Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Great Indian Marriage - An Open Case Study

What follows is a narrative, referred to in management schools usually as a case study. It describes a managment situation in a very interesting (to me) area to which you, the reader, is expected to respond. Through remarks and the thoughts of the protagonist I have tried to give a flavour of the lines along which one may think. Frameworks, trends, creative ideas - all are welcome. Responses may be posted as comments. The entire problem and the solutions that you propose will be treated as open source - freely shareable in their entirety, with contributors being acknowledged and credited.

Full credit to Chetna for the idea and for suggesting that I write a blog on it.

Bharat Singhal walked up to the window. The cool breeze from his 21st floor office was quite soothing. The 37 year old CEO of Sampoorn Vivaah Ltd pondered over his first big assignment.

Sampoorn Vivaah was an entrepreneurial venture borne out of Bharat’s vision of providing an end-to-end solution for what he always considered to be the ultimate Indian management situation – a marriage. The idea was to have a presence at every stage of the process – helping people search for their perfect match, introducing the families, the engagement, inviting people, rituals, celebrations, themes, dresses, honeymooning and so on.

Apart from such traditional things, newer trends such as internet websites and the dramatization of incidents from the bride and groom’s lives had started turning marriages into an art of story-telling – a larger than life event which required flawless planning and execution at every stage.

He also noticed that increasingly people now favoured made to order marriages – they were taking a more active interest in each and every aspect and customizing it; Standardization was out, personalization was in.

Given India’s favourable demographics, expanding economic growth and the culture of lavish spending in marriages, he was convinced it was an idea that would work.

And he now had his first big client – the 27 year old son of a prominent Marwari businessman from Jaipur was to get married. One of his friends who was a favoured guest in that household had recommended Singhal to them. Indians by nature are uncomfortable with institutionalizing what are seen as family events. Times however were changing and more and more people were ok with seeking professional expertise in managing such events.

This was as big as it got. Money would not be a concern. It being his first assignment, he was determined to avoid any goof-ups at all costs. It would be a trend setter as far as marriages were concerned. He knew that not everyone could afford to have a marriage on that scale. He wanted to make sure that many of the ideas and steps could be modified and replicated to suit different budgets.

He glanced over the hurriedly scribbled notes. So many things to be taken care of, he thought. What would be the different steps involved? How would he go about looking for the appropriate match? How would the entire process be conceptualized? Could there be a framework for it? What tools would he use for the different stages? What were the latest trends that people were following? What new ones could be set? Creative, appealing, dear to the Indian heart?

This is no longer only about Mangalyam Bhagwaan Vishnu, he thought, as he sat down to work...


  1. bhai...iske aage ka bhi to likh... :)

  2. Dude! You, the Reader, is supposed to contribute!!!

  3. There's a Marathi movie on this. It's called "Kande Pohe" referring to the traditional dish served to the prospective groom and his family by the host (the prospective bride and her family) during all the "prospecting".

    And I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that this is a rip-off of some other movie.