the elusive MR Right
Young girls, bright,
beautiful and talented, seemingly have everything going for them. Yet,
landing the perfect groom becomes a hurdle race. The ‘qualities’
that define these achievers are actually putting off eligible
writes Aradhika Sharma
THESE girls are
beautiful. In the age group ranging from 25 to 30, they are bright and
smart, belong to respectable, well-to-do families, have great jobs,
are independent, savvy and responsible. They work in corporate
businesses or are trained professionals. They are trendy; tuned in to
the world around them and are more than capable of handling difficult
situations. Many of them have travelled abroad several times.
You would think that
they are already married or have boys falling over themselves to lay
claim to these bright young things as their brides, right?
Wrong! Nothing of the
sort! Quite to the contrary in fact. These are girls who haven’t
found the perfect match as yet and though their families are madly
looking for Mr Right for their daughters, they haven’t been too
successful either. Parents look for boys in their own communities to
begin with and then through matrimonial advertisements, both in print
and online but the success rate in getting in touch with the right
bridegroom is not too high. To begin with, the daughters won’t say a
‘yay’ and later, marriageable boys get harder and harder to find,
leaving a generation of girls who want to get married, but don’t
know whom to marry.
As far as this trend
goes, we seem to be replicating the American experience, where
eligible girls outnumber the available guys. If we judge by the number
of accomplished yet unwed girls, it seems as if girls outnumber the
boys. Is marriage important and desirable for these savvy girls? Do
these young women really want to sacrifice their independence and
space and give themselves up to a new life because they desire
matrimony? The answer is ‘yes’. But, conditions apply!
The ‘age’ old
daughter of an Army officer, pretty as a picture, a real natty
dresser, cool and trendy and a funky dancer, Shalini works for a
corporate. She leads a successful team and is a senior trainer.
At age 29, she’s looking for Mr Perfect, though she’s aware
that she may have to lower her standards a bit to settling for
Mr Slightly Imperfect.
The issue is
that her Mr Perfect is not "falling from the skies".
Also she feels that "guys out there are intimidated by
girls who come wrapped up in the formidable package of
professional, pretty and smart. They really can’t deal with
girls who are earning more than them or are smarter than
There was a guy
once who did fit the bill of Mr Perfect for Shalini. The hitch
was he was a few months younger than her. Shalini and he had
been together for a few years and it seemed as if things could
not have been better. There was serious commitment from both
sides, the families were well-matched, and the couple was
compatible. All was well till his family discovered that Shalini
was all of two and a half months elder to their boy. And that
was that! The end! Finito.
"The thing is that once a
girl gets into a relationship with a guy, she does not get out
of the emotional involvement that easily. You could say that a
couple of years of her life are gone—longer, if the
relationship has lasted for long. By the time sheready to move
on, time has passed her by. For guys it’s a bit different. For
one, I think that at age 24-25, they are commitment phobic,
their involvements are not so deep and they move on much more
easily. In addition, the parents have lined up a legion of
brides-to-be for them and before you know it, all the good guys
are taken, while the girls are left nursing their broken
hearts." Shalini laughs as she says this. But there is
value in her observation.
She’s a doctor; works with a
hospital; she’s small in build but sharp and very attractive.
She’s conservative enough in dress and disposition to be
extremely pleasing to the older generation. One would think that
any prospective mother-in-law would be eager to grab her for her
son. Akshara humphs..."You have to be kidding," she
exclaims. "Parents’ expectations are the hardest to beat.
There was this family once who came to ‘see’ me. Of course,
they’d done a complete background check, matched the
horoscopes and checked the family fortunes and all of that. When
they came to see me, the first thing the boy’s mother asked me
was, ‘What time do you return from work?' I answered, ‘At 7
pm’. ‘Then what time will you begin to cook and what time
will we eat?’ she quizzed. The boys and the boys’
requirements have not changed all that much. At the end of the
day, they still want a girl who will cook and clean and run the
house for them. I, on the other hand, am not at all sure that I
want to do that if it’s mandated. I will help in the
house, of course, but if the premise is that I will come
back after a long day’s work in hospital and then I have to
cook and clean...no thanks! I’ll pass!"
It didn’t click!
belongs to a wealthy business family from Ludhiana. A pretty
girl, has a Master’s degree in business from Singapore, she
works as a business developer in a Chandigarh-based software
company. When Bhavneet first came to office, it was with the
understanding that her parents had ‘allowed’ her to work
while they looked for a boy for her. She, of course, was
interested in finding her own space and was deadly against the
idea of ‘seeing and being shown’ to anyone.
Time passed. Suitable boys were
paraded before her. Before every such episode, there were
tempers and tantrums and lots of trauma about being subjected to
such ignominy. Anyhow, a series of unfortunate boys were seen
and rejected. Bhavneet’s explanation always was:`A0 "We
didn’t click!" Five years down the line, Bhavneet is more
fun and attractive than she ever was- extremely well put
together, earning a fair amount of money, delightful to be with,
but she’s still not married.`A0"I’m scared of the fact
that I’d be expected to live in a particular manner, alien to
what I’m used to. I think I’m also afraid of repeating the
experience I have seen of breaking and bad marriages around me.
If anyone can give me a guarantee that I’d have a good
marriage, I’d go for it." And who can ever give that
The need is there
works with a PR agency as a creative head. This girl from
Calcutta is the typical Bengali beauty with big eyes, wide
smiling mouth, thick, dark hair.`A0 Her parents are looking for
a bhalo Bengali
chele for her and have a line of boys waiting her
approval every time she visits Calcutta. Up to now, however, no
boy has made the cut. "I’m not unaware of the fact that I
may have to make compromises," says Devi. "I’m just
afraid of making the wrong choice and losing everything that I’ve
studied and worked for. Look, I’m an independent, qualified
girl, pretty well off and quite satisfied with the life I have.
Why would I throw it all away unless I were convinced that the
guy is totally worth it and that I would not have to sacrifice a
life I have worked hard to make for myself, in vain?
"Yes, I do
feel the need to get married. Friends are great to hang out with
but everyone’s basic need is to want someone to be with you at
all times. I do feel that need as well as the social and peer
pressure. Your friends also get married and you find yourself
all alone sometimes and that’s not a nice feeling.
"My father says that if
you want to marry someone, you should not question the boys we
show you as much as you do. The more you meet the hapless
fellows, the more excuses you find to reject them!" Devi
laughs but it’s evident that she’s ready to get hitched when
Mr Right pops into her life. Obviously that’s going to happen
only if she doesn’t put every hopeful guy under the
microscope, judge him and reject him because he is not quite
what she’s looking for.
They want it all
All the girls
unanimously agreed that the fundamental issue was that guys
wanted it all. They wanted a beautiful, trendy wife, whom they
would be proud to escort to their office parties and introduce
to their friends; who contributed to the domestic kitty; who
matched up to them intellectually but in addition, a girl who
would doll up at the end of the day and have clean house and a
hot dinner waiting for them. The clear preference was for a girl
who would have a palloo over her head when relatives
from the village came to stay and a girl who was ever obedient
and a willing slave to their parents. "The girl can be as
presentable as anyone may desire, sophisticated and well off but
she must be under her husband’s control," says Bhavneet.
"When a girl is young, say between 18 and 22 years, she has
no idea what she wants in her partner. At our age, we have had
years of education, training, have explored our capacities and
have grown in confidence and so we are picky about who we want
to share our lives with," says Sneha.
think that anyone except the very naïve believes that marriage
is forever. We all go into it thinking that if it does not work
(though everyone would try their utmost to make it work) then we
simply walk out of it. That’s why girls don’t want to put
their entire lives on the line for something that has a shelf
life," is Devi’s view.
It seems like the girls have
marched ahead and are demanding more out of life and matrimony
than their traditional roles required. Boys and their parents
want the new, improved package but the want the essential ‘bridal
submission’ ingredient too. The demands are changing from one
another and the expectations are not really matching. In the
process, the girls prefer to wait and at a certain point of
their lives, end up wondering if Mr Right is ever going to come
along. (Some names have been changed to protect identities)