Every morning, Monica Sen wakes up at 6 and throws herself head first into the rush that is the school run. Her husband and child must be awoken and fed, their tiffins packed, the five-year-old made to stand still at the bus stop. Rushing back home, she gets ready, packs her own lunch and travels to her assignment for the day. It could be anywhere in Delhi. In her mid-30s, with a pleasant disposition, and clutching her mobile phone tight, Sen doesn’t find it difficult to chat to people about their Aadhar card, or her plans to move into one of the vacant apartments in the colony. If it is important, she might even ask to see the floor plan; and how many attached bathrooms did you say the flat had?
Back at her office, Sen types up a report, based on her conversations with the maid, the security guard, the neighbours, sometimes even the unsuspecting family, along with the video she shot on her phone, in stealth mode. “Women want to know what kind of a house the family lives in, the number of bathrooms, the state of the house in general, how many helpers they have. They want to know about the mother-in-law the most, since she is most likely to run the family,” says Sen (not her real name). And who are these women? The ones who have hired Ladies Detective India (LDI) for a pre-matrimonial investigation, before they make the biggest decision of their lives.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Coupled with a shot of doubt, it makes for an explosive cocktail, one that most families in the (arranged) marriage market are unable to handle. Is the prospective groom a “good” boy? Does the girl have the “right character”? Does the family actually own three properties in Gurgaon/Vashi/Rajarhat? Look no further, a visit to the friendly neighbourhood spook and a glance at his “pre-mat” package will answer all these questions, within a fortnight.
“You can’t take anything or anybody for granted,” says Satchit Kumar, looking sharp in his suit and tie. The director of Globe Detective Agency (GDA) is a busy man. His office, in Nehru Place in Delhi, looks like any other corporate office. The only giveaway is the framed certificates from international detective associations and companies. Since its inception in 1961, by Kumar’s father, Prem, GDA mostly does background checks, due diligence, IPR-related work, corporate investigations etc. But “pre-mat” is a different ball game. “It’s important to do ground research because that is the most current primary information we can provide. So we use a number of methods, like posing as a mystery shopper to the family-run business, or a similar suitable guise,” says Kumar, who supervises a team of approximately 75 detectives, including freelancers, in Delhi alone.
Back in the day, one didn’t quite need the detective. continued…