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Last week, I joined Shaadi.com, India’s oldest and most popular matrimonial website.

Call it anthropological curiosity; call it a metric of my own narcissism.

It’s one of more than 100 Indian websites that comprise the country’s thriving online matrimonial market, where an individual can browse for his or her ideal spouse among a catalog of potential candidates organized by the personal information that apparently matters most: religion, caste, income, fairness of skin, family background, and so on. Unlike online dating services, which at least superficially foster some sort of romantic connection, and which are effectively nonexistent in India, matrimonial websites are predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding.

They succeed for the same reason every online resource does: They offer convenience and expediency in an arena with high demand for it.

We know you are too cool to be on a matrimonial website, but let's face it, almost everybody single and over 25 finds himself/herself on Shaadi.com, or any other matrimonial site.

Most members tend to be from the middle-class with about 70% of them from India (as of 2008). As you can see, parents are not left out in the match-making process.

They can easily login to the service and help their child find a suitable life partner.

profiles of their single members include many traits.

You have the normal features that most dating services include like physical details, location information and income.

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