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Urban Indians are looking for more from relationships, beyond ticking the boxes of appearance or community. Let’s find out what!
It is common to hear, among people of older age groups, that young urban Indians today are commitment phobic, primarily focused on career, pursuing their interests or making money, that “Relationships are not what they used to be” and so on. Is this really true? Even as the quest to become one’s own person is now acknowledged as a valid goal, are committed relationships something we are turning away from?
Contrary to what some may believe, it is not the fear of commitment that leads many young urban Indians to be sceptical of long term relationships but the fact that it tends to be probably too ‘arranged’ for them. Conversations with many young people reveal that they are in fact eager to find a companion whom they can relate well to and who has a similar vision of and expectations from life. However, precisely because the expectation is now of a ‘lifelong companion ’ rather than someone who ticks the community-family-appearance boxes, the search has become harder! They are then labelled as picky, career obsessed or commitment phobic, when the reverse is the case.
There is a growing number of Indians now who prefer to make sure they feel a connection organically. Beyond the societal norms of only connecting with the people of one’s own community, many young Indians now prefer to meet a wide variety of people who share the same values, thoughts and ideas. The pressure of impressing another individual instantly, at an organized and planned meeting set by family or relatives doesn’t work for all individuals.
To understand this changing landscape, we interviewed three users of a new and unique platform, Soul Cafe which has a different take on how relationships are built. Sophia Jose, Soul Café’s Founder firmly believes that “Relationships should be based on connectedness, nuances of each individual’s personalities, life values and all matters that are much deeper than the superficial. And technology can be an enabler.”
To understand them better (and by extension, what urban Indians look for from relationships), I spoke to Ravi, Rejitha and Prashanthi, all of whom have registered themselves on Soul Cafe.
Prashanthi, IT Programme Manager, Yoga and well-being Practitioner and a travel enthusiast from Bangalore shares that she decided to be a part of Soul Cafe with no particular agenda. She felt that it was a safe space to interact, though it would be great if any of the friendships built organically transitions into a lasting connection. Her deepest desire is to travel the world and she would definitely not mind sharing her travel escapades with a companion. Such connections are hard to make in the traditional boy-meets-girl scenario!
A lot of research shows that friendship is the basis of all great relationships. In any case it is difficult to meet real people who are ready show their real personality in a conventional meeting, which is where the online process helps. Rejitha, a lawyer in Goa who loves associating with NGOs and a travel enthusiast too, shared that she was tired of people being judgemental and manipulative. She believes that people essentially lack empathy in today’s ever changing world and that most of us don’t accept each other the way they are. Her desire to break away from this mould is what led her to register at Soul Café.
“The most valuable asset in India and the rest of the world is a trust-worthy and genuine relationship. That is the source of ever-lasting happiness, filled with love and celebration, believes another user, Ravi, a Chennai based Business Development Manager. Happiness for him is one of life’s prime pursuits and he shares a profound mantra to live by through his words, “I seek happiness in every moment of life. I can do that only by loving myself and sharing that love with all the people I come across.”
All these users have a few ideas in common (and many more Indians share these today); they seek honesty, compatibility and appreciation. They value relationships and want to make life long bonds based on trust. They are patient and realise that every commitment should be nurtured with love. They are willing to wait, therefore, for someone who they feel truly compatible with. It is also a reflection of changing families that are slowly but surely, allowing this young self-reliant generation to explore in their own way rather than pressurising them to adopt the time-tested route of arranging relationships. .
Progress and life experiences brings in mind shifts and the need to look beyond the old ways becomes inevitable. It’s promising to see platforms like Soul Cafe addressing this mind shift. While none of us know what life holds in store for us, life surely holds much joy for the traveller who is not afraid to follow new roads!
Post supported by Soul Cafe
Image of couple cycling via Shutterstock
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