Got a story that is “One in a Billion?”

My friends Geeta and Ravi Patel, a talented brother and sister team based here in Los Angeles, are working on a comedy documentary titled, “One in A Billion.” The documentary follows Ravi’s quest for a wife and explains the odds stacked against him all along the way. Geeta previously co-directed the film Project Kashmir in 2008. Ravi has appeared in a few recent shows as touched on by Taz here. Here is the synopsis of the documentary:


So, my parents, who are totally, sickly, exuberantly in love- they had a traditional Hindu arranged marriage. Naturally, they want me to marry an Indian girl. Let’s say I want that too. India has a population of over a billion people. Easy, right? But I live in America, where Indians only make up one percent of the general population. My odds of finding this person are one in a hundred. But now let’s say I want this person to be a woman (fifty percent): make that one in two hundred. Now let’s say, I want this woman to be unmarried and over the age of seventeen (fifty percent): one in four hundred. Now, actually, this girl is supposed to be Hindu and her family has to originate from a specific 50-square mile radius in the State of Gujarat, India): one in two thousand. Okay, so now let’s say I have to like her, she has to like me, and we have to actually find each other…what are the chances?



p>This equation, or close versions of it, have been around for a long time in the American desi community. My undergrad buddies at Michigan and I ran through this equation back in the late 90s trying to explain our failed (alright, my failed) love lives. The funny thing is the math is very similar to the Drake Equation which attempts to approximate the number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy. The final odds all depend on the probability you assign to each variable.

    Ravi Patel is approaching age thirty and still single – a cataclysm in his culture. After breaking up with Audrey, his secret white girlfriend of two years, Ravi goes to India for his annual family trip. As usual, the pressure to get married is heavy, only this time Ravi succumbs; he agrees to try things their way: the semi-arranged marriage system. He comes back to America having no idea what he just agreed to. Blind dates with Indian girls introduced to him via biodatas – matrimonial resumes passed amongst the parents. Indian dating websites. Indian weddings. And matrimonial conventions for people all descending from a small group of villages in India – all with the same last name: Patel. Meanwhile, Ravi can’t stop thinking about Audrey. Ravi Patel has one year to find a girl, or next year he tries things the way his parents did it: the arranged marriage.


p>Because this is a documentary (i.e., things need to be serious) Geeta and Ravi are going to be interviewing a panel of all kinds of desi experts, including couples with interesting stories, as part of this PBS documentary. That is where you readers potentially come in. Got a good story about your relationship?

A PBS Documentary about Indian dating and marriage in America is searching for everyday people to appear as guests for a filmed radio talk show in conjunction with the film.

The talk show panel will include academics from around the world, celebrities, and everyday people. We are searching for the following:
Indian Americans who are currently dating people through biodatas/parents, marriage conventions, the internet, and other methods. We are searching for someone who might have faced a great deal of pressure/conflict from their family regarding love and marriage, and someone who has grappled with the question: “Do I need to marry an Indian to be happy?’ Must be dynamic, interesting personality. Shoot is Los Angeles in early July.

If you would like to share thoughts, have any further questions, or are interested in a preliminary interview, please email: tsbillion [at]

Since relationship posts on SM are always the most commented upon, I am sure some of you will be jumping at this opportunity.

54 thoughts on “Got a story that is “One in a Billion?”

  1. Jenna,

    I have seen love marriages where husband/wife went to find ‘long lost’ spark elsewhere. I don’t think any specific kind of marriage – be it love or arranged, guarantees monogamy or loyalty.

    Yes, it’s true that a lot of guys date with the intention of commitment/marriage, but the other side of the coin is that the remaining ones do not; and no matter how much we scream about gender-equality, the truth is: most men have this ability to sustain a physical relationship without having any emotional attachment with the person. Not that no woman is capable of it, but that is still rare or rather minority. Just like bsb, I have observed plenty of men who would rather lead you on than make their intention clear. Ofcourse, you might look out for signs, but once you develop an emotional bond, you tend to ignore these signs. So, the approach she has – getting to know people without being intimate or way too involved is probably allowing her to look out for those signs.

    Also, it is one thing to find ‘the right one’ to settle down with, and it is another to find ‘someone’ to settle down with. Match-making to find ‘the right one’ takes effort and time. To conclude that nobody is willing to settle down with bsb just because she has not found ‘the right one’ yet is a silly statement.

  2. I was usually the only (or one of a few) brown everywhere from elementary to University days and I liked it. No stereotypes to live up to 🙂

    However, I really wanted to marry an Indian from India (too much bollywood romanticism probably). Nevertheless my parents did not want to support a son-in-law for years while he “settled” into his profession, whatever that may have been (given we’re Indian, likely doctor). Additionally they were really bad at finding anyone for me here. My interviewees ranged from a nubby fingered lazy only son to a 26 year old wannabe tennis pro and one who I am convinced was mildly retarded. I had to arrange it myself. Remember India Abroad and the matrimonials in the back page. Always funny because guys looking for “homely” girls. Anyway, I figured out by then biodata means nothing if you don’t like the looks of someone (men are especially sensitive to this). So, I sent 4 envelopes with my photograph and two sentences: I have two sisters, a mother and father. We are all highly educated and if you like this photo we can communicate further. Three replied but I married the first respondent. He was quicker.

    Hope their documentary is a success. Best of luck to them.

  3. Ravi should just marry Audrey. He says he’s still thinking about her (translation: pining for her), so why did he dump just to marry someone else? Doesn’t make sense. Dare I say it might be “racist” if he dumped her solely because she’s not Desi?

    Should there be a television PSA made about guys like him?

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