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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match

Everyone knows the song:

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.
Find me a find, catch me a catch.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, look through your book
And make me a perfect match.

Growing up, my parents assumed that they would have the dubious honor of playing matchmaker for me at some point in my life. Both of my older sisters had arranged marriages, as did one of my brothers. Of my four older siblings, only one brother had gone the non-traditional route and married someone not only not selected by my parents - but also someone non-Indian.

I was not even allowed to speak to the opposite sex when I was in High School unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary and involved Calculus. However, as I got closer to graduating from the University of Virginia, my parents started sweating and getting nervous. I was the ripe age of 22 and there I was, single. God forbid I end up 25 and not married! Time was of the essence.

I could usually tell when my mom was scoping for candidates for me at an Indian party, prime meat-market candidates hunting ground. I would see her and other "Aunties" whispering and twenty minutes later would find myself talking to these Auntie's sons (FYI - for most Indians - all older Indian men and women who look like they could be remotely friends of your parents are called Auntie and Uncle).

My Mother or the Auntie: Kiran, have you talked to Sanjay? Sanjay likes to read books like you. He also likes the Madonna and the U2 and the Police band. Why don't you talk to him?

At this point both Sanjay (or whoever the unassuming victim was) and I would mumble something and try not to go beet red. When I would confront my mother about it after the party she would be terribly affronted.

Me: Ma, how could you? That's so embarrassing!

Ma: To Kya? (So What?) He's going to be a doctor. And he is so tall! He looks like (INSERT NAME OF SOME BOLLYWOOD ACTOR HERE).

(FYI - My mom thinks anyone over 5'6" is tall)

Over the years, I did relent and agreed to go on a few dates with guys my parents had set me up with. The guys were nice, but there was never any love connection. However, I had to put an end to this after the third such date, when I came back from the date and had to deflate my mother's balloon AGAIN and tell her there would not be an upcoming wedding.

The date had gone well, but it was clear 5 minutes in that I had absolutely nothing in common with the guy. Here's what we had in common.

Indian. Check.
Tan. Check.
Breathing. Check.

He was nice and all, but I was starting to wonder what criteria my parents were using to find a guy for me. So I decided to ask my father before I agreed to go on any more dates. How had he come to set me up with this guy?

Papa: Well, he comes from a very good family, you know. His father also went to my college and was in the class three years beneath me.

Me: Were you good friends with him?

Papa: No - not really. But he's an Engineer. (Which is not much of a stretch as my father went to ENGINEERING COLLEGE). But he is good friends with the neighbor of my cousin's third cousin from his mamera (mother's) side's accountant.

(Oh, that's good to know)

Me: Did you find out anything about this guy's hobbies? Interests?

Papa: No - but he's in Residency to be a Doctor.

(See a theme here?)

Me: What was so great about this guy's father? Why do you think they come from a good family if you didn't really know him? What was he like?

Papa: Well . . . I don't really remember.

Me: What do you mean, you don't remember?

Papa: I don't remember much about him at all, actually. I think he had a nice nose.

(Huh? Really?)

So, as you can tell, my parents were taking great pains to go through a methodical process of hand picking someone ESPECIALLY for me, using very selective criteria.

And I can't tell you that over the years, I was that much better at picking out men I dated. I showed a lack of judgement on my own more times than I can say. And maybe my dad's selection criteria was better than my own - after all, having nice nose genes is a huge bonus. But in the end, despite my parents efforts, I decided to forego the arranged route.

Which is how I came to meet my husband, John, the old fashioned way. In a bar.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

think dating sites had it pretty tough during the crunch


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