Bishwabijoy Mitra, TNN,  Jul 2, 2016, 01: Grooms’ families seek help of detectives to check on girls’ past-  Sourav’s parents had fixed his marriage with Purbasha in January 2015. As the families thrashed out the details, the two of them met separately a couple of times. But what rankled with the boy’s side were reports that even a year back, Purbasha and her parents were struggling and had neither decent clothes nor a good place to stay. Then overnight, things changed. They bought a car and moved into a nice apartment. It was then that Sourav’s family got in touch with AMX Detective Service.


“What we found was astonishing. The girl’s father had a business and had taken big loans. After the business crashed, they were in dire straits financially. Unfortunately, around this time Purbasha met a 65-year-old man and became his mistress. He looked after her family financially,” said Baldev Kumar Puri, the chairman of the detective agency.
HOW MANY MEN FRIENDS?


Reports from various detective agencies suggest that Sourav is not an exception. More and more grooms’ families are opting for detectives to research the background of the girls their wards will marry. The questions range from the financial status of the girls’ family to queries about her personal habits. Does she drink or smoke? How many relationships has she had? Does she have too many male friends? The questions go on and on.


This trend is especially ironic, since in a society that still largely believes in arranged marriage, it was always the girl’s family that ran a background check on the boy till a few years back. Only rarely did they hire detectives, but depended on inputs from relatives and discreet enquiries at the boy’s workplace. But now, with girls having an independent life, mind and opinion, the tables have turned, it seems.


“Earlier, it was very normal to check on the groom. After marriage, the girl would go to a new house and environment. So naturally her family wanted information on the boy’s background,” said TK Das from Globe Detective Agency.




QUERIES POUR IN EVERY DAY


However, the trend has changed over the past five years or so. Puri said his agency receives 10 to 12 such queries every day. At Truth Private Investigators, nearly 10 such clients a day are common. “The numbers are at an all-time high. We have never received so many matrimonial cases — and that too from the grooms’ side!” said Tapan Bera, chief investigator at Truth Private Investigators.


Investigators point out that female-friendly laws are also the reason the number of probes from the grooms’ side has gone up. “Laws on domestic violence or dowry support women in many ways. So, the boy’s family is concerned if the girl’s kin have any inclination to misuse the law against them. Naturally, they want every kind of information before marriage,” said Puri. The generation gap is another reason, feel many. TK Das said that even in this day and age, many girls are forced to marry against their wishes, but continue seeing their lovers even after marriage.




IS SHE A VIRGIN?


Though the agencies get all kinds of queries, the first thing people want to know is if the girl is a virgin. To answer this, detectives probe her past to find out how many relationships she’s had. Next come questions on drinking and smoking, her friend circle and the clothes she wears. “Once a 70-plus gentleman wanted to know how many moles his future daughter-in-law has. It apparently had to do with something astrological. I of course refused to take the case!” said Amlan Roy of Mercury Investigators.


TK Das had another amusing story to share. He once got a case where the girl turned out to be “clean”. “So I made the report on the basis of my findings and sent it to my client. The next day, the father of the groom came back and requested that I omit the part where it was mentioned that her circle of friends had some men. He said that would hurt his son’s feelings!” said Das.


Bibhas Halder, the owner of Third Eye Investigation Group, pointed out that the need for detectives has become crucial in a society where nuclear and fragmented families are the norm. “Earlier, there was a wide network of family and friends who would do the matchmaking,” he said.

BEWARE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING 
Also, social networking sites have fundamentally changed the way young people interact and find their life partners. Often, the information provided on online profiles proves to be false. This again is a reason why people have become more suspicious.
A few months ago Mercury Investigators received a case from a rich businessman, whose son was about to get married to a girl from a very affluent family. “They met on Facebook. The boy’s family did not know much about the girl and after seeing their expensive cars and classy manners, they decided to seek more information. We found that the girl and her family were frauds and were targeting the jewellery they would get in the wedding,” said Roy.
So, how do these detectives collect information? Though the sleuths are secretive about it, they confirmed that most often the girl’s mohalla was the best place to gather information, apart from their college or workplace. “It takes about a week or so. We learn everything we want in that time,” said TK Das, pointing out that it was always difficult to gather information from a place like Salt Lake, which did not have a para culture. “Many times, the sleuths get caught and are even thrashed. But that is just an occupational hazard,” said Amlan Roy.