What is Love?: Aastha Atray Banan Decrypts the L-Word in her Latest Release

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What is Love?: Aastha Atray Banan Decrypts the L-Word in her Latest Release

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Devika and Neil Patel met on Hinge right after major breakups. They had both been in long-term relationships and were in no mood to be in another. They were bored, for the lack of a better word. And so, there they were on dating apps. ‘We both made it clear from the beginning that we weren’t looking for anything serious,’ Devika tells me, and laughs, ‘And look where that got us!’

What strikes me is that at least they were honest with each other, and maybe that reciprocated honesty helped them move closer. After one-and-a-half years of dating, they got married in December 2019, and it’s been exactly what they wanted. ‘We spoke the truth, and then, we took it as organically as we could – very slow, very steady, very cautious.’

What strikes me is that at least they were honest with each other, and maybe that reciprocated honesty helped them move closer.

In a 2012 report on a study by the sociologists Michael Rosenfeld and Reuben J. Thomas published in the American Sociological Review, the researchers found that couples who meet online transition to marriage more quickly than those who meet offline. It could be, as the Tinder researchers say, because when people commit to online dating, they are actually looking for something concrete.

I also feel that if you do know why you are on an app, and are honest and don’t lose hope, well, you can be sure that your time will come. Bhosle, who is still single but has seen many of her friends get married to people they met on apps, says that she has often questioned whoever she can about how they managed this feat.

It could be, as the Tinder researchers say, because when people commit to online dating, they are actually looking for something concrete.

‘The answer is inevitably about “the time being right”. I had a friend who tried dating apps for three years, but at that time she had job issues and family problems, and so she wasn’t giving it her all. The day she was ready, she found someone who was as well.’

But thirty-year-old Gautam tells us he feels that usually the couples who end up getting married because of the apps, do so as they know that they have reached the end of the line. ‘But they have made the best choice, and have had the best options. So, this is sort of a logical ending.’

So, it would make sense that in a world where the app playground could be the only playground one can play in, if we had to settle down, we would do it there as well. This is the real world now for many of us, especially when it comes to love and lust, and we have to live by its rules and adapt to them. Because we as humans, do it well.

So, it would make sense that in a world where the app playground could be the only playground one can play in, if we had to settle down, we would do it there as well.

To end this chapter, and give it a very Indian context, I spoke to entrepreneur Devika Patel in detail about why she thinks she found love and marriage on an app, compared to many who amble around for years. Patel told me that sometimes people don’t give an app a chance and are even scared to admit they are on it. ‘That works against the whole premise of the app. If you don’t want to even admit you are on the app, how will it work for you? You are on it, but you are judging everyone, and everyone is judging you. I was very clear that I wanted to meet someone outside my circle – not just the same people at weddings and parties. So, I think my energy worked well, and I met some interesting people, and even my husband. It’s also a little bit of luck. So, give it patience and time. Let things brew – it may surprise you – don’t expect instant coffee.’

This excerpt is taken from The L-Word written by Aastha Atray Banan published by HarperCollins.

 

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