The reluctant investigator

The matrimonial season is in the air. The shady.com and other such websites are doing great business. And for those who take the word a little forward, both sides want to know more about the candidates. On the online profile, everyone is jolly, happy, caring, intelligent, sensitive, blah blah blah. But the real deal lies in what you are in person. And that, unfortunately, nothing can guarantee except observing someone doing the smallest day-to-day tasks for some time. People usually choose to outsource this work to the grapevine: does someone have a contact in the locality where he lives?

Enter the reluctant detective. The first time someone asked me to find out about another prospective groom was when I was working. I suppose a secure employment lends credibility to the opinion and report of a twenty-something guy. I was not even in the same building complex, but I had to do it. I called up someone I knew in the same building, and told him what and why in full detail. He in turn brought up the topic with a person who worked with the target guy in the same team, and came back with a pretty positive feedback. I duly conveyed the information back. I suppose the groom had also heard of this enquiry: I didn't really care. After all, I think the person has a right to know that someone asked after him.

This case was certainly a wonderful streak of serendipity. I just happened to know X who knew Y who was the groom's team-mate. What do you do when you don't really know anyone to connect you there? Matters such as these are so delicate that you can't ask everyone in your immediate contact list if they know anything about the person in question. It is you who has to take the first step long enough so that the next one should be a reliable and discreet source of information. And you also cannot go about making new friends just so that you may fish for such information.

The dilemma becomes even more intense when you have vague information via some gossip circle and have learnt something negative. More so, if the person in question is a female. "She is rumoured to have slept with this guy", "I heard that she was caught stealing money from her room-mate". These is no way you can verify such personal and private information, but again you cannot fake a good or neutral report to the family who are probably depending on your feedback to finalize their decision. If you report what you've just heard, you might be lending belief to the baseless gossip. On the other hand, if you just give a neutral feedback and your friend's or cousin's life is ruined because they were married off to a guy of loose moral standards, you will feel extremely guilty morally for having suppressed what you had known all along. Half truths are always worse than lies.

I have found that giving a politically correct opinion or feedback is the best option. Good news is always great to report. Bad news must be given out selectively: in fact I believe one should never do that unless one is sure. But sometimes where there is a smoke, there is actually a fire. "Oh I've heard he makes strong friends and strong enemies" perhaps can cover a fact that the person has problems getting on with people (or so you've heard). End of the day, that qualifies for a good as well as a bad character trait that the girl has to judge for herself before she ties the knot.

Of course, there is our favourite tool: Google! But it also depends on what kind of an online footprint you have. In my case, for example, besides the occasional "bengali armpit" and "handsome Indian blogger" (I swear that one came here once!), there is a regular stream of visits from google or yahoo searches for my name or this blog's name. Sometimes it is such an ego trip, at other times it is scary. Anyway, to my future in-laws who might be reading this blog, I love y'all so much! :D

Comments

  1. Is that why more and more brides/bridegrooms are hiring private investigators to snoop on their prospective life partners?

    I agree, the worst is always hidden and not easy to dig out. And sometimes you simply cannot get to know a person's true character even over a period of several months.

    That's why horoscopes are still preferred over (so-called) rational and logical alternatives.

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  2. hehe, there are very few jobs in this world that are not outsourced. But Google helps immensely doesn't it. You just have to know where/what to look for, understand how Google works and know a little bit of SEO techniques. No wonder, it is outsourced!

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  3. The arranged marriage system was always so community dependent, no wonder it is becoming difficult to keep an eye on, and verify people. Still, so unfair to judge a person on somebody else's, and that too, random public's opinion. For a lot of us, the person that majority of our surroundings know us as is really not us, confined to our close ones. How valuable is an opinion like that?

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  4. hahah... Marry a Bangla gal who also runs a blog. There wouldn't be any need to enquire about both of you :P

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  5. Galadriel, :)

    Hari, yeah, horoscopes do provide a little bit of a mental assurance. However, I would trust my own personal judgement over what the pundit said.

    Mala, :)

    Gradwolf, yep: you need to just know a few tricks of the trade.

    Phoenix, even then the grapevine sometime contains enough information to get started on. But I agree: it should never be the last word.

    Manasa, yeah, unless we one day decide to pick a fight in a public place :D

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  6. Use technology gadgets-microphone, GPS tracker...

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  7. Sure, pick a fight. It would be a good timepass to us :P

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  8. Tying the knot?

    :-) Long time..how've you been?

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  9. Google is always there, yes. Stalking people on Facebook and Orkut helps too. :)

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  10. Lol! Good luck honing your detection skills. Methinks shady.com should put you on their payroll. :D

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  11. hahaha, there was a time when I knew so many people that I did several such 'investigations', so I know what you are saying. This system is too flawed, yet it (seems to) work!

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  12. Shrinidhi, yeah, should be fun! :)

    Manasa, nothing like free entertainment, eh?

    Phatichar, whoa... long long time no see, man! Moi not tying the knot or anything. And how come no updates on your blog either?

    Spirited, oh yeah... the whole hogswash... the joys of technology.

    Mystic margarita, oh no no.. I the reluctant investigator! Although I wouldn't hate it so much if I got paid for it! :P

    Priyank, well, if you think it works, or at least if you trust it... go for it, dude!

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  13. Well, there are...now. Re-started sometime back. We should get back in touch..will send you an email.

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  14. hmmm...

    so why not make a 'i scratch ur back u scratch mine pact amongst all those who are unmarried?' might help u know...as in everyone gives a great opinion and everyone else...

    and those already married just keep quite before ur skeletons are pulled out...ok....problem solved.

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  15. Bengali armpit??? Where did that come from...?!!!
    anumita

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  16. Phatichar, will be waiting for your blog's updates for sure!

    Pinku, oh but you cannot be friends with everyone! And besides, when I am right, nobody remembers; when I am wrong, nobody forgets.

    Anumita, long time no see. In fact, even I too am so surprised that people from Dubai search for this stuff! Oh well, there are so many things in heaven and earth...

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  17. hehehehehhehe...

    Wondering thou'.. if it really matters if the subject in question is a girl ne-more

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  18. This was a good one. Happens at times to all of us. We cant avoid being TRI but my Father-in-Law says that this 'profession' usually lands people in really hot hot soup.

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  19. Mystiquedew, welcome onboard! Actually it does matter: at least the kind of people I know, a smear on her character can suddenly change the equation whereas that on a guy's character is "acceptable" if other things are okay. I agree, though, that the situation is changing.

    Mampi, oh yeah, I can tell you very confidently that I felt I was about to be plunged into the fire itself a number of times during the process.

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