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Men throwing tantrums in public

Mommy, mommy please get me a feather-light, blue-eyed beauty. Such flights of fantasy are frequently taken by 'eligible bachelors' seeking an arranged match, writes Shagun Dayal.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2005 17:47 IST

Mommy, mommy please get me an advanced-white, feather-light, blue-eyed beauty. Nope, it's not a whimsical 18-year-old demanding a cell phone. Such flights of fantasy are frequently taken by 'eligible bachelors' seeking an arranged match in India.

Every Sunday has thousands of eager parents with children of marriageable age pouring over matrimonial advertisements in various hues and shades. Certainly, a late-morning leisurely brunch acquires a whole new taste when tossed with these sumptuous classified columns. And if the ads occasionally make you smile, or even break out into peals of laughter, then who's to blame?

Just last week I was going through the 'Brides Wanted' section in a newspaper supplement and couldn't stop giggling at what some of the men and their families had set out to find. God, the world is sure full of strange people and stranger are their demands. Eighty five per cent advertisers seemed content to harp on the age-old tune for 'fair and slim' bahus; others were more specific about the kind of girl they wanted.

A forty-year-old unmarried gentleman, for example, insisted he 'looks much younger' and would be happy to tie the knot with an (un)fair bride. After all, life's naughty at forty! The ad also mentioned he had a somewhat defective gait. Given that he was already so 'young', perhaps kind Sir preferred crawling on all fours to walking? Remember Mr Wise Guy, no one's perfect. But demanding perfection in your life partner while sweeping your own shortcomings under the carpet does make for traumatic reading.

Then there was this fellow who had splashed his erudite lineage in black & white. Paternal uncle - Vice Chancellor, maternal uncle - IFS, father - lost last election by a margin of few votes, prestigious constituency, bright future, groom studying. (Oops, he's a Complan Boy!) Maybe he wants a wife who says 'main intezaar karoongi'!

If this one was hilarious, a few were downright mean. 'Unencumbered' lady (read glorified ayah) wanted for a man above 40 (even 60 is above 40, dude), well-settled, widower bank manager, has two sons, loves children (perhaps only his own?). Farmhouse near Chikmingad - (scanned the entire atlas with magnifying glass, swear couldn't find the place.)

Many claim they are sophisticated, sober and soft-spoken. Yep, and I am the Queen of England. Their e-mail ids bear testimony to the unique brand of sobriety they believe in. What sane woman would send her BHP to Rocky_boy@yahoo.com, tere_mere_sapne@hotmail.com, or hum_do_hamare_do@sify.com?

Things got worse before they got any better. 'Only milky white girl wanted', said the opening sentence of another matrimonial masterpiece. Sure son, and do you want her toned, full cream, or double-toned?? A fellow groom-to-be was willing to settle for something less nutritious - a girl with 'rosy complexion' would do just fine. He may be a purple orchid himself, but that wouldn't stop any man from printing his silly, disgusting wishes, would it?

Hypocrisy is the name of the game, no matter where you look. A leading daily offers 10 per cent discount for people who add a 'caste no bar' line to their classified ad. Some smart cookies take advantage of the scheme but unashamedly declare that preference will be given to girls from their own community.

Does all that I have written so far sound too much like preaching? Believe me, that wasn't the intention. Rather it's an attempt to throw light on the trivialities of life. And matrimonial ads are as rich in colour as life itself - sometimes funny, occasionally quirky, maybe unsavoury, but never boring.

This canvas of the classified column isn't complete; there are many more shades still left to fill in. So join me again next week as I hunt down those hunting for the 'perfect' mate!

First Published: Oct 15, 2005 13:52 IST