India is slowly growing into a hotbed of dating apps. Currently, there are too many to count, available for all operating systems. The interfaces have a similar layout though. Rows and columns of men and women uploading selfies painted with the modern-day blessing that’s photo filters.
And these device-based dating firms are taking India extremely seriously — proclaiming important numbers. TrulyMadly, scored nearly 1.5 million downloads when it launched its Android app in 2014.
The firm claims 35 per cent of its users are women. Also, it was able to raise over Rs 35 crore from investors in 2015. But heavy-hitter Tinder believes India could become its largest market.
“Online dating and mobile-first social networks are exploding. Look at Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, and the way they are evolving in India. Look at the way 21-year-olds are using it. They are the next set of users. So this is a very exciting market for us,” head of India operations for Tinder, Taru Kapoor said earlier this year.
It’s also claimed that Tinder scores a daily number of 7.5 million ‘swipes’ in India!
But there has been a delay with ground-level penetration. To find out more about how these apps are working in the real-world DC spoke to a few brave, early adopters. They spoke to us on the condition of anonymity.
'Nothing for the 40s'
‘Madhavi’ is a techie who moved to Hyderabad six years ago. “I tried one of the apps and later, uninstalled it". There’s no scope for a real conversation in those. I spent most of my life pursuing a career in technology and I believe tech can really work for people, but romance? I’m not sure. And ‘age’ is a problem too. I did meet someone who was nearly where I am in life... but he had the mind of a 15-year-old. I’m not ready for that. What has been my experience? It’s a brave, new world... and you need to be equally brave to dive into it. After a mistake, I don’t have it in me.
So, you’re married?
Yes, there are a few ‘married’ ones. In a survey Tinder has disputed, GlobalWebIndex claimed that “30 per cent of Tinder users surveyed were married, while another 12 per cent were in a relationship. It’s discomforting to note that members of the pool you are drawing from may be keeping crucial information from you during that intimate dinner date. DC couldn’t find people who were willing to talk about a date gone wrong but yes, there exists doubt.
Everyone’s ‘hooking up’
Shruti swipes when there’s an occasion. “I tried out one of these apps for a movie date. But there’s this assumption that people are really looking for a ‘hook-up’. Can’t we just use these apps to find new friends? I feel it’s possible because a friend of mine found someone who has the same taste in books. Not all of us are just looking for sex. Men must allow a friendship to bloom first.
What’s the ‘Tinder date’?
The youngsters are also not sure how to label a meet-up. This Valentine’s Day, Anirudh is meeting someone... but yes, it’s still “not a date”. “I was new to the city and took to dating apps only to find new people. The best part is you don’t share your number so, you can always take a chance and talk to the person. And I’ve heard stories of people meeting and ending up together so, I am positive. This Valentine’s Day, however, I couldn’t find myself a date. But I’m going out on a ‘Tinder date’ — as we can’t actually call it a Valentine’s Day date. That’ll just make it official.”