Bride and groom beware! Wedding sleuths are snooping around

Sunday, 9 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Agency: DNA

Every year the 9th of February is observed as the World Marriage Day. Why not, if by celebrating, the day brings a little cheer into an otherwise dreary life?

However, the traditional systems of marriage have changed to a larger extent, nobody can deny that. Gone are the days when marriages were fixed by the parents and the bride and groom told about it at a later date.

Now, both the girl and boy, as well as the entire family share the responsibility. They check and cross-check all possible details of both the families involved, and surprisingly, don't mind hiring even private detective agencies specializing in matrimonial investigation, to probe the background of both the bride and the bridegroom.

A growing number of residents even in the city suburbs are these days hiring private detectives to check on a prospective bride or groom – character, education, family reputation, medical history, finances, and what not?

K Shekharan who operates one such independent investigation agency, says: "There is a huge rise in the number of per-matrimonial investigation going on to probe a suitor's background, as these days a lot of people are meeting online and families are less involved in this process."

Shreelata Patil (name changed) says: "It's not about being distrustful about the other family; it's just that we were keen to know everything about the prospective family of my sister. There have been several cases where the information furnished by a family turns out to be a cock and bull. Grooms have been known to bluff about their wealth, salary, etc. I wanted to be sure on everything about the groom, and hence after the marriage was fixed, I hired private detective agencies to scrutinize everything."

Anish Sinha (name changed) says: "My daughter met and fell in love with a boy who was working in her office and insisted on getting married to him. Though I had no doubt about my daughter's common-sense, being a parent I wanted to be doubly sure about the person she had chosen to get married to. So I approached a private agency to do a thorough background check."

Priya Chawan, who operates Spyzone, an investigation firm in Mulund, said: "Even now it's mostly the affluent who approach us for this background check, though the trend is slowly changing.

Most of her clients prefer to investigate the other party once the marriage has been fixed, as they want to confirm everything, she says. "We check on everything – job, salary, family wealth, and also cater to certain customized requirements, if any, of the client.

On the time a case takes, she says that would depend on the nature of the request; it could last four-five days, or even more.

According to Shekharan and Priya, various methods are used in the investigation process. They even take the help of social networking sites; shadowing is also done wherein they follow the character being investigated to collect details.

This being the high-tech age, gadgets – cameras hidden in watches, key-chains, lockets and shirt-buttons – play an important role. The investigators often move around in disguise, dressed as beggars, watchmen, drivers, etc to gain access to the subject's house and life.

Talking about some of his clients, Shekharan says: "There are families who even want to know what the mother-in-law is like. In one rare case, they even asked us to investigate whether the marriage would work."

Pre-marital checks
Average length of a case: 5-10 days
Costs of investigation: Rs, 25,000-Rs 30,000
Methods used: Surveillance; disguise, tracking through social networks; befriending the guy/girl's social circle.
Probe centres on
Whether the guy/girl drinks?
Have they been in some serious relation before?
What's mother-in-law like?
Family's wealth
Guy/girl's earnings

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