Hey you, unmarried woman – you are making your parents’ lives miserable. Their only thought at this point is (fill in your name) – 30’s – unmarried – doomed. Who needs friends to help you get on dating apps, when you have parents who go a step further? Welcome to the world of online marriage. These are the five stages of grief you will experience.
Mom tells you that relatives are hounding her with talks about your marriage. Relatives. That group of people who are as pleasant as the sound of nails scratching on a chalkboard.
But one fine day, your gut tells you that something is amiss. The following weekend, Mom says she’s found you a suitable boy. You laugh it off till she sends you a link to his profile on a matrimonial website, followed by login details to your own profile.
Mummy is at the receiving end of your venom. How could you make a profile behind my back? Who is this guy? Who reached out first? What did this guy’s mother ask you? Did you tell her I am not a virgin? Maybe you should? Why did you say on my profile that I don’t drink and smoke and I am okay with guys under 5’11? Why would you use a picture of me from my graduation ceremony?
The rant goes on for an entire day followed by days of passive-aggression.
If you are in a complicated relationship – can’t leave you can’t live with you – you will ask your partner to at least get engaged to calm your parents down. That doesn’t happen for reasons you know best and you are left with points to mull over: one, you are an adult; two, do not let your parents bully you; and three, who behaves this way in the 21st century?
You think about the women you know who had an arranged marriage. A cousin who isn’t living with her husband for reasons unknown – terrible husband by the way; another who takes care of her child while her husband works in the gulf; a third whose husband stops her (is this still the 21st century?) from staying over at her parents’ place; a friend trapped in a sex-less marriage for the past seven years, et al.
You are reminded of your father who once told you to never short change yourself for a man. Now, he wants you to think that a random stranger’s mother hounding you with weeks of ‘horoscope checks’ should make you feel like the chosen one. “They’re showing interest in you,” he says, a pathetic mix of wonder and gratitude. Yes, Dad, I am not surprised they did. Have you looked at me? I am amazing.
“You have crossed the age. I am not able to face the relatives”. Thank god you are only bisexual. Imagine Dad’s plight if you were...
Guilt (you need to do right by your family) + Fear (what if you end up alone) + Stress ( you cannot lose hair and get dark circles) makes you give in. You rationalise: (a) no harm in looking at what’s out there (b) I don’t have to get married to anyone; just maintain the illusion of interest, and (c) let’s face it – the relationship isn’t going anywhere.
Out of a pool of 200+ interested men (some delusional, some plain audacious enough to send you a request), you might find 2-3 reasonable guys who aren’t interested in you. Alright, your pride takes a beating but well...
This goes on for a few days until you realise, this isn’t what you want. Orchestrated matchmaking works for some people, you aren’t one of them. Go make money – that always comes handy. The only thing you should be finding online is bags during a Ted Baker sale.
Besides, have you looked at yourself? You are amazing – be it with a husband, wife or single.
(Shyama Laxman has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London and now she writes sales pitches. Dreams come true or so they say.)