In an attempt to explain the shifting romantic climate for women in India, Mumbai businesswoman Shyra Mogul — who escaped an abusive arranged marriage in her 20s and is now single again — tells NPR that her generation grew up on Bollywood rom-coms which, generally, feature a rich girl feuding with her parents over wanting to marry the poor guy she's in love with.
"And he's pretty much, in economic terms, a loser. He's not rich; he's not making that much money; typically he's not that educated. But she wants to marry him, so this whole war is about fighting the family for love."
Likewise, these women have grown up to want chemistry and connection in their own future marriages and are willing to wait for it. While the majority of marriages in India are still arranged, some working women in their 30s are taking it upon themselves to date online and join mixers to find husbands that are compatible for them, rather than relying on their parents to choose one for them as soon as they reach marrying age.
Among the upper crust of the dating websites for young urban professionals is Bangalore-based Floh, a particularly exclusive 500-member group that charges $300 annual dues for upscale mixers like yachting or visiting car clubs. Its founders, Simran and Siddharth Mangharam, were inspired to start the group after they met randomly at a social event, got to talking, and eventually wedded, a departure from the structured arrangements that usually lead to marriage.
Familial acceptance is still tantamount to a long-lasting marriage— the CEO of popular matchmaking service shaadi.com says that the majority of its 20 million users still consider the families' approval the most important factor — but the marrying generation of women are unwilling to be with someone who wants them to set aside their professional goals like their mother or grandmother did.
As one woman who found her future husband online puts it: "There's a sense of freedom with him. He lets me breathe."