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A SEISMIC EXPLOSIONThe business of love is exploding.
With the seismic explosion of dating apps-worldwide and in India-200,000 years of human history stand poised to solve the mystery of that elusive and essential emotion, this thing called love.
We are now friends." Do their parents know about their experiment with dating apps? "What happens to the shared comfort of caste, class, religion, culture and language if generation-next happily meets, greets and does more with complete strangers," says Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, Delhi, who has studied 3,200 matrimonial ads published since the 1960s.
People like them form 55 per cent of the brave new world of dating apps, whispers an executive of the dating app company that has invited them to share ideas and insights on love in the time of apps. I got 13-14 matches in 15 minutes," says one girl, flicking her ponytail. We spoke for 5-6 days, exchanged numbers, found common friends, checked each other's Facebook profiles and then went out for coffee. As young Indians start playing with the play stores on their mobile phones, bursting with dating and match-making apps, years and years of safety nets built around the social space for love, romance and matrimony have started sprouting holes.
They are from Delhi's top schools and colleges: socially confident, smart and attractive. Apps are for hook-ups in the West, here they're for creeps." A bubbly girl protests: "I met three nice guys.
Though at a nascent stage, with over 250 million singles aged between 18 and 34 and 235 million smartphone users currently, India is one of the largest and most exciting dating markets in the world. Consumers are spoiled for choice, as app developers are bringing out simpler and diverse routes to love every day: there are now global dating apps for Indians-Tinder, ok Cupid, Badoo, Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge, How About We-that are casual about relationships and sex; there are Indian apps for singles who want meaningful relationships-Truly Madly, Woo or Marrily; apps that are exclusively for urban, independent Indians with similar wave lengths (Aisle) to those meant for Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities (i Crushi Flush); apps targeted at South Asians, global Indians and expats-Desi Crush to Dil Mil to ek Coffee; apps exclusively for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders; for persons with disabilities, for the super-rich, for teens, for music lovers, for flirting with people who have more brains than beauty. About 15 girls and boys sit around a long oval table.
Everybody and their partner somewhere out there having fun. That hour when the mobile phone is one's best friend. The boys in the group add just one more adjective: "Pleasant."VIRTUAL BEST FRIENDSOne fine day in 2013, three friends-Sachin Bhatia, Hitesh Dhingra and Rahul Kumar-sat in a cafe in Delhi, racking their brains.
Ask the girls what sort of man they are looking for, and pat comes the reply: "Anyone who puts up a photograph shirtless or with six-pack abs is out." Amidst peals of laughter, they list their preferences: humour, confidence, well-spoken and, yes, "easy on the eye".
He: I was also the carom king of my college :)She: Ha ha (number)How do I love thee? I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need. And that amounts to a roughly billion worldwide market. And India is among its top five growing markets, the largest in Asia, attracting over 14 million swipes each day from young, savvy 19- to 25-year-old Indians, according to Taru Kapoor, India head, Tinder Inc.
Nearly six per cent of web users currently use a dating app, according to research firm Global Web Index.
Walk down the street thinking "I am sexy, and any guy would be lucky to talk to me." Trust us, it makes a difference in how you act.