Rajesh Tuladhar, a 27-year-old pilot, had just come back to Nepal after studying and graduating from aviation school in China and the United States. Back in Nepal for good as an eligible bachelor, he was looking for a suitable girl.
After he had little success head-hunting, a friend suggested he get into the social app Tinder to look for Nepali girls in his vicinity. A week into browsing through profiles and searching, Tuladhar has shortlisted three young women with whom he has started chatting online separately, unbeknownst to each other. Slowly, he hopes to ask one out on a date.
“It was much easier for me to date and find girls in China than here in Nepal, even though we had a language barrier,” Tuladhar admits. “Even on Tinder, Nepali women are not very open and they are hard to approach.”
Tinder is a social dating app that lets people discover prospective mates in one's neck of the woods. Like a simple computer game, you just swipe left for people you don’t like and right for people you like. If you like a particular profile and that person likes you too, it’s a match and only then can you chat with the person. It’s difficult to fake because Tinder is linked to Facebook accounts.
Unlike shaadi.com or other traditional dating and matrimonial sites, Tinder is solely based on appearance and an interest between both parties. After causing a revolution in the Americas and even in neighboring India, Nepali Times set out to find what fellow online aficionados in Kathmandu felt about this app.
“I use the app to meet like-minded people. There is no such space here to meet people in Kathmandu,” said Nima Tashi.
“I’m in Bangkok currently and am using the app to meet people from Nepal before I arrive,” said Richie Job.
“I rarely use the app. It’s only when I’m drunk kind of thing. Lol,” wrote Rakesh Sharma.
Nepali girls' coyness online was a major concern among many men who have resorted to online dating, but there are still quite a surprising number of young women who keep their profiles active regularly.
For Sanna Gurung, a 22-year-old fashion blogger who lives by the Internet, online dating is a boon at this time when she wants to constantly meet people but also focus on her work.
“When I’m active on the site, it is not difficult to get a couple of dates in a week,” says Gurung for whom the Tinder experience is completely different between Nepali men and foreigners.
“I’ve gotten to know quite a few foreign men online because we don’t regularly hang out in the same places. As for the Nepali men you usually bump into on Friday nights, they just prefer to approach you online first before making a move,” says Gurung.
Tinder is becoming popular among young urban men and women in Nepal and with the expat and tourist community mainly in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Just as most of the 5.3 million Facebook accounts in Nepal are of men, Tinder is also dominated by men in the 18-45 age group.
For the more common Nepali soul, the Internet is now filled with numerous dating sites just for Nepalis like www.shubabibaha.com or www.Nepallove.com where one may question the legitimacy of the profiles, many of which say the young men are ‘currently based in a Gulf country’. The rising number of migrant workers and the spreading Nepali diaspora has led to a proliferation of online dating and matrimonial sites.
Now our young don’t have to wait for parents or peers to find them a match. The Net will do it for them, and making a profile on Tinder is a place to start.
Some names have been changed
There are 5.3 million Nepalis on Facebook, and the number is rising as more people buy smartphones with data plans. Many use the Facebook app on their phones to find a person they can have a relationship with. After months of on and off chatting via Facebook, Kumar and Bandana Acharya finally tied the knot last year. Kumar first approached her on Facebook via a mutual friend who also happened to be Kumar’s cousin. This made things easier to begin conversations between the two and extended to become a marriage made in Facebook. With features like tagging friends and knowing each other’s mutual friends, the social network has now become a hotspot for future couples.
When NepalMatrimony.com first began in 2003, it was a pioneer in the field for online matchmaking. Now with easier Internet access, both the number of matrimonial sites and users have boomed. Most of these sites charge a fee to keep check of fake profiles and are heavily altered to fit the needs and demands of a prospective Nepali bride/groom. The search engines are driven to find your perfect match from the district you want right down to the desired caste. Moreover, these days you can also search for Nepalis based in foreign countries. Milan and Rhitika Adhikari were two such lovebirds who discovered each other’s profiles via www.shubabibaha.com when in New York. After a brief meet, sparks flew, parents agreed, and now the two are happily married. To each other.
Marriages made in Facebook
Love in the time of Facebook