Love and marriage? How about the global economy and marriage?
Indian bachelors in the US and other western countries used to be a coveted catch in the arranged marriage market back home. Not any more. With India's own economy improving and western job markets wobbly, many Indian brides (and their parents) are opting for marital bliss at home. With their own job prospects improving in the domestic sector, career women in India too find the lure of settling in a foreign country less compelling. The "Boy from Foreign" is no longer the marketable Prince Charming he used to be. (Link to the WSJ article via Razib)
Vikas Marwaha would normally be considered a good catch by Indian parents seeking a husband for their daughter. The 27-year-old software engineer earns $80,000 to $100,000 a year and comes from a family "of doctors and engineers," according to his profile on a matrimonial Web site.
But Mr. Marwaha works for a start-up Internet phone company in San Francisco. And because the U.S. economy is wobbly, that's a problem. Many Indian parents now are balking at sending their daughters to the U.S. to marry.
During a two-week wife-hunting trip to India in December, Mr. Marwaha interviewed 20 potential brides in 10 days. He says several parents asked him, "How has the recession impacted your job?" Mr. Marwaha says he assured them he hadn't been affected at all, but still he returned to the U.S. brideless.
Indian parents used to think it a plus to marry off their daughters to Indian men living in wealthier countries, including the U.S. and Britain. But as India has grown more affluent in recent years, the demand for overseas Indian grooms has been fading. While India's economy is also slowing down, it is still growing, and layoffs aren't as widespread as in the West.
"Even if something happens, in India there's a comfort" that the woman's parents are around to help, says Murugavel Janakiraman, founder of the matrimonial Web site Bharatmatrimony.com. Favorable responses to overseas grooms registered on his site have declined by 20% in the past nine months, he says. ....
Anisha Seth, 26, has been looking for a groom for two years now. But she feels "jittery" about considering nonresident Indians as possible options.
Ms. Seth says that if she were to move to the U.S. or to another developed country, she might not get a job quickly and would have to be dependent on her husband for a while. While she's open to the idea of giving up her independence, she worries that given the state of the U.S. economy, a groom based in America might not be earning enough to support her. For instance, Ms. Seth says she likes nice clothes and would like to have a flat-screen TV. "Is he really prepared to provide the kind of lifestyle that I have right now?" She expects a husband to earn more than she does.
Some brides simply see India as more livable these days. As salaries have gone up there, Indian married couples are able to afford houses, and young women with jobs have money of their own. In contrast, in the U.S., "people have to even clean their own toilets," says Hasit Dave, 55, who runs the Klassic Match Marriage Bureau in Ahmedabad, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Career-oriented Indian women, meanwhile, have grown concerned about their job prospects in the U.S. Sandeep Gohad, a Manchester, Conn., software consultant who's between jobs, got such questions during a two-month-long visit to his hometown of Pune, near Mumbai. He told bride candidates they would have a hard time getting a work visa in the U.S. And even if they did, finding jobs would be tough. He, too, came home single. An engineer or doctor "has absolutely no reason to go to the U.S.A. and work as a housewife," he says.