Satire: A Guide to Matrimonial Photos

December 26, 2007

It’s that time of the year, when all your friends are getting married or running off to India to “see” assorted girls. You look around and realize that you are the last bachelor in your group. You are sick of going to weddings and receptions and watching your friends snag all the pretty girls.

It’s not like you want to remain single. It’s not like you have not tried. But here you are, sitting in a dimly lit room, alone, reading a blog. You wonder where you are going wrong.

May we suggest that the root of the problem lies with your photo? No, no, we are not casting any aspersions on your looks. We are very sure you are handsome and good looking and all that. But it’s not your looks, it’s the photo.

Now, what do you mean “we?” you ask me. Have you developed multiple personality disorder or something? Nothing like that. I am just saying “we” because here, I am representing the voice of womanhood. Well, something like that. Bear with me, will you…

Consider a typical scenario – parents find interesting leads on “girls”. They consult assorted astrologers who peer at horoscopes and make random pronouncements. Sometimes the horoscopes don’t match. Sometimes they do. Parents are happy. Astrologer is happy. They get girl’s picture and examine it closely. Length of neck, shape of jaw and crookedness of nose and teeth are all carefully measured and analyzed. If the girl passes all these tests, they inform you that they have “received inquiries”.

“So there is this girl…” your Mom starts off, ending with “…and they want your photo. All I have is your old college photo, taken five years back, and the passport photo, taken two years back. Shall I send the passport photo?”

You panic. Now your Mom will look at any photo of yours and only see her handsome son. But you know better. You have stood in front of the immigration officer many times and watched him open your passport, take one look at your photo, shudder violently and hastily snap the passport shut. Yes, you have no illusions about your passport picture.

“No, no, not the passport photo!” you shout into the phone. “I will email you a more recent one.”

This is exactly the right thing to do. But this is where you stumble and it all starts to unravel. Little do you realize how complicated the act of taking a photo is. But don’t worry, we are here to offer our advisory services, based on our collective wisdom gained from looking at photos of hapless guys.

We can see you are now getting impatient to learn more about the magic mantras, so without any more delay, we shall tell you our 10 Don’ts To Taking a Matrimonial Photo.

1. Do not pose with your dog. We agree your dog is beautiful. We love golden retrievers and German shepherds, and dogs in general. In fact, we love them so much that every time we pick up your photo, we only see the dog. So please leave your dog out of the picture. Conversely, this is a great idea if you want to draw attention away from your paunch or your receding mane.

2. Why does every single one of you have to stand in front of the Grand Canyon or the Golden Gate? We now have ten beautiful pictures of the Canyon at Mather Point, and six of the Golden Gate. Trouble is, now all the photos look the same. The only photo we now remember is the guy who wanted to be different – he posed in front of Alcatraz. We wonder what he was trying to tell us?

3. We know which university you went to, so no need to pose in your school T-shirt. On the same note, no photos of you wearing shorts either please…your hairy legs are really not attractive. Really.

4. Don’t send pictures hugging random children, we can see you love children but again, we wonder what you are hinting at.

5. Don’t send group photos, we are not sure which one you are. Or worse, we might decide we like your friend better.

6. Don’t send the photos where you wear goggles and a cap, we do need to look at your whole face, not just at your moustache. What is the cap trying to hide anyway? Your balding pate?

7. Please don’t send any photos taken at parties. We do not want to see you eating samosas, even if they make you look deliriously happy. We do not look at your face, instead, we are drawn to the green chutney stain on your shirt. Then there is the wine glass in your hand. Maybe it contains rum, or wine, or Pepsi. We are cool with it. But all you need is for our Dad or Grandfather or Random Uncle to take one look at the photo and say “Chee! Ladka peetha hai!” and you are going nowhere, fast.

8. No convocation photos, please. Yes, yes, we believe you when you say you have a degree. We really don’t need proof, and certainly not a vision of you in oversized purple and black robes. We tend to shudder and think of bats.

9. Don’t take your picture inside your apartment. But if you have to, could you first look around to see there are no towels or underwear lying on the floor? We like to zoom in on digital photos. So do you, I am sure, but we are the ones who will notice that plate of half-eaten food lying on the table, with the interesting green growth.

10. Is that a TV set showing football in the background? We can see how this would have happened. You are chatting with your friends about going to “see a girl”, and one of your friends offers to take your picture. Let’s wait for half-time, he says. We think this is a great example of how little you care about sending us the perfect picture. Here we are, spending hours deciding what to wear and planning that perfect look for our photo. That is how considerate we are. And you just take a photo during half-time? How can you be so casual about it? This one goes first into the trash can.

As you can see, we tend to read too much into your photos. Yes, we are also very picky and choosy, and use any excuse to turn up our noses.

Yes, we are like this only. But then, do you have a choice? No. So we suggest you print out this list and carefully read each item every time you take a photo of yourself. Trust us, it’ll help.

Lekhni completed her Masters in Business Administration from an Ivy League b-school and went on to work in (where else) Wall Street. One fine day, she was affected by the disorder known as Sudden Desperate Desire to Write (SDDW). So she blogs at The Imagined Universe and now spends her free time preparing business strategies to attract visitors to her blog.
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December 26, 2007
01:55 PM

thanks for the morning smile and welcome to DC:)

a friend shared this quote from an 'invite' on one of those boards that indulge in matchmaking... in lieu of the picture the guy wrote her 'friends tell me i am very handsome'

sheesh - he could have written 'ma compared my face with chaand-taara

look forward to reading more

ps: since you are new let me inform you in future please avoid 'previously published' posts

December 26, 2007
02:07 PM


Thanks for the comments and advice. My welcome email did say that for the first post, I could post a previously published one.

Anyway, this has been previously "published" only in my blog. "Published" somehow gives the mental image of an article in a magazine with a circulation in the low millions. I wish my article had been so fortunate :)

December 26, 2007
02:28 PM


glad to be on the same page

re: "published"

no big deal - have checked out your blog - you can put a few sentences together without glitch ;)

if you want to aim for publication you will have to do some homework first....there are two ways to approach this:

the hard way: read target publication...make note of the profile of their they prefer...word length...format etc...and then either look at what you have already written or practice writing to that publication's simple...tailor make something for that publication

(and of course their is no guarantee that you will hit the jackpot first time - you have to keep trying)

and if you are a tough cookie and persevere then you can target other magazines simultaneously

(of course whatever social life you may have will be shot - but suppose that is an acceptable risk?)

.....yes i did say there were two ways;)

December 26, 2007
04:24 PM

Thanks for the suggestions on how to get is all starting to look extremely attractive now :P

December 27, 2007
03:23 AM

Lekhni, I had sent you a long email in response to yours. Did you get it? Just wondering since I hadn't heard back. Enjoyed reading this.

December 28, 2007
12:32 PM

Don't send the photos where you wear goggles and a cap, we do need to look at your whole face

Is this coming from the same horde of women who go "mad" over Himmesh Reshmmia (sorry, I still haven't got the most recent spelling down correct)? ;)

December 29, 2007
01:45 AM

i liked your article. Thanks

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