On one hand, junk food is turning urban India obese. On the other, size zero figures and eight-pack abs are being glamourised everywhere. Where does an overweight person find a partner in this scenario? A recently-launched website has the solution.
An initiative of two sisters, www.overweightshaadi.com was launched at the end of October last year and has till now brought over 300 people in touch with one another, leading to two pairings in India and one in the US.
"It was at a cousin's wedding in January last year that my sister and I hit upon the idea of this website. Despite many people saying that my cousin would have to lose weight in order to find a good match, she found herself a great partner," recollected Aditi Gupta, one of the founders of the website.
"That prompted my sister Megha and I to think we could create a platform for people who are on the heavier side to meet others of their kind. After all, losing your sleep and getting depressed just because you are made to believe that you can't get married because you are plump is downright outrageous," Gupta told IANS.
According to Gupta, their forte lies in providing a personalised service which helps one search for a perfect partner.
"We launched our website after Diwali last year, since that is an auspicious time and lots of weddings take place after that. Among our two success stories is that of Dipti and Rajat who belonged to different castes.
"Since their families were initially hesitant about the match, we personally went and met the families and convinced them about the lovely couple that the two made. Engaged now, they are all set to tie the knot in February," Gupta said.
Trashing the size zero which models and actors glamorise on the big screen, she said that the concept so popularised by Hollywood and Bollywood is actually unrealistic and misleading.
"While we don't encourage obesity, at the same time I think it's a pity that people are so fixated on figures like that of Kareena Kapoor's. It's unrealistic and unhealthy."
With a membership rising above 300 - not just from India, but also countries like the US, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia - Gupta said that they are not looking at simply increasing membership without an equal number of success stories.
"We want to do good work and let word of mouth be the main advertiser. That's why we are happy that not just in India, a couple in the US also came together through us. They are engaged now," she said.
While Aditi is a software engineer, her younger sister and co-founder of the website, Megha, is a student in Delhi.
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)