While dowry may be an ancient tradition, a new website,dowrycalculator.com, has added a satirical twist to the dubious practice by providing prospective grooms a calculator for their “market price”.
Keeping factors such as age, caste, profession, income, institution, skin colour, father’s profession, place of work, height and previous marriages as the determinants, the website mocks at the system and dedicates itself to “all the match-making aunties of India”.
Poking fun at the obsession with fair skin, the website gives extra credit to skin colour. Options vary from pitch black — not visible on a moonless night — to wheatish. The obsession with limited educational options and foreign universities is also mocked at as all universities other than IITs, Harvard and Stanford are clubbed under “none of the above” and a dozen popular professions choices are followed by “unemployed”.
Also, dreams of foreign land are showcased in the workplace options varying from India, the US, any European country or “country more developed than India and any country less developed than India”.
The website, launched on May 6, went viral in no time and received more than half a million hits within a month.
“It was a laugh riot for my friends and me when we filled in our details to find out our dowry worth,” said a 26-year-old engineer. “I have a decent amount of Rs.35 lakh, but my dream dowry amount awaits me and so I should slog harder….. I detest dowry, and this is the best way to show society that present generation grooms find it shameful to be part of a deal.”
Tanul Thakur, an electrical engineering graduate from Illinois University who developed the website, says he believes humour has great power to not only expose and question archaic customs prevailing in society but to change society for the better.