By Aditi Datta

Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, the awkward process of evaluating if it’s enough to mate for life, a Delhi wedding with enough shenanigans to put My Big Fat Greek Wedding to shame, and then they lived happily. We hope, for ever after.

As rollercoaster as this simple story can be, we wish it was always this simple. For many thousands of couples, the basic right to choose a partner for life is where the trouble starts. Our glorious over-involved families need to approve of these decisions. Too often, and in too many places in the country, they don’t. And they’ll find until literal death to keep their sons or daughters apart from what they think is the worst fate of all.

Which is why we are so, so happy that we’ve got Love Commandos on the frontline. A not-for-profit organisation, they help couples who wish to marry, if and when they are faced with stubborn obstacles, or even more stubborn uncles.

Love Commandos are a couple of journalists with good intentions, who believe love should have a fighting chance. They started out as Peace Commandos, helping couples celebrate an innocuous Valentine’s Day across the country, and on seeing the hoops people go through in order to pick who they come home to at night, decided to dedicate their time to love and marriage.

They typically ask couples to send in all documents needed for marriage registration, and then go on to provide food, shelter and security to them, while they complete the legal process of wedding them under their own watchful eye. They have the support of over 15 lakhs volunteers in the country, who offer to verify some of the details sent in; all applications must of course be consensual. They run a network of security, details of which shall remain undisclosed.

We asked what the typical obstacles to love are, and they weren’t just religion, caste or community. There’s also economic status, difference in values, difference in mindsets, or simply the intolerance of free choice. All this, across labourers, office goers, lawyers, IAS officers, and big name families with big money. Apparently the zamaana is indeed a pyaar ka dushman. In what can only be described as surprising, their biggest support {of the moral kind} actually comes from Delhi police, Punjab police and Haryana Police.

So have they upset people with their love crusade? They live under permanent threat of death, with bounties on their heads by khap panchayats, and a lot of ill will.

But carry on they will. We asked Sanjay Sachdeva, one of the founding members, why he does this. He believes that love begets love – it’s as simple as that. There is no need or room for hatred, and without sounding too Carrie Bradshaw or {perhaps worse} Celine Dion about it, that’s just the power of love.

We were curious about what happens with the newly wed couples; they simply start a new life as best as they can. Typically the rate of reconciliation is about 40%, and for women, families mostly cave with the arrival of the stork.

Is Sanjay married? Yes, very happily so!

And so are many thousands of couples, who decided to go Commando. When the founding members started out, they expected 150-200 calls in a year on their helpline; they received 7000 calls in the first 24 hours! So if you ever wonder, in the age of commitment phobia, if that gut-wrenching, heart-breaking can’t-live-without-you love still exists, it does. 7000 times a day, at least.

Got to love that!

Notes in our Little Black Book |

Love, in this case, is a many funded thing. Love Commandos operate on the generosity of the journalistic community, as well as friends and strangers who think love is worth a shot, and organisations like Shaadi.com {promise, no more jokes ever.} They fund over 300 shelters that distressed lovebirds nest in, till they are somewhat cleared of danger. This shaadi season, whatever your worries may be, spare a thought and a dime for those whose situation is a bit more dire. Donate here, in the name of love.

For more information: www.lovecommandos.org