“When are you getting married?”
The world may be ending, a pandemic has taken over our lives, unemployment is killing us, but the shaadi question is not going anywhere. Thanks to work and study from home, and living with family 24x7, it seems that almost everyone is suddenly interested in finding their saccha pyaar.
But why? What’s the deal with our IG feeds becoming one big PDA-fest?
One simple answer is loneliness. What none of the end-of-the-world movies really told us was how lonely the apocalypse can get. And in India, even before the apocalypse, we were facing a “loneliness epidemic.” In 2015, the National Mental Health Survey of India reported that depression and anxiety affects nearly ten percent of the population, with children and adolescents being the most vulnerable.
Living our lives on social media, work burnout, and a taboo around mental health has meant that loneliness is now a young person’s game too. A deadly virus, constant news of deaths and illness and endless doomscrolling has just made everything worse. When Yamraj stops being a funny myth, and starts seeming like a friends friend, who wouldn’t want a soulmate to feel less alone?
Especially, when a soulmate may be lurking at the next swipe! Online dating has been around since we pinged Rahul-naam-toh-suna-hi-hoga from school on Facebook, and prayed for a “poke” back. Now with more dating apps that we can count on our fingers, dating has become everyone’s favourite pandemic pastime. Zoom has replaced cafes as the preferred first-date venue of choice. And if Diljit Dosanjh is also sanitising his hands before shaking a cute girl’s hand, who are we to deny this “new normal” of dating?
Both loneliness and online dating has got us all swiping, but what to do if we do find The One? If you do get past the Zoom-date stage, you and your partner might have to battle the S-word. And no, we don’t mean, sanyaas. Sex in the times of COVID-19 is where things get, well, messy. Spaces for sex in an Indian city outside the home, are anyway like looking for a needle in a haystack. With lockdown-impositions, innovation is the name of the (sex) game. Some couples are going back to their teen years and making out in cars. Others are turning to tech. Sexting, video call sex, sending erotica — after all, communication is always sexy. 🍆🙌🏽
Turns out falling in love in 2020 is as confusing as it was in the “old normal.” Whether you continue to relish your #singlelife, try your luck on a dating app, or finally succumb to parents’ 'ek zoom call mein kya harz hai?' – love, like life, is what you make of it.
And whether you have a sassy answer to “shaadi kab?”