I am writing to let you know that Bharat Matrimony is really not for me. Ever since ZeeAsia has run those assisted matrimony adverts on their channel, I know you’ve been convinced that that’s the ultimate solution to my ‘single’ problem. I also know that your sister’s husband’s cousin’s niece had also met someone from the Internet so you are 100 percent certain that this thing will work. But I should tell you that it wouldn’t for me. You see mum, I am a 90s girl. I grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, and I am all about old-school communication. Let me explain.
Remember our ONE telephone in the kitchen, ma? And how you had to stand in one spot and chat your business away while EVERYONE could hear what one was talking about because the cord was only as long as the fly swat? Every time my bestie from primary school would call, our 3-minute conversation would end up ‘Look I can’t tell you now. I’ll tell you in school tomorrow.” I didn’t grow up texting, fb-ing, whatsapp-ing, viber-ing or snapchat-ing my ‘thing’ and telling my bestie almost instantaneously. No. I grew up holding my secrets in to the point of bursting and telling them in person the next day. Sometimes I’d have to wait till mid-morning break to get it out. I detest ‘chatting’ online and ‘exchanging’ information via an autofill form on my computer, mum. I still like the old-school face-to-face interaction.
Pressed flowers, making cards and the smell of books
Do you remember how you taught me to press flowers in my storybooks when I was young? I just threw them out last year. And you know how long it has taken me to get an e-reader and that only because I was going to miss the smell of printed pages. I still go into bookstores sometimes just to bask in the fresh whiffs of newly printed books. And remember how we use to make cards for all occasions? You used to do all the cutting ’cause God knows I still can’t cut a straight line with a scissors!
I was a creative child, mum. You raised me to be one. Do you know how uncreative that matrimony site is? Rows and boxes of men minus the add-to-cart option as on online shopping sites. I cannot fathom choosing someone to spend the rest of my life with so…uncreative-ly!
Oh oh and mum, you remember those origami fortune tellers I drove everyone crazy with?!
— hazel.anne.manza (@hazelannemanza) May 25, 2013
I love stories
This is something I have got from Dad. We have to make our own stories. And I love a good story, mum. I grew up watching Bollywood movies. I have it ingrained in me that till we all get our love stories, picture abhi baki hai, mere dost! And I want a full-blown, crashing-on-the-side-walk, missing-my-train, wind-blowing-in-my-hair and public declaration of ever-lasting love, story eshtory. (err…well you can take the wind out.) And that shit ain’t happening sitting home with my mouse hovering over Male, 35, Wheatish Complex, Athletic Build. We both know he’s 40 and balding.
I am old-fashioned
This one’s purely your fault, ma. Yours and Auntie Kas’ and grandma’s. Y’all gave me lessons on how to be a lady. How to cough properly in public, which cutlery to use for which course of the meal and the accepted behavior of men. And that’s the problem. I expect to be courted. The old-fashioned way. I still believe that a kiss (like a snog, not a peck) is a no-no on the 1st date. Actually even the 2nd for that. Yes for 2014, it sounds ancient. But I can’t help it, mum. There is no way in hell, I am going to be clicking that “Express Interest” button even if the newly available Hrithik Roshan puts up a profile up on Bharat Matrimony. I would expect interest to be shown in me, Ma. And I’m a feminist.
“When people romanticize the ‘90s, it’s not because it was particularly “better” than it is now. It’s because it took more than ‘liking’ a status on Facebook to cement a friendship. It’s because courting someone took more effort than a text every other day or so. It’s because someone could destroy you emotionally and you’d never hear from them again, and you’d know what it really felt like to have a broken heart and what it’s like to not be able to do anything about it. It’s because you’d go to your neighborhood bar, and your drinking buddies would show up, and it wasn’t because you’d checked in on FourSquare. The ‘90s were the last decade of genuine emotion; the last time harvesting relationships took time, money, and effort. As technology simplifies communication, our lame-in-comparison attempts to build virtual relationships cease to have meaning.” – Thought Catalog
How white can a lie be?
I hate lying, mum. Even white lying. So can you imagine the number of lies we’ll write on my profile. Granted girls with hobbies such as traveling are grabbed by desperate parents to sell to their sons but no one actually wants a traveler daughter-in-law…let’s just forgot the #wegosolo hashtag, shall we…
So you see mum, this Bharat Matrimony is not going to work for me. I know you’ll be disappointed and I am truly sorry. I just grew up at a time when the net was for nerds and when relationships more than a Facebook life event. Please be patient. I have the utmost faith in the Universe and in you. And I am positive that I’m going to get my story one day very soon — the good old-fashioned way!
With love always,
Disclaimer: This post is a tribute to growing up in the 80s and 90s. It is not meant as a reflection on Bharat Matrimony and its services.
Sharon Narayan is a Fijian of Indian-descent. By profession she’s a construction project manager. When not working on building sites, she spends her time traveling the world and writing about her experiences on her blog Where is Shyamni?, where the original version of this essay first appeared. Twitter: @maharishisharon