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Marrying the 3-letter acronym
Girls at IIT are not exactly spouse hunting on campus though a skewed sex ratio would make this very easy for them. But remarkably enough once they start working, the search begins for an IITian/IIM husband. An ex-IITian on whether the Patton paradigm applies in India as well.
Is it hard for women who go to premium colleges like IIT or IIM to find a suitable match after graduation? As an author of two romantic novels, I have done a lot of research (and poking my nose) into the love lives of my friends and youth around.
I would say that the letter from the Princeton alumni mom advising the female students on campus to find a husband before they graduate is an attempt to correct a situation that is popularly known as the Eligible Bachelor Paradox in Game Theory.
The paradox refers to an unexplained shortage of eligible, appealing men in society. The reason however is simple enough. The more attractive, educated, and confident a woman is, the longer she holds out before choosing her man. In the meanwhile, the less confident lot of women grab all the eligible men in town and hence the shortage.Come to think of it, Indian parents have been wise to this all along. They start telling their daughters to get married as soon as they complete their studies. I remember when I wanted to go to the US for further studies after completing my B-Tech from IIT, my parents told me to get married before going anywhere. However, I don't remember them telling me to find a husband for myself at IIT. Not that you listen to parents at that age anyway. Maybe if they had, I would have done just the opposite just to antagonize them, and saved myself some heartbreak.
Whether parents told their daughters to stay away or stick close to the guys at IIT, as far as I can remember, almost every girl at IIT did go out with at least one prospective guy during the four years of undergrad.
I know that many IIT guys consider that female species doesn't exist at IIT - there are only males and non-males. Yet, given the highly skewed sex ratio, which has only increased from 4 per cent to 15 per cent over the time, and the fact not all guys care too much about looks, or maybe they are just too lazy to make an effort elsewhere, it wasn't tough for girls at IIT to find eligible guys to hook up with.
Not that they were in any hurry to leap into marriage at the ripe age of 21. Driven and intelligent, as most girls at such colleges are, they are busy trying trying to figure themselves out and get somewhere with their career. They aren't looking to become somebody's wife, at least not yet!
But a few years after the college and into corporate life, these very IIT/IIM graduate girls seek to marry guys with the same 3 letter acronym combos. Whether they do so to get back at the IIT guys for all those years of being subjected to their crass jokes or they are just making a wise genetic choice is debatable.
Does this mean that the Princeton mom is right and it would be wiser for them to catch the fish while they are still in the pool? As most educated, working women are opting to getting married only after they turn 25, is eligible bachelor shortage really becoming a problem in India?
In my circle of IIT friends, I know very few couples that met while they were at studying at IIT. Yet, if I look around, all my batchmates, seniors and juniors from IIT are somehow married to IIT guys.
I am really wondering now whether to thank my parents for finding an eligible, appealing, IITian sperm for me in the nick of time, right after I finished my post-grad, else in my frenzy to experience the thrill of being on my own, it might have gotten too late and I would be left with only the rejected sperms to choose from. Or should I be thanking all those parents who believe that maths is not for daughters and hence even if there is a shortage of eligible, educated IIT guys, it is enough to meet the needs of the minuscule number of girls at IIT. For once, we have the skewed sex ratio to thank for something.
Mittal is the author of Heartbreaks & Dreams!: The Girls @ IIT and Arranged Love
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