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Digital Love: Love at First Swipe or Just Pseudo Intimacy?

‘It’s a Match!’ – that’s how Alokita Basu and Agnibesh Das began their love story. It was the flu that brought them together. Alokita had tickets to see a play with someone who fell sick at the last minute, and as luck would have it, Agnibesh happened to be free.

Their first date stretched for 9 hours and Alokita says, “After talking to him, I just knew”. Wedding bells will be ringing for the young couple next January.

A friend of mine asked why would want you the world to know you’re on Tinder. I said why not? It’s amazing – Alokita Basu

Alokita and Agnibesh seem like the perfect ying-yang of relationships – she’s gregarious, he’s reserved and both aim witty jibes at each other. Invariably the question comes up – “So how did you guys meet?”

And that’s where it gets interesting: They met on Tinder.

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They’re not the only ones. India is a promising dating market with enough single people to fill up almost 3,700 Eden Garden stadiums.

In a country where there is so much stigma attached to dating, apps help overcome social barriers, parental pressures and busy schedules to meet, date and fornicate.

Tinder, the most popular dating app in India, saw a 400% jump in users in 2015. Tinder India’s CEO Taru Kapoor revealed an interesting addition to the Indian version of the app.

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Other apps like Woo, OKCupid, TrulyMadly, DesiCrush, Happn and Aisle have all sprung up to help 250 million people in India find love or sex. The numbers spike when Valentine’s Day comes closer. This is just the beginning of India’s digital era.

Millennials, India’s post-liberalisation kids, whatever you call us, we seem to have our lives sorted.

From clothes to food, everything is a click away. So why should “love” be any different?

I feel parents are still apologetic when they say it’s a love marriage – Agnibesh Das

According to a report by research firm App Annie, India’s mobile app market grew sharply last year, outpacing the US. Netflix topped the list followed by Tinder and Linkedin in revenue.

The verdict seems clear – entertainment, love/sex and career are the priorities today.

We tried to test our Tinder profiles to find out what Indians look for in a potential date.

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We have so much on our checklist, no wonder we have to go through 3,000 profiles before we find the right person.

Psychiatrist Dr Shyam Bhat says this instant access to love is enabled by the commodification of people.

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While youngsters swear by the success rate of the apps, some of them were pretty quick to dismiss the ability to find anything authentic online.

Dr Bhatt agrees and says pseudo-intimacy is on the rise.

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While all of this seems to make a very strong case for real success on dating apps, it ultimately boils down to the two people involved and the effort they’ve put into it. Just ask Saurav Arora and Akanksha Saraogi.

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Musician Prateek Kuhad is pushing people to believe that a pure, nostalgic love is possible regardless of how we find it.

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Story by Satshya Tharien, Meghnad Bose, Piyush Jha and Aditya Balaji
Videos by Chetan Dhalla and Harvinder Singh
Special thanks to Shilpa Rathnam and Imran Khan