Indian Website Offers Bachelors a Virtual Wife
Indian bachelors keen to get a taste of married life can now log on and apply for a virtual wife online in a scheme that offers a glimpse into changing Indian society.
Bharat Matrimony's biwihotohaisi.com (an ideal wife) website allows men to choose from four different types of wife and then receive automated telephone messages from them that reflect their character.
The first candidate is the devoted Ritu Gharwali (Ritu Homemaker), 23, whose saccharine entreaties to "please eat your lunch, I have made your favorite dish" would make her the ideal Indian housewife in conservative circles.
Matrimonial advertisements in Indian newspapers and websites, still widely used to find prospective partners, often feature men seeking "simple, homely girls with good family values."
There's a more feisty version of Ritu for those wanting a more challenging partner in the form of 25-year-old Bijli Thakur (Electricity Thakur) who is described as "Dominating. Bossy. Control-freak."
While Ritu Gharwali pleads with her hard-working husband to come home for dinner, Bijli Thakur angrily threatens to "send your bed to the office if you don't leave soon."
While these two characters would be clearly identifiable for men of older generations, it is the other women who offer the most revealing insights into the changing characteristics of modern Indian womanhood.
Milli Chulbulli (Milli Naughty), 21, is an excitable secretary in a multinational firm with a life that revolves around shopping trips, neighborhood gossip, and an addiction to television soap operas.
Finally, the website offers a chance to hook up with Shalini Sheherwali (Shalini from the City), an ambitious 26-year-old banker.
An independent, tech-savvy woman who purrs, "We'll totally connect, honey!", Shalini Sheherwali loves shopping online and loathes soap operas.
In a country where arranged marriages are still the norm and dating is often frowned upon, matrimonial websites are big business.
Although none of the women advertised on www.biwihotohaisi.com is real, the website's idea is that bachelors will rush to sign up to its parent site, Bharat Matrimony, to find a suitable wife after receiving so much attention by phone.