Why some couples can’t admit how they met

Garima and Kumar at their weddingImage copyright

Young people in India have traditionally had their marriages arranged by their families but now, armed with smartphones and dating apps, some are taking control of their own love lives. Simon Maybin spoke to three couples who met online.

Two pairs of eyes meet surreptitiously, then flit away from each other, their owners hoping no-one has noticed. No Bollywood love song plays – in this real-life romance, the only soundtrack is the unmistakable clackety-clack of a train beetling across eastern India.

The eyes belong to 22-year-old Varsha and Rahul who is 27.

“I was returning from one of my aunt’s homes,” says Varsha with an irrepressible smile. “His granny was there so we started talking about our families and I don’t know what happened but I got interested in him.”

She spoke to Rahul’s grandmother, but not to him. And he didn’t speak to her.

“I didn’t dare talk to her,” says Rahul. “Her mother was there and her brother was also there.”

In India, many would consider it inappropriate for strangers of the opposite sex to talk to each other. But these days, there’s more than one way to start a conversation.

“I thought that he was a good man and wanted to be friends with him, so I started searching for him on Facebook,” says Varsha. She didn’t even know Rahul’s name, but she knew where he worked and his sister’s name, and that was enough to track him down.

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