The Paradox of Choice
This month, our guest blogger Roopank Chaudhary, discusses why plenty of fish in the sea
isn’t always a good thing – especially when it comes to romance.
When I moved to Bombay in 2008, meeting single people, even in this maximum city, was a fairly arduous task. Of course if you had well connected, well-heeled, outgoing, social (and most importantly) single friends, it became easier. But for many of us whose larger circles had succumbed to conventional conquests early on and lived the happily married urban life, each weekend was a project that had to be planned 5 days in advance if you were looking for a date. Social life was tough for a single guy; but then, it was simple.
Sitting here in the same city almost a decade later today, finding a partner (let’s leave the soulmate bit for later) is pretty much like changing channels on your TV. In a world driven by the frenzy of technology where retailers are falling upon themselves to woo customers and where shopping for everything is characterized by a plethora of choice, can love be far behind? Yes, and perhaps, no.
If there was ever a time to be young and single, it is now. Anyone and their uncle (even married ones) can find a partner to date, hook up with, chill with, marry, make merry, and God knows whatever with considerable ease. There are social networks that will bring you together, tons of sites where you can swipe right, left, up or down, bespoke match makers who will customize dates for you, and in person clubs and events where will you find only singles – girls and guys in equal ratio (a far cry from the male dominated social scenes of our growing up ’90s). You can date whoever you want, however you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. Finding love should be easy. But only if you can make up your mind. And that’s never easy.
Shopping for goods, services, etc. has a finite use, and a finite time-frame. You will compare the prices and the features and the reviews and then take a call. Finding the one you love is a very different ball game. The lucky (evolved) few amongst us have the epiphany that she is the right one in true Karan Joharesque fashion. Most of us don’t. We keep rummaging through options and choices all around us because in the case of love, we believe someone better will come up next. And we don’t want to settle for second best, ever. So we date and dance and dither with aplomb, keeping our social calendars busy, the cash registers of matchmakers ringing and our lives a whirlwind of potential partners where we struggle to make the right choice. Because we don’t know which one is the right choice? Or because there is much too choice.
And as long as we can manage to either keep the signs of ageing away or get away with our age, we will keep trying to find the perfect match, because that’s what we are, mere mortals yet looking for perfection in everything we seek. We will make our lives complicated because when it was simple, we didn’t have much choice, and now we do. Will we find love? That remains to be seen.
A usual quip at any social event that I frequent is why I am still single at the age where most of my predictable peers are starting their second marriage or their second kid. They take a look at the mischievous twinkle in my eye and declare, it must be out of choice. I correct them and say, it’s because of the choice.
Roopank works for a global management consulting firm and is based in Mumbai. An avid reader of fiction, he follows Bollywood, loves cricket and takes out time to travel frequently. His collection of poems have been published in two anthologies and he is currently working on his first fiction book.