During our latest #KetchupTalks, we asked Aaron Arjun Koul and Srishti Ganguli Rindani to share their POV on all things dating and love for the online generation.

If you google what love is, the internet will tell you that, ‘love is an eternal flame, love is like a rollercoaster ride, love is a bouquet of flowers. It is also sending each other memes, saving pizza crusts because your partner loves them and so much more. Of course, it will also tell you that ‘love is painful’ and ‘love is a lie’ (often in the form of some Arijit Singh number). And that was my (long) way of saying that you can express, feel, and define love in several unique ways. Especially, with the dating culture booming in India and giving netizens new ways to find love.

To highlight the same, the digital dating platform, OKCupid launched the campaign ‘Love is ___’ asking millennials and GenZ to share their own take on it. OKCupid also launched a dating show series on Instagram featuring two entertaining and amazing Creators, Aaron Arjun Koul and Srishti Ganguli Rindani to talk about the same.

We had the chance to pick their brains about what ‘love is according to them and a lot more. Read on to see what we found out!

Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

OKCupid’s latest campaign, ‘Love is ____’ asks people their own definition of love. What’s yours?

Srishti: I was in fact a part of that campaign. Where I said that love is when he loves your jokes no matter how bad they are. Which is true. For me, love is when you can be truly comfortable with someone, to the extent that you feel the freedom to share the most absurd bizarre thoughts that come to you, crack the worst jokes ever – knowing for sure that he/she is never going to judge you. That they’re never going to laugh at you, but with you.

Aaron: I think love is the kind of feeling you would feel after you’ve dropped all your prejudices. Love requires feelings like empathy and that’s only possible when you drop all other things. According to me if you have found love, there is no need for anything else.

What is ‘The Dating Show’ all about?

Aaron: ‘The Dating Show’ is brought together by OkCupid addresses questions about love and relationships that many of us have always wanted to ask. Srishti and I are the hosts and we try to keep it fun and entertaining with tips, tricks and advice from guests on each episode. We’re helping single Indians navigate the online dating experience like what is a big ‘yes’ and what is a big ‘no’ and how one can find love. As dating is still fairly new in India and continues to evolve, through this show we are trying to shed light on a few truths that have remained constant.

Srishti: Let me begin with what ‘The Dating Show’ is not about. It’s not a tutorial on how to find your perfect match from experts who know it all. It’s about the hosts and guests sharing their experiences with everyone that needs to know that they’re not the only ones that have had bad dates and awkward conversations on dating apps. We share what we have learnt from our experiences so the audience can learn from our mistakes. Or just simply relate to it and feel better about not having found anyone yet. Because cliche as it may sound, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

How was it shooting for the episodes? Any memorable instances?

Srishti: Shooting for this show has been a breeze. Having to sit on a couch talking for a day after a long night’s shoot sounded like a nightmare initially. But the format of the show is such, where it allows you to be yourself. Sleepy and a mess – something I perpetually am. I think the most memorable moment for me until now would be the day they dressed me up as a boy for one of the sketches. I just felt like I was in my element and I didn’t want to get out of it.

Aaron: The most memorable part was when I was fined at this U-turn junction right outside the studio (kidding!). Honestly, in the studio, everyday is a new day. Also, Srishti and I are generally very funny people so we feel like we are constantly able to make people’s lives better with our humour. The whole process is quite wholesome which makes it hard to pick one particular moment.

How would you describe your own dating life?

Aaron: Very, personally speaking, I’m on step one of the process in dating- discovering who I am and what I want. Dating is about finding companionship and sharing life’s experiences but it’s hard to enjoy that without finding love for yourself. That’s the journey I’m on and when I’m ready, I’ll light up OkCupid!

Srishti: I’ve mostly always been in a relationship, and very few, so I haven’t had much of a dating life.

Something that is a big no for you when it comes to virtual dating?

Srishti: I think I hate dishonesty. I once went on a date with somebody who called himself a CA and a certified scuba diver. Turns out he hadn’t written the exam yet and was a very bad diver. I’d be okay if he didn’t do or have either. But the dishonesty ticked me off. Definite deal-breaker in any kind of dating and relationship.

Aaron: I do not like when people come with pre-decided preferences such as about the height of their future partner etc, I think we should date with an open mind and not with prejudices.

Love and sex are both important for the single folks. However, according to OkCupid, when it comes to choosing between love or sex, 66% men and 86% women, chose love. What would you choose right now?

Aaron: I would also choose love (100%). Compared to sex, love is constant.

Srishti: I’d choose to love any day. I remember living months and years without sex but it’s just all empty when you’re not in love. I need love more than anything in my life.

Would you date or have you dated someone just to avoid being lonely?

Srishti: I remember dragging a relationship for years just because I was afraid of loneliness. And then I remember resorting to dating apps for quick validation after a break up- worst idea and completely unfair to the people I matched with.

Aaron: No, I have always gone with the flow and let things fall into place. Honestly, I have thought about this idea of dating to beat loneliness but I haven’t ever actually been in a relationship out of sheer loneliness.  It might be good for some people but there’s no hard and fast rule to it. Loneliness is very subjective.

What’s your take on dates and traditional gender roles in relationships?

Aaron: Going on dates are super duper important but we have a very narrow idea of it. Spending quality time is vital like going on treks or puppy fostering, going to sunder nursery, ice-cream dates etc. Moreover, when it comes to dating, the first thing first is trust and making time for the other person. For a fruitful relationship, you have to indulge in quality time. When it comes to gender roles, there are none according to me. You must come together to do things without any distinction or specification of roles as such.

Srishti: We live in a time where the world is moving more towards ‘equalism’. Traditionally – approaching somebody, paying the bills, being the provider and the protector, all of these things were presumed to be a man’s job. It’s not the same anymore. I’m in a relationship where we split all the bills and all our house chores. There’s nothing I have to do out of the pressure of being a woman. And I think it’s beautiful that way.

How important is it to have dating apps like OkCupid that promote inclusivity through their gender and orientation options?

Srishti: It’s super important for every individual to feel included. We’re all seeking a sense of belonging as human beings. And I think it’s great that OkCupid has given importance to that very feeling of inclusivity.

Aaron: It is absolutely essential. In today’s time this is the bare minimum to have inclusivity and I don’t think everything should be kept to a spectrum. These days millennials are finding love across sexual orientations. ove is non-discriminatory- irrespective of  your gender identities, sexual orientations, and geography our human craving for love, and the need to overcome odds should always remain the same and dating apps like OkCupid embrace inclusivity and encourage us to find love that is inclusive. As inclusive as it gets, bigger the party, right! It is important for us to stand up for what we believe in.

Worst dating advice you’ve ever received or given?

Aaron: I don’t remember giving bad dating advice ever. Mostly, when people come to me with problems about love, I help them in picking the best possible scenarios to address it. The worst dating advice I have received is to play these little games where people have suggested to not communicate because your partner did or did not do something I expected. I think the best thing is to keep the communication open. To sum it up the best advice I ever received was to communicate and the worst advice I have ever received is to not communicate. 

Srishti: I think the worst dating advice I’ve got is – Don’t work on it. Just end it. I feel this way of just stopping us from wanting to fix things in a relationship and hop on to the next. I believe in giving every relationship and every date a little effort and try.

This or That Ft. Dating

  1. First date – Coffee/drinks or Netflix and chill?

Srishti: Coffee/ Drinks

Aaron: I really want to say Netflix and chill but I would go for coffee/ drinks. Actually for coffee, not even drinks. This might sound boring to some people but this is my first date preference.

  1. Dating one match at a time or exploring options?

Srishti: Exploring options.

Aaron: Dating one match at a time.

  1. Socially distant dates IRL or virtual dates?

Aaron: Social distant dates, I guess. Virtual dates are cool and they are more fun and it’s a quick alternative but I am done with the whole video call phase so the socially distant dates IRL works better for me!

Srishti: Socially Distant Dates IRL.

  1. Cheesy conversation starters or “Hi!”?

Srishti: Hi

Aaron: I would like to say ‘Hi’ because I think pick up lines always have this connotation that you want something from them and that you’re looking for something majorly but I prefer to start with just a ‘hey’ or ‘what’s up’. I’ve recently discovered there’s a 90% chance of being ignored with that opening though so… 

Aaron and Srishti have quite interesting POVs and whether it is new/old, or cheesy/quirky or passionate or understated, for us, love is love.

How would you define it?

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