You're Being Set (Up)
You’re Being Set (Up)

The arranged marriage vs love marriage debate never gets old. After an entire generation rebelled against being set up, there seems to be a bit of a ‘going back to the roots’, as more people embrace the concept of matchmaking yet again

It’s a quiet Sunday evening at home where my family has just gathered in the living room to have freshly made fritters. My sister, now 29, has just returned from the US for a vacation. She excitedly takes the first bite of mom’s food, when my father interrupts her karmic moment. “So, what have you thought about your marriage?”, my father asks. My sister is already regretting coming to the living room, but she has to give him a reply. “You find me one,” she replies.


Interestingly, just like her, a lot of young adults are opening up to the idea of an arranged marriage. Utkarsh Srivastava, 29, says, “I feel like arranged marriage already establishes the fact that you want to get married eventually before you even meet the person. It saves you the drama. You also get to know a person before you say yes. It’s not like old times now. It’s more like a ‘final dating chapter’ of your life.” Srivastava adds that his search for the one is going pretty well and his only criteria is a matching vibe. Raksha Bharadia, founder of Bonobology (a relationship counselling website), however feels that there are other reasons for it. “Gen-Z, without sounding condescending, want everything on their plates. Arranged marriages are like that. The family is doing the work, the economics are settled, the background checks are done. Everything is done for them so it is easier. Also, in this arrangement, you already have the support of your family. No convincing is involved, which saves them from a lot of trouble,” Bharadia adds. And while that might be the case for most of the Gen-Z adults, we cannot look away from the fact that most of them are always at work. Busy schedules, being surrounded by mostly people from work, and being burdened by deadlines could also be the reason why people are unable to take out time to meet people and are opting for an arranged marriage as an option.


Aparna Shewakramani in Indian Matchmaking


The matchmaker, however, also feels that the criteria for the newer generation has changed. People are okay with working partners, mental compatibility is necessary, etc. She doesn’t feel that arranged marriages are about (as Sima aunty would say) ‘compromises’. “I think it works pretty well. Marriages don’t break on big things. Cultural pinning is mostly a problem. In an arranged marriage system, you already check a person’s religious, monetary, lifestyles compatibility. It is a very smart move. You get to now know a person before you even say yes.


Ayushi Singh, 27, has also opted for an arranged marriage setting. She believes, “Nowadays, arranged marriages are not as difficult as in the past. We can meet people, connect with them, and make a bond with them before proceeding to marriage. We get enough time to check the vibe and compatibility with the partner in an arranged marriage also.” Her criteria are pretty simple. She explains, “I am going to choose my partner with family involvement in a proper manner. For the matchmaking, I want to use a reputable matrimonial website. My deciding factors would be his career path, food habits, family background, hometown, etc.”


According to Reemma Dalal, founder of Heart and Soul Events and Matchmaking Service, it is important to be realistic in your expectations. “A relationship is not a gift that comes wrapped in a colourful paper. Your partner should be respectful of your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. When one is hung up on a checklist, if someone comes along who is willing to give them what they want, they don’t consider them if they don’t meet the criteria,” she points out, adding that she has more and more young adults now coming to her for matchmaking.


And while we are at it, one needs to mention Sima Taparia and the Netflix show, Indian Matchmaking. Taparia’s show proves that more and more people are looking at arranged marriage as an option. So much so that there is a show made on it. But does it have to be about ‘compromises’ and does “everything get adjusted after marriage”?


Fatema Sidhpurwala, 26, never believed that she will find the one, but is now happily married to Hatim Vager for seven months. “It just clicked. I don’t think it’s a new trend. It might be new for the fast-track Gen Z world that we live in. The arranged marriage scenario has changed a lot and it can become even easier to find the right match with the right support from family and friends,” she says.


Vager, 30, agrees, “An arranged marriage felt safer because you know that the other person is also looking for a serious relationship which will eventually lead to getting married. I found a life partner without having to go through the pains of searching for someone. People describe it as a nightmare, but it was smooth sailing for us.”


A still from Rab ne Bana di Jodi


Did they settle into the marriage well as taught to us in Indian Matchmaking? Sidhpurwala says, “It has its ups and downs, it’s neither all rosy nor all hell. However, on the low days, we remind ourselves that we love each other a lot and we have vowed to make things better for each other, come what may.”


But then they were lucky to have found each other. It isn’t easy for parents to find a match for their son/daughter. The idea of relatives and neighbours coming home and suggesting rishtas over chai and pakora is more or less confined to the Hindi-heartland content-driven cinema. Living in Lucknow, a small town similar to the ones we see in such movies, the realities are markedly different. Relatives and friends are no longer playing a part in getting you hitched. We can blame technology for this shift.


A still from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani


“It’s difficult to search without intervention of matrimonial sites. Even close relatives are now not referring such proposals to avoid complications in the future. Earlier not only relatives but friends and colleagues who were visiting us very frequently would refer matches but, in this era, due to fast communication tools, personal meetings are rare and such information is not being exchanged,” explains my dad, who is trying to find a match for my sister. For him, compatibility is the key. And he is going all out to find his daughter the perfect match.


This might explain the growing popularity of the matrimonial sites. Adhish Hemendra Zaveri, marketing and PR head for, points out that there has been a 20-30 per cent increase in profiles on the platform in the last few years. But instead of ‘arranged marriage,’ these are termed as ‘planned marriage’. He explains, “Arranged marriages are driven by parents, while planned marriages are driven by the singles themselves. Around 80 per cent of our profiles are created by people looking for a match for themselves.”


A still from Shubh Mangaal Savdhaan


Explaining the growing trend of ‘planned marriages’ further, Naina Hira, founder of Sirf Coffee (a matchmaking and dating website), points out: “While parents and extended family are well-intentioned, there can be a glaring gap in personal preferences and expectations. According to our experience, progressive adults prefer the ability to find their match on their own terms. Building a relationship is a work in progress that is ongoing, even after a wedding. It doesn’t matter how you met your partner – there needs to be mutual respect, and a deep understanding of each other.”


If Bollywood has taught us anything, arranged marriages don’t always have to be a bad idea. After all, as long as you find someone who matches your wavelength, does the medium really matter? Taking help is the new cool.

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