Ahmedabad: Seven pairs of elderly men and women on Sunday agreed to enter into a live-in relationship at a unique match-making meet. Over 300 men and some 70 women from across the country had gathered at the Mehndi Nawaz Jung Hall in Paldi here.

The participants' ages ranged between 50 to 83 years. They had come from as far as Assam and Delhi.

Vina Mulya Amulya Seva (VMAS), the charitable trust which had organised this `Senior Citizen Live-in Relationship Samellan', had laid down strict rules to ensure that the platform was not used to exploit vulnerable women.

"Seven couples who met at this alliance meet have decided to enter into a live-in relationship. This is a good beginning," said Natu Patel of VMAS.

"Before this, we have organised several alliance meets where senior citizens could find a spouse; in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan. But this is the first time we have organised a meet for those wanting to enter into a live-in relationship," he said.

Patel said the inspiration for this meet came to him after the Supreme Court held in a judgement that live-in relationships are not illegal.

The organisers would be monitoring the relationship status of the couples in future, and if required, would also make the men make a security deposit to ensure that the women do not get exploited.

Gulshanrai Monga (63), a divorcee from Assam, was lucky to find a live-in partner in Jagruti Wadhvana (46), who also is a divorcee and hails from Viramgam taluka of Gujarat.

"I had read a news article about the event. I come from Silchar, Assam, where I run a school," Monga said, adding that he and his wife separated 20 years ago, and have no kids.

Wadhvana said she was looking for a partner who could also take the responsibility of her two children. She chose Monga, as he was financially stable.

When asked if marriage was on cards, Monga said that it was "a distant thing", first he would like to know the other person well.

Another lucky man was a doctor from Bangalore, Dr Ramesh K (57), a widower. He and Sona Gandhi (43), a divorcee, have decided to enter into a live-in relationship.

Gandhi said she wanted a live-in relationship, having burnt fingers in her marriage. "Once bitten twice shy," she added. Ramesh's two children are settled; he lives alone.

Jyotsna Dave (53), who too found a live-in partner in Natu Thakkar (60), a rice mill owner from Bavla taluka, said, "At this age, sex is not a consideration. What one seeks is the warmth and the companionship."

Some others were not as lucky, but were hopeful that they would be lucky next time. Kesar Singh (63), a software firm employee from Delhi, said, "I had come to find a partner as I am alone now. All my three children are married and settled."

His wife died three years ago. Singh could not find a partner on Sunday, but was hopeful that such forums would help people like him.

Hussain Baghban (65), a steel trader from Sarkhej, too did not find a partner. He said he was looking for a spouse, as live-in relationship was against Islam.

(Agencies)