Features Friday, August 29, 2014 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | August 18, 2014 | 6.01 pm IST Arranged marriages have always been about love and feminism.  A girl deserves the best, right? So in our glorious past, this is what the best looked like. But, lets be fair and include the men as well. So... Both sides had just two items on the list, and one of them was common. Family background suitable? (Read caste and class) Tick.  Money/ Job? Tick. (applicable to men) Can she look after the house? Tick (applicable to women) Pretty short right? But that’s all in the past. Let’s move on to GenNext, where you have a dedicated website for “Alumni of Premier Education Institutes” who “deservedly desire companionship of similar experience and expectations. This portal has fixated on the tailor-made needs of this segment.” Spot on. So, we have a carefully chosen name: IITIIM Shaadi (for those with bad eyesight, it’s IIT and IIM Shaadi.com). They want to ensure their prospective customers have no doubt about what they are getting. Sorry, who they are getting.\ It’s all very organised. So you register, and here’s the “eligibility criteria”.  Males: Alumni of Indian and International Premier institutions in Engineering & Architecture, Medicine, Finance, Law, MBA, Master of Social Work, Master of Media Communication, Fashion Designing and Senior Government Administration. (Well, it’s all for the women, see? They’re already emancipated. They get to specify exactly what sort of a man they want to settle down with.) Females: Country-wide reputed graduation institutions onwards. (See, the criteria for women aren’t that specific coz everybody knows that women are divine creatures who need no superficial education to make them better, right? I mean, what’s a PhD, really? No big deal. Graduation is all women need. Men need a lot more to make em smart, right? Wink.)  And this little bit here, is helpful to both parties: “This site provides high search quality using pre-set filters, such as tolerance to late working hours, frequent relocation, & willingness to attend office parties. Profile display has been designed to optimize your time.”  The women really do have a lot of choice. More than the options mentioned above. When you sign up, you can even specify what occupation you would like your partner to be in. Ooh, you can just imagine walking on the arm of a pilot in a fancy uniform; someone in the defence services, also with the fancy uniform. Then there’s also the civil services; no uniform, but the official car will do just as nicely. The men get to show off too. When you sign up as someone in the government services, you are promptly asked to specify: IAS, IFS, IRS, Class I, Class II, Class III... and so on. Go ahead and impress the ladies, you studs. Well, it also has the boring details: annual income, family details, permanent address, caste (but, since its GenNext, you can choose the “No Bar” option). So! Getting down to the nitty-gritty of it all, (why leave anything to chance?) the website asks the “bride” if she is ready to: Relocate Accept late working hours of the groom Join the groom in his office parties You go girl! Show him who’s calling the shots.  It’s like walking into a shop, where the salespeople tell you what’s on display, what its features are and you get to choose.  And just to make sure no one is taking anyone for a ride, everyone has to upload some of their certificates. It’s all very professionally done. No hovering beside you country bumpkin astrologer as he pores those over those indecipherable scrawling on your children’s kundli. That is so old school. And just to let the users know the website’s promoters are oh so in awe of the West, they get to fill out their ZIP code. So cute. Someone forgot to tell them India has PIN codes.  That little slip aside, Rural Management Consultants needs to be lauded for this noble effort to “to facilitate matchmaking among better educated section of the society”. But before congratulating the website, us simple folks who are not Alumni of Premier Education Institutes and who only just knowhow to do a basic Google search, found something rather interesting. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, the website’s founder Ajay Gupta said that the site’s eligibility criteria for women is set at the degree level so as to give “a larger pool of choice to the men.” He elaborated: “It is not a chauvinistic discrimination, but some highly-educated men, in terms of practicality, like women who also consider taking care of the home a task as good as a job.” Well, this is perhaps beyond the comprehension of us simple folks who are not Alumni of Premier Education Institutes. So, on that note, let’s wish the website every success and all the high-flying people who sign up, a very happy married life. After, all, it’s all for love.
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