Finally, a confirmation that the world is not only about young things. Ahmedabad may have its prohibition laws, but nothing has stopped 62-year-old Natubhai Patel from coming up with something rather wild. At some point, the former statistician realised that there are many senior citizens who are lonely and may be on the look-out for a partner. So (yet another enterprising) Mr Patel organised India’s first live-in camp for men and women in their 50s and 60s. No, this wasn’t a satsang; it was a speed dating venue that saw some 2,000 people applying.
By nature we are all speed daters. We may not actually end up dating the person across the table, but don’t most of us gauge the ‘other person’ by a very speedy first impression? A 2005 University of Pennsylvania study found that most people made their choices within the first three seconds of meeting. So Mr Patel was spot on when he thought that even at 60+ there is ample scope to choose partners at a 24-hour camp. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell’s book on split-second decision-making, we are told that what people say they want in an ideal mate doesn’t match their subconscious preferences. So in a quicker timeframe, chances are that who they say they want and who they actually want will be the same.
The good news is that some of the participants have managed to meet someone they like. But what is more heartwarming is the fact that some of the folks were brought to the camp by their children. Here’s to the brave men and women who went on Mr Patel’s speed date session. And to their fine children who realised that the best way to return the care their parents showed when they were growing up is to hook them up with someone nice when they’re old.