Marrying an NRI is no longer in vogue

Nervous, excited, is indeed a cocktail of feelings when you're about to get married, and to a non-resident Indian (NRI) at that. But doesn't the emotional hullabaloo appear trivial as compared to the attraction that the West offers? Well, in the present times, the consensus has to be, negative.

Five years ago, came a marriage proposal from the West for Mrs Walia's eldest daughter, Anchal. The software professional working with a world-renowned IT consultancy firm in New Jersey proudly flaunted his sound bank balance, offered a promising (read secure) future, which made the Walias very happy. Not a minute was wasted and the newly married couple flew to their abode in the US. But that was five years ago

. Today, when the family is once again on a groom-hunting mission for Anchal's younger sister, their priority, or rather interest, strictly denies any overseas prospect. "Our daughter has been away for a long time. She and her family can visit us only once in two years. We don't want the same situation with our younger daughter," says a changed Mrs Walia, who has let her outlook take a gradual U-turn.

Over the years, the fascination for the West, especially when it comes to match-making, has undergone a complete transformation. Modern Indian families that solely rested their decisions on common baits like financial security, better standard of living, and career growth for their to-be-married children, refuse to get lured any more. Reasons are galore - India is progressing at a breakneck speed, there is no dearth of better paying jobs here, job insecurity is a thing of the past, travelling overseas is a part of the job now, and most importantly, people want to be closer to home

. More than parents disapproving the idea of marrying NRIs, it is the children who are indifferent towards relocating to another country. Sharmistha Basu, an IT professional from Bangalore says, "My parents had reluctantly looked for a match for me from someone in the US but since I had never been eager to live elsewhere except India, I turned it down. They were overjoyed with my decision. I just don't want to stay far away from them since I am the only daughter."

Concurring with the waning interest in NRIs, Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of a matrimony website, says, "The demand for NRIs, grooms and brides alike, is not the same as it was 10 years ago when we started the business. There's been a tremendous decline in the number of profiles opting for NRI matches. Today, out of 100, only 25 per cent of profiles would click on the preference for NRI groom/bride matches, so you can well imagine the plunge."

Indian brides might be on a spree of ignoring eligible NRI matches but it seems that the grooms are in for hard luck. Gaurav Kapoor, a resident of the United States, is one such case. "My parents were keen to get me married to a girl of Indian origin. They thought it'd be rather easy to find a match for someone like me who is born and raised here. Two years have passed and we still haven't been able to find a girl who is affirmative about the idea of marrying an NRI," says he.

At a time when most people are rejecting this concept, there is a still significant faction that doesn't mind a conjugal-Western leap. Darpan Nijjar decided to get married to a UK-based professional on seven days' notice. "It was chat mangni pat byah for us, just like a fairy tale. I was excited about moving to London with him and hence said a prompt yes," says she.

The craze of the West is indeed in the depth of despair. Globalisation is one prime reason for this declining demand for NRIs, but it's also because people have started realizing that in the long run, embracing the West eventually loosens their grip over the emotional bond with parents.

Dr Sameer Malhotra, Senior Consultant Psychiatry and Psychotherapy shares a case study where an aged couple was affected by the absence of their children, "Initially, parents encourage children to take up the offers for a stable career and life but with time they start missing them. When the children are away, their basic needs go unaddressed and that is when they feel the void."

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