Group speed dating and social mixer for Hindus
(Left) A registration table at the Hindu Vivah singles event.
On August 20, 2017 Vivah’s Atlanta branch held its fall quarter singles event at the Roswell Holiday Inn with 63 participants and 12 volunteers. This was the Atlanta branch’s second singles event, and the seventh event for the organization as a whole. Members of the Atlanta Hindu community sponsored the event, making it free for participants. The work for putting it on was done by an all-volunteer force.
Vivah is a nonprofit whose mission is to organize meetings for single Hindus so that they may find someone to marry. The goal is to promote marriage by providing a wholesome, alcohol-free environment and some structure in meeting people. Vivah began in 2016 in Dallas; a second branch was organized in Houston, with Atlanta being its third location.
The event began with the chanting of three Oms and an invocation to Ganesha. A married volunteer gave a guidance speech on what to look for in a prospective spouse. Then the group speed dating activity began. Participants were divided into several groups according to age: mid-20s, late 20s, etc. Each group had both men and women seated in a circle. People introduced themselves by first name only and talked to each other for about ten minutes, choosing to reveal whatever they wanted to about themselves. Contact information was not given out. The women then shifted to the next circle in their age group and continued until they had met all in their age range.
Most participants were programmers, analysts, and engineers, with a few doctors and pharmacists as well. Hobbies were more varied, however. One man took part in Spartan obstacle races; another was a backup singer. Many were committed vegetarians.
Some participants had grown up locally, others in different parts of the U.S., and there were those from various cities of both North and South India. While most participants now lived in Atlanta, a few had travelled for the event from neighboring states like South Carolina and from states as far away as Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas.
At this meeting, there was also a group for the middle-aged and elderly, all of whom were widowed or divorced with grown children. A widow in her early 60s had lost her husband to cancer. A man in his early 60s was divorced with grown children—he said he had wanted to raise his children before trying to marry again.
After the speed dating event, there was some freeform socializing. Participants could turn in sheets to the organizers giving authorization to reveal their contact information to select people they liked. As a side benefit, the structure of group speed dating allowed people to meet and make friends with those of their own gender as well.
The Atlanta branch of Hindu Vivah plans to organize these events on a quarterly basis. The winter quarter event is scheduled for Sunday, December 3. To attend, volunteer, or donate, please visit HinduVivah.org or email Atlanta@UsVivah.com.
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