“Internet in India is like Bharat in Ian McDonald’s ‘River of Gods’,” Maya explained to Tarun, as she sipped her second cup of black coffee at the Green Park Costa. “For every four men here, there is only one woman.”
In the science fiction novel set in futuristic 2047, India had splintered into several state along linguistic lines. In the state of Bharat, as elsewhere in India, a dysfunctional generation of Indian men didn’t even have an outside chance to marry because their parents’ generation had successfully weeded out women from theirs through thirty years of selective sex determination. So, stylish, sophisticated, successful men from Varanasi and Patna wooed simple women from the villages in elaborate swayamvaras called ’shaadis’ and city women fluttered from wooer to wooer, in the pursuit of the gifts and the game, without any intention of marrying them.
Tarun had recently broken up with his girlfriend of two years and wanted to get back into the dating game. So, he had looked around for a good Indian dating website, only to find that there weren’t any. At twenty eight, he was in no hurry to marry, especially since he had recently started his own retail chain, after six years in Unilever. So, he had shied away from the popular matrimonial websites — Shaadi, Bharat Matrimony, Jeevansathi — and turned to Maya for advice.
“No women on the internet means no women on dating websites, which means no dating websites,” Tarun nodded in comprehension. “But, what about all the matrimonial websites?” he added. “Surely, even they won’t work, if they are all male affairs!”
“As a matter of fact, they do,” Maya explained. “See, some women do create their own profiles on these matrimonial websites, even use them as dating websites. So, if you get lucky, you might get a date or two, but don’t count on it.”
“For the most part, women don’t create their own profiles on matrimonial websites, their fathers or brothers do,” Maya added, “and they will screen both your intentions and your bio-data before they introduce you to the woman, or even show you her photo.”
“But, I won’t want to go out with those women anyways,” Tarun argued. “What about women like them?” he looked around at the fashionably dressed women in the cafe, “What about women like you? You are single too.”
“I won’t be seen anywhere near a dating website, Tarun,” Maya laughed. “I don’t quite like the idea of being one of six women amongst sixty thousand men, as much as I like attention!”
“So, how would someone like you find a date?” Tarun persisted. “I know that you have been single for six months now and I know that you have been on a dozen dates at least.”
“Friends, Tarun, friends.” Maya explained, “You go out with friends, you meet their friends, who ask you out. That’s how it works. But you don’t like large groups, so that won’t work for you.”
“And, in nay case, Tarun,” Maya put her cup down and added, “there are more men like you than women like me. Think of the number of women in your IIMB class, or in Unilever’s Mumbai office, or in McKinsey’s Delhi office.”
“I have never really noticed…” Tarun spoke softly, as if to himself.
“Because you were dating the hottest woman on campus within a week of meeting her,” Maya completed his thought, “and you haven’t really been single ever since.”
“Hmmm…” Tarun sighed.
“But don’t worry,” Maya nudged him, “I know the perfect girl for you. I’ll throw a house party and invite both of you.”
As CEO of 2020 Social, I build and nurture online communities for Indian and international clients, connect their customers, partners and employees, and help them achieve their business objectives. Ask us how we can help you.
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