One big thing stands in the way of further change, says Sonal Desai, another academic. Indian parents still assume they will live with their sons. That explains why they exert so much control over marriage: they are in effect choosing a cook and a future carer. Yet this too is beginning to weaken. Ms Desai led a team from the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and the University of Maryland which conducted a huge survey of Indians in 2011-12 and found that 77% of women over 60 lived with their married children—still a big proportion, but lower than the 83% who did so in 2004-05. Small houses and high-rise flats are shooting up in Indian suburbs, suggesting the share is going to fall further.
Indian marriage still looks very different from the Western kind (which is changing too). Yet prosperity and technology are eroding tradition. People Group, which owns Shaadi.com, even invested in a dating app earlier this year. Such apps, which were unimaginable in India until recently, have not taken off yet. “The guys are all keen,” says Mr Rakshit, “but the girls aren’t there yet.”