Netflix's Indian Matchmaking Season 2: How it feels like being an unmarried 35-year-old man in India

According to one of my best friends, I'm definitely dying alone.

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Have you tried the dating apps? Speed dating? Matchmaking events? Matrimonial websites? Dance fitness sessions? Socialising?

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Are you single too?

I'm asked all these questions from time to time, and the answer to all of them is yes. According to one of my best friends, I'm definitely dying alone. But let's break down these regularly asked queries and what happened in them.

Let's begin with the dating apps. I've had some fantastic experiences over the years, but off late the idea of online dating seems quite off putting. Every second day I read of some scam taking place through an app- financial fraud, morphed photos, fake profiles, and the list can go on. And it's not like if you match with someone real, things are getting any better. Take for example my most recent 'match', an interaction post which I was literally left staring at the ceiling wall for 10 minutes trying to make sense of what just happened.

I had right swiped on this person thinking that I'd be quite lucky if I'd get to know her. Very pretty, no typos, great dressing sense, stylish photos at The Louvre and other stimulating locations around the world. Not only did she match with me, but we got texting immediately. And I proposed that it would be a sensible idea to get on a call or meet up once and then decide if we want to take things forward rather than waste our time asking senseless questions like- 'What's your favourite colour? What brings you here? Are you a retired serial killer?'

Fortunately, she agreed to go ahead with the call, that too immediately. Wow, this was going great! Was this the moment when I meet the one? Did I finally find someone with whom I can share my carefully curated YouTube playlist with? Should I go ahead and book Mika Singh for our sangeet?

As these thoughts raced through my head, our call got connected. We got talking, and the conversation was flowing quite freely. She was in a hoity toity financial job, looking for a long term relationship. At this point I think it's important to mention the very first question she had asked me when texting, which was 'Which is your favourite fine dining place?' Now, I've had all kinds of questions asked to me as conversation starters, but this was certainly a first.

Should I give her my frank answer? That I prefer reasonably priced places that serve good food, not fancy joints where the junior waiter is so well dressed that I start looking underdressed. Obviously not. So I thought of the first quality joint a dear friend of mine and then later my uncle had invited me to in Mumbai, Bayroute. Maybe she'll be impressed because it serves Mediterranean food? Yes, good idea, no point mentioning my favourite Mughlai joint in Bandra, Jai Jawan, where I can get Chiken Tikka, Dal Makhani and three Naans for only 660 INR.

Anyways, back to the phone conversation. We had crossed the three minute mark, and even if Gordon Ramsay was judging the call, he would have given me a gold star. I told her how I was an entertainment and lifestyle journalist and comedian and she told me about how she had been working in America but due to some reason was stuck in Mumbai for a while. And then, all of a sudden she said, "So I don't think we are compatible and so I would not like to take this ahead."

Right. What?

This didn't make sense. So I did something I don't often do. I asked her why. She said, "So I'm looking for someone super successful and super rich and I don't think you fit into that bracket."

I think that was the fastest assessment test I have ever gone through.

But it certainly wasn't worse than the fraud yoga teacher I had met back in Delhi at GK 2 Market. But let's keep that story for another time.

Here are a few things though I've observed in my various experiences.

  1. Firstly, photo-shop needs to be banned from these apps. Most people don't look like their highly filtered photos, and my fear is that if they ever get lost, the police won't be able to find them. Because if you don't know what someone looks like how will you know who to look for?
  2. There's this one girl who I'm convinced is the clown from the horror movie IT. Because every four weeks she says yes to meeting up, and then on the day we are to catch up she disappears for two months (Pennywise, the clown from IT would resurface every 27 years to kill innocents). And then again a plan is made after she's back and then she disappears again.
  3. Maybe it's time I told you about the fraud yoga girl. She arrived in a taxi, late, and as she got out the first thing she told me was, "Normally whoever takes me out on a date picks me up and I'm coming straight from Paharganj to meet you, so I think you should pay for the taxi fare. This was another first for me, clearly, and the taxi meter was 700 INR. Wow. Did the driver serve her a buffet meal too? Anyways, treating it as one of those rare instances when an angel in disguise as a rotten human asks you for something only to reveal her true, amazing form later, I gave her the money.

We went to the café for about 30 minutes and then took a small walk outside for about 15 minutes, but things ended on a positive note. How exotic would it be to be dating a cool yoga instructor! Fast forward a week later, and her number was coming unavailable and messages weren't being delivered. Fast forward three months later and I'm at a party where I'm talking to a few guys who are telling me about their dating experiences. And then one of them starts talking about this 'yoga girl' who made him pay for her Ola ride. And the second guy starts corroborating some facts with him, confirming that the same happened to him and after that she disappeared.

At that time, there were three idiots in the room.

If the story above serves as a useful guide in helping you avoid such individuals, or avoid similar shady encounters, please reach out to me on Instagram and transfer 700 INR to my bank account.

Over time I've realised that companionship is important. Before I was sceptical of commitment but I believe Covid was a game changer for many of us in that area, it taught us the importance of family, once again. And my conversations with men and women of all ages at parties, dates, events, functions etc have made me realise another important fact- there is a huge section of this current generation who are not being able to find someone, which I must say, acts as a soothing balm, knowing that you're not alone.

I had written a similar article when I was 32 which had gone viral, and now three years later am typing out this one. The way things are going, maybe I'll be writing the next one from an old age home which has free Netflix and Amazon Prime subscription. Cynical, you might call me right? But no, I just chose to highlight this aspect of relationships today, though most recently I also knew a girl who made me believe in love and commitment after more than a decade during the most unlikely of times, the pandemic. And even though eventually the travel restrictions and long distance sounded the death knell for that relationship, her memories will always be with me.

Of course, many might say that with divorce rates going up, break ups all around us and the number of single men and women over the age 30 bracket increasing, are we headed for a time that echoes the quote by comedian Richard Lewis?

"When you're in love, it's the most glorious two-and-a-half days of your life."