Even in modern India, dating is this perilous albeit exciting activity which often leaves us in pools of uncertainty. With the influx of dating sites and apps which enables one to meet new people with the swipe of a finger, young people are often confused about the multi-layered protocols of dating. How do you ask one out for a date? Is it okay to kiss someone on the first date? How does it transcend from dating to being in a relationship? Most importantly, who pays for dinner?
Ira Trivedi and Sachin Bhatia’s book, The Desi Guide to Dating, attempts to answer some of these questions in good humour and also educate young people about the concept of dating. Trivedi feels that there is so much misogyny in our society that there is no know how of dating in any way whatsoever… “There is nothing DIRTY about dating, there is nothing TABOO about dating and there is nothing ILLEGAL about dating. We want to make that clear, first and foremost. We are trying to lift the veil on dating through our book.”
There is nothing DIRTY about dating, there is nothing TABOO about dating and there is nothing ILLEGAL about dating.
Right now, India is in a strange tussle between the traditional and modern – we have anti-Romeo squads, no concept of sex education in our schools, honour killings – basically a propensity to punish young people who choose to love. Where does their book fit in the dialogue to making love more ‘accessible’?
Sachin, who is also the co-founder of the dating app Truly Madly, adds, “Honestly these stories are more anecdotal and not at a scale that it deters young people from falling in love. But yes, with the book we have attempted to address the basic hygiene issues around dating….how to treat your partner, when is it really love, what does it mean to date. Just basic concepts and make them real by sharing real stories and insights.”
While writing this book from the viewpoint of a man and woman, the authors’ did at times have different opinions when it came to the topics being discussed. Trivedi informs, “I think sometimes Sachin thought I was being too much of a “girl,” a little too coy, and conservative, and perhaps even manipulative. I thought at times Sachin was being a bit too “male” and brazen… but I think at the end with the help of our editors we reached a good conclusion!”
With the book we have attempted to address the basic hygiene issues around dating….how to treat your partner, when is it really love, what does it mean to date.
The book also addresses the often misogynist outlook the society holds when it comes to women dating vs men and gives a balanced perspective on dating. Trivedi says, “While there are a ton of western dating manuals out there, I feel that the Indian context is so different, and we really needed a book to suit our particular framework.”
“There is a whole section on women asking men out first and why it’s okay and actually important in a lot of cases to do so,” adds Bhatia.
After writing India in Love and interviewing so many young people across the country, Trivedi thought that a book like The Desi Guide to Dating was needed. But she also knew that the book would be most balanced if it also had a male point of view.
“I thought Sachin would be a great co-author because of his experience at Truly Madly and also the access that he had to data and numbers. I didn’t want this book to be a floozy dating manual, but wanted some real stats to verify our hypotheses,” she says.
Even if dating might seem intimidating at the onset, the authors want their readers to also have fun along the way.
Bhatia feels, “A date is a great way to meet new people and suss them out. If it results in a relationship so be it. But keep dating to keep meeting tons of interesting folks.”