The fourth group is everywhere; fake profiles. The intentions could anywhere range between time-pass purpose to cyber crimes such as morphing, black mailing, honey trap and hacking, all after establishing a decent and appealing relationship. Misuse of matrimonial photos are also a part of them. Though photo protection option is available, to enhance visibility most users don’t prefer photo protection.
There are also shadow profilers, those who freely enjoy the benefits of their elder siblings’ profile. Most of those aren’t seemingly harmful, however one cannot deny the possibility of any wrongdoings. Managing profile by own is the best option in my opinion, as I think if one cannot independently describe themselves and identify whom they’re looking for and don’t want to put any efforts for that, then they should not be marrying. It is also a courtesy to provide a faster response if you do or don’t like the profile, as it’s a sign of respecting other’s time.
Matrimonial websites have all kinds of cons like any other analogous systems; only because it’s approved by parents doesn’t mean they’re free of all traps. If someone is hesitant or escaping repeatedly from a video call, calling from multiple number or more interested to know about financial status and your financial operations, you’re already there with a fraudster. If you have a profile, respect your time and others’ time. The bottom line is, it is important to be sensible and a user of value.
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