An Indian professional living and working in a metro is likely to meet 16 prospects and take more than 2.5 years on average to find a match. An ordeal almost as tough as shooting the fish in the eye and claiming Draupadi (even though that was way cooler).
Technically speaking there are no more “arranged marriages” in the sense that there is no one arranging anything for you. There are no parents or relatives with great, ready-made matches for you. Mostly it is you alone who has to do the hard work of filtering hundreds of profiles, shortlisting a few prospects, meeting them for the first time, deciding with whom to go ahead and writing diplomatic rejection emails to others. If you are lucky you might strike gold soon enough but be prepared to rinse and repeat many times.
The average time taken by a typical professional to decide upon a match has been rising rapidly. This appears to be a function of a cornucopia of choice. With the advent of online matchmaking, you perceive a large supply of potential matches and the relentless forces of inflation take over. The value you ascribe to a particular profile diminishes rapidly and pretty soon you fall into the seductive but ultimately fatigue-inducing cycle of “let me check out the next profile, might be better than this one. There is no hurry”.
But abundant choice is not the whole story. A weightier factor could be the realization that you can continue to defer your decision without any major consequence.
With most of the professionals living away from their parents, there is reduced societal and familial pressure to get hitched. The crazy work schedule does no favours to your search. And after you have met about half a dozen prospects, you are no longer sure what you are looking for in a match. So you allow yourself to drift. And if you live outside India, add in the fiendishly complicated scheduling problem worthy of a supercomputer.
No wonder many people take a few month’s break from the whole rigamarole and come back with a grimmer determination if not with some more fish-eye shooting practice.
Another trend is more evolutionary. People are discovering that they do not mind staying alone and are increasingly becoming more comfortable with the idea. Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University, recently published “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone”. He thinks that “the human species is developing new ways to live.” But not to love apparently.
The modern swayamvar is indeed a formidable enterprise. As we have said before, iBluebottle does not promise a magic wand but we are trying our best to help.