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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Green Card groom? No thanks!

WHILE the very nature of urban marriages has altered drastically in recent times, the selection of suitable partners is also undergoing major changes. For one thing, it’s no longer a case of ‘Green Card holder preferred’, once a common line in matrimonial ads.

“Earlier, many parents preferred an NRI groom because they believed he was better settled and had better career opportunities,” explains Manjunath Bijahalli, co-founder of the Returned NRI Association. “When we left India, it was with the knowledge that we would be earning six-to-seven times more than our peers back home. But today, with the economic boom and rising salaries in India, going to the US is not as attractive as before,” he says.

Records at various matrimonial services reflect this trend. “If a woman has to choose between a goodlooking, rich prospect in Sydney and a less-endowed groom from Mumbai, she is now more likely to pick the latter,” says Prithvi Banwasi, owner of a marriage bureau. “It’s not just that India is progressing rapidly; it’s also because an increasing number of young women getting married and going abroad face unhappy circumstances.”

According to advocate Sachidanand Murthy, “Many girls complain of physical abuse and infidelity when they join their husbands abroad. In these marriages, there often isn’t enough time to get to know the groom or check his credentials. That’s a risk modern, independent women are not willing to take,” he adds. Take, for instance, the case of Preeti Sharma. “When I met my husband here he seemed to be a confident individual, who promised me love and support,” she says. “But within days of joining him in the US I realised he was an alcoholic who would get aggressive with me. When efforts to get him to change his ways failed, I fled. I was working in a software firm here and earning good money. It didn’t seem worth suffering when I could get my life back.”

Aditi Kapur returned within a month of joining her husband in the UK. “He was a loner and said he had married only because his parents had forced him to. He made this shocking revelation just a couple of days after I landed there. He didn’t have many friends, wouldn’t talk to me or take me out anywhere. I became depressed and after two months, begged my parents to get me back,” Aditi says.

Having heard of this and other similar experiences, Ramya Rao and her parents decided to stick to a desi groom. “At least I am with my own people and if things go wrong, I can move on with my life,” says Ramya.

Marriage counsellor Saul Pereira says he has seen many women do better in their lives after their divorce. “Although I don’t encourage breaking up relationships, you can’t fool the modern woman,” he says. “They are not as tolerant as the previous generation. Five years ago, a woman would plead to stay with a husband no matter what; today’s girls are leaving their husbands if their expectations are not met.”

Saul says that it’s important to get pre-marital counselling for youngsters, especially in NRI marriages. “It helps develop coping mechanisms. And it’s always better to run a background check on prospective grooms, not just for financial stability, but lifestyle and regular habits,” he says.

There are no doubt many examples of successful NRI marriages. “

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