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Bhopal hosts first live-in meet for elders

Bhopal, Feb 20 (IANS) If you think live-in relationships are only for Bollywood stars and young people, think again.

In the first ever live-in relationship fair in Bhopal Sunday, at least five pairs of elderly men and women agreed to enter into a live-in relationship.

Earlier, it was in Ahmedabad that such an event was held.

There were 120 men and 15 women gathered at the 'live-in relationship meet' organised by Vina Mulya Amulya Seva (VMAS) - that translates into without price, priceless service - in A Gem School here.

The participants' ages ranged between 50 and 83 years.

These elderly participants were asked to register before they went ahead looking for a match. Besides their basic details, they were required to give details on their monthly income and whether living with family or alone.

Interestingly, in the column about whether or not they believed in live-in relationships, most men said 'Yes' while most women said 'No'.

The participants were only identified by their batch numbers, as they sat on red plastic chairs in a room. While the male participants were excited, the female participants' expressions did not display either excitement or gloom.

Most of the women who reached the event were also interested in marriage rather than live-in relationships.

The women participants also did not talk to media persons on the issue.

Among the 15 women, three were Muslims wearing burqas.

On the skewed sex ratio at the novel meet, organiser Natubhai of VMAS told IANS, 'It has been our experience that for every 100 men, only ten women turn up. Have a heart, may the best man win.'

'To counter the shortfall, the organisers provide free-air tickets and lodging for the women,' added Natubhai.

Some elders who had come to the place, however, did not get registered. 'This is new for us. If we feel there is something for us, we will register,' said R.K. Sharma, a retired government official.

Amongst the onlookers were couples in their mid-40s and teenagers.

One of them said, 'We are here to look for a match for someone in our family. That is all we can reveal,' said a gentleman, requesting anonymity.

Organisers said that because of degrading family values, elders are now living lonely lives. So, such meetings have become the need of the hour.

A few days ahead of the programme, some organisations had demanded that the function be not held as it was against Indian culture.

One resident, V.K. Naswa, even wrote to the Bhopal district collector, the director general of state police and the state women's commission, demanding that the event be stopped. However, Naswa later said he would not oppose the event and that it was for the government and administration to decide on it.

But the show was held without any opposition from the government. Male participants were especially excited about it.

'I do not think of it as western or eastern influence. It is our way of overcoming loneliness,' said 76-year-old S.P. Agarwal on the comment that the programme was against Indian culture.

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