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Turns out even love can use a little help every now and then, and the age-old practice of arranged Hindu marriages is getting a 21st-century makeover. "It was a bit awkward in the beginning but then it was fine because there were a lot of games and people were mingling.Sapna Thakur, 34, recently moved to the Bay Area and attended Mittal's first mixer in February, a Valentine's Day-themed singles party. I had a nice time." The marriage process is in flux in Indian-American culture, opening the door to new avenues for matchmaking.Thakur herself is also more open to arranged marriage than she was when she was young. It's basically semi-arranged." Thakur's desire to marry reflects Indians' traditional values at a time when only 51 percent of American adults are wed, according to 2010 Census data.
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Ahluwalia doesn't necessarily advocate a wholesale break with tradition, but clients need to have thought through their answers.
If a woman says she wants to marry a Hindu, for instance, Ahluwalia asks what that means: Going to temple each week? Thakur is willing to look within the parameters set by her parents, but she has her own priorities: physical attraction, education, good employment and stability.
Thakur's parents encouraged her to go the singles party, even though they had wanted to arrange a marriage for her when she was younger.
Now that she's older, her father is more open-minded about who his daughter marries -- "but it has to be an Indian," she added, and preferably from one of the higher castes.
Hinduism orders families into four major castes and thousands of sub-castes, each with their own particular ritual role or profession.
Ideally, a couple must be in the same sub-caste, region and religion.
She didn't meet anybody she liked at Mittal's party.
"I guess you become more fussy when you get older," she said.
When an Indian gets to a marriageable age, "aunties," who are not necessarily related, start looking out for potential life partners.