Sunday, November 4, 2018


For the uninitiated and yet to turn 28, unlike me here, the most commonly cited reason for not liking a person when the entire universe (read: Maternal Mafia and Paternal Prime) works towards making you find a companion for life is: "spark nahi aa raha". This spark-not-coming is difficult to define and spell out to the Maata-Pita.

"Yeh spark kya hota hai? Humne toh koi spark nahi dekha tha apni shaadi ke time pe." It's ironic because the Mother has lit the gas stove for years and it cannot get more literal than that.

To bring some context, on the insistence of a friend, who has so far met twenty-four women in the arranged marriage market and claims to have a lot of data to pass judgment on the type of women in the marriage circuit, I recently added Jeevansathi as an app along with Hinge and Bumble. For friends wondering what are the latter, you guys are definitely out of the dating game for donkey's years now.

So how this Jeevansathi works is that you send "interests" to profiles that you like and then the other side may accept or decline your interest, where an acceptance opens a chat window and the parents on either side can take it forward. Bumble and Hinge are just the same, except not managed by parents, and less embarrassing for your profile to be found on by ex-girlfriends, their friends, old college crushes, people in your circle you thought were in a long relationship, and all of their respective dogs, sunglasses, bio stating their love for coffee, and the occasional not-here-for-hookups.

I got on JS after I, proudly, secured seventy plus matches and a few dates on Hinge. Two, to be specific, left a deep impact. One, who ghosted me after the first date, and made me feel all, tu kya ghost karegi merko, main terko ghost karunga, bey! And the second, who turned out to be an international tax lawyer (or disguised herself as one), and then sold me tickets to a three day long, may I mention expensive, residential conference on tax laws in another city, flights not included. The only good things that came out of Hinge were dates that I would not feel interested in, or may feel interested in only as a friend, or make such close friends that I use her Netflix account; and a ghost who hurt my ego; and a salesperson who made a profit off of me. In the last case though, the conference was totally worth it and I'm also saying this because I have to claim it as a business expense.

Having exhausted the same bunch of people, which show up by rotation on the apps, it was about time for me to get real. More so because the WhatsApp forwards I got in the name of rishte from my parents looked like stale bread, the Mona Lisa painted using my left foot, and a death threat, respectively. Jeevansathi was the next logical step. As you can tell, I use 'logic' very liberally.

My initial search criteria on the matrimonial app were Chartered Accountants between the ages of 22 and 27, within Delhi NCR, and Punjabi. The search results offered over six hundred profiles out of which one belonged to the Hinge ghost, and I should've taken it as a bad omen right then. But nahi, bhoot jo chada hai pyaar wagerah ka.

So much so that I then only put two criteria - over ten lakhs of annual income, and age between 22 and 27. Then I picked one occupation to browse at a time, one after the other, including the entire spectrum from 'beauty professionals' to 'owner at owner'. I would say this should be put as a lab practical in every Delhi University college to bust stereotypes. Soon all men will realize that regardless of caste, occupation, age and educational background, all women in the world are fair, slim, beautiful, respectful to elders, love to travel and only wear Indian ethnic. Honestly though, designers are the best looking lot. If you don't believe me, please download the app and see for yourself. Also, JMC girls. (I'm just joking humanities students and LSR girls on the internet, sorry, please don't kill me; but yes, JMC girls are the hottest).

Also, I then realized that I was going to turn 28 in two days and there's an entire age group which I could've considered but had ignored all through. So the process started again with age range from 28 to 28.

After 49 hours and 33 minutes, I have gone through every profile on JS and made 53 shortlists. If I were to send an interest to all of them and expect a ten percent acceptance rate, out of which I meet half, I'll statistically be meeting 2.65 women over the next one year. Out of all the possible women who are available for marriage in India and looking out on the internet. Shaadi toh ek hi se karni hai, so looks promising.

As you can see, over the past two weeks, the search criteria has loosened, the pool of options widened, and the app is deflated to exactly what Bumble and Hinge do - reduce this whole process to a game. How many interests, how many accepts, how many matches, how many dates? 

It's all just a Netflix subscription at the end of the day - you sift through thumbnails, reading descriptions, mentally shortlisting people, but never end up investing as much time in going all through because such busy lives; I have no time to text back, man; so exhausted by the time I get back home. And of course, no spark.

No spark. 

I asked my dad and learnt that my mum was the first girl he met as a marriage prospect. Same with the parents of the friend who is twenty-four women down.

"How did you know she was the one?"

"What is there to know? You just take a leap of faith."

Leap of faith. Is the lack thereof what we call, 'no spark'? What has happened with this generation and its mindset towards marriage? I guess it all just looks like a Jalebi. Very well made though - crisp, sweet, thin, respectful to elders - but all without a spark.


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