GLORIOUS ELEVEN: THIS IS US
After countless dates, hundreds of relationships, happy marriages (and babies, too!) – here we are. Eleven years on, so much around us has changed, and yet, the one thing that remains, is our unwavering passion to help people find love. In the most unassuming places. In cynicism. In the phases of life that they think they wouldn’t. In strangers who become best friends (and eventually, much more). With all this relationship history, we’ll tell you how we got here:
2008: The Year That Was
Our foray into the world of personalized matchmaking was at a time when, well, there was virtually nothing – barring traditional, community-based bureaus and TPN (The Panditji Network. Your mom’s kitty-party friends hardly make the cut, sorry, Mrs. Kapoor!)
The word Matrimonial felt crippling, like a modern epidemic, sealed by, ‘Don’t you have a bio-data?’ Background score: patronizing tone from random aunty you’ve only met five seconds ago.
As evolving, well-travelled Indians, we were changing the way we interacted, reacted and stalked (it was the year of Facebook, people). We vocalized our preferences and deal-breakers when it came to a partner, but for some reason, we were afraid to admit that we were single. Things only worked via ‘introduction’ with a mutual contact(s). And the lazy ones relied on – wait for it – Destiny. Because their lives were meant to be a Karan Johar production, where everything just falls into place.
More importantly, even if you met someone great through a contact, the journey was like waiting for five ads to finish streaming during one YouTube video. Add to that some real pressure (if you think your boss stresses you out, wait till you meet Mrs. Kapoor) and endless prying (“How was dinner? Shall we announce the roka tomorrow, beta?”)
We had to do something drastic. Sirf Coffee. There were going to be no surnames exchanged (say what), no pictures (are you kidding me?), Men in Black-like privacy, and no pressure or intervention from parents. It’s just a coffee. This meant the desire to meet people had to come from within the actual person, not a ‘well-wisher’.
2010: We Believed
“Am I supposed to fill in my personal information online?”
“Who’s going to foot the bill?”
“How do you know he’s not weird?”
“Is it safe?”
“Are you expecting people to pay for a service to go on dates?”
“I’ve never been on a blind date. Will you come and sit at another table?”
We’re not even making these up.
We were warned (and dissuaded from our mission) so often in the first two years. It was a rigid dichotomy that existed: an educated, urban millennial was open to meeting a stranger in a mismatched set-up, orchestrated by a faraway aunt. But when it came to getting a coffee with a vetted, handpicked, well-suited match – an equal – there was resistance. Things started changing, slowly, but steadily. In 2010, the first Sirf Coffee wedding happened, and the rest, as they say, is history.
2013: Taking Charge
With the explosion of dating apps, there were millions of people swiping away in different cities. Of course, to base the trajectory of your love life on a vague photograph and geographical location also means trawling through an endless pit of profiles. More often than not, the euphoria soon deflated with trends such as ghosting, fake profiles and ironically, no real ‘connection’. This turned out to be a blessing for us, as folks who actually valued authenticity, privacy and their free time, put the onus on real matchmakers, not algorithms.
This marked the start of another shift too: Generation X wanted in. In their 40s and 50s, these people were looking at a second chance at happiness. Teenage kids were telling their single parents that they deserved to meet someone new, in a safe, curated environment. We even helped a 55-year-old remarry in 2015.
2016: Old is Gold
Real dates with face-to-face conversations that are not dictated by 140 characters? Meeting someone genuine, in person, with actual chemistry? It’s what people always craved, but were now admitting it.
Sure, technology is a boon when you’re not in the same city, but we all need human interaction after showing our affection in flirty one-liners, emojis and GIFs. Our clients were now travelling to different cities and countries in order to spend time with their matches. There was commitment to the process. They wanted ‘the one’, not 20 odd matches. After all, it really is so much more fun to get to know someone over dinner in an exotic location, rather than in the back of an Uber (we’re referring to texting, ahem).
2019: Looking Forward
Needless to say, it’s been more than a decade of trials, successes, risks and endless leaps of faith. We’ve seen the world of modern dating evolve before our very own eyes, like a doting Bollywood grandmother. Whether it’s young divorcees, older single parents, or the ambitious millennial, here’s what holds them together: Open-mindedness. And there is no better time for this than today – irrespective of age, ethnicity, circumstances and past experiences. Because what brings us together, notwithstanding geographies, professions and cultural backgrounds, is the fact that we all want the same thing: somebody to love, date, and eventually, marry.
Words by Team Sirf Coffee