These matrimonial classifieds, which carry the tagline "for the better half of your life" and are full of not-so-rhyming verses, oddball typos and odder line breaks, are written by parents seeking to marry off their son or daughter by showcasing their exemplary résumés. Most marriages in India are arranged by parents, so a person’s résumé is a key indicator of a candidate’s appeal, their financial prospects and economic stability to prospective mates (and his or her parents).
The classified section is pages and pages long, is broken down by caste (seeking Brahman or Khatri), religion, location and, of course, profession ("engineer seeking engineer").
Parents give particular emphasis to the letters "MNC," which stand for multinational corporation. The letters are deemed so valuable that they should be gilded in gold, not bolded in black ink.
"Indian companies tend to be feudal. MNCs reward merit," says Mohan Guruswamy, president of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a New Delhi think tank. "A manager at an MNC tends to have a higher social status because people know you rise based on your own merit and for objective reasons."
Multinationals also tend to pay higher salaries.
Some classifieds sound like a recruiter’s letter: "H1 Visa, opportunity for travel. Seeking intelligent girl, minimum 5’ 7" for Brahmin boy."
Seekers are unabashed and necessarily blunt, the better to land a match in 20 words or less. Here’s one seeking a bride for a groom with an MBA:
H’some Kshatriya MBA (Top University USA.)
Serving with world class mgmt. strategy consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton $160k.
Father retired brigadier general.
Caste no bar.
Note to recruiters seeking to land top talent in India: Remind your candidates that the benefits of working for your MNC include not only paid vacation, health care, transportation to and from work, on-site cafeteria and a gym, but also a much-improved chance of finding a mate.