Just like people, dating too, has become modern. Dating trends in India have evolved massively over the years and the media is hugely responsible for it. Nimi Jayachandran opines that Western media has influenced the concept of relationships in India and explains how they have transformed the norms in our society
“He’s just a guy I’m seeing, it’s nothing serious”
This quote from The Ugly Truth perfectly nails what it means to casually date someone. Ten or fifteen years ago, the concept of dating was not so common. Two people seeing each other would immediately be assumed to be seriously committed. Today, however, casual dating has been incorporated into our lives. In our country, where even today most marriages are arranged, it has become increasingly common to see people go on informal dates. In our busy, fast-paced world, it is sometimes easier to maintain a less serious commitment, be it emotional or physical. People prefer to meet someone in a relaxed setting. Popular television shows such as “How I Met Your Mother” have made it a trend of sorts to pursue a relationship without any strings attached and to let things take their own course.
The Commitment Confrontation
“Face your fear. In this case, you have a fear of commitment. So I say you go in there and be the most committed guy there ever was,” is a quote by the character Joey in the popular television show Friends. It is with reference to the phase which goes from dating to something more serious. In the modern world, the laid back approach to meeting others allows people to focus on themselves and to decide with time how seriously they wish to pursue their relationship. It gives a sense of freedom whilst maintaining the comfort of being with someone. This has reached out and changed how our society views commitment and dating as well too. Popular movies such as Salaam Namaste have toyed with the idea of non-conventional relationships, which are now not so uncommon.
In Shuddh Desi Romance we were introduced to a fierce, open-minded young couple who valued commitment in a relationship but feared marriage. The popularity of the movie shows that our society as a whole has slowly started making room for such liberal ideas of a relationship. Despite the strong influence of western media, we’ve managed to hold onto certain core beliefs pertaining to relationships. Relationships are hard work and sometimes certain adjustments are required to be made to maintain one. ‘Relationship todna bahut aasan hai, lekin usko banaye rakhne ke liye adjustments karni padti hai, nurture karna padta hai’, is what Sidharth Malhotra’s character Nikhil, in Hasee Toh Phasee replies when asked why he works so hard in his relationship.
All The Single Ladies
With a modern concept of relationships becoming increasingly accepted in our society, some young men and women are now growing open to the idea of enjoying being single. The character of Carrie Bradshaw from the television show Sex And The City states it best, ‘being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty, confident and that you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with’. Women are taking single time in their stride while valuing the freedom which comes with being single. Men are increasingly using this time to explore activities to their interest. Exploring a passion and taking risks at a time when there are no commitments to someone is something that seems to be appealing to the younger generation these days.
Where Do We Go From Here?
For a culture that has largely been obsessed with its orthodox views of relationships, ours is slowly opening up to the modern-day ideas of what forms a relationship. It is easy to see how Western culture has impacted our society and definitely our concept of relationships. Parents, who still hold a strong influence over their children’s significant others, are being eased into a less traditional idea of relationships. Younger men and women are taking more responsibility and effort into maintaining a commitment. The Western impact has been such that, we, as the younger generation are able to take the best of both worlds and create a society that makes room for both contemporary values as well as conventional ones.
It, therefore, won’t be wrong to state that our new and open concept of relationships has benefitted many individuals in exploring and understanding themselves.