Self-Arranged Marriage: The New Tamil Trend


In the fourth installment of our series “Help! I’m 30, Tamil… and Not Married”, Jana explores the growing trend towards “self-arranged marriage.”

Meet Ravi. He’s a professional in a large Western metropolis. He’s confident, charismatic, gainfully employed and very much single. He has nothing to complain about, right?

Not if he’s Tamil and just turned 30! Relatives he didn’t know existed are coming out the woodwork to set him up with their second cousin’s neighbour’s tutor’s sister. He’s been making the rounds at all the major events catered towards Tamil singles in his city. He won’t admit it, but he went to eight of those events last year. And no, he wasn’t dragged to any of them by his old roommate as he claimed.

He met women, chatted them up and even went on a few dates. But no one made it past round one. Not one individual got him even remotely excited about the possibility of a second date. He hasn’t given up though. He’s optimistic, and he’s decided to go to just one more event before throwing in the towel and putting the search for his future love in the hands of that aunty down the street.

Let’s pause here and reflect on Ravi’s situation for a moment. We’ve all experienced this firsthand or know someone in a similar situation. So what happens when Ravi does meet someone and has a very promising first date that leaves him in excitement and anticipation for the next?

Do you recall those Tamil movies from the 80s and 90s where the protagonists declare their love for each other on their first meeting? If you do remember, you’re more than likely around the same age as Ravi. And you’re probably laughing now at the absurdity of it. You’re thanking your lucky stars that the development and expression of love and commitment in real life (and even in most Tamil movies now) is much more mature.

This self-satisfied expression of gratitude and smugness might be well-warranted if you’re younger than 26. But this early expression of love and commitment is now all too common with newly coupled individuals in their late 20s and early 30s – and that means you! So before you start branding these individuals as “FOBs” or desperados, let’s look at why this is a growing phenomenon in the Tamil community.

There are three main factors that play a key role in fast commitment. Some elements of all three will be recognizable to those Tamil movie heroes/heroines from the early 90s.

Firstly, individuals in Ravi’s shoes are starting to become marriage minded and therefore do not necessarily foresee the need for a long courtship.

Secondly, it’s so rare for individuals like Ravi to meet someone they can click with on multiple levels and connect to on 30 years of life experience. The instant they meet someone who can relate to their obsession with Harry Potter novels or can keep up with their witty sense of humour or has even heard of that obscure architectural masterpiece in the Annex, they’re smitten.

Thirdly, reasons one and two are so strong that issues that arise early in the courtship are patiently worked on by both individuals. This creates a sense of commitment and a vision of future harmony. Whether this is merely a false facade or actually a sense of harmony is yet to be determined.

After such a long search, Ravi is at last happily in a relationship that’s on the fast-track towards engagement and eventually marriage. In the process, Ravi and his partner have just crushed all progressive dating norms adopted by young Tamils in the last 15 years by employing relationship principles that would be recognizable to their parents!

So is Ravi really better off having found someone on his own? Or has this relationship become no different than had he let that aunty arrange a meet up? It has been such a fast and furious relationship, after all.

This kind of relationship fast-tracking – which has hints of both old Balachander films and modern arranged marriage concepts – is now quickly becoming the norm for Tamil couples in their late 20s and early 30s. Can we chalk it up to maturity, self-awareness and an increased willingness to make long-term commitments? Or is it a result of a race against time, self-delusion and short-sighted commitment?

Are Ravi and his partner really in love? Or are they merely in love with the idea of love? Of course, there are couples of any age who successfully move through the different relationship stages at a fast pace. But they tend to be the exception rather than the norm.

So are Ravi and those like him on the fast track to a happy married life? Or are they on an express route to a rude reality check a year into their marriage or even sooner?

Looking to create your love story? Join the other couples who have dated and married through!

* * * * *

In Part 1 of our series “Help! I’m 30, Tamil… and Not Married”, Sanjiv opines on the growing number of unmarried Tamils.
In Part 2, “So You’re 30 and Still Single? Don’t Blame Tamil Women”, Sriram shares a contrary perspective.
In Part 3, “Single, Tamil, Female… And I’m Divorced”, Niluja reveals her perspective as a divorced Tamil woman.
In Part 5, “How to Find a Husband”, a guest writer shares advice for Tamil women.
In Part 6, “Why I’ve Decided to Get an Arranged Marriage”, Vidhurah expresses her views on modern marriage.
In Part 7, “So You Won’t Be Marrying a Tamil Girl?”, Penn E. shares his thoughts on the challenges and idiosyncrasies of interracial relationships.

Want to share your input? E-mail us at We will get back to you shortly.

Editor's Note

Thank's so much for being a TC Reader! To continue bringing you more of the stories you love for free, our team needs your help. Will you make a small contribution? Every bit helps!

Give $15 Give Another Amount


Jana Nadesan

Jana Nadesan

Laughs at the most inappropriate times, still (secretly) jumps in puddles and tries to find inspiration in the minutia of life.

Read More Stores From Jana Nadesan...

7 thoughts on “Self-Arranged Marriage: The New Tamil Trend

  1. Opens door, gypsy astrologer outside house: Nalla kalam porakudu Nalla kaalam porakudu. Ooru muluka club pubunu suthikitu irunda ponnugalukellam nalla kaalam porakudu. Vellaikaran, karupan, cheenanu multi-culturala suthikitu irundu gaja gaja kuja kuja panna ponnugaluku nalla kalam porakudu. Illichavayan matta poran..Illicha vayan matta poran. 
    Seems like biological clock is ticking and back to good girl eh? Whose that poor innocent virgin accountant? haiyoo haiyoo

  2. Derpnathan_McDeperson awww. pattu kutty! Better than chellam eh? Nice spin of story. Seems like i hit a nerve on the virgin bro there. Don’t worry bro. You’ll get laid soon.
    But assuming I am the poor socially awkward guy and I am insecure. You are charlie sheen combined with  wolf of wall street leonardo di caprio. Happy? Why does it bother so much for girls when I say, “Hey I wanna go back home and get married?”. Jeez. Why? Why? Why? Where is my first amendment? George Washington has to help me here. Jefferson, do come out of your grave too.

  3. “Spin of story”, “bother so much for girls”? Omg you’re a FOB – I should have known by either your handle name or your 3rd world mentality but I guess your grasp of the english language has revealed your true self. You can calk me whatever you want or say whatever you want now because I can already imagine how sad your existence is.

  4. Derpnathan_McDeperson God! That hurts! A queue jumping ,boat riding refugee has broken my heart.

  5. Opinion_Puli Derpnathan_McDeperson  anyway I kinda guess you’re a girl since you resorted to ad hominem attacks. 
    Honey, realize something? The moment I told ya i am an awkward guy, I suddenly become a dude who can’t climb the corporate ladder and am a low life. NOTE THE POINT YOUR HONOUR. NOTE THE POINT! Thats what Feminism or females want now. They want that Alpha male to change into a nice guy not the socially awkward guy.
    When feminist say we will change men, it means they’ll change that men they want to change. The socially awkward guy would be always in the friendzone unless of course they are done having fun and know its about time to settle for less, which brings me back to the whole conversation of this  thread.
    Haiyooo Haiyooo

  6. Opinion_Puli Derpnathan_McDeperson 
    …that awkward moment when I’m actually a dude…

  7. Derpnathan_McDeperson Opinion_Puli Alright charlie sheen, I’ll accept u as charlie sheen. LOL. Mother of annonymity!  Since I am a FOB and you’re John A Macdonalds third cousin, again back to same question. Why does it bother you so much? Why does my choices get mocked son? I gotta keep your early fun toys as my wife, if not I am insecure. Got it! Now lay off the pipe

Leave a Reply

More In Life