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There are 44 million Indians who now have smartphones, giving casual-encounter-driven “hookup apps” like Tinder a huge market.
Tinder’s CMO said in September was seeing a 3 to 4 percent daily growth in its Indian user base.
I belong to no caste; I am not Hindu; I have no Indian heritage. For them, matrimonial websites simply seemed to be a matter of convenience, a casual way to meet other singles online in a country where dating sites haven’t really taken off.
India is a country where sex is “something that’s both sort of resented and incredibly desired,” Kevin, a 20-year-old college student in Delhi told me, and the Internet provides a sort of parallel community respited from traditional restrictions on the libido.
The online dating scene in India is primarily matrimonial websites, predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding.
It highlights a false dichotomy between modern arranged marriages and fairytale love.
In December, Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described her city as a “rape capital;” in June, the New York Times reported that visits by female tourists to India had dropped by 35 percent in the first months of 2013.
But the traditional idea of marriage here is an ethnocentric one, designed to preserve the social taxonomy of the caste system that first calcified with the dawn of early Hinduism in the fourth century.
Call it acclimating to the Indian single life after coming of age in the West, where India is often seen as a country of arranged marriages and impenetrable glass ceilings.
If there’s truth to caricature, then call my joining the online matrimony network a modern-day leap onto a bandwagon of millennia-old social custom.“Shaadi” is the Hindi word for wedding; is, intuitively, a wedding arranged via the Internet.
Last week, I joined Shaadi.com, India’s oldest and most popular matrimonial website.
Call it anthropological curiosity; call it a metric of my own narcissism.