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Matchmaking at Diaspora meet

The event seems to have become a happy hunting ground for NRI brides and grooms, writes Vibhuti Agarwal.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 12:06 IST

The lengthy plenary sessions inside the conference rooms of the Diaspora conclave talk of health care and remittance facilities; outside there's another set of discussion going strong amongst huddles.

At the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad, there is a different kind of trade happening - matchmaking.

As speeches by chief ministers of various states are in progress, a mother and daughter crane their necks and whisper conspiratorially over an extended lunch. The 'vigilant' mother teaches the requisite mannerisms to her obedient daughter while at a distance, a proud father teaches his son how to 'mingle'.

"I would like a girl of flawless complexion with drop-dead gorgeous looks and figure of a model, who cooks like her mother and could even earn for herself, to be my daughter-in-law," says the father who prefers anonymity.

   What the stars foretell

The mega business event appears to have been transformed into a happy hunting ground for parents searching for eligible NRI brides and grooms."Why not? Since PBD is a business conclave, this is just another kind of trade happening? You opt for things where you get a good deal. I can see decked-up girls on a look-out for handsome guys. Next time, let Shaadi.com strike a partnership with the Government of India and indulge in good and flourishing business,"says Vasudha Sondhi, Vice-President HRH Group of Hotels.

The meet seems to be providing an excellent forum to the wealthy NRIs to mingle and make match. That day is not far when astrologers will be sitting and addressing a session on match-making, while delegates will be moving around with matrimonial classifieds instead of business pamphlets.

Says Jolly Verghese from Kuwait, "A gathering of NRIs is a good place to look for successful Indian boys who are conscious of their culture and traditions."

The fourth NRI festival is bustling with all breeds of men, but when it comes to marriage, the Indian male can easily be bracketed into a handful of kinds. Tall is the buzzword, though salaries are a grey area.

Abha Rastogi from UAE feels delighted to build contacts with aristocratic people. "The PBD offers a good chance to interact with different people. We met with a family in Mumbai. Our children started getting along well and are making plans to shop and go club-hopping. Who knows, the lady luck might soon smile," says Abha.

If one manages to evesdrop some of the refined ladies chatting in a group, one cannot stop laughing.

"My son has categorically pointed out his choice. He wants his life-partner to be 36'24'36'," boasts Mariayee Palaniappan from Malaysia.

The craze of getting NRI brides and grooms is something which is quite real in India.

Parents who don't like their sons and daughters adopting western lifestyle, want to get their children married to someone "back home" as a way of strengthening cultural ties.

But their children are caught between two cultures, struggling to balance the freedom that comes with growing in the West.

"There's no point coming to India to look for girls anymore as my son has lived his whole life outside and will just not get along well with a traditional girl," says Leela Swarup from Mauritius.

The visit of the NRIs is not aimed at finding a soul-mate for their sons, "but it's always good to keep your eyes and ears open," Leela adds with a smile.

And as a wag puts it, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, if not for anything, can be Prospective Bridegroom/bride divas.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 00:03 IST