shaadi.com success stories

Sometimes I read the shaadi.com success stories. Supposedly, they’ve matched 1.3 million couples. That is 2.6 million people. Seriously? SIx hundred thousand people would have had to have lied about being matched to even reduce that number to two million.

Anyway, confusion of the day. Every once in a while, and really too often to be a total fluke, there’s an Indian marrying a White person on shaadi.com. This is so fine to me, but what the hell? Why did the White person choose shaadi.com as their online dating site? Why did the Indian person choose the White person while on shaadi.com? It’s a conundrum made so much more interesting by the fact that no one ever notes it as odd in the least.

Like Shiva and DeAnna. Or Kristian and Flavia. Jim and Asha. Sarah and Manish. Or Michael and Bint, who are seriously adorable. Uwe and Susmita, who do actually mention their different backgrounds, and are also super cute together. Philomena and Ray is probably one of my top ten favorite success stories, because Philomena totally looks like an aunty of mine. Thomas and Hutoxi – who has a gorgeous smile – mention that Thomas’s profile was unique on shaadi.com, and I love the last sentence in their success story. Azib and Melissa also give their roots a mention, while Chris and Sheba don’t.

There’s a chance that at least a few of these people I’ve pegged as White are Indian, since we all know Indians are the original Caucasians. But other than that, I remain befuddled. Note that I really am happy for all of these couples, at least as happy as I am for every other shaadi.com success story, and only slightly less jealous. But doesn’t anyone else wonder about this?

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sec·ond-gen·er·a·tion (sknd-jn-rshn)

adj. 1. Of or relating to a person or persons whose parents are immigrants.

n.b.: arranged marriage

When I use "arranged marriage" here, I'm talking a very specific type of marriage, in which one (often a second generation immigrant) is socialized and pressured by their community to marry someone from within that community as part of a way to bind two families together. It's often accompanied by a cultural prohibition against dating, especially serial dating, such that there is typically a short timeline from meeting to marriage. In the United States, where I am, and in other diasporas, an arranged marriage isn't necessarily arranged anymore, although parents and grandparents shoulder much of the responsibility in networking and making introductions. The bride-to-be and groom-to-be yield veto power at all times and their happiness and consent are among the most critical criteria in proceeding. In general, the kind of arranged marriage that I know is enforced only by family and community approval and disapproval (although let's not underestimate how powerful these are). At no point am I talking about a truly arranged marriage in which there's no options, no veto, and enforcement by violence or restriction of liberty. I don't pretend that I know anything about living that kind of truth or that anything I experience is comparable to that kind of future.

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