In her words "it's really important that I have this man…I’ll die if he doesn’t come into my life.”
Today, digital love is a trade, a cut throat business that has Apps popping up like toasters. Online or offline, between dating apps and matrimonial sites, the industry has the country’s curious millennials covered. Everyone’s on the lookout for something: a fling, a connection or a degree of “real” love that can satiate them until the search for the next point on their love bucket list begins. Whether they admit it or not, most of the young and outgoing are active on at least one of these portals to find what they’re looking for.
Ruchika has been on, wait for it… one hundred and fifty dates to find the one! Has she found him? No. Is she still looking? Yes. We called her in and called her out on real men traits, arranged matrimony and even semen tests!
“If love is blind, then why are you still single?”, I playfully asked Ruchika.
“I didn’t intend on going on so many dates. I thought one date would be enough to find THE man of my dreams but it didn’t happen. So I ended up meeting so many men”, she says matter of factly.
“Where did you meet them?”
“Through the newspaper: The Sunday Times matrimonial. They were largely arranged setups. I also used JeevanSaathi.com & Shaadi.com. Others I met through common friends who thought of a good match for me.”
“What are their profiles like?”
“They talk about age, professional qualifications, the city they live in, what they’re looking for etc. Then you exchange emails and get to see photographs to see what they look like. They always lie about their income though and inflate it.”
“Those are paid sites for the masses? Have you ever tried dating apps?”
“No haven’t tried them but I believe Woo is really good and Truly Madly because they do a thorough check unlike Shaadi.com and JeevanSaathi.com where anybody who has Rs.2500 can log in and register to be contacted. These matrimony sites don’t seem to have too many quality controls. But through apps, one has to go through Facebook profiles and the app can verify you’re real, plus check on the kind of friends you have. That’s the only way to access it really. That’s a great way I think.”
“What were the kinds of men you met on these dates?”
“I’d say most of them would be either boring, casual or decent. As for what they did: I met engineers, IT guys, doctors, chartered accountants, consultants and bankers. Those are the kind of profiles I found.”
“Typically how would these dates go?”
“So we’d contact each other via email or phone numbers and then decide on a time and place of mutual convenience. I always asked to meet at like a café or casual coffee shop like Costa or Starbucks that ways it’s minimal time invested. There we’d chat and get to know each other and I could scoot as soon as possible if he was creepy.”
Never a bar or nightclub?
“No because you go to a nightclub with somebody you want to spend considerably more time with..And it’s always so loud and noisy in there that you can barely have a conversation. First dates are to get to know the other person and chat. So I never did that at a nightclub.”
“Have you ever spotted the same person on an App and then on a matrimonial site?”
“Never. Because those are two kinds of people. The ones on these matrimonial sites are not very tech savvy and modern. They’re your typical get married have kids and live in a joint family sort of man. They’re not so out there. Apps are for younger, modern, savvy guys"
“Out of so many men you’ve gone on dates with, any stories of phoneys?”
“One guy had written, he was 40 and he was in the same city as me: Delhi. He was a little over my age bracket but I was like why not. When I met him, turns out he was 45. I asked him why lie about age? He said “you clicked on me because I said I’m 40 and would you click on me if I was 45? He was right. Of course I wouldn’t meet a 45 year old guy. But would I ever meet him again anyway? No. So why lie about your age when you know it’s a waste of time.”
“Do they lie about other things too like strange professions?”
“Some guys said they did their engineering, but turns out they had a diploma which is actually a Rs.1000 certificate you can buy. Why lie about these stupid things you know? Its basic stuff.”
“Did you meet any weirdos?”
“No just some seriously boring guys! They’d talk only shop. I don’t care how much money you make as long as you bring it home. I’m a banker too so I didn’t want to meet somebody from the same line. You know the nuances but you want to explore the person. One serious person is enough. The other one should be more fun.”
“Funniest story on a date?”
“What’s funny is that I’m meeting so many and still not finding the one. It’s been pretty normal : you meet, get to know each other and then don’t want to see them ever again. The first meeting has usually been enough”
“What is the role of a man in your life at this point? What will happen if he doesn’t come soon?” I asked.
“It’s really important that I have this man…I’ll die if he doesn’t come into my life”
What exactly are you looking for?”
“Well, I’m looking for a nice guy who can handle me. Who’s funny, witty, educated and that’s it.”
I ask her If she came to 101India secretly hoping that she would meet a guy. She nods affirmatively and looks around the room. “What do you think of the cameraman?” I ask. “He’s cute” she says frankly, without a seconds delay.
“Why do you think you haven’t found your soul mate?”
“Maybe it’s because I’m not skinny . I also think it’s destiny, when it’s meant to happen it’ll just happen. That’s what people say, that’s the hope I have and when you meet so many men you get a certain clarity of what you definitely do not want.”
“I see. Tell me two things you definitely don’t want?”
“I hate liars and infidelity and of course he has to be physically compatible. Yes we’re assuming that both parties entering the agreement are physically fine but if they’re not then that’s a problem. I got a scare once and called my aunt. Asked her “What if he’s impotent then what?”. She said there’s this semen test and according to a certain count, they know whether he’s ok or not.”
“How do you get a stranger to do the semen test when they’ve just met you?”
“That comes later when he says I may have a problem. Otherwise you just assume he’s fine. Of course on the date he’ll never say that he’s impotent. But I think I know from how he holds me …”
“That’s a little far-fetched. So wait..you’re saying you’ll be able to predict that from a hug?”
We then hug and I ask for the rating. She refuses to give me one. Maybe it was 12 on 10 and she didn’t want to inflate my ego. Just saying. After insisting she said it was a 5. I will never ask again.
“What do you think your experience says about the men of this generation?
“They don’t know what they want and have their priorities confused. Some are doing it for their mothers and some for their friends. I’ve not met anybody who’s doing it for himself. Our mothers had it better, they knew what they were getting into and it was for keeps. Not get in and get out. Same for me: No matter how bad it is I’m going to make it work and not let it fall apart.
By Roshmin Mehandru