Friday, June 20, 2008

Desi Brides

It was not too long ago when long suffering desi bachelors complained about how they were summarily rejected in the Indian marriage market if they expressed any desire to relocate to India or worse preferred never relocate from there at all. Apparently the tide has turned in the other direction now. Women don't want to give up everything they have going for them in Bangalore to become an H4 hausfrau and who can blame them. The tabloidy TOI story goes on breathlessly and one-dimensionally about the job opportunities in India that make the NRI dream not quite as desirable.

While that is clearly a factor, the other equally important one is the diminishing employment opportunities in the west combined with the weakening dollar. Back in the day, an NRI groom indentured with a desi-sweatshop to be a low-level code coolie, could command stratospheric dowries. The dollar-rupee conversion rate made his $42,000 a year look like a king's ransom. A bride with advanced degrees in Hindustani classical music and chemistry could be turned into a programmer on a dime.

So while she did come in on an H4 visa, she was able to join the workforce in short order, establish her own identity and become a double income family fairly quickly. The conversion math looked super-attractive at $84,000 a year when compared with their peers working in India. With the Y2K and dotcom delirium long past, the H4 wife has no job prospects and can count on staying in green card limbo for the best years of her life. By the time she has the right legal status to work, she is no longer viable in the job market. Needless to say, the conversion is not nearly as good plus they are raking in the moolah back in India.

The bar is therefore very high for the prospective NRI groom and so are the rejection rates. H1s no longer cut it and neither do the average salaries. A debt-free, US citizen husband making over $200,000 a year, having a nice house and a fancy car is still a great catch by most standards. Maybe the desi bride opting to go the arranged marriage route has always followed the opportunities for professional and personal growth. It just turns out that what she seeks is much easier to find in India these days than used to be before.


Revathi said...

Well said. Add to this scenario the general shortage of indian girls that makes it difficult for the men- desi or NRI anyway.

sunshine said...

good article... i have quite a few male friends in the States that would gladly agree :)

Preethi said...

Interesting Analysis!
But with parents still deciding the fates of a good majority of Indian girls, I don't think NRI grooms need to worry too much.
America sells, Period . Be it in world class education or in the Indian marriage market.

rahi.vidya said...

the primary reason for this shift in preference of NRI grooms is the number of bride-abuse cases that have come up recently.

Anonymous said...

still desi groom on top of a coconut tree. without any reason, there mother and the groom think be a man is every thing ,they can be as whimsical,as a nut. so they can sit on the top of world.

katty said...

I love the wedding ceremony and see the dress of the brides.I think they are like princess in a royal palace. But although the entire celebration is wondeful, many men have sexual problems and their marrige could be in danger. So i suggest them to buy viagra and forget any concern their sexual lives.