www... the web of life
Marriages may be made in heaven, but they're sealed in cyberspace
LOOKING FOR a bride? Try the net. For Rahul Verma, an executive in a multinational company, this is the latest advice from the family pandit. Rahul is not the only one in the days when cosmopolitan culture is taking root in rural India and Internet cafes outnumber tea stalls. Searching for a partner is no more a family affair or a peek into the classifieds of your favourite daily.
There is a whole world of options waiting to give you a horse ride, provided you give your mouse a chance to click. Leading the way are dotcoms such as Bharat Matrimony and Shaadi.com, both boasting more than a million members.
"Newspapers offer limited choices. Here you can see the pictures of the prospective candidates, interact with them and match the horoscopes," says Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, Bharat Matrimony.com.
However, lately the authenticity of these portals is being questioned for the genuineness of the persons, people meet on line. To address this issue, Bharat Matrimony has launched VeriProfile, a service by which you can verify the details of a prospective life partner without revealing your identity. "We thought it was our moral responsibility towards making Internet matrimony totally reliable," says Janakiraman.
The intention is right and the portal has roped in a credit rating agency Onicra to check a candidate for name, age, income, marital status, address, family background and blood group.
But if somebody intends to cheat, the portal doesn't guarantee anything. "See, we are going to check all the information a member has provided. But if somebody is bent on cheating, and it is particularly true on the marital status count, we can't do much. We could check with his or her neighbours and there are some other discreet ways as well, but we can't guarantee," says S.A. Chari, executive director, Onicra. "We are putting a disclaimer that the information provided is not guaranteed so nobody can sue us. Still people should encourage the effort. We are providing both self and partner verification and those who would go for self-verification; a stamp would appear on their portfolio adding to its authenticity. And if somebody's information is found wrong, we drop his portfolio from the site," says Janakiraman.
Options may be blossoming but the caste factor still rules. "The number of members is increasing manifold, but most still want to go for their caste and religion," says
Anupam Mittal of Shaadi.com. Some newspaper classifieds have tried to bridge this caste gap by offering discounts for those who go for the `caste no bar' tag.
"We would like to do something similar in the future. Still, my experience says 70 per cent of the members want to get married within their respective caste," adds Mittal.
No broadband on this count.
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