Clad in a bright yellow kurta, 25-year-old Maya Aggarwal moves her hands swiftly, expressing the qualities she is looking for in her man. "A person who is responsible, understands my needs and is preferably a government employee," says her father, who stands by translating her sign language.
In a unique bid to help those like Maya find a suitable life partner, the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women (DFDW) and Shaadi.com, a marriage portal, organised a swayamvar for the hearing impaired in the capital Wednesday, which got a huge response.
Called the Pranay Milan Sammelan 2007, the swayamvar - which is the traditional process of a woman selecting the man she wants to marry from a gathering of suitors - has been gaining popularity over the years.
Walking up to the stage with one of their guardians, the men and women spoke in sign language about themselves and their family and described the qualities they were looking for in their partners.
Among all the details, the one thing that stood out was that none of them had any reservations about the caste of their prospective groom or bride. "I don't mind marrying a girl outside my caste. The only thing that matters to me is that she should be home loving, respect my parents and understand me," said a smartly dressed Harish Kumar.
A national level swimmer, Kumar earns his living through photography. "I am a gold medallist in swimming," he gestures with pride.
"I work in the laundry service at a company in Gurgaon. I'm looking for a life partner who will accept my family as hers, will understand me and is home loving. I don't mind if she is working or if she belongs to any other caste," gestured Amit Kumar Rathore.
After getting to know about each of the participants, the families were free to mix among themselves before going ahead with a match.
"This is an ideal opportunity to meet and choose your life partner. When I met Harmeet here last year, I knew she was the one for me. My parents also liked her immediately," gestured a smiling Harvinder Singh.
Married to each other for nearly four months now, Harpreet and Harvinder met at the same event in 2006.
"This event is in its 15th year now and is growing in popularity as it is a platform for aware, intelligent, smart men and women to meet and choose their life partners for themselves. So what if they are hearing impaired, they have every right to select their partner," said Indu Sabharwal, president DFDW.
The event saw a registration of 52 people.