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Ahluwalia doesn’t necessarily advocate a wholesale break with tradition, but clients need to have thought through their answers.If a woman says she wants to marry a Hindu, for instance, Ahluwalia asks what that means: Going to temple each week? Thakur is willing to look within the parameters set by her parents, but she has her own priorities: physical attraction, education, good employment and stability.
Especially in Indian villages, matchmaking tends to be informal, using “extensive kinship networks,” said Lindsey Harlan, chair of religious studies at Connecticut College.
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She didn’t meet anybody she liked at Mittal’s party.
“I guess you become more fussy when you get older,” she said.
When an Indian gets to a marriageable age, “aunties,” who are not necessarily related, start looking out for potential life partners.
A family also might hire a marriage broker to help the process along.
Thakur’s parents encouraged her to go the singles party, even though they had wanted to arrange a marriage for her when she was younger.
Now that she’s older, her father is more open-minded about who his daughter marries — “but it has to be an Indian,” she added, and preferably from one of the higher castes.
Ninety percent of Hindus in America marry within the faith, according to the U. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
“I’ve seen so much that blows those stereotypes out of the water,” said Jasbina Ahluwalia, a Bay Area matchmaker who serves the South Asian community. “Separating one’s own priorities and values from expectations of others — family, parents — I think can be very challenging,” she said.
These days, matrimony websites can serve the same broker role as the “aunties.” Parents, both in India and in the U.