The Song of a Single Mom: A Date with Dating

“Handsome 27 year old, senior IT professional, IIT, IIM,  father senior government   officer, seeks beautiful slim English medium preferably working girl. Upamanyu  gotra.” I got this textbook case of an anachronistic text (also known in these parts of the world as a sms) one Sunday afternoon.

Now I receive texts a dime a dozen, mostly extolling the virtues of different real estate developments in and around Delhi. All of them, apparently are Spanish style villas surrounding by sylvan greens at throw away prices.  And all of them are only a two minutes walk from the artery of Delhi, Delhi’s joy and pride, the metro line.  How that is possible only God and the super competent town planners at the Town and Country Planners Organization would know, but that is what all real estate developers claim!!

I usually delete these messages even without a second look, having understood clearly that every place other than the one I live in is a Utopia with the best locations, miles of verdant greens, the best shopping experience ever with all ‘conveniences’ close by.

There are also texts telling me how to send bulk sms es and reach out to my ‘target audience’. Now right now I have several target audiences in my life. The HR Head who will give me a job, the guy I am hoping I will meet who will turn my monochromatic life into a Technicolor one and lately the magazine editors who I am hoping will publish some of my work, only because my friend A insists they are definitely read worthy by the general public.

Now I am not sure that the any one of these ‘targets’ would be happy to get a bulk text from me, so I let the delete button get those too. But the text about the handsome 27-year-old made me stop in my tracks a bit. I re read the entire text again.

As flattered as I felt to get a text from a 27-year-old, unfortunately the demographics were all wrong.  I mean I agree with the new age marketing gurus about mobile marketing being the next big thing in marketing, but really, isn’t  sending a text to advertise a boy of marriageable age  taking things a bit too far? The target audience was all screwed up for starters!!

So this is how young India is now choosing its partners? By sending random texts? Except, for the most cases,  young India still isn’t choosing its partners. It is still the family who chooses. North India has been rocked by a spate of honour killings in the past couple of months. Parents, uncles and grandparents even have killed girls and boys mercilessly just because they dared to marry outside of their caste or within the same ‘gotra’. Whether it is within, or without, the overriding  expectation that works in India is to conform.

The mention of the Gotra (which is a lineage assigned to a Hindu at birth), which is now a hot topic in India, took my thoughts  immediately to the khaps. The Khaps originally started as a  system of social administration and organization in what are now the states of  Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh eons ago.  Unfortunately, Khaps still exist today, even in metropolitan cities like Delhi, their sole purpose of existence being to hold ugly prejudices against others. Most of the honour killings in Northern India, which on last count were more than a killing a month are almost always associated with the khaps.

With political patronage, the power of the khaps continue unabated. Obviously, the power extended over the sender of the text as well, since the gotra was carefully mentioned. God forbid we end up marrying within our gotra, which originally referred to a family group who owned a particular pen of cows, the word gotra, literally meaning “cow –pen”. It is incredulous that in this day and age, when we have the recession to worry about, global warming to ponder on, price rises to shout angry slogans at, terrorist attacks to save our children’s lives from, we still worry about the gotras that we may marry into? What is the worst that could happen?  That we might just become the superpower everybody is scared of?

But I couldn’t let a misdirected anachronistic text take me away from my search of the Technicolor dream coat. I was single for most of married life. While we lived under the same roof, Professor X and I could not have a more different life. For the most part, we never did anything together, never had a hobby we shared, never went out for obscure foreign films that we both loved, never even had a conversation without trying to kill each other. I felt I was ready to mingle after so many years of being single.

But how? How would I meet people? I had no job now. I had no money to go out. I barely met my friends, choosing instead to spend most of my time at home. I asked my friends around who all shrugged  conveniently and told me they knew no one they could set me up with. But I could try shaadi.com, my friend A told me brightly. He knew someone who had found someone from shaadi.com. Now while dating websites thrive in the West, we in India apparently do not believe in dating. We go straight to marriage. Hence the existence of names like shaadi.com, bharatmatrimony.com, lifepartner.com and even a regional sounding tamilmatrimony.com.

I almost couldn’t close my mouth for one whole second. He wanted me to go shaadi.com to find someone for myself? I never even looked at the matrimonial columns the first time around. And in my case, wouldn’t I have to look in secondshaadi.com, considering this was to be my second marriage. And moreover, I wasn’t ready for another marriage now, maybe dating, but definitely not marriage right now. As always, my verbose friend A had a ready answer. Well then you try secondshaadi.com. And you can always date people you meet there.

I cackled for two whole minutes during which time I am sure A held the phone away from his ears. Someone actually thought of that? There actually exists a secondshaadi.com? India must be the only place on earth where technology and traditions blend in so well together!

I decided to test the waters, enthused by the friend of a friend of A who found someone from shaadi.com. Setting up my profile, being as honest as I possibly could, I decided to wait for responses.

Responses started trickling in. From the 45-year-old Bengali guy living with his parents looking for his soul mate who would also take care of his parents, from the 24-year-old professional earning INR 10,000 a month who double checked if I was indeed in HR, from the 34-year-old owner of a BPO who was looking for a partner in life and business.

Responding to no one, I decided to wait and watch. Maybe the right guy would be right around the corner. Maybe the next one to respond would be my perfect match. I could not give up hope. There had to be the perfect man waiting for me. The next response would take me over the moon.

It did. Take me over the moon. Definitely not to a place on earth I would have liked to be in. Because the next responder was a 65-year-old man. Who wanted immediate marriage. And someone to nurse him to health because he was also mildly arthritic and diabetic. While I applauded him for his honesty, this was the polar opposite of what I was looking for. The man was just a few years younger than my dad for heaven’s sake. I decided I had enough and deleted my secondshaadi.com profile.

The emails extolling the virtues of 50 plus dating thankfully go straight to my junk mail box without me having to do much. Now I know that 50 is the new 30, thanks to slightly over the hill icons like Madonna who hang on desperately to their youth and men young enough to be their children. I also know that I will get there someday, sooner rather than later, because once you cross your 30s, time seems to accelerate at the speed of light. But till I get there, the junk mail box is the right place for it.

Ultimately, between the strange “I want to friendship you” requests one gets on social networking sites and the immediate marriage proposal from a geriatric, I definitely choose the former. Maybe someday I will get a friend request with correct grammar. But till then, I need to stay a million cyber miles away from geriatric marriage proposals.

Advertisements

About roadlesstravelledby

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference
This entry was posted in bringing up a child as a single mom, dating, Delhi, family, honour, honour killing, job, love, matrimonial sites, new beginnings, patriarchal society, second marriage, single mom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The Song of a Single Mom: A Date with Dating

  1. Vinita says:

    Last year I enthusiastically tried creating a profile for my neice on Shadi.com. Since it asked me to register, I gave my details for registration.
    By the time I reached home from office I had quite a few proposals lined for me. Which was not actually funny.
    Thank God, my husband could see it in lighter vain 🙂

  2. MUNDU says:

    hmmm… our friend r found the other r thru second shaadi .com…also i think u f all ppl shud thank social networking sites…….we met each other..:P….shuru te laglo for sometime je tumi khap niye chalu hoye gele bodhoye….ta bhaggish sesh hoyar aage fire ele nijer kahini te…

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Song of a Single Mom: A Date with Dating | Road less travelled by's Blog -- Topsy.com

  4. tumpa says:

    Eto bhalo lekha je pore mon bhore na… abar kobe pabo… Lovely…

  5. alice says:

    This is humourous. Tell it to the other side of your world. Good one, Mahua. Perhaps, if you were in my country, you will experience different and strange ways of meeting future partners.

  6. Ch. Roy says:

    I am somewhat amused by the term “million cyber miles”, yoiu have a typical knack with the language…. it binds the reader till the end.

    Once again, you should try writing without long recesses… who knows with the practice you may have one day the Penguins or the Harper Collins or the Rupas invite you to be in the leagues of Toru Dutt or Kamala Das or Sujatha Matha or Gauri Deshpande, Suniti Namjoshi OR Chitra Narendran……… you never know…. do maintain the continuity in writing, we love reading you.

    • thank you. yes, i am sorry for the hiatus. will become more regular. and thanks for naming these greats in my blog. they are just to talented. I could never be like them. but thank you so much though.

      • Ch. Roy says:

        Greatness is a culture that grows with practice…. and that is what my advise is for you….. keep writing without recesses! All those great names were not “great” overnight, they all had their share of struggle, trust me!

  7. alice says:

    Well said, Roy! Mahua, blogging is a kind of writing practice for you. But first you must shorten, edit and send it out. No pains, no gains. I hope that by practising writing posts, it will become a spring board to something great. Let me be the first one to hear the good news. 🙂

  8. S says:

    real nice funny read 😉 keep it up and please please please do write regularly …

  9. dokemion says:

    Hi I’m back in your blog guess I just can’t help but drop by to read one or two of your post. Thanks…

    grants for single mothers

  10. Wonderful site and theme, would really like to see a bit more content though!
    Great post all around, added your XML feed! Love this theme, too!

  11. Aeshna says:

    this is by far the ‘whackiest’ read….i loved it…thank god i had saved it for a rainy day…

  12. S says:

    This is the best read so far…very very funny and keep it up but more regular, please!!!…btw mine is upamanyu gotra but that wasn’t me!!! 😉

  13. Ch. Roy says:

    It has been almost 8 weeks since you have crafted some lexis and posted them for us on your blog…. I am sure all regulars to your blog are looking forward …… Hope you do some constructive soul hunting from your memory bank and frame the picture for us here.

  14. Ch. Roy says:

    Hey… It’s really been a very long time you wrote something….. writer’s block, is it? ,……. would love to read something new….. do write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s