Travails of finding Mr Perfect

Travails of finding Mr Perfect

Indians have always had an obsession for big fat weddings, and arranged marriages are an integral part of these elaborate dos. However, the lengthy...

Indians have always had an obsession for big fat weddings, and arranged marriages are an integral part of these elaborate dos. However, the lengthy process of finding the perfect match can take a toll on the prospective bride/groom. Meeti Shroff -Shah presents a remarkable side of the whole saga and her chase to find Mr Perfect in her debut book ‘Do You Know Any Good Boys?’ Meeti met around 40 people before finding her better-half; it is hilarious to read about her “dates” with possible matches.

What was the idea behind penning this book?
If you’re single, in your twenties or thirties and live in India, there is little to no likelihood that you’ve escaped being set-up by family or friends. The arranged marriage ‘date’ is almost a rite of passage for many young people and yet there is a surprising dearth of stories by those who’ve been there, done that. This “process”- the meeting of prospective “candidates” and the resulting journey to the mandap has remained largely unexplored. In fact, there’s really no first-person account of how exasperating or hilarious the whole process can be.

During my husband-seeking years, after returning from yet another arranged meeting, I’d meet my friends for coffee and fill them in on how the ‘date’ had been. We’d laugh about how funny, boring or awful the experience was and every time, they’d say, “Meeti, you should write a book about this!” And so here it is. On a more serious note, I hope this book sheds some light on this rather terrifying and often frustrating, process. Had I read a book like this one during those years, I know it would’ve helped me through some of the tougher times.

What was your mindset every time when you went to meet people?
The hardest part about my arranged marriage process was to keep at it - to muster hope for every ‘first’ date, Sunday after Sunday, for two-and-a-half-years. There were times, when I was frustrated and longed to give up – but boy, am I glad I didn’t. I think it really helps if you can keep a sense of humour about the whole thing.

Do you think most people go through the same thing?
There are incredibly lucky people (and I happen to know a few of them), who actually marry the first person they meet the arranged marriage way. But for most people, it can be an exasperating affair.

What is your perspective about arranged marriage now?
My perspective on arranged marriage hasn’t changed. I still consider it a very risky affair. For an arranged marriage to work out there is a substantial element of luck involved. I suppose, that’s true for any relationship, but with arranged marriages, I find the risk is higher because the two of you don’t have any shared history to fall back on.

In future will you opt for an arranged marriage for your children?
(Laughs) No. My children are free to have love marriages! But should they need my help, when the time comes, I’d be happy to meddle a little.

Tell us about yourself?
I’ve been in love with books for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I know a way of life that doesn’t involve books. As a child, I gobbled up Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews with an intensity that alarmed my parents. They’d complain that my nose was always burrowed in books and that I needed to go down and play with the other kids, but I would hide my books under my clothes and read in the bathroom.

I majored in English Literature at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. I went on to get a Diploma in Mass Communications from XIC, Mumbai and an MA in Literature from the Mumbai University and somewhere along the way, stumbled into advertising. After marriage, I lived in New York for a couple of years. Here, I attended several fabulous writing workshops. In retrospect, it seems all of this was leading up to the moment – when I quit my job as associate creative director to write this book.

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