Indians awoke a few days ago to find a strange ad in the marriage section of a major newspaper. Because of its odd nature, the ad for a groom for an “opinionated feminist with short hair and piercings” soon went viral on social media. According to the report, the woman, who was over 30 years old and educated, worked in the “social sector, against capitalism,” and was looking for a “handsome, well-built” groom.

Aditi Mittal, a comedian, uploaded the matrimonial ad on Twitter, where it instantly went viral and received a lot of laughs. While the unique wedding commercial amused many people, others questioned its genuineness. A BBC story has now proven what many people have thought all along: the ad is a hoax.

It turned out to be a joke played by her brother, sister, and closest friend. The BBC was able to locate the “opinionated feminist” Sakshi, her brother Srijan, and her closest friend Damyanti, who came up with the concept using the email address listed on the ad.

The ad appeared in a dozen northern Indian cities and cost about 13,000 rupees ($175; £126) – “an amount we would have spent on presents and celebrations if there was no Covid lockdown,” Srijan said. The night before her birthday, Sakshi said, her brother gifted her a paper scroll.

“When I unrolled it, it had the email address – [email protected] – and the password. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with that,” she told me on the phone from her home. “In the morning, Srijan brought me a copy of the newspaper with the page opened to the matrimonial columns and we had a good laugh. It was a fun prank.”

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