How Tinder changed the dating landscape of India

Digital revolution through matchmaking

Society

November 14, 2018

/ By / New Delhi



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The pink and orange flame

Today’s generation has a go-to- place to seek a mate and it is not a club or party, it is their mobile phone!

Years from now, if an archaeologist goes back in time and decides to dissect the era of social media splurge in two different sections, he will have to go with ‘before-Tinder’ and ‘after-Tinder’ and that is because world isn’t the same since the giant red fire of Tinder set our lives ablaze. Our age-old values gasped wide-eyed at the jolting entrance of Tinder into Indian arena and the young flames got kindled at the hint of potential hedonism which the globally notorious ‘hook-up app’ offered. When a country as conservative as ours saw the launch of Tinder in 2013, many speculated it as ‘the dawn of casual relationship’ in India. After that, many tides have passed under the bridge and men are still lamenting over the dearth of women on Tinder.

The debut of Tinder in India was well-received. The location-based dating app created quite an uproar on its arrival. The rapidly growing economy enabled young people to venture out of their homes and leave behind the antiquated ideas of men, women, sexuality, and marriage or at least take a remnant of it with them. The frog in the well saw ocean for the first time. It saw the infinite freedom it can offer. It tasted the first sip of independence and got drunk on the idea of ‘me, myself and I’. But the country was India. The same country in 21st century grapples with the idea of individuality. The country bashes young people for kissing in public. The country kills lovers for marrying out of caste. The country still throws acid on women for saying ‘no’ to the overtures of men. The country still believes marriage should be sacrosanct and the dignity of people, especially women involved in it is negligible.

Was Tinder a Cupid’s conspiracy to thwart all these? The age we’re proceeding towards will override all the boundaries created centuries ago to keep people apart, and technology is a big trigger in that. Tinder’s success has already accentuated that inevitable.

The past, present and the future of love

Traditional institution of arranged marriage, which has been the norm in India, is a downright economic enterprise. Men marry for progeny and women marry for security. Mental and sexual compatibility is not even a distant afterthought in that course. That’s how it has been for centuries. Yes, aberrations did happen and they were carefully ostracized or met with a glorious death with a promise to meet again in the next birth. Then, Bollywood came into the picture. It ‘corrupted’ our mind. It taught us to dance under the tree. It taught us to elope into the utopia where the discerning glance of gossiping aunties doesn’t exist. It taught us to let go of that tight grip of sanskar.

After the economic liberation of 90’s and boom of IT industry, the pace of our lives quickened. Now, the time is sparse but the desires are expanding. Want something? Have it delivered to you. Hungry? Spare two minutes to boil up some mushy noodles. Where does the instant generation go when looking for a potential mate or maybe some cheap thrills?  In India, where the genders are so segregated even striking an innocuous conversation with the opposite gender can take unpleasant turn of events. Tinder offered that safe-space where finding a like-minded individual for a romantic rendezvous can seem like a possibility. Then, why there are so many empty inboxes on men’s Tinder?

To swipe or not to swipe

The ratio of women on Tinder is one per 10 men which is a brutal reflection of India’s skewed sex ratio. Tinder, in many ways, has allowed women to call the shots. Men and women can only be matched if both the parties have swiped right on each other. Probably, for the first time Indian men are facing rejection because of the security cyberspace allowed to women. A generation devoid of any birds and bees talk and dating etiquette was lured into the pool of ‘guilt-free sex’. People who were feeling their oats dived into the water as hope glinted in their eyes and now they are struggling to keep their heads above the water or get a companion to save them from their existential crisis as the app promised.

According to statistics revealed by the company, Tinder has seen 400 pc increase in download and in a statement, company-head Taru Kapoor says, “Women have been more active on Tinder than men.” Did the smart phone-wielding millennial women finally get the agency that their mothers and grandmothers could only dream of? Tinder has induced many more questions like this. Are we finally letting our inhibition go? Are we comfortable with young people exploring their sexuality? Are we finally coming to terms with people living their lives? We’re the approaching that watershed moment slowly, one swipe at a time.

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