If being on the wrong side of 25 has taught me anything, it is that life can be both amazing and dreadful at the same time. You’ll be enjoying all the maturity and confidence that age brings you, but the onset of your quarter-life crisis might just turn you into a grumpy old cat on certain days. You’ll be at your sexiest, on top of your dating game, and yet, all you’ll want to do is be with someone you can settle down with. Basically at 25, you’ll either already be engaged, married, one kid on the way, or going steady with your video subscription service.
If you’re about to take offense and ask me, “Hey! I could be a strong, independent individual focused on my career” then let me show you the mirror. In our country, you can be all these things at 25 and still not get out of the impending doom we all know and hate: “Beta, shaadi kab karoge?”
In our country, there’s a clear hierarchy about statuses. First comes your economic status. A Close second is your relationship status.
Thankfully, there’s an app for improving everything today, including your relationship status. Actually, make that two. Dating apps and matrimonial apps. And lately, my life has been a constant contest between the two.
Once I was convinced that I did want to take the plunge, my mother set course for #BetiKiShaadi2020, a self-imposed deadline to find a suitable boy for her daughter, armed with the best matrimonial apps she could find.
Unbeknownst to her, I had been already navigating my relation-ship through adventurous fuckboy-infested waters, also knows as dating apps for quite some time.
And so it began. Two parallel quests—one helmed by my mother and one by yours truly—to find The One.
Mom’s lakshya was fixed; mine, a little unsteady, She was looking for a life partner for her beti. I was looking for a connection, some fooling around and maybe, just maybe love? The stage was set. Let the contest begin!
Round I: The Bio
TBH, I am a vibrant person who wanted to attract someone equally colourful. So obviously my dating app bio was cheeky, bold and flirtatious: Sharp one-liners and a tongue-in-cheek invitation to swipe right.
Nope. Didn’t even once write ‘sapiosexual’ or ‘not here for hookups’. Sorry to disappoint.
But as I fleshed out my profile on the matrimonial app, under Mom’s watchful eye, I had to exercise utmost restraint. Keep it vanilla, Mom said. I was listing out ‘hobbies’ (something I hadn’t done since filling out slam books in school) and fibbing about my weight. World War III threatened to break out when I wanted to mention my drinking and Mom didn’t.
We finally agreed on “Drinks socially” over “Drinks like a fish”. Because
Round II: The ‘Send Pics’
If you thought a boy asking you to “send pics” was reserved only for the creepy guys on dating apps, this will rock your world.
Despite adding 2-3 photos of myself on my dating profile, why guys I matched with still wanted me to send more pics surpassed all realms of reasoning.
But what cracked me up was how boys on matrimonial apps also had similar requests! Oh wait, it isn’t the boys always. Just like mine, profiles of most of these guys were operated by their parent(s).
It was an awkward conversation when they asked my Mom to send them varied pictures of me: in desi wear, western wear, selfies, etc!
While I could say no to the first, I grudgingly obliged and sent Mom additional pictures suiting every criteria.
Round III: The Chat
I am big on interesting conversations; add to that a sucker for spellings, grammar and punctuation and you’ll find a judgemental prick who isn’t easily impressed.
Conversation on dating apps can get quite creative. There’s that burning need to impress with a kickass pickup line. Constantly finding topics to keep the other person interested can be a task.
Of course, there’s also the “Wassup. Nm. You say?” school of thought.
My personal favourite (sarcasm intended) is the straight-from-the-pants “Your place or mine?”
When my mother shared with me the numbers of potential guys she’d found on matrimonial apps, I was intrigued. I went in thinking it would be boring but it felt nice to be treated with respect, and spoken to like a mature adult. Getting to know someone with the pressure to impress being off was a breath of fresh air!
PS: Flirting with parental permission has its own appeal!
Round IV: The Ghosting
Ghosting is one byproduct of the digital age that you can’t escape. I’ve been ghosted on dating apps quite a lot, and frankly, it hasn’t affected me THAT much. I’d get over it somehow. In fact, I might’ve done it too, on occasion.
But watching Mom get ghosted by parents of guys who left the promise of a return phone call hanging in the air made my blood boil. Why waste our time then, fellas? Some of the boys I would chat with did that too. I failed to understand why. It’s not like one reply and we’d be married! What happened to common courtesy?
Round V: The Date (Grand Finale)
Let me give you a pro-tip: It’s all about the filters. Once you filter’em good ones from the throng, you can finally set up a personal meeting. I went on two dates; one Mom-approved, the other Me approved.
The Matrimony Man was all grace and poise, nice to get to know and asked all the right questions. In an hour or so, we parted ways with suspense hanging in the air.
Did he like me? I think she thought I was funny. Let’s see kya jawab aata hai….
The dating app dude flustered a little, gave loads of compliments, and we talked for hours. On my way home, I received a text from him saying he had a wonderful time and would love to do this again. The chatting continues, with regular good morning messages and flirty Snapchats.
Mom and I are still awaiting a reply from the ‘promising’ Matrimony Man.
You know how they say, there’s honour among thieves? I realised that sometimes, despite appearances, even the ‘serious’ people on matrimonial apps are prone to handling situations immaturely. On the contrary, even the most ‘casual AF’ guys on a dating app will have basic courtesy to, if nothing, at least reply.
Not to mention, the latter is the biggest self-esteem booster you’ll ever find!
So who wins the war again? At this point, can’t say! I’ll let you know when I finally find The One. Till then, the game is on!