The Internet boom has changed the way people live and love. The opening up of the world, literally, at the flick of one’s fingertips means that one can reach out to people across the globe in ways unimaginable even a few decades back. One of the most interesting effects of this kind of communication has been in the sphere of personal relationships with people looking for partners on the web. This is evident even in traditionally conservative societies like India where the popularity of matrimonial websites like Shaadi.com, BharatMatrimony.com and JeevanSaathi.com is witness to the fact that people are increasingly turning to the Internet in order to find life partners.
Choose by community requirements
Indians have followed the tradition of arranged marriage for several centuries and even now it is the norm rather than an outdated concept. According to this system, marriage alliances are fixed by family elders after considerations of religion, caste, community, horoscope, dowry and other requirements. In the earlier days, word of mouth and print matrimonial were the main ways of finding an eligible partner for one’s son or daughter. However the disintegration of extensive kinship network and the spatial limitations of print matrimonials mean that more people are making use of matrimonial websites since these are quicker and reach out to greater number of families than ever before. The best part of these online services is that one can specify requirements in a prospective partner in terms of religion, caste and linguistic affiliation, much like in the manner of traditional match-maker, only faster and with greater transparency. Most matrimonial websites have separate links to various linguistic, religious, professional and caste groups and even allow members to select prospective partners from the country and city of their choice.
Privacy and non-committal approach
Matrimonial websites offer yet another advantage over traditional ways of groom/bride hunting in terms of privacy and ease in screening out undesirable prospective partners. The whole world need not come to know that Mr. So-and-so is looking for a groom for his daughter and at the same time he can extend negotiations only to those families where the son appears to have the desirable qualities of a son-in-law. Moreover with matrimonial profiles, photos and chat rooms, individuals can make a final choice of a partner on their own and then let the parents take over the later stage of negotiations with respective families. This system works out admirably to remain faithful to community specifications while taking care of personal preferences at the same time which is why perhaps the trend has caught on among Indians in the country and across the world.
Most of the well-known Matrimonial websites also have specialized services which, in exchange for a fee, can do the basic or and advanced screening of eligible partners in accordance to a client’s specifications. This is a boon for individuals who are short of time and want to know only about prospective partner who come closest to their requirements. Shaadi.com has such a service known as eMatchmaker which claims to give one matches with high potential of compatibility while BharatMatrimony.com offers personalized matching services which not only claim to help a client with the creation of a profile but also with the searching, short-listing and contacting of suitable profiles.
The basic steps of using Indian matrimonial websites include:
• Registration with the site by submitting personal details like name, gender, age, religion, country of residence and others. This step also requires an applicant to submit an email address and password which will be used to log into the site.
• Creation of a matrimonial profile with details of religious, linguistic and caste affiliations as well as other personal details pertaining to appearance, educational and professional background. Members can also post photos or videos to accompany their matrimonial profile.
• Creation of partner profile which lists the desired qualities in a prospective partner.
• Searching of prospective partners. Most matrimonial websites allow members to choose from quick advanced or keyword-based search options.
• Short-listing of preferred partner profiles using Favorites or any similar feature.
• Contacting preferred profiles either by using the basic expression of interest under free membership or by a more personalized message usually allowed under premium membership. Various websites have varying policies on allowing members to contact each other. A member can also request contact details from another member who has either not entered contact details or chosen not to display them.
The best known among Indian matrimonial websites have round the clock customer support in order to help members with technical problems and other queries. However requests from members to provide contact details of other members through customer support are usually not entertained.
Compared to the rest of the world, Indians are late arrivals on the internet matchmaking scene and are only now waking up to the dangers of entering into relationships on the web. Here are some safety measures recommended while using matrimonial websites:
- Make use of privacy features in the website to guard your identity until you are sure you want to reveal it.
- Don’t reveal contact information like home address, residential telephone number, cell phone number, email address. Also keep identifying information like name and place of work hidden in the initial stages of partner search.
- Even if you meet someone you like, start by communicating through emails and preferably create a separate account for this purpose.
- Watch out for inconsistencies in personal and professional details.
- Meet a prospective partner only when you are sure of the person. Always use a public place for such meetings.
- Beware of any requests for money, no matter how likable the person.
- Finally take your time in selecting and getting to know a prospective partner.
Matrimonial websites are an ideal way of finding a partner in a country like India which has a bewildering range of religious, caste and linguistic groups and where relationship practices range from strictly arranged marriages to live-in relationships. However like any other tool, such online services are best used with care and patience in order to find the partner of one’s dreams.