Shikha Tiwari is a 26-year-old writer from Delhi.
A decision full of regrets
I walked into the cafe constantly mulling in my mind what I was getting myself into. I had signed up for speed dating. I was there to meet 10 men whom I hadn't met earlier or had any conversation with, initiate a conversation with all of them and see if I like any of them. Suddenly, I had cold feet. I almost started regretting my decision.
The process of speed dating was quite simple. Ten girls and ten boys were selected for the meeting. Each person would get six minutes with people from the opposite sex. Based on the conversation in those six minutes, everyone is supposed to rate each other. In the end, if the ratings match, we take the conversation forward.
It was something new and a different experience. My friend had introduced the concept of speed dating to me. I was bored of all the dating apps and people I met through them. I was tired of being insecure and sceptic about every person’s identity online.
When I actually walked in
I stood outside for good five minutes trying to take deep breaths to compose myself. My mind was running through all the possibilities of meeting strangers. What if none of them likes me? What if I don’t like anyone? What if I am made fun of or stalked later by someone I don’t want to be with?
All this last minute jitter made me really anxious. I was beginning to wonder whether such setups even lead to finding true love? I took another deep breath and finally let my thoughts break. My work and my lifestyle didn’t help me meet new people. So this was my chance and I was promised by the organisers that my experience would be unique.
I went inside and sat at the table assigned to me. The host laid all the rules and instructions clearly before we began. Once the bell rung, I could see the excitement building up on everyone’s face. I was nervous and excited both. I put an easy face and began speaking to all the boys one by one.
Hitting it off
I hit it off with a few boys, three to be precise. Finally, I felt calm. Once all the conversations were over, the bar was open for social interactions. I approached the men I liked and we discussed our work and life.
We shared our concerns on how our career and the stressful lives we are all leading in metropolitan cities took all of our time. We also exchanged our thoughts on navigating the online dating space. The guys started pouring their heart out and frankly, I liked that about them.
The first participant I met was a really nice and calm guy. He was decent and spoke really well. He worked for a bank and had recently been through a breakup. His girlfriend cheated on him. That’s why he was there. He even pointed out and helped me put my mascara right. Two other guys who I seemed to like were both very handsome and charming but shy.
All in all, I would say it was the best experience of my life. I wasn’t looking for a relationship immediately but I was happy to get introduced to other single people. During the whole meet, I just sat back and enjoyed my conversations.
Dating and meeting new people is a difficult area to traverse, especially in the Indian scenario. Women are more than often judged as being low on character and morals if seen dating someone openly. Meeting new people thus becomes difficult with all the stereotype around. However, events like these help young people explore and choose. I had a nice time and I felt really secure and safe.