Classified Love

Best Wishes, Going to the Market, Marriage

Using the classifieds to meet other people is nothing new. For a long time now, the Eleanor Rigbys of the world have been using the back pages of their local newspapers to find a friend and then maybe a lover and then maybe, one day, to marry. But in India, would-be romantics can skip the coy intimations of moonlit walks in favor of straightforward requests for a bride or a groom; this country's newspapers are the new matchmakers. 

The Indian strategy for a blissful marriage is simple: pick up the phone, call the newspaper and describe your age, place of residence, religion, caste, education and occupation to the other side of the line. Then, describe your perfect match. Beautiful and “issueless” (whatever this means) brides are preferrable. Desirable men are usually described as educated, ambitious and with a permanent job. Pure veg, smart, spiritual or with good values… the possibilities are endless. Then just sit and wait for the telephone to ring. You'll live happily ever after, soon. 

Love does not play a big role in the process of finding your soul mate. Many in India expect love to grow after marriage, and the whole family is often deeply implicated in a search for a mate, so pragmatic parents or other relatives tend to place the ad in the newspaper on their candidate's behalf. In a country where newspaper readership has been shooting up for years now, the chances of finding a life partner aren't bad.

As outdated as the arranged marriage system might sound, it has been building India’s society since the 4th century. But is it the way to marital bliss? In 2005, researchers compared interviews with love-based American couples and arranged-marriage couples in India to conclude: “Overall, [there is] no difference in marriage satisfaction between both types of participants”.