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‘I Did The Crazy Thing – Registered Myself On Matrimonial Websites’

By Lalitha Priyadharshini:

Arranged Marriage Through Matrimonial SitesSomewhere towards the beginning of 2014 my parents visited an astrologer. He told them my stars apprise I will be doomed if I don’t get married before June 2015!

I was naturally shocked to hear such a prophecy just as any other girl of my age would be. If you are a person who heeds your parent’s words, you would be torn between the need to be an obedient girl and finding a way out of this crap.

Especially because I did not have a boyfriend yet and had no idea what I wanted in life. I was only 22 and marriage meant cutting down on things I was free to do till now and being piled with responsibilities which I clearly was not ready for.

Parents use unfounded arguments to get their children married. “You are immature; you don’t know anything. So, listen to us and get married.” But if I am a kid oblivious to the perils of life, should I not wait till I am mature enough to make such a serious decision? Saying so in clear terms meant inviting the tag of a ‘rebel’ for myself.

So I did what seemed easy. I kept evading this topic for about a year until one day it just couldn’t be avoided further. It was the month of March, and I told them I will take a month to search for a person. To my surprise, my family agreed to this clause! They said the choice will be mine, be it someone I love or meet at work or find online.

Now, that I had the power of ‘choice’, I plunged into the process headlong. Just like any other youth in their 20s I wanted to meet someone, date for a couple of years and then get married.

But time was a constraint that couldn’t be ignored. How do you find a person inclined to marriage in a month? I had to skip the ‘traditional’ steps and jump straight to ‘getting married’. The answer, of course, was Matrimonial sites. I am a person who believes in facing my fears, so, yes I did the crazy thing by registering on matrimonial websites. Better take active steps and fail than fight with parents, disappoint them and then run away from it.

The month seemed like a rollercoaster. I broke the news to my roommates who were dumbfounded initially but decided to help me out. I bought books on arranged marriages and tried to get an Indian perspective of this unprecedented nuptial bond.

I registered a profile on websites filling out crude information about my height, skin colour, salary, zodiac sign, etc. While browsing through profiles of potential partners, I found that most of these were created by parents to find a ‘sanskari bahu’ for their sons. It’s impossible to get an inkling of who the boy actually is when their parents decide to harp on about them. I had a feeling that some of these boys might not even be aware that they are being touted and paraded on such websites.

All profiles claimed the man to be a ‘well-mannered’, ‘teetotaler’ looking for an ‘adjusting’, ‘homely girl’ who can cook. If you text someone, their father would reply on the guy’s behalf saying ‘Please send us your horoscope’. I spoke to a few people who self-managed their profiles and felt a lack of chemistry in this kind of an arranged set up and chose not to pursue it further.

I even received promotional calls from website managers proposing schemes to find ‘the one’ for me – “Madam if you pay fifty thousand rupees, we can get you a boy who earns that much every month. If you pay one lakh, we will find you a boy who earns that much.” A new age dowry system. Technology does change us in strange ways.

I and my friends looked at profiles and had quite a few good laughs. I think sometimes parents get carried away and make ridiculously tall claims about their children. Most of them seemed like they were looking for a maid instead of a wife for their son.

Everyone has their vested interest. Some want a family and are hence looking for a wife. Others wanted love and company, and sometimes they want nothing but are doing what their parents want (much like me). But who am I and what do I want were the questions lingering most prominently in my mind.

This process made me understand myself much better. If I have to write something down on what I want from another person I need to know what I want from myself. Where will I be next year, what will I be doing, what kind of person should I be with, what do I want from life.

Acknowledging the fact that life is short makes you pursue things you really want and appreciate the life you currently live in. I started enjoying the little things in life, like going out with my friends (which probably won’t happen frequently if I got married), going home and spending time with my family, going out to a small cafe by the street with close friends and chatting without any agenda, having a cup of tea alone on the balcony while enjoying the weather, working with vigour at office because I might have a family to cater to someday and can’t work like I do now. I have this life for myself now, and I am thankful to God for that.

About the websites, my month of hubby-hunting was over, and I told my parents that I did not have any luck. They have taken it upon themselves now and will search for a suitable boy for me.

Not that I will get married anytime soon. Till then I shall continue my journey of soul-searching.

I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. But I do know that if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. Because it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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