Kochi: Gone are the days when non-resident Indians had to travel thousands of miles to meet their prospective spouses. Internet- enabled technologies have changed the way in which arranged marriages are organised nowadays, especially for the NRI population who still prefer arranged marriages. However, the traditional ‘initial meeting’ between the prospective bride and groom has not been left out of the process. The in-thing in arranged marriages is to allow the two to ‘meet’ online with the help of internet-based video chatting tools.
Vivek Venkatachalam, an NRI engineer based in Europe, said he too was part of the new trend. “I wanted to have an ice-breaker with my prospective bride. Both the parents agreed to have a Skype chat with the girl for an hour. Although the first few minutes were indeed strange, it did help improve both our comfort levels. It also eased the tension when we actually met later on. Assuming that one has to fly from one country to another just to meet someone, it would be good to arrange an online meeting first,” he said.
Riz Milton, who works in Dubai, had also met his fiancee via video chatting during their initial meetings. “It is a very practical way of approaching a marriage for a person living in a different country from that of the prospective spouse. The online meeting gives you the first impression whether the marriage proposal is feasible or not. Apart from that, it makes things easier when you decide to go and meet the person directly,” he noted.
Another key factor regarding such video chats is the acceptance level of the parents. "Though in most cases, the two do not actually meet until the D-day, they get to spend some time together,” said Rajendran Nair, father of a girl whose marriage was fixed in a similar fashion.
Matrimony sites have also started realizing the need to include chatting as a feature to their websites. “Once a person becomes a paid member of our site, he/she can access other members’ contact number and can also initiate chat. If they find the match suitable, they proceed. If they need further assistance, our Relationship Manager will help them,” said a communitymatrimony.com consultant.