Sunday, September 21, 2008

Matrimonial Ad Writing - Part 1

Before we get to the post, one unrelated, irrelevant factoid: Does anyone else think these Bongs are so cute when they get riled up and sound angry? They are usually all calm and nice and funny and saying nonsensical things that it is so nice to see them angry (in their quiet little way) and making a forceful point. One of these is enough to make my day, but in the past 24 hours I have seen it twice. And one of it from the usually-resident Bong himself. Too cool, I say.

Okay, back to post. Mean streak over. Next, we shall talk about matrimonial ads, especially the kind that have been entertaining SB and moi (special thanks to BM) over the past week. Some people BM and I know are going through the whole matrimonial process, so between us we have a decent sample of these ads. The question we shall attempt to answer today is this: how exactly does one come up with such comic ads? The answer is that one doesn't. Many do.

Here is how we think this works:

(Friends' ads not used as we aren't that mean. I mean, seriously)

1. The family version

Consider the following 'Bridegrooms Wanted' ad: (mangled version from last week's Hindu if you are interested)

Sow. Ifdontgetmarried Iyer, D/O I.A.V.Alwaysdone WhatIshould Iyer, Iyer, Vadama, 18-09-1981, 08:46 am, Thanjavur. Simha, Bharani, Kausika, height 168 cms, fair, good looking, completing PhD Dec 2008, USA seeking fair, US settled Brahmin groom, age below 30 yrs. Email id -

(1: Before someone calls us casteist, wait, this is just first of a series. And you have to agree that especially on the Bridegrooms Wanted side, there is so much more variety with Tam Brams if you are looking Stateside. And we get gothram, nakshthram and raasi as opposed to just the latter two. So please excuse - we will come to non-Bram Tams in our Brides Wanted edition

2: For those of you who do not know gothram from raasi: in this case, gothram = Kausika, nakshthram = Bharani and raasi = Simha (I think))

There is no question as to who put up this ad. It most definitely wasn't the girl in question. In any of our households, if a similar ad were to make an appearance in the Hindu or in one of the umpteen caste magazines (whose only point as far as I know is to have matrimonial ads) and our heroine were to find out about this, it would be cause a minor earthquake. I thank all my stars if I happen to be at home at this point - the shouting match is totally entertaining. But basically what comes out of it is this - heroine's parents ask her for an ad that she is comfortable with so that they wouldn't have to endure any more shouting matches.

2. Our heroine's version

Our heroine is troubled. Ya, she didn't like the parents ka ad and all but she has to think of something now? How is she supposed to do that? She has enough trouble writing her resume as it is. She attempts a few lines but they all sound quite bad - not exactly what she wants. Then she gets idea. Her officemate! He writes well, why did she not think of this before? So she feeds him beer and pizza, takes him to a few concerts, and finally cons him to write it for her. Officemate is convinced that this arranged marriage business is never going to work out so he might as well have some fun and write some of the corniest lines he has ever written. And anyway, she likes Love Story.

The result is something like this:

What can you say about a 27-year old girl?

That she's brilliant and creative. That she likes travelling long distances or talking for hours across them. That she loves Hafiz and Rilke and Tarantino. In strictly alphabetical order. That she loves XXX because it's not cold and it's not damp.

What can you say about a girl who's that interesting, that alive? What can you say to her?

(No, I did not write this, just happened to find this in my Inbox from about 2 years ago. If anyone wants to admit writing this or if anyone else wants to admit that it was written for them, go ahead. Since I am not mean, I ain't saying anything about that. Since I am also this nice person, I will also say that the subject did not find out about this joke until it was all over)

3. The negotiation

Parents see this and like all sane parents, freak out.

"Are you suggesting we put this in the Hindu?"

"Well, this isn't exactly Hindu material, is it?"

"You can say that again. And who the hell is Tarantino?"

"He makes movies"

"What's wrong with Satyajit Ray? Or Adoor?"


"Then why do you need Tarantino?"

Amma chirps in.

"Ask her what she is going to do with the guy she is marrying? Make movies?"

"Maybe I will"

"Right. This is what happens if your send your daughter to the States"

"You keep quiet. What has alphabetical order got to do with anything?"

"Its cool"


"Its from a book"

"What book? I thought you wrote this yourself"

"Well, its about me. But its also a book"

"I don't understand. What book is this?"

"Love Story"

"Okay, we are not considering your ad. We are going with our version"

"But Appa, who do I need Brahmin boy? And who mentions gothram nowadays?"

"If we don't mention gothram and not ask for Brahmin boy, nobody would reply. They'd think something is wrong with the family and that's why we are going out of caste"

"What is Sow?"

"Sowbhagyavathi like Chiranjeevi" (I shall point out here that we non-Bram heartland Tams would never use these Sanskrit words in our ads. That and other such subtle distinctions in later editions)

"You mean you don't want me to be immortal?"

"No, but that's what we use for the girl"

"I don't like it. I want Chiranjeevi"

"Don't be silly. We can't do that"

"Then no ad"

"Okay, we will put Miss instead"

"Ms you mean"

"Whatever you say"

"I am not fair"

"You are"

"Compared to whom?"

"Okay, I will change that to wheatish"

"Wheatish? What is that?"

"You don't get wheat in the States?"

"Appa, I am not a wheat grain"

"You have the same complexion. It is alright"

"I don't want random men to apply. They should like arts"

"I figured as much when I saw the movie chap. We will include it in our ad"

"What will you include?"

"Should have an interest in arts"

"And he should be intellectual"

"So I should say in the ad my daughter wants to marry an intellectual? You are being totally unreasonable"

"And I don't want to marry any of the narrow minded chaps that you bring"

"That we know. We will say broad minded"

"Okay. Why should he be below 30?"

"You want to marry an old man?"

"What if he is 31?"

"30 is a nice round number. We like 30"

"I don't. Because knowing my luck, the man of my dreams will see this ad but he will be 30.5 and therefore he won't be able to apply"

"30.5 is alright"

"Then say that"

"We will increase to 32"

"That's better"

I could go on and on with this conversation but you get the drift.

4. The final version

i.e. the version that provides us wholesome entertainment. (Especially if you know the subject in question because then you can spend a good half hour dissecting this and figuring out which specific items the subject and parents haggled over. Try it. Its fun.)

Ms Ifdontgetmarried Iyer, D/O I.A.V.Alwaysdone WhatIshould Iyer, Iyer, Vadama, 18-09-1984, 08:46 am, Thanjavur. Kausika, height 170 cms, wheatish but good looking, completing PhD Dec 2008, USA seeking fair, broad-minded US settled Brahmin groom from a good family with deep interest in arts and literature, age below 32 yrs. Email id -


Ludwig said...

> Wheatish? What is that?

I think they word they're looking for is haleem-ish.

Wheat + meat + ghee. Mmm. Perfect one-word description. "What's she like?" "Like haleem." One understands completely.

> "We will increase to 32"

> "That's better"

Phew. So what, I've got 3 months?!! Yelp!!!

Veena said...

Luddo saar: Proper Tam Bram family and what do you mean meat? As they would say, abacharam!

Also, our imaginary family wants only Tam Brams. You don't qualify. But wait, I have the perfect idea. We will do a Namboothiri type version for you - will you be the subject for Part 2?

SB: As they say in Mallu, chakkitu pidicho (put a sack over him). Bakra done.

Space Bar said...

veena: kindly excuse. he is marathon runner. i can at most do some yoga mudras to lock him up but it will be useless.

when we do mallu horrorscope we will extend eligible age, ludwig.

Szerelem said...

this has left me very confused - I don't understand the gothram concept anyway and now you add raasi to it...darn

Veena said...

SB: Just tell him you love his dosais. He will drop everything and attempt to display his dosai-making skills. then is your opportunity.

Szerelem: uh-huh. I am afraid I don't know the difference - just that almost everyone talks about raasi and star while only Brams go on and on about gothram too.

Any Tam Brams around? SB not you, you are waste. You didn't even know raasi until I told you.

Szerelem said...

I remember having a very random conversation about gothrams eons back - I think I am Kausik too, btw - but I didn't understand any of it. I think its some random concept of tracing your family roots back to say, for example, surya or some nonsense like that, no? Probably devised by people who just wanted to get a kick out of saying stuff like that "I am directly related to Sun god."

ggop said...

I think someone told me in Tambram (I'm sure many other brahmins think too) we are all descendants of n rishis like Kaushika, Agastya, Bharadwaj, Atreya, Kashyap, Srivatsa etc.

Veena - Spot on!!

Ludwig said...

> We will do a Namboothiri
> type version for you -

I don't think I make the grade for them ones either!

> will you be the subject
> for Part 2?

What's to lose? Wait, here is a first draft:

Bride wanted. Anything will do. Pulse preferred.

And work up from there.

> Just tell him you
> love his dosais.
> He will drop
> everything and
> attempt to display
> his dosai-making
> skills. then is
> your opportunity.

About half a dozen screwdrivers also have to be thrown into the mix for that to happen. Hah.

blewgenes said...


one stone. many maangas.

esply after recognising the maangas involved in this post :-)

blackmamba said...

what! you mean to say the whole P.O.Box business is dead? Damn this new fangled electronic mailbox.

I think good ads must also have - "Professionally qualified/Doctor, Engineer, IAS, MBA ", "horoscope match Must" etc.

Dear Luddoo, you also have to describe yourself -
stranded marine mammal, runner, wanderer. keen interest in birding, indian railways and naval architecture (in strictly alphabetic order) ... you get the drift.

Veena said...

ggop, szerelem: I remember the rishi concept now. And some rishis are supposed to be cooler than the others or something, no?

Luddo: Will ask amma about special dosai recipe where you pour screwdrivers in the batter. Can't be bad.

You sound like one of these modern types - don't worry we shall make a caste, religion, gender etc. no bar ad for you. Also, listen to BM. Learn to describe yourself. She has experience in these matters.

BG: I know :) It would be funner though if maangas come and say fun things (BM: hint hint)

BM: This family is all forward. Star, raasi, gothram etc. must be right but they don't particularly care about horoscope. And wait, people ask for professionally qualified IAS officers for their daughters in the States? Right.

blackmamba said...

wait, I have experience in these matters?!

Veena said...

BM: Oops sorry.

Poeple: No, BM does not have experience in putting up matrimonial ads or describing herself. (not as far as I know) After all, she didn't write those lines.

??! said...

Raasis? Gothrams? Stars?

I'm more lost right now than a blind man sitting on top of deaf, three-legged mule in the middle of a blizzard.

Ludwig said...

> Dear Luddoo,

Luddoo? Luddoo!!?? Hallo? Wotis? It was Ludwig. Then the Peruvian junkie turned it into Luddo. You've M. Devious Surreptitiously added an 'o' to it, presumably with malicious intent. Soon the mast impress aitaaru poris of Begumpet will be shouting barfi and jalebi when I trundle past...

> you also have to
> describe yourself - stranded
> marine mammal, runner, wanderer.
> keen interest in birding,
> indian railways and naval
> architecture (in strictly
> alphabetic order)

Here's a list of interests:

- Birding
- Indian Railways
- Running
- Yana Gupta
- Amherst
- Navel Architecture
- Inca Trail

Hey, look, what a cool acrostic...

> Luddo: Will ask amma about
> special dosai recipe where
> you pour screwdrivers in the
> batter. Can't be bad.


> You sound like one of these
> modern types - don't worry we
> shall make a caste, religion,
> gender etc. no bar ad for you.

And there's the cue for the "caste no bar, religion no bar, gender no bar, sex baar baar" joke...

> wait, I have experience in
> these matters?!

Ooh! Fight! Fight!! Fight!!!

> BM: Oops sorry.


Ludwig said...

Scratch: Yana Gupta

Entrez: Yamila Diaz-Rahi

Veena said...

??!: Well, you will never get married into a proper Tambram family is all I can say then.

Luddo: You mean you don't anyone calling you sweet? Silly boy.

I love the acrostic. Too cool. But I wonder how many models you can find with names starting with Y. E Europe and Russia might be a good place to look once you exhaust southern parts of the world.

Ludwig said...

Yelena Isinbayeva

blackmamba said...

From Anything will do. Pulse preferred. straight to
Yelena Isinbayeva...

Luddoo you are putting pole vault only.

Cheshire Cat said...

Tell me about it. I tried to sneak in a Gaudi reference into one of my ads once, you can guess what happened.

Veena said...

Cat: You put up these ads? Please, please, post some of them no? You provide us entertainment, we shall find you appropriate matches. All win-win. Promise.

Ludwig said...

> straight to Yelena Isinbayeva...

By way of the stunning Yamila Diaz-Rahi, if you recollect. I'm struggling to come up with other suitable Y* candidates.

> You put up these ads? Please,
> please, post some of them no?

Noooo, don't. She'll use them in her book/blog/dosai, something.

Veena said...

Cat: Don't listen to Luddo. As you can guess, he is just worried that if you post ad, candidates will rush to answer your ad and so his chances will be reduced.

Luddo: Don't be mean. We shall make ad for you and find matches with pulse.

Veena said...

And Cat: Don't post ad if you don't want to but please tell us what the Gaudi reference is no? I spent last 10 minutes breaking my head over the possibilities.

blewgenes said...

veena :

for the artsy folk like you Gaudi Gaudi

for the aam aadmi well Gawdy
hint : silver jackets, lots of bling, mitaai pink, ramarajan shirts :-), pimped up cars etc

Veena said...

BG: Who you calling artsy? For me, Gaudi is gaudy.

If you had not ignored my emails and actually booked tickets to certain cities when I asked you to, you might have seen just how gaudy.

blewgenes said...


Cheshire Cat said...

"You provide us entertainment, we shall find you appropriate matches."

That's just what I'm afraid of. I've found it makes my life so much more interesting to date inappropriate women. Meanwhile, I dutifully acquiesce to the ads; I watch them proliferate with unconcern.

About the Gaudi reference, it was something quite trifling, really. They never seem to have interesting conferences in Barcelona. And one of the few ways a wife would be useful would be as a travelling partner...

And now I'm really curious to hear what possibilities you had in mind.