By Shireen Jamooji
In March 2020, Angana had all but given up on online dating. The Bengaluru, India-based content specialist had matched with a few people on various apps, but nothing stuck, and after each date she found herself in a cycle of delete, reinstall, delete, reinstall. Encouraged by the success stories of her friends who’d found their perfect match on Bumble, she decided to give it one last shot.
Financier Vitthal, on the other hand, was new to Bumble. He had reservations about online dating, having always been disappointed in the past, but he felt like joining Bumble would offer an opportunity to make a deeper connection. Angana’s bright smile and witty bio caught his eye, and he swiped right. She in turn noted their shared interests (a love of sunny beach holidays and beer) and decided it was worth swiping right in return.
Not one for elaborate pick-up lines, Angana’s standard opener was to address people by their name and see whether they would respond with the same courtesy. A simple, ‘Hi Vitthal,’ was her icebreaker. “Most people don’t tend to observe conversational niceties on dating apps,” she says. “So when he wrote back ‘Hi Angana, how are you?’ I was pleasantly surprised. It showed that he cared enough to type a whole sentence!” From that moment, they clicked and found themselves chatting effortlessly about their lives, work, and hobbies, finding they had similar interests. “The 2B’s and 1D,” as Angana describes it, “The beach, beer, and dogs!” Often they would send each other identical replies and laugh at how in-sync their thoughts were.
Even though they lived on opposite ends of the city and Vitthal worked six days a week, he was adamant that they could find a time to meet. So on a Saturday evening, four days after they connected on Bumble, Vitthal managed to escape from work early and—because they’d talked about their shared love of craft beer—they met at a local brewery. The anticipated first date awkwardness vanished in a heartbeat when they realized they had unintentionally arrived in matching outfits. “We were both wearing black shirts and blue jeans,” laughs Angana. It seemed like a sign. They had another in-sync moment when their beers seemingly arrived in wine glasses. They shared a look, and in unison said to the waiter, ‘I don’t think this is what I ordered?’ (It was what they’d ordered, just in a stemmed glass.)
“There were so many times like that,” says Angana. “We just seem to always think and say the same things.” Two days later, in the middle of a casual conversation, Vitthal asked “girlfriend banegi meri?” (“Will you be my girlfriend?” in Hindi). Angana loved how comfortable and normal the question seemed, and there was no hesitation as she said, “Yes!”
While they were basking in the aftermath of this perfect meeting, the COVID-19 pandemic was on the horizon, and a week later, India went into its first lockdown. Both Angana and Vitthal were suddenly thrust into unfamiliar dating territory, one where going out became a thing of the past. For so many, this separation could have ended their connection, but for Angana and Vitthal, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “With work from home orders, we could suddenly meet any time we wanted, even during the week,” he says. “And that was great because I always wanted to spend more time with her!”
They passed the days indoors, working side by side, watching movies and TV shows, and slowly getting to know each other better. For both of them, the act of falling in love was a progressive one. “Love at first sight is overrated,” says Vitthal. “It was a collection of moments and the process of knowing her that made me fall in love with her.”
The situation took a turn when Angana broke her leg in an unfortunate accident and found herself unable to run errands in the middle of the lockdown. “I still shiver at the thought of being alone at that time since I didn’t have many friends in Bengaluru,” she says. Thankfully, Vitthal was there for her. He made sure that she had everything she needed, which included bringing her groceries and carrying huge, 20 liter water bottles up her stairs. He would make the long journey across the city as often as possible to keep her company. “Vitthal overcame all the possible challenges of distance, curfew, and everything else that COVID brought in,” Angana says. “He was my breath of fresh air during this pandemic.”
When they emerged from the lockdown, it was with a completely new rhythm: Over the course of the year they realized that they were meant to be together. “Vitthal is my friend first and a lover second,” says Angana. “I love and respect the effort that he always puts in to keep me happy and see me smiling.” They found an unprecedented level of compatibility in each other. From movies and music tastes to career goals and dreams of having a family, they were always on the same page. “I love how we have so many similarities,” says Vitthal. “Life is easier with like-minded people.”
Their time in lockdown gave them a taste of living together: the good, bad, and ugly parts. And even though they had only been dating a few months, there was no doubt in their minds that they were a perfect match. It was a regular afternoon for them, sitting together, chatting and eating junk food when Vitthal decided to seal the deal. His proposal came with a dose of laughter and a throwback to how they first started dating as he asked, “shaadi karegi mujhse?” (which roughly translates to, “wanna get hitched?”). “I loved the surety of the question, and that he asked in the most comfortable circumstance,” says Angana. And just like the first time, she had no doubt about accepting his offer.
All set to start their new life together, in February 2021 Angana and Vitthal had a small temple wedding with family and friends. Their wedding hashtag #FromBumbleToTemple was a simple summation of their whirlwind romance and the unexpected meeting of soulmates. For them, the future is full of potential. “I’m looking forward to new adventures, new experiences, and enjoying every moment we spend together,” says Vitthal. Reflecting on their journey, he adds, “Angana was my first, last, and best date from Bumble.”