Lonely No Morehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/lonely-no-more/

Lonely No More

As Varsha Agnihotri Vadhyar sat watching three movies back-to-back with her husband a few Sundays ago,she was thoroughly pleased with the man she had married.

As Varsha Agnihotri Vadhyar sat watching three movies back-to-back with her husband a few Sundays ago,she was thoroughly pleased with the man she had married. But for the filmmaker in her thirties,who tied the knot four months ago,the journey from ‘being single’ to ‘happily married’ was long. “A few years ago,it was a bit awkward to go out and meet people at events,” she says,adding,“The general consensus was that if you’re unmarried,you would rather stay single than actively go out and meet people.”

However,over the years,the invisible barrier that prevented singles from talking to strangers at parties or attending events has changed. One of the reasons is the community called “Footloose No More”,founded in August 2009 by Vadhyar and her brother. “But match-making wasn’t the only part of the agenda. It was done with the idea of getting singles together on the basis of their interests,” says Vadhyar,who soon found herself getting people together over treks,plays,movies and even paintballing excursions. “These days,people aren’t just looking for spouses,they’re looking for friends. Common interests always bridge that gap.”

So even as “Footloose No More” gains popularity for its services,there are others who are also taking small but steady steps to cater to singles. For those attending these events,the idea isn’t always about finding a match at the end of the night. In New Delhi,Olive at the Qutub hosted “Stupid Cupid” on the Saturday night before Valentine’s Day. “Singles love to go out and socialise even if they don’t end up meeting someone,” says Mansi Bansal from the restaurant’s events department,adding,“We have large groups of boys and girls coming in every year. Sometimes they leave with phone numbers,but mostly,they’re just celebrating singlehood.”

And while people are definitely looking for innovative ways to meet partners outside matrimonial websites,they want to ensure there’s little pressure. “Flirting with Flavour”,a culinary workshop for 10 singles — five boys and five girls — hosted by Le 15 Patisserie,used the speed dating concept to get people talking. “We demonstrated five recipes and the singles were made to shuffle around after each one of them,” says Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal,who conducted the session,adding,“When you meet someone for the first time,there is always awkwardness. With this session,our aim was to get people talking,starting with their love for food.”

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But even though singles parties are met with a lot of excitement,there is still a dearth of them in cities. People are still hesitant to put themselves out there without having a middleman to claim responsibility. “Finding a partner is a very private thing for a lot of people,” says Naina Hiranandani,who runs the exclusive dating service,Sirf Coffee. “No matter how progressive we get,background checks,recommendations and basic compatibility will continue to be the top priority,” she says.

Vadhyar begs to differ. “I didn’t meet anyone for the longest time when we started,” she laughs,adding that she has met interesting people and made several friends along the way. “We all want to meet that special someone but it’s the journey that is truly fantastic,” she says.

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