Dating in India – Is it finally happening?

“Yeah that’s right. Don’t let your parents arrange your marriage. Don’t let your auntie/cousin create your matrimonial profile. How on earth am I supposed to get married if I happen to have not been lucky enough to just run into my soul mate accidentally??”

My vehement advocacy of freedom of choosing one’s life partner has landed me in trouble not once, not twice, but several times. To be frank, I kinda don’t mind.

But this was serious. My follower-cum-friend T wanted a real solution to a real problem: What about those who don’t “accidentally” find someone to fall in love with?

“Well, that’s why we have dating.” I offer, as we sip coffee together on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Separated by a few thousand miles. Typing away fiercely.

“Which doesn’t exist in India. Let’s be honest.”

Dating … What?

Well…er…right. Indians do marry for love. But these matches are usually based on people “accidentally” finding each other through work/school/mutual friends and relatives. No nonsense, goal-driven dating is still rare.

“But what about online dating?”

“You try it. The profiles are mostly either fake or of sickos looking for new ways to get off.”

“You’re right. I would probably not go out on a “date” with a guy I didn’t already know and/or like,” I was thinking aloud. “You can’t really trust people you don’t know.”

“See?” I could almost see the look of huffed triumph on T’s face.

The conversation stuck with me. Indian girls are simply put off by online dating. Strange men are usually seen as sources of potential danger in our culture, and for good reason. So what are the options of the young, urban(ized), upwardly mobile singles who’re bored of matrimonial websites and are ready to write the Indian Dating Story?

I did my research. I was surprised to find how many Indian dating portals and apps exist. While each was unique in its own cool ways, none of these apps answered my basic question: Am I sure I’m not wasting my time?

In other words, how sure am I of the quality of the member community?

One of the apps which stood out is called Woo – A cool mobile meeting platform for interesting, young, progressive singles.

Keeping it real

So what’s Woo’s answer to my question? And why is it special?

The answer is simple – a flat rejection of my sign up request. And it’s special because it irked me and wowed me at the same time.

What characterizes Woo is its commitment to keeping things real – creating opportunities for you to find a person you can actually go out on a date with. The platform intends to actively discourage “casual” flirting and thrill-seeking by people not looking for a serious relationship. For starters, when you try to sign up it screens your Facebook profile to check if you’re married or in a relationship, and politely declines to have you on board if you are. Woo rejects a substantial proportion of the sign up requests that it gets. It calls itself a “curated community” of real singles, looking for a real connection.

But being single on Facebook isn’t your sure-fire ticket on to Woo-land.

Woo auto-creates your profile photo album from Facebook.

Woo pulls in what you do for a living from Linkedin.

It even auto-populates your interests (in the form of pages you subscribe to) from Facebook.

That’s how real your Woo avatar would be once you’re past the sign up stage.

Woo

This approach isn’t free of its glitches though. I, like most of you, subscribe to many pages on Facebook, without giving a lot of thought to it. Like humour pages, friend’s photography pages etc. Woo picks two pages out of those under “interests” and shows it to one’s matches, which may not at all be representative of one’s actual interests. (In my case “Neha G Photography” showed up as one of these two. What the ….?)

However, the bottom line remains – no faking customizing of interests in order to attract people you like. No “enhanced” profile pictures for dating purposes. No padded up resume. Just the real you. That’s all you get to bring on to Woo.

Liar liar…

Between you and me – the rejection didn’t feel great. That ensured I was all the more curious to find out what exactly Woo offered me in return for demanding such high standards of authenticity.

Here’s what I did. I signed up through the Facebook profile of a single friend. :D

First surprise after you’re past the profile creation stage – it’s telling you to turn on your GPS.

Woo

My GPS?? I almost checked again to make sure I was not on Google Maps.

This was wow. This was truly unique. In keeping with Woo’s commitment to “keeping it real”, it gives you match suggestions of people only in the same city as you – people you can date in the real world. True to its principle of accepting nothing but the truth, Woo doesn’t trust you with disclosing your true location. It would rather believe your GPS.

Woo sometimes takes this mistrust of its users to a pesky level. For example, you can’t write what you want about yourself in the “About me” section. Users are allowed only to pick from a list of pre-defined adjectives which describe them, such as “wanderer”, “music maven” etc. Trolling-proof as they may be, standardized interests for everyone with no scope for expressing oneself freely takes a whole lot of the fun out of a dating app.

The final move

When it comes to match suggestions, Woo takes into account your mutual friends on Facebook, which increases credibility. If you like someone and are too shy to just kick it off by sending them a message, you can even ask mutual friends to introduce you.

You can open up a chat only if the attraction is mutual, i.e. if you confirm that you like someone and they return the favour. That takes care of spam. As a further measure against spamming, Woo also lets you “hide” your profile from being displayed publicly, if you want use the app to chat only with your existing matches.

Woo

You can continue to chat on Woo’s plush red-and-wood themed IM platform till you’re comfortable to take things to real life. (Oh btw, Woo’s Indianized humour emoticons are the coolest I’ve EVER used. And that includes Facebook. And Whatsapp.)

Woo

So if you’re a young adult, out there looking for a real relationship, Woo might just be your perfect start. If you’re a woman, with the whole suite of security tools from anti-stalking to anti-spam features, this is also one of the safest it’s going to get on a dating app.

Real matches. The real you. A real connection.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

iMarriages: Compatibility through Arranged Marriages?

I don’t quite support arranged marriages.

There. I said it.

I feel the matching process followed in case of modern day Indian arranged marriages is extremely superficial. For example castes, income and food habits are matched very carefully, but personality types, interests, bents of mind etc. are usually completely disregarded. (No, five meetings before marriage don’t help you know anyone.) This approach is very likely to lead to wrong matches and ruin lives, as the rising divorce rates would tell you.

But reality cannot be wished away. And an inevitable arranged marriage is the reality of 80%+ young Indians even today. Within that context, is there a way for them to find a partner who’s not only a “good match” but also actually compatible?

I searched and searched until I found something interesting – iMarriages. The first thing that drew me to this portal was its one-of-a-kind name. Simple, yet powerful in its emphasis on “I” – the symbol of individuality. I instantly felt that this was something different, something new, something unique. I decided to check it out. 

If there ever existed such a thing as a matrimony portal with a heart, iMarriages is it. For starters, it assumes you’re human (as opposed to goods to be exchanged :D). It assumes you have a head and a heart. And it also recognizes the fact that spending your life with someone is not only about compatible income levels and family backgrounds, but much more importantly about compatible mindsets.

Yes, that’s right. iMarriages is a matrimonial service that finds you matches based on your personality. It takes you through a rigorous personality assessment questionnaire which helps you determine your own personality type. Subsequently when you search for profiles the system calls out which of the potential partners have personality types matching yours!

iMarriages - Matrimonial service with a heart

You work for money. But your hobbies are activities you choose to pursue simply because they give you pleasure. Hence your hobbies and interests provide a window into the kind of person you are. iMarriages knows that. Hence this portal has half a page of your profile dedicated to your hobbies.

iMarriages - Matrimonial service with a heart

iMarriages takes your individuality seriously. It lets you search profiles based on a very detailed criteria list.

iMarriages - Matrimonial service with a heart

“What’s so new about that?” You might wonder. Well it’s the simple fact that iMarriages also lets you block messages from users who do not match your set criteria – a feature that’s unique among all Indian matrimonial service-providers.

If that was not enough to set it apart from all other Indian matrimony portals, iMarriages even offers you free relationship advice and fun marriage games. You see, I already told you – unlike most other Indian matrimonial service-providers, to iMarriages you’re a thinking, feeling, fun individual. :D

iMarriages - Matrimonial service with a heart

Other Indian Matrimony Portals

iMarriages - Matrimonial service with a heart

iMarriages

Be it the delectable dessert at the end of a sumptuous meal or the nerve-racking climax at the end of a gripping thriller – the best bit of always comes at its end. And here it is for you – iMarriages is completely free. That’s right iMarriages is India’s only prominent marriage portal that’s completely free to use. And yes that includes contacting potential mates and even online chat.

By the time I finished browsing through the portal I was certain – on iMarriages, you can eat the cake of arranged marriage and have it too. iMarriages is not a matrimonial portal, it’s almost a dating cum matrimonial portal. And that makes it fun, lively and yet practical – just what you need for your quest for that special someone. 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Picking the Right Jewellery for Her: Unique Designs for Every Moment

When it comes to choosing the perfect gift for every romantic mood, jewellery is evergreen. From the tiny “I’m sorry” pendant to the bold red beads of “love is forever”, from the “I have a crush on you” plastic bangles to “Will you marry me?” diamond rings – throughout history jewellery has been the infallible medium of expressing emotions.

That’s why (OK, also because of the barrage of questions you keep asking about gifting little trinkets to her…:D) jewellery as romantic mementos became the topic of my most recent random foray through the jungle. Did I say jungle? I meant the Web.  

Now to me, it’s not the price of a piece of jewellery but its ability to express feelings that sets it apart. Hence, I knew any one type of jewellery can never be the solution to all your gifting needs. Just like your feelings, the perfect jewellery for your special someone varies from occasion to occasion. And where can you find this mind-numbing variety other than indigenous India – the mind-numbing motley of different traditions, cultures, mores and yes – different native genres of jewellery design?

That’s what brought me to CraftsVilla, a huge online marketplace for unique, handcrafted lifestyle products, directly from India’s home-grown artisans.

Products from the remotest of Indian villages available online, ready to be shipped around the globe?

That sounded too good to be true, so I decided to check up a bit more on this unbelievable-sounding initiative. What I found left my mouth agape. CraftsVilla is basically an online bazaar, where partner artisans create their own shop, set their own price, and sell their own products as they please. Craftsvilla has even set up “Craftsvilla Studios” in many parts of the country to help local designers with technical aspects of the process like taking the right kind of photos of their products, uploading, writing eye-catching content etc. The online model gives global exposure to India’s very own local art forms on the one hand, reducing prices by removing middlemen on the other. It’s just pure delight for both buyers and sellers.

As planned, I proceeded straight to the jewellery section. And at last I got what I was looking for. Each piece here is unique, and it talks to you. It has a personality, a mood. In a place like CraftsVilla (and yes it’s a place), that’s only natural I guess, as each product is handcrafted by indigenous craftsmen, for whom art is a way of life.  

I always feel jewellery (or any clothing item or accessory) is not just about making yourself look good. It’s about expressing who you are, and what you’re feeling like at the moment.

Like in this one, for example. Class, confidence and aesthetics have never blended so naturally as they blend in you ;)…

CraftsVilla jewellery

You’re modern and urban, but I know sometimes you like to show off your roots in the boldest, wackiest ways…

CraftsVilla jewellery

You’re simple yet exquisite, honest yet sophisticated. Not everyone can understand you – it takes some depth…

CraftsVilla jewellery

In your heart you’re always that college girl with dreams and the courage to stand out…

CraftsVilla jewellery

Browsing through CraftsVilla’s extensive jewellery range, I stumbled upon its Polki collection. Now I’ve always been fascinated by the art of Polki – by its use of diamond eggs (oh well I mean diamonds which have not yet become diamonds) and the breathtaking boldness of its meenakari. For those of you to whom that sounds like gibberish – Polki an indigenous style of jewellery based on uncut diamonds (called Polki diamonds) which originated in Rajasthan and came into prominence during the Mughal era. Originally Polki designs were based only in gold, but over the years other alloyed jewellery metals have also become mainstream in its designs. Polki pieces are known for their colourful meenkari patterns – a speciality of the district of Bikaner, Rajasthan. In recent times, semi-precious stones like Rose Quartz, Peridots, Tourmalines, Amethysts etc. are also used in Polki designs, in addition to the uncut diamonds.

Craftsvilla Polki artistes have brought this special genre of jewellery to your doorstep through products of diverse moods, hues and styles. If you thought Polki was only about traditional, these designs will make you think again.

This pendant set, for example, with modern designs based on the Polki tradition are perfect for the classiest of your Western formals.

CraftsVilla jewellery

The cool lightweight Polki collections with their exquisite carvings are just what you needed for the days when you feel ethnic. ;)

CraftsVilla jewellery

There’s only one thing that can complement those downright sexy, Saturday evening Polki earrings – your little black dress.

CraftsVilla jewellery

But if you have a Big Fat Indian Wedding coming up and you’re looking for traditional, needless to say you can never exhaust your options in CraftsVilla. The traditional Polki collections that I found here are sure to give you just what you were looking for – the right blend of classic Indian grandeur with contemporary individuality that’s unique to you.

CraftsVilla jewellery

CraftsVilla jewellery

CraftsVilla jewellery

CraftsVilla jewellery

And if you’re a one of those guys who perpetually dream of that elusive classy yet maddeningly sensual gift for her but can never decide on the right mix of class and sensuality – this unique pair of toe-rings is your pick:

CraftsVilla jewellery

You get the point. ;)

If there’s something on Craftsvilla that will mesmerise you even more than the designs – it’s the prices. As you would’ve noticed by now – the wide and exquisite range of Polki collection that’s available to you even at a budget less than Rs. 300 is just mind-blowing. I don’t know about you, but the prices of the sublime pieces around here threw me off my chair.

Affordability, beauty, taste, modernity, heritage – CraftsVilla jewellery offers you almost everything you want when it comes to picking a gift for the most special woman in the world. The final balancing point of all these different factors will, of course, have to be chosen by you and you only (red alert for all you clueless guys with choosy girlfriends/wives :P). Remember, it’s all about conveying your feelings the right way. :)

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Busting the Top 20 Relationship Myths

“True love conquers all.”

“It was love at first sight.”

“If it’s not forever it’s not love.”

Relationship myths are many. Some harmlessly funny, some dangerously life-destroying if you believe in them.

I thought I’d entertain myself by busting some of the most popular relationship myths this morning. Read on for some laughs and may be a few life lessons.

Relationship myth #1

It’s “true, eternal love” that keeps couples together decade after decade. (Only when added to financial stability, compatibility and lethargy to imagine beyond the status quo.)

relationship mythsPhoto by JanviSharma

Relationship myth #2

Relationships “work themselves out” if “true love” is there. (“True love” is for the first year. At most two. After that it’s consistent, conscious efforts or Goodbye. ;))

Relationship myth #3

If you’re not happy alone, you’ll never be happy in a relationship. (As social animals, humans are programmed by Nature to feel unhappy and lonely when alone. Loneliness is not a thought but an instinct meant to force you to seek out other humans to socialize with. However as intelligent beings, humans can choose to enjoy their singledom instead of sulking through it.)

Relationship myth #4

You’ll “never” be able to forget your ex who just dumped you. (True, you’ll never be able to forget them as long as you continue to focus on them. But you have the option to shift your focus.)

Relationship myth #5

You fell in love “at first sight”. (There’s no such thing as “love at first sight”. There can be “attraction at first sight”, which may or may not turn into a real relationship.)

Relationship myth #6

If you look at someone and feel “This is it!”, it means this is it. (Girl – and I know you’re a girl – run home before you ruin your life! That’s all I can say. It’s compatibility – not whims – that makes relationships work. And when it comes to gauging it, nothing replaces a few years spent together.)

Relationship myth #7

If it’s not “forever” it’s not “love”. (It’s OK to let some things in your life remain perfect. Like memories of a relationship which didn’t culminate into the messy reality of a life together.)

Relationship myth #8

Your life would be so much better “if only” you weren’t in this wretched relationship. (Water the grass on your side to the best of your abilities before you start thinking that the other side is greener. It takes work – not “love and luck” – to make relationships work.)

Relationship myth #9

Being in love is a necessary condition for a successful marriage. (A successful marriage is about making the all-round partnership more value-adding than being alone, for both the partners. The value can be emotional, practical, social, financial or anything else. It can be – and often is – a combination of many of these factors.)

Relationship myth #10

Being in love is a sufficient condition for a successful marriage. (Well, listen to your mother. And read this: Why Marriages and Relationships are like Apples and Oranges (Part 1) & Why Marriages and Relationships are like Apples and Oranges (Part 2))

relationship mythsPhoto by JanviSharma

Relationship myth #11

Everyone falls in love at least once. (Not everyone is sensitive enough to be able to fall in love. Many people spend their lives in “happy arrangements” called “marriages”. And that includes all marriages of convenience, including but not limited to those arranged by one’s parents. ;) )

Relationship myth #12

Compatibility is a necessary condition for falling in love. (Falling in love per se is a random, mad process. It has got nothing to do with marriage, relationship, stability etc. All these factors complicate it at a later stage.)

Relationship myth #13

Falling in love is a sufficient condition for compatibility. (OMG No! Again, read this: “When Should I Get Married?” 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Myself Before Getting Married – Part 1 & “When Should I Get Married?” 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Myself Before Getting Married – Part 2)

Relationship myth #14

You should get married before you let your relationship become “old” and “boring”. (Only if you’re comfortable taking the biggest decision of your life under the influence of addictive drugs. If you want a stable marriage, spend at least 2 years with each other before deciding to get married.)

Relationship myth #15

While marriage has many disadvantages, some of the biggest advantages are enjoying “true, lasting love”, lifelong romance and sex. (While these things form an important part of a marriage, that part is close to 0.5%. People get married because they crave sharing and companionship).

Relationship myth #16

The low divorce rates in India bear testimony to the fact that arranged marriages foster true compatibility. (It bears testimony to the fact that in India, breaking the bond of marriage – “love” or “arranged” – means a massive loss of face most would do anything to avoid.)

Relationship myth #17

Opposites attract. (As I’ve said many times, it’s compatibility which keeps people together. A certain degree of complementarity can increase compatibility, but extreme divergence – e.g. a firebrand liberal and a diehard conservative – rarely helps create a lasting partnership.)

Relationship myth #18

You’re feeling bored and same-old means you’re not in love with each other. (Boredom and same-old-ness in long term relationships are some of the surest signs of stability)

Relationship myth #19

A relationship is a bond between two people. (A relationship is a chemistry of two families. No, I’m not talking about only the typical Indian version where it’s literally so, but relationships of all forms. Your partner is to a great extent a product of their childhood and their upbringing. You have to understand their childhood and the people they spent it with in order to understand them.)

Relationship myth #20

Incessant fighting means “it’s not working”. (Incessant fighting signifies you still care for and fiercely love each other. It’s when fights stop that the end is near.)

Don’t agree with me? There’s one among the twenty which you’ve found to be true in your life? Bash away in the comments. I’m waiting. ;)

How to Propose a Girl on Facebook: Top 10 Ways

After exploring general Facebook dating tips in our last posts How to Propose a Girl on Facebook-Part 1 and How to Propose a Girl on Facebook-Part 2, I started getting a few polite (OK, sometimes) hints from some of you reminding me that it was time to look at some actual methods of proposing a girl on Facebook.

So here are your long-awaited hacks to blow her off her feet as you declare your love on The Social Network.

How to Propose a Girl on FacebookPhoto by jkdksh

#1. Propose a Girl on Facebook with a funny anagram

Post an anagram of “I love you Tina” (let’s say her name is Tina) or any message you want to give her, on her wall, in the form of an intricate picture. Here’s a cool little app that rearranges any text string into various funny anagrams. And then, with nothing more than the copy of Microsoft Powerpoint already sitting there in your computer, turn it into the whackiest word-image ever. Save the slide as picture and post it to Facebook. Done! If she seems to have missed the trick, you can challenge her over chat to solve the puzzle hidden in your post. ;)

#2. Propose a Girl on Facebook with a “time-bomb”

Post a picture on her wall which says, “The 10th day from today will be the most important day of your life.” The next day post another that says, “9 more days to go…”, “8 more days to go…” and so on until the last day. On the 10th day inbox her your most romantic e-card. She’d remember the moment for the next hundred years.

#3. Propose a girl on Facebook with a status message

If you’re feeling frustrated with the banality of that one, bear with me for a few more seconds till you find the important bit.

The most obvious way to propose a girl on Facebook is by posting your romantic message to her in the form of a status message on your profile.

But relax. I’m not talking about giving the entire world something to talk about. Not yet. ;)

Have you heard of something called post-level privacy settings? Click on the audience selector of your new status message, choose “custom” and then make it invisible to everyone but her.

She’d get a huge shock to see your declaration of love out there for the world to see, but trust me – she will feel a tiny bit proud of you for being so honest about your feelings (don’t forget to go crazy ;)).

To be on the safe side send her a private message a few days later (in case she hasn’t responded already) and explain it.

#4. Propose a girl on Facebook by going lyrical

Poems are poems because they express the feelings deep inside our hearts better than we can – in a way that arouses our emotions. Post your favourite romantic lyrics or poem as your status message and tag her. The poet’s words might just catch her fancy if yours’ falls short. ;)

#5. Propose a girl on Facebook by posting a video

Video-record yourself proposing her in your most romantic language. Post it on YouTube. Give it some funny name like “Dying for love” or “Until death do us apart”. Post it on your profile (again, be careful with your privacy settings) with a commentary that goes something like, “Heart-rending…brought a tear to my eyes… a must watch”. Tag her if you think there’s a chance she might miss it.

You can imagine her reaction when she opens it! Remember – you have to be as creative in this video as you can be. ;)

#6. Propose a girl on Facebook with a song

For those of you who’re not in a position to arrange for shooting a video self-portrait – all is not lost. ;) Download a video of her favourite love song somewhere off the internet. In text form, add the words bubbling inside your heart, and post this video online. You know the rest. If even that is too much work, you can simply post her favourite romantic track on your profile tagging her, with your message.

#7. Propose a girl on Facebook by flooding her wall

Get a few of your common friends (I hope you have a few at least) in confidence. Tell them to post messages on her wall like “Congrats”, “You didn’t tell us the good news ;)” etc. When she asks them what it’s all about, they should direct her to you, saying something like, “Oh you don’t know? Ask <your name>.”

#8. Propose a girl on Facebook through missing letter puzzles

Post a missing letter puzzle every morning. Each puzzle will have a certain letter of the alphabet as its solution. When added up over a few days, the letters should make the sentence “I love you Tina”. Here are some puzzles for you to get started: Missing letter puzzles. Don’t be shy of dropping her a few hints every now and then in cases she misses it.

#9. Propose a Girl on Facebook with a custom love poem

I discovered a great website for creating custom love poems. You can customize it with her name and favourite gifts and then download it in the shape of a heart like I did. All of this for free! Post this on your wall tagging her, hidden from the prying eyes of other friends. ;)

How to propose a girl on Facebook

#10. Propose a girl on Facebook with the key to your heart

Post the picture of a key on her wall. For a change, you don’t have to worry about privacy settings this time, as there’s nothing unusual about it. :D Subsequently inbox her asking, “Did you receive a key?” When she confirms, tell her, “It’s the key to my heart. I give it to you.”

Are you a Facebook flirter? What are some genius (or not-so-much) strategies you’ve used to propose a girl on Facebook? What worked? What didn’t work? Share with the rest of us through the comments.

 

How to Propose a Girl on Facebook – Part 2

How’re you doing today penguins?
After a round of general Facebook dating etiquette in our last post today is … another round of the same, in part 2 of our How to Propose a Girl on Facebook series. :D

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#6. Stop over-posting

Three status messages a day is not cool. You don’t want to tell her that you’re a bored jobless soul spending your life on Facebook (and if you ask me, this goes for everyone – trying to impress a girl or not). 3-4 posts a week is what is optimal, if you ask me. If your posting urges get the better of you, 1 per day should be your upper cut-off.

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#7. Don’t over-interact

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time would be familiar with this re and re-re emphasized relationship rule of mine:

Women want men, not boys.

Slavish over-eager behaviour will never get you the girl of your dreams. Liking and commenting on every single status update/photo of hers screams, “I’m desperate!” Not the message she expects from the confident, self-sufficient and mature guy she’s looking for. Engage in public interactions only when you genuinely have a thought to convey.

How to propose a girl on FacebookPhoto by PhotoKarmatic

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#8. Disagree … in style

This is an extension of my earlier point. There’s no need to agree with each status message of hers (assuming she occasionally makes posts that one can agree or disagree to, in addition to the regular “had a great weekend with friends” ones :D). That speaks of the kind of slavishness she detests. Every now and then (again, not every time) politely show her the “other point of view” if you can. Personality, independent thinking and confidence in one’s own judgements is a combination more women than you think would die for.

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#9. Don’t over-socialize … with her girlfriends

Don’t send friend requests to other girls on her profile. Take it from me – she will visit your profile and check out common friends.

Every day.

How to propose a girl on FacebookPhoto by _Max-B

If she finds her girlfriends gradually adding to that population, she’d mark you as just another guy out for some casual thrill of online dating.

And stop replying to your messages.

OK, she might. :D

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#10. Don’t propose her publicly!

Breach of privacy is the first thing that causes strife between people on Facebook. Do not post anything publicly on her profile that conveys your more-than-friendship feelings to her friends before they’re conveyed to her. Follow the general thumb-rule of playing safe so far as your public interactions with her are concerned.   

The bad news is, that’s the end of the Facebook dating etiquette sessions. The good news is, we’d now go on to talk about some really creative ways of proposing a girl on Facebook.

In the next post. :D

Stay tuned!

How to Propose a Girl on Facebook – Part 1

So you’re dating online? And you’ve been so successful that you now want to propose a girl on Facebook? Great. I know you’d been waiting for some Golden Rules of Proposing a Girl on Facebook for quite some time (if the search phrases which bring you to this website are anything to go by ;)). And your day has finally come.

Today’s post is the first part of a two-part series on how to propose a girl on Facebook. But before going into the exact methods of proposing a girl on Facebook, I’ve decided to lay down some basic rules of Facebook dating. I cannot emphasize the importance of these rules enough when it comes to striking the right chord with a girl you’ve met on The Social Network.

I know, ’cause I got hitched through Facebook.  

How to propose a girl on FacebookPhoto by www.Craftsquatch.com

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#1. Watch her profile

We keep a tab on our friends’ updates but we typically don’t check their “About” and “Liked pages” much. Go through every detail in her profile carefully. This would help her know her as a person – her tastes, preferences, beliefs and worldview. The rule of thumb is that you should know every piece of info about her that is available in public domain (The “public domain” bit is important. Stalking is not recommended. ;)) Use this info in online conversations with her. When your knowledge of her as a person shows through, she’d know you’re really – like really – interested in her. Talk about doing a thorough research on a potential employer before interviewing with them? ;)

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#2. Watch your albums

Go through you albums. If there’s any photo which you wouldn’t want her to see (e.g. those of your ex-girlfriend, or documentation of the effects of excessive amounts of alcohol on you. ;)), hide it. Disable your friends tagging you in photos if need be. Remember – this is not about painting a false picture of yours, but about making the efforts to impress her that she expects you to make. I for one would be disappointed if a guy expressing serious romantic interest in me lets his ex-girlfriend’s pictures hang out there. Does that mean I expect him to have had zero relationships in the past? No. It means I expect him to put in efforts to impress me, and he’s falling short.

How to propose a girl on FacebookPhoto by P@ttu

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#3. Don’t brag

One of the top dating mistakes men make is trying to impress her too directly – in other words, through sheer bragging. Facebook has come to provide the official bragging forum to many, but when it comes to impressing a girl “First promotion within the first two years – check!” is not the best status message to post. If you’re itching to post some recent development in your life that you’re proud of, don’t. Tell her personally instead. Being the first person to know about it will make her feel special.

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#4. Be who you are

An oft-repeated but crucial rule of dating – online or otherwise – is being genuine. Your Facebook profile – all public info, status updates, photos – should paint the true picture of you as a person. Now does that mean you make all your personal info public? No. If you’re uncomfortable sharing any info, remain silent, but don’t try to paint a false picture. A guy I’d met had a Facebook date of birth three years later than his real one. No prizes for guessing we didn’t proceed much. Painting a false picture gets you only till the first few face-to-face meetings, no further. ;)

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#5. Stop random tagging

Don’t tag her on your aesthetically profound works of photography, performed with domesticated and wild forms of photography around you (i.e. photos of your cute dog and the creeper around your window grills). No one likes to get 47 notifications a day. The only thing over-tagging can earn you is irritation from her.  

Have you ever dated anyone through Facebook? How did it go? Share your experiences through comments as you wait for How to Propose a Girl on Facebook – Part 2

How to Flirt with a Girl – 5 Rules for Flirting with Indian Girls

How to Flirt – 5 Rules for Flirting with Indian Girls

“How to flirt with the girl at school/college/work I’ve started liking? Please help. I don’t know where to start from.”

After What to do? My parents are not agreeing to my marriage!! and Should I break up??, the commonly asked question which I’ve decided to tackle today is “How to flirt with Indian girls?”

If I were not allowed to respond to that with more than just ONE sentence, that sentence would be:

Women like men, not boys.

how to flirt with girlsPhoto by diemolu

All the rules of my How to Flirt With Indian Women 101 which I’m going to lay down below are derivative of this one basic rule.

#1.Start flirting with her online

Most guys feel shy to start a conversation with a girl face to face. If you’re wondering “How to flirt with a girl if facing her makes me nervous?” – don’t worry; turn to online chat (even if you know your girl in real life). Not having to face or directly talk to the girl you like takes the pressure off to a great extent and helps you be yourself, which is the first step of flirting successfully.

#2.Never show desperation while flirting with a girl

Nothing turns girls off more than under-confident desperation. I’ve already talked about this in the discussion on how to impress girls. It’s equally pertinent to the one on how to flirt with girls. Don’t be apologetic for taking her time (girls hate that). Don’t ping her saying “hi”. Ping her saying, “Hi XYZ! How’re you doing?” In case she doesn’t reply the first time you ping her, never use the same opening line the next time. Start by something like, “Hey XYZ! The ABC video you’d shared was hilarious. Where did you find it?” It shows you’re not talking to her because you’re desperate, but because you’ve got something real to say. You get the point.

#3.Don’t give it ALL

A corollary of point #2 is – don’t be her dog. You’re flirting with your girl; you’re not her boyfriend yet. You need to attract her first, before you show her how responsible you are. So while flirting with a girl, don’t be the oh-so-caring I’ll-do-anything-for-you-including-daily-chores man-in-waiting of hers – that can wait for life after marriage. :P For now, that kind of behaviour will make her like you as a friend and a pet – not as a man she feels attracted to.

#4.Complimenting her is a must

If you want to successfully flirt with a girl – especially an Indian girl – striking a balance between sounding hungry and sounding bold is key. Don’t start with, “Hey! You’re looking hot in that photo you recently posted. ;)” On the other hand, if it has been a week that you’ve started talking/chatting with her and you haven’t actually gotten around to complimenting her even once yet, chances are you’re not going anywhere. Compliments don’t always have to be on her looks. And they need to sound natural, casual and confident. Which brings me to …

how to flirt with girlsPhoto by CubaGallery

#5.Test waters continuously while flirting with a girl

Each girl has her distinct level of comfort with flirting. Some stop talking to you if you call them hot, while some feel offended if you don’t. ;) Continuously test her limits while flirting with a girl. Try a hint, like, “You’re the most interesting girl I know.” If she responds favourably (favourable responses include :P ;) J), after a few days try, “Of late I’ve started looking forward to you coming online every day.” If that goes ok too, try, “If you were not so busy, I’d have loved to go for a coffee with you sometime.” You get the point. You need to be bold enough fast enough to hold her interest, while making sure you don’t offend her.

What are the golden rules which worked when you started flirting with your girl? Let me know by leaving a comment. 

5 Women’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Special Woman

The web is abuzz with preparations for the upcoming Women’s Day on 8th March. (And Love in India is no exception. If you haven’t ‘Like’d my entry to the Indusladies Women’s Day Blog Contest 2013, please consider doing it now. Thank you. ;))

Women's DayPhoto by movementh

Women’s Day is not like any other Day. The idea of Women’s Day took shape in the beginning of the 20th century from events around the burgeoning labour movement of that period. The first ever National Women’s Day was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909 in the US by The Socialist Party of America in honour of the Feb. 28, 1908  labour strike and protests organized in New York by garment workers in which women played a pivotal role.

Consequently, Women’s Day has come to stand for political and economic freedom for women. It’s a symbol of women’s identity, equality and empowerment.  Women’s Day therefore, is not a day for your regular chocolates and roses. I believe the gifts you give to your special woman on this special day ought to reflect your belief in the strength and power in her womanhood.

Here are a few ideas I had.

#1. Women’s books

Feminist literature is always a great choice when it comes to Women’s Day gifting. One of the first books which come to mind in this category would be The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, a compelling treatise on how the modern times have come with increasing pressure on women to conform to a rather limiting and rigid standard of physical beauty even as women’s political, legal and economic freedom has increased more than ever before. If your woman has a taste for a tad weightier philosophical non-fiction you can try The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer – another smashing best-seller from the 1970s – a passionate exploration of women’s sexuality and its possible repression by our current consumerist society.

Or you can go for something of a more general interest like the celebrated fictionized monograph on space for women as writers A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.

#2. Movies

Something we all love. Why not celebrate this Women’s Day by gifting (and watching) DVDs of movies which talk about endless struggles through history of perfectly ordinary women who emerged extraordinarily strong and capable as they fought for themselves and what they believed in, at the cost of everything – sometimes their own life.  If you’re looking for ideas, the wildly popular fictionized real story of a single mother and fierce environmental activist Erin Brokovitch is a good place to start.

My personal favourite however is North Country – another reality-based account of the long battle (and a landmark victory) of one of America’s earliest female miners against her employer on charges of tolerating a range of sexual abuses meted out to women workers by their male colleagues.

A relatively recent release in this genre is Made in Dagenham.  a 2010 movie on the valiant protests of women workers of 1968 in the Ford Dagenham car plant against gender discrimination at the workplace.

If she’s a fan of vintage movies, Silkwood is the pick for you. It’s Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Karen Silkwood, the brave metallurgy worker at a plutonium plant who dared to protest against the blatant violation of worker safety measures there and was deliberately contaminated, psychologically tortured and maybe even murdered as a result of it.

#3. Something special

Throughout history, sexuality has been used as an instrument of keeping women repressed prisoners of their own bodies – with tools as varied as sexual molestation inflicted by a stranger to forced pregnancies imposed by her own family.  As a result, legalization of birth control and abortion marked a turn in the history of women’s liberation in this world – by putting women in control of their own bodies. The relatively newly invented women’s condom takes this control one step further, which can be a radical and very thoughtful symbolic gift for your special woman on Women’s Day.  If you think you’re up to it, these Women’s Day special female condom deals on CupoNation, which I were invited to check out, can come in very handy. The apt slogan – “celebrate womanhood by taking care of yourself” – perfectly sums up my view on this.

#4.Women’s handicrafts

We feel proud to be the fortunate emancipated daughters of centuries of battle for liberation of the fairer sex. Women today have more legal, political and economic freedom than ever before.

But which women?

Women's DayPhoto by PhotoRipple

Only the women you and I know. The women at the bottom of the pyramid continue to remain the worst victims of the patriarchal social values and consequent loss of freedom, especially in our traditionally inclined culture.  On this Women’s Day, show your solidarity to the women’s cause by supporting these women. Gift your special woman a work of handicraft/ethnic clothing/decorative items/homemade snacks produced by rural women’s cooperatives and self-help groups. You can start from any of the Indian state emporia. Or you can try out the produce of non-profit organizations trying to help downtrodden women in a productive way like Village Women Craft or Sadhana

#5. Something original

Finally, the creative stuff.

You want to show her you value her as an individual? Write her a letter telling her what makes her special, not only as a woman, but as a human being.

If you’re a traditional household (in case you’re married) take up some of her usual responsibilities – by cooking a surprise dinner for her for example.

Tell her to take a day off from the daily grind and do exactly what she likes Commit to managing the rest on your own. Go crazy (if you aren’t already).

Do you have any other ideas for celebrating this women’s day with your special woman? What are your thoughts? Let me know by leaving a comment.

 

Kissing Goodbye to Freedom: The Moral Police and Public Display of Affection in India

It was a moment of solemn beauty.

The sea a hundred bawling shades of grey. The moon and black chasing each other across the fickle sky. The sporadic drizzles pecking the mutinous waves down below.

I was speechless. Just thankful that it’ s all happening. I don’t know when it was –but I guess right after I’d pecked him lightly on the cheek – when my reverie was shattered by the distinct sound of throat-clearing behind us.

There he was –short, dark and carrying a colossal round paunch and an even more colossal smile of conceit – the omnipresent (OK with the exception of where he’s needed) Indian policeman.

He had apparently known it all along – what we were up to. He’d been keeping a “close watch on us” ever since we parked the car, you see.

“The people who live on this road are the most important people of Mumbai,” he warned. “ I’m entrusted with making sure no one disturbs their peace of mind. And you, sir, are doing just that with your obscene acts. So I’ll have to fine you. Rs. 4000.” And with that he pretended to pull out some papers.

“But we don’t have so much cash on us. Will Rs. 500 do???” My multiple brained academic star of a husband blurted out.

***

I’d later shared this story with a friendly taxiwala and this is what he’d got to say, “One bakhra like you per day, and the b***ard’s achieved nirvana. You should never have even offered more than Rs. 50.”

Welcome to the world of haggling over bribes. But I digress…

Public display of affection India

You know who I’m talking about – you’re all familiar with him – the fatherly neighbourhood policeman who always has an eye out for youngsters running a risk of going astray. That well-meaning gentleman who always shows up at the right time and place to teach you the price of a lesson or two on the right way to behave in this country.

What makes him so powerful? So omniscient?

Welcome to the scar on the face Section 294 of the IPC of 1860, which deals with obscenity laws in this country, and is generally used by policemen for earning those few extra bucks for their hard work of harassing innocent young couples. Here’s how it goes.

Whoever, to the annoyance of others,

(a) does any obscene act in any public place, or

(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

Now that’s what I call the death-knell of individual freedom. And that’s because of those three little highlighted words in there.

What is ‘annoyance’? In the maddening motley of noodle straps and noodle-nourished necrophilia, spaghetti and spirituality, premarital abstinence and preposterous abuse that is India, how do we define what is ‘obscene’?

The spine-chilling aspect of this Section however, is the ‘others’. If ‘annoyance’ of some unqualified group of ‘others’ could be the legal basis for determining the degree of criminal offense committed, we could just as well blissfully repeal our legal code altogether and defer all legal decisions to “the majority”.

To take an example – I’m sure a great majority of Indians would consider love marriages “annoying”, if the sheer proportion of Indian marriages that are arranged is anything to go by. Does that mean a “love marriage” is a crime as per the IPC?

We’ve all (I hope) heard of those magnificent things called “individual rights”. The legal code stipulates what falls within and outside of these rights. If the majority finds the exercising of any of these rights offensive, I should think it’s their business to learn to deal with it.

Our law however leaves “obscenity” and “annoyance” to extortion. Did I say extortion? I meant interpretation. Unfortunately for the common man the only significance of that tiny room for interpretation is the brilliant scope of extortion and harassment created within it by some resourceful government servants (read police-people).

As a totally irrelevant and insignificant aside, I’d like to mention that we were already married when the Worli sea face incident occurred.

Repeat – We were already married when the Worli sea face incident occurred.

“But why do you think telling that to the police person would’ve made any difference? He accused us of performing obscene acts in the public, and whether we’re married or not has got nothing to do with it – isn’t that so?” My poor guy enquired innocently.

“Oh that’s only inside your logical little brain dear. This is India. Marriage is the ultimate license for any act of affection between a man and a woman – obscene or otherwise.” I sighed.  

Apparently my instincts had not lied.

It is inconceivable how … the expression of love by a young married couple, in the manner indicated in the FIR, would attract the offence of obscenity and trigger the coercive process of the law.

That’s what Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court had to say in his judgement, dismissing obscenity charges brought on by an FIR filed against a married couple caught kissing in public, in 2009. Incidentally, the police overlooked to name any “annoyed” complainants in this FIR.

Married? Unmarried? Legal? Illegal? Seen? Obscene? The jury is still out on the question of legitimacy of Public Display of Affection (PDA) in its varying degrees and contexts. But here’s something that’s certain – as long as the laws remain antiquated and unclear, and the police remain free of a stipulated code of permissible conduct while dealing with possible offenders at the scene, harassment and extortion of young innocent couples by the force responsible for upholding the law, are here to stay.