“You have got to get back into the game!” was what my mother said, in 2007.
“Ma!” I was flabbergasted. “Where, in heaven’s name, did you learn that phrase?”
“Cosmopolitan!” she proudly announced. I made a mental note to cancel her subscription to the magazine.
I was 28, separated, staying with my parents and working at a shitty job. Yikes! I could have my own chick-lit story! You know, the one about the lame girl who finds a hunk type. But damn, my story was far from being chick-lit worthy.
I can’t remember the doomed hour when I agreed to put up a matrimonial ad, and not one, but on all leading matrimonial sites! But it happened, and I was adamant on one thing: I would do the screening. It was I who would choose which guys to finally meet. No procedure of “ladki-dikhao” to happen at any cost. Thankfully, my parents agreed.
I discovered they’re scary places, those matrimonial sites.
The advertisement itself asked me so many questions; it made me aware how I really didn’t have a fair skin, a perfect horoscope, a nice enough hobby or even an athletic body type!
On the other hand, my mother went crazy ballistic about me; she even got a photographer dude to come and take some shots of me: “Ishhhh… This is what it feels like when you are up for display!” I thought.
Anyway, the game began. At first I rejected people simply by looking at their photos: Large nostrils! Bushy eyebrows! Fake smile! Magenta hair streaks! So my mother sat me down one day and said, “A woman must seek a partner for her soul, you are focusing too much on the looks, darling, meet the men, know the soul behind the man!”
Related reading: What I learnt about love at 30…it’s over-rated
So I asked her, “Now where did you learn this from?”
“Women’s Era.” Her smile was broad and happy. I could only shrug. I was discovering new facets to my own mother thanks to women’s magazines.
“All right then,” I said, “Bring it on! I will meet them.”
So it started. I picked my own guys, the ones I wanted to meet, and was very specific about them having their own profiles and not being managed by the parents or some marriage agency.
The first ‘date’ went pretty well, but you know it was one of those dates where everything is fine yet you know you are never going to see this guy again!
Along came the second one, ‘the spoon-licker’, who licked his spoon and looked at me suggestively throughout the evening. Marriage was the last thing on his mind; I got the hell out of there as soon as I could.
The third guy was smart, funny, cute; alas, I was not smart, funny or cute enough for him.
The fourth date ended the moment the guy said he was a huge fan of Daler Mehendi!
The fifth one was so attached to his mother that he brought her along to our date! Need I say more?
Related reading: I don’t believe in love and marriage
Then for number six came along a wonderful naval officer, all tall and handsome, smart and brooding, but it turned out he didn’t want kids.
And this went on and on.
Eleven months and 13 matrimonial ‘dates’ later I decided to give up. I realised that the more I chased marriage for all the wrong reasons, the less the chances were of it happening. I know there are many success stories related to matrimonial sites, but I didn’t have one. And I was happy.
This entire obsession about getting married for the sake of getting married is so wrong. And more often than not, the desperation to find ‘the right one’ often leads us to ‘the wrong one’.
Amidst all these insane matchmaking dates, I realised it is okay to wait, it is okay to be single, and it is never okay to force oneself to compromise. Both love and marriage will happen, when the time is right.
And then after this fiasco, a certain friend request on Orkut (Yes, I am that old!) changed everything. But that’s another story.