I was surprised to catch an American reality show

Written By

Chitra Doraiswami

American Reality show Loading

I was surprised to catch an American ‘reality’ show where strangers meet and get married at first sight. It seemed like a form of ‘arranged marriage’ of the extreme kind followed by our ancestors!

It reminded me of some hilarious and even infamous situations that arose out of such tie-ups (if I may call them that).

Beautiful women are always on the ‘wanted’ list…of course, I don’t mean the ‘Western, unshaven, low-browed baddie’ list. Every man aspires to marry a beauty queen even if he resembles the backside of a bus. Anyway, the matrimonial columns underscored the beauty of the bride as the only consideration and the groom’s five or six figure salary, not his pipsqueak voice or mousey looks.

My cousin had every qualification to be called ‘a beauty’. . She was very fair, had even features (nothing odd about her), had big eyes, was slim, had long, long hair. What more can you want? One prospective groom wanted her to come to his house to be ‘viewed’ cause he was busy, busy, busy.

My cousin cribbed and complained, but he was a ‘catch’, a government official, no less. So she was persuaded to just go with Grandma. She had the right of veto, ‘garment serpent’ or not…(that’s the way it sounded to me!)

The prospective Mother-in-law asked her to walk, talk and undo her long braid to see if she had fixed some hair piece in it…by that time her big brown eyes had begun to fill up. They spilled over when the groom to be came in a striped night suit. “For all the world like a jail bird,” she said later.

‘We love that child,’ beamed the mother- in- law to- be. ‘But I cannot bear either of them!’, retorted cousin when she was safely out of earshot.

A friend of mine achieved notoriety effortlessly by checking out 300 girls for her precious son. The family was well to do, the husband was a Government Servant (Southies loved their Government guys back then. It had the same cachet that a Computer Engineer has now. ) ‘This one is too short, that one is too tall, she is fat, she is thin, the family…’. The poor son was nothing spectacular and he was anxious to be wed. He lived in the USA and desperately wanted a rasam making wife. He couldn’t eat any more pizza. Period.

He said ‘yes’ to any reasonable girl shown by Mom. But Mom would veto his choice and look further afield. Then, she found the perfect girl, beautiful, talented, intelligent but docile and she triumphantly told us about her pedigree. She wrote in glowing terms to her son who wrote back that he had married an Italian girl and he just needed her blessings and the recipe for rasam!

Another case: Another overly ambitious mom looked over dozens of girls and finally found the perfect girl for her precious son. So what happens? The dutiful daughter-in-law elopes off and disappears after she reaches New York and befriends a much richer guy!

Wonder how these Americans will fare. Time (and future episodes will tell!)




Chitra Doraiswami, 69, is from Bangalore. She has written for many publications such as the Deccan Herald, The Times, Femina, Eve’s Weekly, etc. Chitra has many an interesting tale to tell including the one about finishing her Masters along with her son; sadly “only” getting a First Class, where her son got a rank. She joined CMR, NPS as Headmistress two decades ago and is now known as the Associate Principal of the institution. She also has a sixteen year old grandson. Chitra is an avid dancer, reader and drama-enthusiast. She's traveled extensively with her husband who was in the IAF. She taught wherever they were posted. Chitra enjoys teaching people innovative ways of helping children learn, but she is definitely not the prototypical fluffy grandma!

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