The profile of the ‘dancing yogi’ on a matrimonial website reads: ‘33-year-old single slender Indian male, brown eyes and black hair, on a spiritual path and a raw food diet. Looking for someone who adores nature, is disenchanted by the illusion of western style progress and development and wants out! Looking for someone who does not eat meat, fish, poultry, or eggs; does not smoke, use drugs, or take vitamin supplements’.
The ‘dancing yogi’ in search of love is Mumbai-based ballroom/Latin dancing teacher and software professional Vishal Jaiswal and his profile is posted on www.greensingles.com, a website that offers ‘progressive singles in the environmental, vegetarian and animal rights community’ the chance to meet and date. Think an eco-conscious shaadi.com.
The website defines green singles as those ‘who share an interest in green living, live in a small town or big city, and have trouble meeting people because of your special interests and beliefs.’ Jaiswal abhors technology, junk food and the urban lifestyle — he hasn’t watched television for a decade and can stomach only unprocessed and organic produce. Three years ago, he almost found a partner through shaadi.com. But she backed off, admitting she couldn’t live up to his disciplined life and rigid eating habits. Now he says with a wry smile, “I have realised I cannot force my extreme way of life on someone else.”
Mumbai-based Vinod Sreedhar, 34, a social entrepreneur, also plans to live on his own farm and de-school his children. Currently in a relationship, Sreedhar knows only too well how “lonely it can get” for people like him.
While friends and relationships are not hard to come by, Sreedhar says he knows why not a single marriage proposal has come his way from his community. “They know that I’m not someone with a ‘regular career’ who will live in the city, buy his own house and car, and send his children to school and college,” he says.
Meanwhile, 30-year-old Meghna Raj, who runs a health café in Mumbai, has no such expectations except that her partner should respect her beliefs. Raj, who turned vegan (zero consumption of dairy products) over a year ago, was open to an arranged marriage until a few sour experiences.
“I met a UK-based man, who expected me to share non-vegetarian meals with him, despite knowing that I am a vegetarian! ” recalls Raj. No wonder then that it all began and ended with a five-minute conversation. Another suitor joked, “I’ve heard you love cows. I love cows too, but on my plate!”
Raj, who switched to an organic lifestyle four years ago, signed up on the website only to receive responses from “over-50, overweight, balding men.” But her true friends have stuck by her through all of it, she says.
“You can’t be too judgmental and preachy with those who don’t follow your way of life,” she says. The way she looks at it: “The universe is a buffet, and I prefer to eat a salad.”