Indian matrimonials sites and Indian women

This post is about an experience at a leading Indian matrimonials site. At least for the time being, I will omit the part as to who the parties involved are, or at which matrimonials site. My objective in sharing this story here is more from the pathological sort of a sociological-cultural angle.

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Here is the background.

He has a profile at an Indian matrimonials site. He is an Indian. He has kept his details open (at least to those who communicate with him), including his complete real name, mobile number, links to his Web presence, photo, not to mention other details. He is highly educated (with a PhD in engineering), 52, and based in India. He comes from a middle-class background. He is a divorcee of a brief marriage 25 years ago, without any kids. By birth, he is from a Kshatriya caste. He has a paid profile. [I don’t know if a girl with an unpaid profile can write him or not. I think yes, once he accepts her interest (or if he sends an interest on his own).] His profile makes it clear that he is serious about marriage.

She creates a profile at the same site, but with a pseudonym. Her profile says that she is 49, has a PhD (apparently from humanities field), is successful in her profession, “beautiful”, etc. She too is an Indian, but currently working in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on a temporary visa. She comes from a “rich” family background. By birth, she belongs to one of the better sub-castes among Brahmins (the Maharashtrian Deshastha Rigvedi, to be precise). She has never been married before. She has an unpaid profile. She has all her contact details hidden—even from those to whom she expresses her interest. Her profile indicates that she is, or would be, visiting India soon, possibly to return to the US in August. However, it is not clear where she is currently.

Now, here is what happened, in the chronological order.

  1. 2015.06.17: She views his profile. She contacts him, expressing interest in him.
  2. 2015.06.17: He accepts her interest. This would allow her to view all his contact information without paying her paying anything.
  3. 2015.06.17: He writes a somewhat lengthy message saying how he is “honestly surprised” to receive an interest from someone like her. He asks her to let him know her name, contact information, and more details about her education and family background. He continues on the being surprised line, and lets her know that he doesn’t feel anything if something doesn’t work out, or if she drops out, but about the only thing that still gets him irritated is if a girl expresses interest on her own (or accepts the interest sent) and still doesn’t say anything further. [No further communications from their side. No replies. Nothing. Only an acceptance of interest!]
  4. Between 2015.06.17 through 2015.06.22: She logs in at least twice. Reads his message. [This is routine feature of that site.] Still, she does not respond with anything. Even if she doesn’t have a paid profile, now that she has all his contact information, she could have: (i) sent an SMS, (ii) called on phone, (iii) emailed him, (iv) contacted him via his Web presence, etc.
  5. 2015.06.22: In a brief (three line) message, he first writes a brief line enquiring how things are going at her end. He then notes that he still doesn’t know her name. Finally he asks asks exactly when she would be in India.
  6. 2015.06.24: By this time, she has logged in once again, and read the new message too. She still does not communicate anything via any route: message exchange at the matrimonials site, SMS, phone-call, email, etc.
  7. 2015.06.25: He tells her that he is going to block her, but that if she wants to, she can still reach him via SMS or email. To express his irritation, he wonders if this is a Brahmin female’s research project to see how non-Brahmin profiles react to Brahmin women or something like that. He also tells her that he may be contacting the support staff.
  8. 2015.06.25: He discusses the issue in a chat with the support staff. They tell him that they cannot force her to reply to him. He agrees, and then tells them that he has already blocked her on the site anyway, and the reason he is contacting them is because he wants them to ascertain whether this is a genuine profile or not, whether they information she submitted while creating her profile at least sounds reasonable or not. They promise to get back within 24 hours.
  9. 2015.06.26: She logs in again. Reads his message. Since she is blocked from his profile, she can view his profile but not write to him (even if she were to be a paid member). However, since she already knows all his details (the earlier messages revealing his details are available to her and indeed a copy has been delivered to her email ID), in case of mere error or misunderstanding, she could have still contacted him via SMS, phone-call, or email. Even if only to inform him that she is no longer interested. She does not do so.
  10. 2015.06.26: 24 hours have elapsed since his complaint, but the matrimonials site has not come back to him.
  11. 2015.06.27: 46 hours have elapsed since his complaint, but the matrimonials site has not come back to him. He initiates another chat session. Repeats the information. The support staff expresses regrets, informs him that a team is working on the issue, and confirms him that they will sure get back to him. He tells that he is forwarding the chat transcripts to his email ID. He then asks when they will come back. The support staff again says within 24 hours.
  12. 2015.06.28: 72 hours after original complaint, and 24 hours after the repeat complaint, the support staff has still not come back.
  13.  2015.06.28: She logs in again. She still does not write anything to him via any means.
  14. 2015.06.28: He unblocks her for a moment, so that he can write her once again. He reminds her the essence of the story: “I am interested in you for communications from marriage point of view, but I won’t tell you who I am.” He informs her that he has contacted the support staff. However, they seem to be rather supporting her than him. He closes the message after a little sarcastic remark that this site seems to be a match made for her, not him, so that she could continue merrily in her way. He forgets to block her again.
  15. 2015.06.28: Immediately within an hour, she logs in again, only to cancel her interest in him. Now, he cannot write anything ever to her: all her details have always been hidden.
  16. 2015.06.28: He does not expect the matrimonials site to ban her. Here is why. Once, in May, a similar story had unfolded: A girl had expressed interest to him; he accepted; she didn’t reveal who she was; he contacted the support staff asking whether he can decline her interest; they had told him that since he did write some/any communication with her, now, the system did not allow him to cancel his acceptance of her interest. A few days later, the girl had cancelled her interest.

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We (you and me) may never come to know who exactly had created that profile. Also, we (you and me) would also know enough to know that since this is a woman-vs-man thing, both Americans (esp. Democrats) and Indians (esp. South Indians) are going to side with her—not him. So, an investigation into the possibilities of a cyber-crime would never get seriously entertained by the authorities in either country. However, in case you wish to know what photograph had been used (or possibly even abused), well, it should be available.

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Anyway, so, what’s the essence of the story here? Let me give it a shot.

Here is one: A well-educated single Indian woman to a well-educated single Indian man: “Will you marry me? I am a stranger, and intend always to remain one.”

OK. That might be a bit too over-stretched. How about this one: “Why don’t you tell me what you think of me—in the context of a marriage, that is. I am a stranger, and I intend always to remain one.” … Nah, too complicated. … The wording should be simpler…

How about this one: Woman to man: “I am here looking for marriage, and you seem interesting. Now, talk to the wall.”

Yeah. That seems just about right, what say?

And, how would you characterize it philosophically? Super-duper Platonic expectations? I mean, something like an over-over-overblown version of the Elizabeth Browning and Robert Browning story?

Not quite. Because, here, you see, Bob does not know who Alice is, even if the interceptor does. And the interceptor here refuses to either tell Bob (the paid member) or support him, even while he allows Alice (the unpaid member) to go ahead and possibly contact even more paid men in her own merry ways. … In any case, on the second thoughts, it’s not Platonic. Not even in a super duper way.

How about absurd-ism? Is there a philosophic stream like that? Could be. But wouldn’t Camus and all that be a bit too general to be fitting here? It has to be something more specific. Something befitting those Bangalore people. [I don’t know, but am guessing, that at least the support staff and the managers if not also the site owners reside in Bangalore.]

Sorry, I cannot figure out the particular philosophy operative here. And, sociology and all is not an area even just an exposure to me. So, I don’t know how to characterize it sociologically either. I mean I can tell that it’s pathological in general, but I can’t tell anything more specific than that, from a sociological angle either. And, I even refuse to speculate about the psychology of that woman. Or of the support staff/managers.

See if you want to give it a shot. Though I can understand if you don’t want to. After all, it is pathological. Only a professional of the relevant area(s) could maintain an interest in such things.

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Anyway, let’s get back to better things.

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A Song I Like:

(Hindi) “sandhyaa jo aaye, man uDa jaaye…”
Music: S. D. Burman
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

[Once again, this is one S.D. song that sounds so much as if it had actually come from R.D. Not just the orchestration (you can’t miss the bongo of R.D., the violins, or the tempo) but in fact even the tune itself. It sounds much more like R.D. than S.D. Of course, it could still have been S.D. It’s just that it sounds like R.D.’s… [On the second listening, no, the tune itself does sound like SD’s.] Anyway, it’s a beautiful song… I ran into once again only last earlier this year, after a gap of decades.]