However, to Paul, the most fascinating section was the matrimonial one, where Indian parents would place advertisements for their sons or daughters for prospective brides or grooms. As he was growing up, he started to notice that the languages in those advertisements were changing, especially in the requirements in the characteristics of a prospective bride. Different castes, different languages spoken at home, and either to be a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian were no longer barriers for a prospective match. But, one criteria still remained same: the match must be a young lady with “fair skin”.
After his graduation from college, Paul enrolled in a prestigious medical school for his MD degree. In his third year, he fell in love with one of his classmates Ms. Christiana McKinnon with Irish background, but same Christian religious faith. After their graduation in following year, the couple got married. For their honeymoon, Paul and Christiana then headed to India to visit famous Taj Mahal as well as taking part in a tiger safari in a national park. But, their first stop was the town in Kerala where his mother was born and grew up.
To Paul’s surprise, none of his many local relatives came to visit and greet the couple in first couple of days, except a young cousin Tony, close to Paul. From him, Paul heard that many of the relatives were still upset for his marrying to a non-Indian, even though the bride belonged to same religious faith and as educated as Paul. Paul introduced Tony to Christiana and all of them then went out to an eatery to check out a few local delicacies.
Overnight, the situation changed dramatically. Groups of relatives started to arrive to meet and greet the couple. They all heard from Tony that with her fair complexion, Christiana appeared like a white angel! Paul remembered the line from a past matrimonial: the match must be a young lady with “fair skin”.
Then came his epiphany: India became a nuclear nation, sent an unmanned mission to Mars, produced current CEO-s of both Microsoft and Google, but still remained stuck at “fair skin” of a prospective bride in a patriarchal society!