In times when you can get anything with just a swipe and travel makes the world seem smaller, there’s still one thing that is moving back in time – finding a meaningful relationship. More so, from the prospect of marriage.
No quick fix to finding that special someone
“On some level, we have forgotten that it takes time for something meaningful to evolve and that a lot goes into the process. Access to someone on the internet and finding someone you truly connect with are two very different things. There are no quick fixes to getting to know someone,” shares Anuradha Gupta, founder and CEO of Vows for Eternity, a global, bespoke, confidential matrimonial search firm.
In fact, her own experience of finding her ‘special person’ revealed just how disjointed and challenging it was to find the right life partner. It’s been a few years since that experience, but Anuradha says the complexity and challenge of finding the right match continue to remain the same. “Today, a lot of us are 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. As time goes by we cement ourselves around our experiences and we start to look for comfort and similarity from the person who we want to spend the rest of our lives with,” explains Anuradha. This is further compounded by factors like too many choices, too little time, low patience levels, and a focus on instant connect or a ‘move-on’ attitude that this age of easy access has brought about. This is especially true for the well-read, well-educated, globe-trotting Indians.
A key to the heart: Arranged introductions
It is here that Anuradha’s venture, Vows for Eternity has gained increasing relevance and acceptance among the educated, affluent, upwardly mobile global individuals who are seriously looking to get married. This includes successful professionals, self-made business people, entrepreneurs, industrialists and celebrities from across the world. “While what we do is not rocket science, it is very complicated because it has people at the heart of it. And people generally have a longer list of what they don’t want than what they do want,” shares the entrepreneur.
That’s why the bespoke matrimonial search firm lays a strong focus on getting to know the members and then connecting them with other like-minded people.
“We have learnt that often the lines between the fundamental and superficial get blurred when one is making a decision about a life partner. From being total strangers, the Vows for Eternity team becomes a confidante with whom the members share their deepest fears and happiest memories. We are a sounding board for very personal decisions and yet we know that the decision must come from our members. We help them with a different perspective when required and align expectations to reality. Our process ends either when the membership period ends or when the member finds their life partner,” explains the Anuradha.
This is what Vows for Eternity calls an ‘arranged introduction’, which is not only different because it is confidential and personalised but also differs from introductions made by friends and family.
“The difference is in the sheer numbers – access to people who are seriously looking for the right partner. Also, we vet and try and get to know our members very closely, understand their personalities, their childhood, family members and life journeys.” The suggestion comes after much thought, she says, unlike with some well-meaning family or friends who might suggest a name just because they are from the same family or friends circle, or because they have heard good things about them. “We try and encourage our members to get to know the other person and not make quick decisions-perhaps that’s why whilst our introductions are arranged, our marriages are not,” says Anuradha.
Not in the maddening number race
As much as the firm stresses on its personalised approach, it lays equal emphasis on taking a confidential route. “We believe that certain things in life are sacred and very personal. We interact with members who believe that their personal space should not be out in the public domain. Additionally, many of our members are celebrities and from industrialist families where confidentiality is key.” So how do they ensure a confidential approach? Anuradha says, “ It’s very simple. Someone places their trust in us and we uphold it. It’s non-negotiable. And, because we have never done it any other way, it comes very naturally and easily to us.”
That’s also why Vows for Eternity has stayed away from the number trap of trying to showcase how large their database is or who they are and drive business mileage out of it.
“Success for us is when members ask for their search to stop because they feel they have found the person they want to share their life with. Our success rate is 35 percent,” shares Anuradha.
This also stems from the fact that while Vows For Eternity does have a strong commercial angle and is a business venture, it is far from a conventional business model – both from its vision and how it is run. “Vows for Eternity is an extension of what I believe,” quips Anuradha. “The unwavering belief in what we are trying to do by keeping ‘people’ at the centre of it all drives me to run things the way I do.”
Interestingly, at a time, when there’s a mad race across the world to go online and stay relevant in an increasingly digital world, Vows for Eternity is countering the trend. “Nothing can substitute a personal connection, more so in the matters of the heart. This is as real as it gets – going back to the basics in bringing people together. Everything is offline because that’s where real life plays out.”
Deciphering the journey to success
A degree in business, the experience of working for a legendary football club like Arsenal, having grown up in India and then living for over 20 years across the world have all imbibed a global modern outlook in Anuradha while keeping her strongly rooted in Indian values. All these have contributed immensely to her journey as the founder of a matchmaking firm. Anuradha points out that her travels and experiences have been instrumental in helping acquire skills to relate to people who are serious about finding a life partner. “This journey over the last 10 years has also helped me learn some valuable life lessons about human behaviour and the importance of being true to oneself.”
The entrepreneur wears multiple hats – that of a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a businesswoman, and says her days are “chaotic, crazy and 18-hours-long without a dull moment. I end the day wishing it would be longer than the 24 hours it is.” But, this doesn’t come as a surprise, given that she calls herself a “person of extremes,” and someone who believes in giving everything to all she does.
Anuradha is very highly regarded and sought after for her matchmaking skills that uphold the principles of confidentiality, integrity and transparency, but she says the journey was not without challenges. “But, that’s what I love about it,” she says. “Not knowing the risks, the steep learning curves, the excitement and the satisfaction that comes with building something have all been worth it.”
Confident and secure, Anuradha says she doesn’t feel the need or the pressure to prove anything to anyone other than herself. “I have been very fortunate to have a strong support structure, particularly in my mother and my husband. My mother taught me the power of dreams and I embraced that with everything I had. I believe that one can achieve anything that one wants to and nothing is out of reach.”
Signing off, she says, “Over the last 10 years, I have just been true to myself, put in 100 percent into what I do, and everything else has fallen into place. When I started, all I had was an idea and the determination to make it work. Over the years I have realised that while I need to be very agile and on top of my game, it is also important to not deviate from my core principles and to never get complacent. I want to leave a legacy behind for my children so they know that their mother led a life that dreams are made of. The sky can be any colour that you want, as long as you believe in it.”
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