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Bond with the best

They help soulmates find each other and get ‘knotty’. Vimal Chander Joshi finds out more about a matchmaker’s work.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:53 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Nita Jha, a matrimonial consultant, is trying her best to find a match for a Delhi-based client, an IIT Roorkee alumnus earning around Rs 20 lakh a year. After scanning through 138 proposals, she zeroed in on a few young men who she thought would be a good match for this engineer. After meeting the men, however, the client rejected all of them. “She rejects boys left, right and centre,” says Jha, who works with Sycorian Matrimonial Services.

So, is Jha now fed up with the client? “No! I am quite fond of her. In our business, she is one of those ‘normal’ clients,” she says.

Work for Jha involves shortlisting probable brides and grooms on the basis of their educational qualifications, social status, biological details and family income. She then e-mails CVs to both the families, and in case they are interested, a family meeting moderated by Jha follows, normally at the coffee shop of a five-star hotel. If its outcome is positive, the next rendezvous is organised at the home of either of the families. Again, Jha moderates the meeting.

“If these meetings end up in rejection, we fix up an interaction with the next probable match,” she adds. For women looking for grooms, it’s Jha’s responsibility to visit the man’s house and meet his family there. After her visit, she tries to paint as true a picture as she can of the potential groom’s lifestyle for the woman and her parents. “I am involved at every level. The man’s family at times wants to know if the woman is ‘homely’, whether she wears high heels or not and the same way, the woman’s family would be interested in things like the man’s share in the family business and the number and worth of properties the family owns,” Jha adds.

When things don’t seem to work out, then a matchmaker has to act as a counsellor and urge the dissenting party to change its mindset. For example, “when a man wants a woman only from South Delhi or from a top Delhi school, then we try to change his mind,” she says.

Once the parties approve of each other, horoscopes are matched. This is one area in which matchmakers, normally, are not involved except those like Shashi Malhotra, an astrologer in Chandigarh. “I recommend the right matches to my clients and if things appear to be working out, I check the couple’s compatibility through horoscopes,” says Malhotra.

Whether it’s a consultant running a shop-cum-office in a posh locality or an astrologer recommending eligible bachelor’s for damsels and vice versa, what makes them tick is their services. Anybody can post their resume on a marriage portal without having it verified by a reliable source. On the other hand, a bio-data with a matrimonial consultant normally undergoes verification.

Matchmaker KK Pathak of Pathakjee Matrimonial Consultant in Delhi gets his executives to do the background check of a candidate before he vouches for him or her. He also refers clients to detective agencies if they want detailed checks.
“Marriage portals have, no doubt, dented our business in the past few years. But matrimonial services are here to stay because of the personalised services they provide,” he says.

Sometimes, it can be tough. In one case, it took Jha a year and a half to find a bride for a very good-looking man who wanted someone with ‘exceptional looks’.

“He rejected around 300 proposals. But finally, one girl enchanted him and now the talks are in the final stages,” Jha says, fingers crossed. She is quite hopeful in this case, and why not? After all, the fee earned from this client totals R1.5 lakh!

What's it about?
A matrimonial consultant or matchmaker looks for a prospective bride or groom for his client. S/he coordinates meetings between their families and checks for possible cohesion between them. Consultants also have to scan profiles and shortlist them according to the preferences of the clients and bring them on board to take the talks further

Clock Work
10 am: Collect the personal details from a new client in office
11 am: Make him/ her fill up all forms, submit documents and pay registration fee
1 pm: Scan database to shortlist bio-data which seems to match the client’s preferences
2 pm: Send the selected bio-data to the clients
4 pm: Coordinate with clients to take their feedback about the ‘shortlisted’ matches
6 pm: Coordinate a meeting between the families of potential candidates

The Payoff
Well-known agencies charge anywhere between Rs2,500 to Rs50,000 and more in some cases. The money charged depends on the services offered

Skills
. Good communication skills and the ability to convincing others which comes handy when both parties don’t agree on small, insignificant issues
. Patience -- helps when you deal with fussy clients
. Diplomacy and maturity - marriage is a sensitive issue and can involve hurt feelings. A consultant should be able to calm ruffled feathers and see each party is not slighted or made uncomfortable

How do i get there?
You don’t need to be a qualified professional to become a matrimonial consultant but you can study communications to hone the skills you require to work professionally. After graduation, you may work for a popular consultant for sometime to learn the ropes of the trade and to widen your network. Once you develop a good clientele, you can branch out on your own. If you are able to pull off some good matrimonial alliances, then word-of-mouth publicity will definitely give a fillip to your business. Knowledge of psychology, a good grasp of business affairs, and general knowledge (especially about various communities) is essential for a person handling something as sensitive as a matrimonial alliance

Institutes & urls
Language courses: English/Other languages
You can do courses in psychology to understand human behaviour.
BA honours in psychology/ English from:
. Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi,
www.lsr.edu.in
. Kamala Nehru College, Delhi,
www.kamalanehrucollege.org
. Indraprastha College, Delhi,
www.ipu.ac.in
. Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi,
www.jmi.nic.in
. BR Ambedkar University, Delhi
(www.aud.ac.in/)
. Indira Gandhi National Open University (distance learning),
www.ignou.ac.in

Pros & cons


.

Gratifying endeavour as you play an instrumental role in helping two people find life partners


.

Money is good if you have a rich clientele


.

Uncertain future as online matrimonial solutions pose a threat to their sustainability

Matchmakers are the first choice of parents

A senior practitioner talks about the prospects in the profession

With a bevy of marriage portals offering online solutions, why do people still come to matrimonial consultants?
The concept of joint families is waning in the metros. Unlike yesteryears, when finding a bride/ groom was done by the extended family, it is now only the parents who have to search for their son or daughter. And they are too busy to do it. So, most of them turn to consultants.

Twenty years ago, when I started off, people used to approach a consultant as a last resort. But now, they come to us without trying another alternative.

How personalised should the services of a marriage consultant be?
We ensure that every client is attended to in person by me — just the way a doctor meets his patient. We deal with human beings and not objects. This is why they show their gratitude when they get married and send us sweets and Diwali gifts and at times, become our friends for life.

Does a matrimonial consultant also double up as a counsellor?
We have to convince them to sacrifice certain conditions. They might have very high expectations but they should compromise on a few things here and there.

They come with a closed mind, and it’s my job to open them.
Some parents ask us to convince their daughters who are adamant about certain things they want in their prospective husband, which are too hard to fulfil.

How has the marriage market changed in the past 20 years?
Earlier, a woman’s opinion was not very significant but now parents give due respect to their daughters. Now, even women reject many probable matches. They are as choosy as their male counterparts.

Falguni Mehta, a Mumbai-based matrimonial consultant Interviewed by Vimal Chander Joshi