In times when you can get anything with a swipe and internet has shrunk the world, there is one thing that is going back in time – finding a meaningful relationship. More so because of the prospect of marriage. Anuradha Gupta, Founder & CEO, Vows for Eternity got married at 34 as she didn’t really feel the need until about 32. Besides, like every girl fed on Bollywood movies, she thought the person she was supposed to be with would magically appear, but he didn’t. So, cut to her family receiving and sending biodatas, and she going on dates with people she could never see herself sharing her life with. “Most importantly, I wanted someone to tell me I would at least share similar values with the person, that their backgrounds were similar to mine, that we had similar educational qualifications, that our ambitions would complement each other’s. None of that happened,” Gupta says. This made her venture into the marriage marketplace with her brand. An answer to something she could not find in the global marketplace.
Matches are not made on the basis of algorithms or standardized questionnaires. Instead, every single match happens only after the core team spends time understanding the member and their needs. Members are assisted in narrowing down what is most important – shared values, upbringing, and personality fit through numerous interactions with the team and myself. This allows members to narrow down their preferences for a life partner, making it a well-rounded strategy. We get talking to Gupta about the new trends shaping this industry.
The business of matchmaking has gone through major transformations, especially post-pandemic. How have you incorporated those changes in your business?
Over the past decade, matchmaking services have only grown multi-fold with dating apps cropping up and attracting millennials to use a quick fix solution that might help find them a partner. While some matchmakers believed that dating apps directly competed with their matchmaking service, others believed that they helped in the expansion of their businesses. We fall in the latter category. As online dating began to attract a major chunk of millennials into a swipe culture, it subsequently created a sub-culture of singles coveting for a more organic approach to date and meet people. We witnessed a rise in the number of singles approaching us and expressing their monotony with swiping or even saying that they are not attracted to the world of online dating. This also holds true for our members who preferred maintaining privacy. In other words, our business met the need of the sub-culture looking for an “alternative” to online dating.
Through the pandemic, a major shift occurred that impacted the matchmaking industry, it was the fear of meeting each other. However, people did find ways to continue connecting with each other. In our case, which normally has an offline business model, had to go digital. We held all of our client interviews and meetings were arranged via video conferencing. With the concept of self-isolation people’s desire to meet each other grew even more.
Many of those who look towards us are those who feel they have lost time through the pandemic and now need that partnership and live in their life more than ever. Greater awareness surfaced during pandemic and what it really taught us was self-love. It is imperative before you venture out into the world of matchmaking, you have turned within to inquire, discover, and connect more deeply with your authentic self. This helps in recognizing what your internal blocks are, or understanding your own patterns and preferences when it comes to finding a partner in connecting and creating healthy relationships.
What are the trends you see in millennials opting for an arranged marriage? How do you take a modern approach that fits the contemporary mind-sets of your members?
Much has been said about the Indian millennial — from a penchant for avocado toast to their entrepreneurial aspirations. But what unites the generation is the attitude they have for finding the right partner to spend their lives with. Indian millennials aspire for stability in a volatile world.
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With the world becoming a really small place, globe-trotting Indians are often seen travelling for education or a career, which puts us out of our comfort zone and social network. These experiences widen our horizons and our perspectives even as we struggle to find a solid social support structure in different geographies. Of course, we have witnessed abundant societal changes in the last decade, including normalizing women’s financial independence and late marriage. I think these are all positive changes, and we feel a sense of pride and gratitude that we play a part in being facilitators and opening doors for people, bridging the east-meets-west gap, and connecting two truly aligned individuals.
Marriage cannot be streamlined to a perfect pick. The idea of a right partner for some would be different from what their parents might have for them. All of this boils down to the change in mind sets and attitudes. Traditionally, marriages in India were based on the commonalities between two families, and the rest was expected to fall into place based on adjustments that, more often than not, were made by women. I believe marriage is an equal partnership, where two people create for themselves a space that is owned equally by them, supported by the four pillars of respect, love, friendship, and acceptance.
We have consistently questioned the status quo over the years. Whether it has been regarding parental expectations, gender equality, stereotypical gender roles, and raising concerns about why, as a society compromise should be expected by one gender over another, why divorce is still often taboo, among a host of other issues that should have no place in a partnership. We hope to continue to positively impact countless lives in the years to come by helping our members find positive and healthy relationships. Set your own deadlines and get married for the right reasons is what we believe in. Equality in a relationship is not bringing the same thing to the table, it’s all about bringing different strengths to the table which is what create successful partnerships and marriages.
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