Although arranged marriages are rather rare in the West, I’m on a mission to change that. In my role of deranged Cupid, I seem to be doing quite well, writes Steven Baker.Updated: Aug 18, 2008 19:33 IST
My friend Charissa, a foreign actor based in India, recently appeared in an advertisement for the matrimonial site shaadi.com. To many people, arranged marriages are synonymous with India, so I was quite intrigued when Charissa revealed that the ad was made for the US and UK markets. Although arranged marriages are rather rare in the West, I’m on a mission to change that. In my role of deranged Cupid, I seem to be doing quite well.
My debut role as a matchmaking newcomer, was the union between my brother Philip and his wife Michiyo, set up by, ahem, yours truly. It was with the aura of a Hindu astrologer that I jetted in from Delhi for their wedding. The groom was English. The bride was Japanese. They met in Australia, and married in England. They were both gently coerced into going on a blind date, and it was ishq at first sight, under the clock of a busy railway station in Melbourne. Kya love story hai.
This success story was repeated with my buddies Trent and Alexis. Although the two were acquaintances, their love story really only began when they bumped into each other at a party (with a delicate push from me). Now, some years have passed, and they are still happily together. Although I’m more than willing to take the credit for the arrangement, not everyone is convinced. Over brunch at Defence Colony’s aptly named Angels in my Kitchen, Alexis agreed that although I may have fired Cupid’s arrow, Trent was the one to catch it. And she claims they were destined to get together anyway.
Thanks or no thanks, I remain undeterred, and my strike rate is right on target. Last month on a trip to Mumbai, I randomly introduced Charissa (remember, we met her at the beginning) to a film director. In the words of Jane Austen, said director is handsome, clever and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition. And although the two are somewhat marriage-shy, it seems that they are at the start of something exciting. Hurrah! Third time lucky.
Sneaking-a-peek at my latest Sex in the City article, my colleague at HT City, Mayank Austen Soofi, seems astounded at my matchmaking skills. Which is why I’ve decided to do something to remedy his singleton status.
To return to Jane Austen, Mayank is a single man in possession of a good fortune. Or, in the words of India’s matrimonials: alliance sought for well-settled boy. Twentysomething, 5’ 8”, highly educated, wheatish complexion, caste no bar.