Loanly dating the dating game 2
Your money alone does not entitle you to come to our events.” Hatkeshaadi.com, an online matrimony network, defines their ideal member as “well-educated, well-travelled…multi-dimensional in their personalities, with the right mix of modern and traditional values.” For some of the people behind these networks, starting one was the only way to find companionship or love.
A World Alike was set up by Himanshu Gupta, a 35-year-old investment banker who returned to India recently after being abroad for ten years, because he found it hard to meet interesting people to meet or date in Delhi.
There were some obvious things in common—the way we dress, how we conduct ourselves, the food we eat.” This, of course, is just the first step in a multi-level screening process employed by FNM and similar networks that are more stringent about keeping out those who don’t belong than taking in ones who do.
You first fill a form with personal details, submit a set of documents, including government-approved identification, go through a personal or phone interview to convince the team that you are worth it, wait for a few weeks for your background to be verified, Facebook behaviour to be found normal, and for your referees to recommend you as a suitable addition to the network, and finally attend an event where the organisers can see you work your game and be sure of your place in the community.
At a masquerade ball hosted by A World Alike at an upmarket restaurant in Mehrauli where Sangria flowed like water, I looked around to see a curated set of Delhi’s professional elite, most of them in their 30s —a Supreme Court lawyer, a United Nations consultant, a television journalist, a publishing house editor—swish around the cobblestone courtyard, wine glasses in hands, sizing each other up on the basis of number of years spent abroad.
The way the networks describe their target client more or less makes up the definition of ‘class’ in contemporary India.
“For some of the men, no one’s ever taught them how to woo a woman, to ask someone out.
One of the things we tell the girls who join the network is to be kind to the men,” said Agnihotri.
“We were both single, had a large circle of friends, but rarely saw someone outside of it,” Agnihotri told me over a salad-and-sandwich lunch at an upscale restaurant in Vasant Kunj.The more you observe their rise, the more they seem to have everything going for them. The reasons: They have too much work, too little time, saturated social circles, few outlets to meet new people like themselves, cultural baggage, and too many expectations.Given their social prominence, it was only a matter of time before new-age entrepreneurs realised the market potential of helping India’s professional elite pair off.Nevertheless, attending the events has restored her faith “in the fact that there are some wonderful people out there—I just haven’t met my wonderful person yet.” The men have a different perspective on the matter.A 28-year-old lawyer with the Supreme Court who attended A World Alike’s masquerade ball, told me later over the phone that the reason men were hesitant to make the first move in social settings such a bar was because they felt “a lack of invitation.” Things could have been more open on a platform such as the popular dating app Tinder, but in his experience, “girls use it as a game to express whether they like your looks or not, and not as it should be used.