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Young South Asians, meet your match
Matchmaker helps to navigate unique cultural challenges
By Noreen S Ahmedullah
January 10, 2010
Jasbina Ahluwalia got a master’s degree in philosophy, went to law school, and then seven years into a successful law career, she
changed course – to become a professional matchmaker.
If you’re envisioning a meddlesome aunt or that nightmarish matchmaker in “Mulan,” think again: Ahluwalia is 39, a mom to 1-year-
old twins and someone who prefers sweats to tailored suits.
It was her own search for a spouse in her mid-30s that led Ahluwalia to realize there was a need for a professional matchmaking
service for South Asians. Ahluwalia discovered that a generation of Indian youth were definitely not interested in the arranged
marriage path of their parents but needed help as they embarked on an uncharted trek – one that had them dating like their
American peers but with someone guiding them toward an eventual match.
So Ahluwalia stepped in with her Intersections Matchmaking agency, singles mixers, a blog radio program and an army of
matchmakers – she calls them scouts – spread across the country to keep their eyes wide open for that perfect pairing.
“I’m in my element doing this,” she says at her home office in Oak Brook. “It’s helping people navigate their choices and
encouraging them to really do a self-examination of their lives. I’m trying to say, ‘Folks, this is an important decision. Let’s approach
this with our hearts and minds both.’ ”
Ahluwalia says many young South Asians, driven to succeed in their professional careers, have overlooked this part of their lives.
Some may still leave it up to their parents and family friends to find them a spouse.
“Before the Internet, it was all about the aunties and the uncles. They were the professional matchmakers, so to speak,” says Rohan
Dabreo, an Indian-American who does online and print ads for India Tribune, a South Asian publication in Chicago that runs weekly
matrimonial ads (often soliciting candidates with “fair skin” and doctors only, please).
But a growing number of South Asians are opting for a more personal approach to finding a mate.
Take Flora Brahmbhatt, 34, for example. She was born in India, came to the
when she was 5 years old and grew up in Buffalo
Grove. Brahmbhatt, who now lives in the Bay Area, says she has never been interested in the arranged-marriage track. She wants
to choose her husband.
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