RK Garg (seated) and his son Shree Garg, who run Guptaji Marriage Bureau.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Archive)
RK Garg (seated) and his son Shree Garg, who run Guptaji Marriage Bureau.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Archive)

Indian matchmaking hit hard in era of distancing and coronavirus

While a large number of them have had to permanently shut shop in the past three months, as business has nosedived like never before, those that have survived say finding a perfect match has never been so tough.
By Manoj Sharma | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2020 03:51 AM IST

Few people in the Capital can talk about matchmaking as insightfully as Poonam Sachdev. After all, she runs Connex’on, previously called ‘Rishte hi Rishte’, Delhi’s oldest matchmaking company, which was started in the early 1970s by her uncle Dharam Chand Arora, the city’s legendary matchmaker. Their catchphrase Rishte Hi Rishte: Ek Baar Mil Toh Lein (matches and more matches, meet us at least once) used to be scrawled along railway tracks across north India in the 1980s.

Sachdev, 53, who has been in the business of matchmaking for 30 years, says Covid-19 has made her job more complicated than ever before. “Matching two people and arranging a marriage takes endless rounds of meetings and negotiations between two families, most of which used to take place in hotel lobbies. But hotels are closed and families do not want to invite each other to their homes because of the fear of the coronavirus disease, though they continue to press us for finding suitable matches for their children,” says Sachdev.

“While my business has gone down by 80%, one positive aspect of the pandemic is that those seeking matrimonial alliances have never before been so flexible about their demands regarding salaries, looks, the family status. Suddenly, a lot of people seem to believe in a simple marriage.”

Her sentiments are shared by many other well-known matchmakers in Delhi, who before the pandemic had an estimated 3,000 matrimonial bureaus. While a large number of them have had to permanently shut shop in the past three months, as business has nosedived like never before, those that have survived say finding a perfect match has never been so tough.

“Given the constraints of meeting spaces, I tried arranging meetings on Zoom, but it did not quite work out. Zoom, I realised, is not a place where boys and girl can meet, families can discuss budget, and most importantly, the two families can see each other’s houses and lifestyle, which plays an important role in a matrimonial alliance in Delhi. I managed to arrange a few meetings in hotels outside Delhi, but family members want to see each other’s faces during such meetings, but asking everyone to take off their masks is a bit awkward and not safe,” says Shree Garg, who, along with his father RK Garg, and brother, runs Guptaji Marriage Bureau in Shakti Nagar. “We used to charge 1% commission on the total budget of a wedding, but now those who wanted to spend 50 lakh wish to spend only 5 lakh on a wedding.”

Neelam Pathak, who runs Pathak Ji, another well-known marriage bureau, testifies to the ‘downturn in the groom’s market,’ saying the seemingly suitable boys might not actually be as suitable in reality. “He may be working in an MNC earning an astronomical salary, but given the current economic uncertainties, one can never be sure about what might happen in the next couple of months,” says Pathak, adding, “While our income has crashed like never before; the prevailing situation suits families with lesser means, who are now able to find a good match without the pressure of having to spend much on the wedding, which is currently a close family affair.”

Sachdev concurs: “There are a lot of middle-class families who want me to find a match for their children as soon as possible so that the wedding takes place before the pandemic is over. I worked over the phones and have already helped a couple of such as families to find the perfect match without obligations as to how and where the wedding should take place. ”

The loss of offline matchmakers has worked to the advantage of matrimonial websites, which have introduced newer features such as video profiles and video calling. “We have got 30% new users in the past three months,” says Rohan Mathur, chief business officer, Jeevansathi. “During the pandemic, we have sought to be a match-meeting destination through secure video calls whose use has gone up three times in the past three months.”

So, will the pandemic change the fat Indian wedding forever?

“In India, weddings have been a way to make a social statement. But right now there is no social pressure on anyone to organise big weddings,” says Anuja Agrawal, associate professor, sociology, Delhi School of Economics, whose specialisations include anthropology of family, kinship, and marriage.

Referring to the present trend of people getting married in courts, temples and at home with a small ceremony streamlined live for relatives, she says, “Some of these alternative weddings will survive after the pandemic is over. But a lot will depend on how long the Coronavirus crisis lasts, and also on the experiences of the people who are adopting these alternatives.”

But right now Sachdev’s primary concern is to stay safe as she looks for suitable matches for her clients. Giving an example of matchmaking horribly gone wrong, she says, the pandemic has not only made her job difficult, but dangerous. “Last month, I came across the case of a matchmaker who contracted Covid-19 and died a couple of weeks after she visited a prospective groom’s house,” says Sachdev. “ It turned out the boy’s grandfather had been sick for a few weeks and still the boy’s family invited the matchmaker to their house with the girl’s family. Eventually, the grandfather tested positive and died.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
India’s coronavirus disease testing capacity has been increased to conduct about 1.5 million tests daily. On an average, the country has been performing about a million Covid tests a day over the past one month.(Representational Photo/REUTERS)
India’s coronavirus disease testing capacity has been increased to conduct about 1.5 million tests daily. On an average, the country has been performing about a million Covid tests a day over the past one month.(Representational Photo/REUTERS)

Covid-19:Delhi reports 220 new cases, 188 recoveries

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 10:23 PM IST
Over 3.46 lakh beneficiaries have received Covid-19 vaccine till date in Delhi since the start of the inoculation drive a month ago, with more than 18,000 people receiving shots on Thursday, according to data shared by officials.
Close
=A worker looks at his mobile as he stands on a footpath near a construction site in New Delhi.(AFP)
=A worker looks at his mobile as he stands on a footpath near a construction site in New Delhi.(AFP)

Warm day in Delhi, maximum temperature settles at 33.2 deg celsius

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:18 PM IST
Humidity was recorded at 96 per cent at 8.30 am, a weather official said.
Close
An electric car charging station is positioned outside the Science Museum where Virginia State Senators are meeting for their 2021 legislative session in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Virginia lawmakers are considering final passage for a bill that aims to reduce carbon pollution by getting more electric vehicles on the road. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(AP)
An electric car charging station is positioned outside the Science Museum where Virginia State Senators are meeting for their 2021 legislative session in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Virginia lawmakers are considering final passage for a bill that aims to reduce carbon pollution by getting more electric vehicles on the road. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(AP)

Delhi govt announces key decision on EVs , Kejriwal says every Indian is proud

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:53 PM IST
The Delhi government had also launched a campaign on Tuesday to encourage private vehicle owners to shift to electric vehicles.
Close
State Bhavan canteens in Delhi are once again welcoming foodies, with Covid-19 precautions in place. (Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)
State Bhavan canteens in Delhi are once again welcoming foodies, with Covid-19 precautions in place. (Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)

State Bhavan canteens aka foodie’s delight: Heart of the state, back on a plate!

By Mallika Bhagat, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:39 PM IST
Without worrying about the pandemic or crossing the city’s borders, head to these recently reopened State Bhavans in Delhi for economical, authentic regional fare.
Close
Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha(ANI)
Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha(ANI)

Delhi to face water crisis due to closure of Nangla hydel channel: Raghav Chadha

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:09 PM IST
The closure of Nangal hydel channel for one month for repair work is expected to affect a quarter of water supply of Delhi.
Close
Representational image. (AFP)
Representational image. (AFP)

Eight of 10 most polluted cities this winter were in NCR, UP: CSE study

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:37 AM IST
While Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Greater Noida topped the list of most polluted cities in this region, Noida and Delhi were not far behind. Kanpur and Lucknow occupied sixth and ninth positions on the chart
Close
A view from Rajpath, near India Gate in New Delhi on February 18. (HT file)
A view from Rajpath, near India Gate in New Delhi on February 18. (HT file)

Delhi AQI slips into very poor zone; may improve from Friday

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:22 PM IST
India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast said that there is a possibility of improvement in air quality from February 26, when the AQI is likely to come down to the moderate range
Close
New Delhi, India - February 22, 2021: Demonstrators unloading consturction material for tents at the Ghazipur border protest site as the agitation against new farm laws continues, in New Delhi, India on Monday, February 22, 2021. (Photo by Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)
New Delhi, India - February 22, 2021: Demonstrators unloading consturction material for tents at the Ghazipur border protest site as the agitation against new farm laws continues, in New Delhi, India on Monday, February 22, 2021. (Photo by Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)

Farmers’ protest: Delhi, Ghaziabad face heavy traffic during peak hours

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:22 AM IST
The Delhi Police have diverted the traffic near these areas, which they say, may possibly lead to heavy traffic jams in parts of the Capital during the peak hours
Close
The number of tests in the city, meanwhile, has seen a considerable dip from peak levels over the past few weeks.(Raj K Raj/HT file photo)
The number of tests in the city, meanwhile, has seen a considerable dip from peak levels over the past few weeks.(Raj K Raj/HT file photo)

Daily Covid-19 cases up to 200 in Delhi

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:32 AM IST
The seven-day average of new cases (also known as the daily case trajectory of a region) now appears to be slowly inching up again — it now stands at 151, the highest in 20 days.
Close
Delhi currently has around 6,750 buses -- 3,760 DTC and 2,990 cluster buses-- as against the Supreme Court-mandated requirement of 11,000 buses.(Raj K Raj/HT file photo)
Delhi currently has around 6,750 buses -- 3,760 DTC and 2,990 cluster buses-- as against the Supreme Court-mandated requirement of 11,000 buses.(Raj K Raj/HT file photo)

Transport dept readies command centre to track govt buses in real-time

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:45 AM IST
The centre has been built at the interstate bus terminal (ISBT) in Kashmere Gate and will soon be inaugurated by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said on Wednesday after he inspected the facility.
Close
Several buses, though not all, also had posters explaining in Hindi how one should proceed with the online ticket purchase by using the app.(PTI file photo)
Several buses, though not all, also had posters explaining in Hindi how one should proceed with the online ticket purchase by using the app.(PTI file photo)

Govt introduces contactless tickets on all DTC buses

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:38 AM IST
Passengers can make use of this service through the ‘Chartr’ app. Almost all the buses now have QR code stickers pasted on the back of each seat which can be scanned to make payment through the app.
Close
With his arm instinctively holding onto the wheeled metal barrier, ready to slide as soon as another car appears, Subodh explains his arrival from his countryside home to this smoggy metropolis.
With his arm instinctively holding onto the wheeled metal barrier, ready to slide as soon as another car appears, Subodh explains his arrival from his countryside home to this smoggy metropolis.

Delhiwale: His mundane security job

By Mayank Austen Soofi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:33 AM IST
In his early 30s, Subodh has been working this 9-5 shift for three years. A native of Arwal in Bihar, this is his first and so far only job in the Capital.
Close
The Ramlila Ground is a popular venue where major political rallies and religious programmes are organised.(Amal KS/HT file photo)
The Ramlila Ground is a popular venue where major political rallies and religious programmes are organised.(Amal KS/HT file photo)

No Delhi parks to be booked for events

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:16 AM IST
All three municipal corporations of Delhi have stopped taking event bookings for parks, including the Ramlila Ground, in the wake of a recent order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) citing environment loss to parks due to the holding of mass public functions such as cultural and religious events, weddings and political rallies
Close
New Delhi: AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow for MCD by-elections in Shalimar Bagh village, New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (PTI02_24_2021_000146B)(PTI)
New Delhi: AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow for MCD by-elections in Shalimar Bagh village, New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (PTI02_24_2021_000146B)(PTI)

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal slams BJP over corruption in civic bodies

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:11 AM IST
Kejriwal, who is also the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), led two roadshows on Wednesday in Bawana and Shalimar Bagh campaigning for candidates of the party ahead of municipal bypolls in five wards scheduled on Sunday.
Close
DU currently follows the merit-based admission process for admission to all undergraduate programmes excluding nine courses for which NTA conducts entrance exams every year.(HT file)
DU currently follows the merit-based admission process for admission to all undergraduate programmes excluding nine courses for which NTA conducts entrance exams every year.(HT file)

DU ready to consider combination of test, Class 12 marks for UG slots

UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:31 AM IST
Last December, the Union ministry of education constituted a seven-member committee to recommend modalities for the Central University Common Entrance Test (CUCET) for admission to undergraduate courses across central universities in accordance with the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP