The book, H. Jackson Brown, Jr.’s “Life’s Little Pocket Book: On Marriage and Family” made a lasting impact on me, to the extent that I came to enjoy occasionally gifting a copy to marriageable or to-be-married cousins and friends. (The book begins with, “Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of all your happiness or misery,” and ends with, “Be your mate’s best friend.”)
If the book’s message resonated with me, it was because I had long been grateful for having a loving, supportive family and wished the same for people I cared about. One could say that I also hoped to re-create a similar family environment for myself in time. Little did I imagine, though, that I would someday want to do more to help people find their life partner.
Reflections on relationships
In the years that followed, as I went about my professional career, it bothered me to receive the occasional report of a friend, relative, or acquaintance’s marriage falling apart. Compared to a generation ago, a lot more Indian marriages seemed to be resulting in divorce. It didn’t seem to be a simple case of ill-arranged marriages, or of love having gone out of “love marriages.” There was surely more to it, and it intrigued me because this period coincided with my own challenges in finding a compatible partner and subsequent personal growth.
I came to recognize a vast transformation in Indian society over the last generation. Young men and women today have greater say in whom and when they marry. Yet, they must also contend with changing gender roles and expectations. They may continue to be comfortable with arranged marriages, and go into one with the best of intentions. However, it takes more than that to make a marriage work. It doesn’t help that families today are increasingly nuclear, due to which the support system for married couples is generally weaker.
If stable relationships had become harder to build and sustain for men and women of my generation, I wondered, did it have to be that way?
Changing times call for innovative solutions
By early 2009, I was back in graduate school in Chicago. I hadn’t planned on being an Internet entrepreneur, but while researching the social-networking industry, the idea of a next-generation matchmaking site came to me.
There were already numerous matrimonial and dating sites online. “Who needs another one?” and “How would yours be different?” were typically the first questions I would encounter. Still, I thought: What if a matchmaking site went beyond merely posting bio data or personals? What if a site were to give young singles a better idea of who they are as individuals and what kind of person they would be truly compatible with? What if a site were to help people develop the relationship skills necessary to make a marriage work? Out of these thoughts – and a passion for entrepreneurship – FreeElective was born.
I launched the company not just to improve how people find and connect with each other, but also to help them nurture and celebrate their relationships for years to come. By early 2010, I set up an Indian subsidiary, FreeElective Network, and went about building the product and business out of Chennai, my hometown.
Jodi365.com is currently in private beta and aims to become the preferred matchmaking site of educated, quality singles who are serious about finding a match. What drives us is for the site to be seen as useful, classy, and trustworthy by its users, and we strive to go about fulfilling our mission with integrity.
Image: Dennis Skyley/Flickr
Is there an Indian Matrimony Site That Goes Beyond Religion, Community, And Caste? Yes, the answer is Jodi365.com. Read: How Jodi365.com stands apart.