How to decide on a Partner in 5 days by Navina Anand

Despite what much of the western world thinks, arranged marriages even today make up 93% of marriages in India. While the idea of an arranged marriage may give some people the heebie jeebies, the reality is that it remains a very viable option for singles who are tired of serial dating or others who simply lack the skills or the inclination to woo the opposite sex :). But I am not here to debate the merits of a love match vs an arranged match. I am here to tell the young generation whose parents possibly found them a match on shaadi.com, the best way to find out if that person is a good fit for you in 5 days. As I experienced yet another Himalayan trek last week, this time with a brand-new set of friends, I realized that going on a trek is the best way to get to know a person at warp speed. 

Everybody is accustomed to creature comforts. That favourite pillow, blanket- the aircon at a comfortable 22C, hot water, clean toilets, refreshing showers, food of your choice etc. You need to leave behind all those things as you step on that mountain and accept whatever is available. You will soon find out how picky your partner is about food and every other creature comfort in their life 🙂

Living out of a backpack for a week is a lesson in organized living. You need to know where exactly you kept your essentials and be able to access them exactly when you want it. Are they able to whip out that rain jacket when the drizzle begins or are they constantly searching for that lip balm, sunscreen or hat?

When we are dating someone, we are on our best behaviour. We are polished, sophisticated, bright cheeked and starry eyed. On a trek, when you are cold, hungry, achy, dirty, disheveled and down to your last dregs of strength, your true self will surface. Are you someone who handles adversities and a little bit of a curve ball outside your comfort zone with grace or are you a whiny ass who might be a pain to live with?

It was minus 8 degrees Celsius that night and yet, the lure of watching a spectacular sunrise across the ‘sleeping buddha’ of the mighty Kanchenjunga made us all answer to the early morning wakeup call at 5am. We wriggled out of our warm sleeping bags, pulled on an extra jacket, wore our gloves and cap and stepped out bleary eyed from our tents on to the mountain top to witness the spectacle. It didn’t happen. The clouds had moved in causing a complete white out. It was disappointing indeed. Did your ‘could be’ partner handle it with cheer or throw a pity party for the rest of the morning about the unfortunate circumstance?

Finally, sitting under those clear unpolluted skies, looking at the stars at their brightest in awe, with no gadget to constantly ping you- the silence inside and outside makes you want to share your innermost thoughts. There on the mountains, the clarity in the air accentuates the clarity in your thoughts and you would be able to have the most amazing conversations. 

It is also certainly possible that both of you at the end of the trek may decide that this is the most stupid thing that you have ever done in your life and never want to do another trek again. That works too ! 🙂

So, if your parents uploaded your profile on shaadi.com and you have to figure out really quickly if you should say yes or no, go on a trek with that person for just 5 days. You would find out more than you could in a whole year of fancy dating 🙂

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