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Flying high with NRI grooms

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NRI GroomsVikram Phadke, 34, software professional working in South California. coming to India in August.

Sahil Mehta, 29, engineer working in Alabama, coming to India on July 7, will return on July 22. Please hurry and contact immediately.

These are some of the matrimonial advertisements in a leading newspaper in the country. The post boxes of such advertisements are overflowing. With letters, mails and personal visits of the prospective bride’s parents, relatives and friends.

Marriage bureaus and matrimonial sites have separate sections allotted for the ‘foreign grooms’, to cater to the growing demand. “With the increasing requests of proposals of grooms who are staying abroad, we decided to allot separate files for them. This makes it easier for the prospective brides’ parents,” says Sneha Mahajan, of ‘Milan’ who runs a marriage bureau.

Sneha adds that despite three copies of these files, there is always a waiting time to read these files, which gives an indication of the growing popularity of the foreign grooms. Though there are girls who are capable and willing to travel to foreign shores on their own abilities, many parents find marriage as an easier way out to let the daughter travel to a foreign country.

As Pallavi Patil, computer engineer says, “My mother was not very keen when I was asked to work in the USA for a project. But now, she is looking for a boy in the US, so that I can work there and be safe,”

Fifteen years back, when 19 year old Richa spoke to Rahul (working in a travel agency) in Dubai for 20 minutes before deciding to get married, her relatives, neighbors and friends were shocked. “How could you leave the country and all of us. That too for a person you have not even seen.” Of course, the fact that the family knew each other was an advantage.

Now, its very common and marriages take place between girls and boys who have not met, only chatted on the net or spoken on the phone, as the guy is not in the country.

“Many girls are definitely lured by the foreign tag of the prospective groom”, informs associate director of a popular marriage bureau in Pune.

The so called modern, advanced and lavish life is an attraction for them. Says Mita Vaijnathan, “Marriage was a good option to move abroad. A welcome change away from the family and also give me and Sanjay time, to understand each other.”Sanjay Sharachandran, who is working in a leading software company wanted to marry an Indian girl who was willing to settle aboard because “I am not coming back and wanted the girl to accept that.”

“It works fine for us because luckily NRI prospectives want to get married to Indian girls,” says Sneha.

Having a relative in the foreign land has also has become a status symbol, Like Girija Mehta says of her daughter Sarika, staying in Singapore.” most of my friends use to boast of their children studying or working abroad, now I too have stories to tell.”

The developing technology also has a role to play in the popularity of these marriages. It is easy to keep in touch with the home, through the affordable phone rates, Internet and web cams. Some parents of prospective brides also prefer to choose grooms from the IT field, due to possibility of a foreign visit or long term stay.

Sima mother of Chinmay Thate, an architect working in the USA, “Many girls refused Chinmay’s proposal when they learnt that he was coming back to India soon.”

“Looks like everybody wants to leave the country and is attracted to the foreign land,” she exclaims.

Sociologist Anjali Gadgil adds, “The tales of tortures and suffering have made the parents a little conscious of choosing the ‘foreign groom’. Kashita, still has to recover from the shock she had when she moved to Canada with her husband Krishna. Refusing to speak, Kashita cannot get over the day when her dreams came crashing, when she learnt that Krishna was already married in Canada and had two children, he married Kashita for dowry.

Ignorant of the fact Kashita’s parents were too happy when Krishna asked for their daughter’s hand, after seeing her at a wedding. In the excitement of “having a foreign returned son in law,” they trusted him completely and did not enquire much about him. Now, they think it was their biggest mistake. But too late for Kashita.

Gadgil adds that the parents and bride should make sure that they have the right information about the prospective groom. She advises:

  • Do not hurry into a decision.
  • Take your time inquiring about the proposal, ask for references.
  • Look for mutual friends and talk to them at length.
  • Check the office and home address.
  • Talk to some of the office colleagues and friends if possible.
  • Do not be over obsessive about a foreign groom. By doing this you are most likely to turn a blind eye to the drawbacks.
  • At the same time, be willing to share information about the girl.

Gadgil adds, ” I believe, a good or compatible bride and groom has nothing to do with the residence of the person. Some like to live abroad, those staying there want to desperately return to India, it is just a matter of personal choice.”

Staying abroad cannot be a qualification; neither can it be a disqualification, she remarks.

(Some names have been changed to protect identity)

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