Dating Games in ‘The Game Of Thrones’

Disclaimer : This is my own personal account of Dating instances in The Game of Thrones series. This is not to belittle men/ women/ persons from the LGBTQ community. Most importantly this is not to disappoint or hurt any of the fans. This is just my own independent interpretation of the characters’ success/ failure in the Dating domain. Who won and how, who lost and why.

When I say Dating instances it could also mean a successful relationship for a short time or for a life time. It could also just mean a romantic moment between two characters.

  1. FOMO – Fear of missing out:

Arya Stark & Gendry

This is in the most recent memory of all the viewers, so I would like to start with this. FOMO is a great strategy which works more when women use it but when men use it, they may be perceived as someone with low confidence levels or self respect, but you never know. Arya Stark uses this strategy at the right time and succeeds too. This is also to be noted that true to her age, this is a common strategy among present day teenagers (18+ of course) to get what they want not just in the dating domain but in other domains too.

Bottom Line? FOMO is IN!

2. Too hot to be Single and Yet Single:

Podrick Payne, although he worked initially for Tyrion Lannister, I am not sure if he had picked up some inspiration from Tyrion in terms of performance. But he seems to be the most celebrated among women (sex workers). This makes him super hot and yet he doesn’t meet someone special through the series. This trait is quite common in everyday life. Men who are sought after for their performance rarely realize that they are sought after. Maybe, it is this ignorance that keeps them detached. Maybe Podrick was able to keep himself occupied in the service of his masters.

Tyene Sand, One of the 3 sisters who knows she is the hottest and yet she doesn’t fall for any man. This could be because she was on a mission for revenge. However that doesn’t stop her from teasing men (even an enemy) every now and then with her hotness. She teaches us that beauty can be the most lethal weapon.

Bottom Line? Its cool to be famous for being Hot!

3. Arrogant Men – one succeeds and one doesn’t:

Khal Drogo vs. Joffery

Two men start off by pissing off the women they wish to pursue. While Khal Drogo forces Daenerys into a physical relationship through his sheer intimidation and personality, Joffrey throws the crown prince card on both Sansa and Margery but is unable to make an impact even after becoming a King. This shows that although men maybe initially rude and thorny, the woman may choose to bear it provided they prove they are worthy of their rudeness. Also when the time comes Khal Drogo saves his Khaleesi by taking her side and is also ecstatic about the arrival of his son. Joffrey on the other hand can’t even wield a sword properly and keeps scaring his ladies with inhuman scenery and punishment to innocent subjects, clearly showing us the reason why he never won the love of his ladies

Bottom Line? Don’t start a fight that you cannot win.

Joffrey and Margery

4. Brats who earn respect eventually:

Tyrion Vs. Theon

Two brats. Both underdogs. Both insulted by their respective fathers. Both are famous for their manhood. While Tyrion falls for Shae and learns the lesson hard way, Theon who molests initially his own sister (not realizing that it was his sister), goes on from a proud man to a slave who eventually loses his manhood through various turn of events.

Tyrion tries to forget his unfaithful girlfriend by getting busy in the affairs of Kings Landing. He also treats his wife with great respect even though he is forced into the marriage. That’s how he earns the respect of Sansa. Theon reconciles with his own fears and fights back for his foster family – the Starks.

Bottom Line? Don’t be a Brat if you want to win the heart of the person you pursue.

5. Stockholm Syndrome – You know nothing Jon Snow:

Jon Snow & Ygritte

This is a classic case of the punisher falling in love with the prisoner. If you look as innocent as Jon Snow when you get captured, then victim act can win you a cool person like Ygritte. Since this was first observed in Stockholm, this pattern is named after it.

Bottom Line? Stockholm Syndrome may win you affection but it won’t last because the truth and reality catches up.

6. Unrelenting Pursuit will always turn the woman off:

Brienne of Tarth & Tormund

This Tormund reminds me of every bollywood protagonist who constantly pursues his girl to the point where the girl gets embarrassed publicly a number of times and eventually falls for him. Whether such a thing happens to Tormund is yet to be known but I strongly feel it wont happen. Especially a woman of honour like Brienne would never fall for this nonsense.

Bottom Line? Don’t pursue if you get no attention. Go home.

7. Non-materialistic Love:

Grey worm & Missandei

Grey worm, as we all know, is part of the unsallied army. The manhood of these unsallied men are chopped off when they are young so that they grow up to become strong warriors and can fight with more energy than normal men. This actually frees up a man’s mind away from the thoughts about how to impress a woman. However we still see the impossible turn of events where Grey worm falls for Missandei and she falls for him too. This is a very rare form of affection.

Bottom Line? Relationship is not just about physical satisfaction.

8. Damsel in Distress matched Innocence:

Gilly & Samwell Tarly

Gilly has lived all her life in a damn shady place. Sam gets appalled looking at these circumstances. His innocent heart starts feeling for the damsel in distress. She acknowledges his innocent love towards her.

Bottom Line? Damsel in distress makes a man act. A man’s innocence strikes a permanent impression on a woman’s heart.

9. The womanizer:

Little Finger & Catelyn Stark ; Lysa Arryn; Sansa Stark

This is what villains are made of. They will never truly fall in love for a woman but they trap the most loyal and most innocent of women. These women will never find out whether that man loved them/ still loves them. Unfortunately this is a big hook and these women repeatedly commit the same mistake of trusting such men.

Bottom Line? Never trust the person who don’t express their feelings openly towards you, even while in private.

10. Leadership Traits:

Robb Stark & Talisa Stark

The King of the North! Robb Stark carries that vibe and confidence in his body language. This does a great deal in winning friends and life partner too.

Bottom Line? Leadership qualities have been a great attraction since cavemen days.

11. Partners in crime:

Cersei & Jamie

The thing about winning love by being partners in crime is that it stops abruptly once the crime is not as exciting as it used to be or when one of the partners suddenly grow a conscience and protest from committing that crime anymore. Also you should be game to every crime and cannot choose to opt out of one crime and still want to partner in another crime.

Bottom Line? Be a partner, but not in crime.

12. Sometimes you have to earn the right:

Cersei & Euron Greyjoy

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Sometimes you may win the affection in 2 weeks. Sometimes you may need to steal an army to impress the woman you love. If you have the patience and determination, you will get rewarded ultimately.

Bottom Line? Male species build nests/ homes first before they earn the right to spend time with their lover.

13. Puppy Love which ultimately turns lethal:

Margaery & Tommen

Puppy Love remains a vivid memory of the past for those who grow up. But those who don’t want to grow up from the puppy love or listen to advise get terminated. Trust me, the human mind keeps learning and evolving. I don’t even like the genre of songs I used to listen to a few years ago. Seek ‘grown up’ love. Puppy love nurturers will only face disappointment from their partners either in the form of rejection or not being up to their expectations upon becoming life partners.

Bottom Line? Puppies are not cute forever. Puppy love also falls in the same category okay.

14. The Polys:

Being a poly attracts a person who is a poly and the only way to retain such a person is to continue being a poly and letting the other person be a poly too. Phew, I think that’s self explanatory!

Bottom Line? It’s Poly. No rules. No lines.

15. The most loyal Romeos:

Daario vs Daenerys vs Jorah

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This is easy. Both these gentlemen love Khaleesi and express the same to her in a very straight forward way. She will never accept their affection because they have gone out of the way and bent backwards to display their affection for Khaleesi. Haven’t these men heard of something called a Spine?

Bottom Line? Its okay to display extreme loyalty to your friends but when the same is done in the dating universe be ready to get Friend-zoned.

16. The career move:

Melisandre & Stannis

Quid pro quo is a tricky thing. The Red woman wanted immortality and Stannis wanted to be the ruler of the seven kingdoms. Its a huge career move. One wrong move and it fizzles off and may end up in a bloody mess.

Bottom Line? Don’t mix business with pleasure.

17. The Loyal Bond:

Ned Stark & Lady Stark

Whenever there is an irreversible situation/ decision made keeping overall reputation and peace in mind, the most loyal partners never discuss anything until both of them are comfortable. This may take years but it does not impact their everyday life. They continue to live together and show no distrust towards each other.

Bottom Line? When in doubt, trust the partner and keep quiet till the other person admits to something. Don’t start enquiring about their ex’s or one night stands.

18. The Typical Devadas:

Robert Baratheon for Lyanna Stark

Like Devadas (a fictional Indian character), Robert loses his entire kingdom, his life, his mind and drowns himself in alcohol over his lost love Lyanna Stark!

Bottom Line? When faced with failure in Love, remember not to become like Robert! Also how would Jon Snow have been born if Lyanna chose Robert over Rhaegar Targaryen, huh?

— Varun Gowtham Mannava

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How to win the Online Dating game! Chapter:1 – Tinder

How to win the Online Dating Game?
Before we get to the part of how to win the online dating game, let’s take a look at the available options.

Chapter 1 : Tinder
Launched in September 2012, this app became not just the most used but also the most notorious app in the Indian online dating market. ‘Most used’ because the smartphone usage was increasing in India during that time. ‘Most notorious’ because youngsters and middle aged people alike used to come up with unbelievable stories on one night stands (some could have been true too). So much so that while I was hosting a speed dating even in Hyderabad in 2017, I came up with an open mic session for the participants. One of the participants, Anitha (name changed), openly shared her Tinder experience. Apparently, she was in Kochi and wanted to hang out with a like-minded person for the evening. She saw a few profiles and liked them. One of the likes instantly converted into a match. 

For those who are wondering how this converting into a match happened I need to explain how Tinder works. You download and install the app, then login with your facebook id (some of them may not use their facebook id because that may reveal their real age, so they create a new login separately), then you set your preferences about who you are interested in (men/ women), location, age etc. That’s it. A heap-load of profiles then get uploaded on your tinder screen. If you swipe right on a profile that means you like that person. If you swipe left that means you don’t like that person. Youngsters went crazy with the ease of use of this app. However with great ease comes great complications too. What if you liked a profile that was fake? I mean literally a man posing as a woman to get your bank account details. Ha! Yes, there were unlimited cases of cheating too but no one bitches about them because they would be embarrassed by social media patrol folks firstly for installing Tinder. Yes, all sanskaari janta would never be on Tinder at all. At least they claim that they never heard of Tinder. You would also come across funny profiles who put their wedding pics as profile pictures on Tinder. Or those pictures with their kids! They would also put a line on their profile description saying “Not here for hookups! Swipe left if you are here for hookups.” Wow now whether I swipe right or left that is not under their control no? But what is under their control is that they can resist the urge to be present in such an app that got infamous for hookups. But nope, they don’t want that FOMO (fear of missing out).

Alright now getting back to the open mic story. So Anitha matches with a guy on Tinder and she receives a message from this guy within a few minutes of matching. Now she starts chatting and agrees to meet the guy. The guy picks her up in his car and she suggests they go for a long drive. Wow! It strikes quite late down the highway to Anitha on whether she is doing the right thing. She is with a stranger in a new city and she herself suggests going on a long drive. She gets all panicky but does not reveal it. She projects as if she is enjoying the long drive. Thankfully for her she is safe and nothing happened to her that she would later regret.

If you are a girl and you are on Tinder you also used to get labelled as easy going and culture less. Thanks to several online campaigns about respecting womens space this label is slowing fading away. But women still have to deal with this and need to be very assertive whenever their match tries to label them or take them for granted.

How to get matches on Tinder?
If you are a woman, first decide why you are on Tinder. Also understand that you will get all kinds of matches even if you write “Not here for hookups” on your profile description. You may decide to put up colorful pictures, pictures with pets, nature pics etc on your profile. But don’t try to deceive men by posting pictures where you may look completely different from how you actually look. Own your pic, be proud of your face, your body, your complexion. 

Another distinct mistake that women tend to make is they would never post any real pic. This is a big turn off too. They would post a flower pic or a pic of not so popular bollywood actress. These never work. If you don’t want to reveal how you look then whats the point of being on Tinder. You can’t hide from the reality for long anyways.

Another pattern that women tend to follow is they post pictures with their best girl. Every basic profile has an option to post 5 to 6 pics and these women would post all 5 to 6 pics with their friends. It could be because they feel inferior about their looks. But they need to understand that unless they feel convinced of what they are doing they should not be on this app in the first place.

If you are a man, the foremost advice would be to not to look like a caveman on the profile pictures. Be patient and upload your best pics. Again no deceiving by putting up your cute childhood pics. Imagine you were lean in teens and have put on more-than-average weight as you aged into your late 20’s or early 30’s you should still put out your latest pics. Who do you want your matches to meet, your present or your past?

You may decide to put up adventure pics, pics with pets, workout pics or party pics to reveal your personality. Don’t upload pics that may project you as looking wasted. 

Men and Women, please ensure correct grammar in the description you write about yourself. If you don’t know or don’t like English, use a regional keyboard and express yourself in the language you know. This is far better than writing incorrect sentences in your description. Its a big turn off too. 

Try being honest about what you do and what you like. Some women tend to post some philosophical posts or threatening posts (for example, ‘I am an angel for those who love me but a devil to those who hate me”). LOL! Genius. Don’t post such descriptions. Write about your passion, your general outlook on relationships and especially what kind of a person you are looking to match with.

The economics of Tinder:

Tinder Free version
Tinder has a free version where men depend on pure luck (serendipity to be more precise) to convert matches they liked. Usually they end up with matches they would have swiped right but may not have paid much attention to or were not so excited about. This could be a ploy by Tinder too. They would push you to the edge of desperation by sending you daily notifications saying “A lot of women have shown interest in your profile, open your Tinder app now and start swiping”. You would then open the app only to find out after 10 mins of swiping right that nobody was interested in you.

The free app also restricts you from extending your location beyond a certain distance (maybe 25-50 kms?). This means you can only explore your locality mostly.
The free app restricts the number of profiles you can like. Maybe after swiping right for 30 – 40 profiles in a day you would run out of the threshold. You have to pay tinder to buy more chances to swipe right.

Tinder Gold
This paid version charges around INR 500 to 600 per month (or maybe lesser now) if you are young (i.e in your 20’s). If you are in your 30’s, then the app will charge you double that amount. And if you are a man and in your 30’s or above, the app would charge you triple that amount.

There are quite a few benefits of Tinder Gold if you get past the affordability part. 
You get to explore people in a completely different location (another city). This gives you more choices to explore. You would also get to see upfront as to who liked your profile. This means you can control your own serendipity!

Happy Tindering folks!

-Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Client Feedback on my Dating Workshop

“I can speak to a CEO of a firm easily but when it comes to speaking to a beautiful woman, I freeze! Your workshop helped me overcome that” – Dhrimeet

When I started my “Dating Tips by Date Doctor” workshop back in April 2018 I did believe this day would come but never thought it would come this soon and with such impact. The name for this workshop was suggested by elder brother Gautham Mannava (an upcoming director in Telugu movie industry), who in turn wanted to articulate the exact meaning of my workshop to the layman.

Although initially I thought that my workshop would be a quantity dominated activity, in due course I would realize that it wasn’t. I was disappointed with the number of participants (usually 1 participant per workshop in a month). It was only when Dhrimeet attended my workshop that I started realizing that I am into the Quality game.

All it takes is one client to succeed. And boy he is having a dream run. So much so that he says “I am visiting Mumbai for business meetings, I also have 4 – 5 dates lined up after that.” He smiles as he reveals this.

Till the age of 30 he probably never dated anyone, he never felt the need to. But when he did feel the need, he attended my workshop. He is quite clear about his priorities now, after he started experiencing this windfall in terms of dates not just with Indians but also foreigners who visit India for work or leisure.

He took some of his own initiatives apart from my workshop advice. He avoids all activities that waste his time. He is off Netflix, Amazon Prime, TV etc. He only focuses on his work, reading and dating!

“The best advice I took away was never to be struck down just because one person said no to you, approach it with neutrality, like Lord Buddha. That’s what helped me approach dating without the fear of losing / rejection. Also when someone stood me up or canceled a date in advance I didn’t bother at all” – Dhrimeet

I was very proud and happy for him. This feedback definitely takes my mission miles ahead in one go. When you pay for something and it does not work in your favor, you would always get back with your negative feedback. But if something is working then you would just go with the flow and would forget to acknowledge. 
Dhrimeet chose to acknowledge and thank. And that has made all the difference for me and my mission.

Its time to stir up this world!

Dhrimeet is the co-founder at Xfinia Global Wealth Management.

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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90 minutes at “The Hindu” office

When I reached Hyderabad in 2006, I was a young chap with raging adrenalin. Although the adrenalin was focused on only one thing – ‘Making money and supporting my family’. When I got through to a financial services company in Hyderabad, I was in Chennai. I clearly remember calling my father and telling him “Nanagaru (dad in telugu), I got through!” .  He was so proud!

I can still vividly remember that out of 200 odd students who applied for the the company only 4 got through. I was one among them. We became superstars instantly. That’s what the company hiring logo said, “We hire Superstars!”.  Some of the students (especially girls) who hardly spoke to me in 3 years suddenly were interested in whether I am taking the job or no? I would just nod and smile.

In May 2006, when I reached my office in Hyderabad (G. Pulla Reddy building, Begumpet), I couldn’t help but notice “The Hindu” office located right next to my current office. Flashes of me waking up early in the morning  in Tambaram, Chennai, to gather newspapers around 5 am and eventually deliver them as a make-shift newspaper boy flashed right in front of my eyes. I delivered newspapers between 2002 and 2003 so that my family could come out of a bad financial patch, even my father did. The day when I saw that my office was right next to The Hindu office, I made up my mind that some day I would visit this office for a unique reason.

Fast forward 12 years >>

August-2018 : I receive an email from the features reporter who is interested in covering my article as a Dating Coach. I see 4 questions and I answered them through email so that when I meet the features reporter in person, it would save time for both of us.

I was asked to reach The Hindu office in Hyderabad at 5 pm on a Friday. I reached the office at sharp 5 pm, wrote down my details at the security register. Once I entered, I got to know that my reporter was held up in a meeting and that I need to wait for 15 minutes at the reception.

I sat at the reception reading a weekend edition that educated me about volcanoes in the Antarctic! I was amazed that there are volcanoes even in Antarctic. After 15 minutes, I got the call from the reporter and she asked me to come up to the 2nd floor. I went and met her. She started off saying “I do not belong to your generation, so tell me everything in detail. What you do as a dating coach, how it all started?”

We were supposed to wrap it up in 15 minutes, however we spoke for 90 minutes! During the conversation I mentioned how my Paternal grandfather always wanted to see his grandchildren’s photo in The Hindu newspaper, for merit reasons obviously (say if I were to top the Tenth grade at state level).

When it was time for me to leave, the reporter asked where does my grandfather stay. I told her he passed away 2 years ago. To which she responded, I think you would still make him proud!

5 days later my article was out in the metroplus along with my photo.

This one is for you Tatagaru (Grandfather in Telugu)!

–Varun Gowtham Mannava



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Love in a UBER Pool

               We met in a Uber Pool

                I instantly lost my cool

I live in Somajiguda
You live in Panjagutta
We both had to reach Kothaguda
You scolded the cab driver
For picking you up late
He put the blame in turn on me
For a second you hesitated
Then you showered angry looks at me
Although I looked calm on the outside
My heart was racing like a horse
For my eyes hadn’t seen a woman
So beautiful even while angry
We met in a Uber Pool
I instantly lost my cool
Midway you got a call
You argued with your friend for being late
Scolding me again for the delay
Even though the ride was for 40 mins
It felt like a lifetime
God, how I wished
There were more traffic jams
Along our way just so that
I could sit beside you for more time
Our paths were different
Our origins were different
But Destiny brought you to me in this cab
Because at this moment
No one can take you away from me
Except the destination
And finally the destination did come
You realized you didn’t have cash
You had to kill your ego
And asked me for help
I obliged instantly but
Denied taking money back from you
But you wouldn’t take any favor from strangers
Then came the question I had been waiting for a lifetime
“Can I have your number?”
I gave you my number
You gave me a missed call
And asked me to store your number
You said you would return the money over the weekend
And I said maybe we could meet in a coffee shop?
You were still angry with me
But you gave away a smile at the corner of your lips
You didn’t answer my question
But I know it was a yes !!
We met in a Uber Pool
I instantly lost my cool
— Varun Mannava
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How NOT to be in a Relationship!

Alright, we have heard all the gyan (knowledge) from internet on how to be in a relationship. But what they don’t tell you is how not to be in a relationship.

Relationship is a domain that is fast changing. Everyone would have gained their basic knowledge about relationship from their parents or friends or movies. However, what we fail to admit is that we are no longer part of our parent’s relationship era or that we are not as lucky as our friends or that its never as cliche as it happens in movies. So what makes it so difficult or easy to be in a relationship in 2018’s?

Today, most of us are not aware of what we truly want. Let’s agree on this. We want to be in a relationship just because our friends or acquaintances or colleagues keep pestering us from time to time saying “How come you are single?” Even if we tell them a convincing answer they refuse to accept it. So let’s all accept it. No one wants to be single these days. Especially in this “Tinder Era”. As a matter of fact, relationship in 90s had a completely different definition compared to the definition in 2017s or 2018s.

We have single people, we have “divorcees”, we have “widows/ widowers”, we have “single but just broken up from a relationship yet unable to forget their ex”, we have “married, father/ mother of two but unhappy with the marriage”, we have “married yet want to explore/ swap”, we have “it’s complicated” kind of reasons. Everyone in the above category including the “genuinely single” person is looking for a partner, mind you! Maybe not a faithful partner, not a loyal lifetime partner, just a partner. Add to this a few alcoholic drinks and you have everyone in the pub hitting on every hot girl, whether the girl is single or no!

What is the kind of precedence we are setting for our future generation? We are 10x confused with what we want. Our future generation would be 100x confused. Their future generation would be 1000x more confused and so on. We may not live long enough to laugh at the relationship standards 30 years down the line. Just like our grand-moms and grand-dads!

What is the solution to all this? Does this need a solution?

If we do need a solution, then the most logical solution (according to me) is to have a clear mindset and understand not to run behind every open window of opportunity we get, no matter how lucrative that opportunity is. Although it might give us pleasure for the initial few weeks/ months, it is bound to turn ugly. When I say ugly it’s just a mild interpretation. Ugly can get really, really ugly. For instance, I recently read a news article, where a senior manager of a reputed wall street bank had an affair with his own team mate and did not allow her to get married and at the same time he could not get married too! What is this world we live in?

Is it really so difficult to find the partner of our dreams? Is the partner of dreams so overrated?

In such an era, how does one find a loyal, accommadative partner?

Know Thyself!

Only if you are 100% sure of what you want, you would not be so unsure and casual about what you get during your exploration. Let’s say you are looking for Gold all your life, and when you dig the earth you find copper. Just because Gold is hard to get and Copper also glitters and that you know “All that glitters is not Gold”, why would you still settle for Copper. Keep digging for your Gold, until you get it.

In order to dig for Gold, you first need to be very clear as to why you need only Gold and not anything else. If you are clear then nothing or no one can stop you from discovering your ideal partner (Gold)! Not even The Universe!

Go for Gold folks!

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Socializing through Bachata

Everyone who knew me back in 2010s knew me as a reserve, shy, “stick to work” conversation kind of a person. In 2013 I moved to Gurgaon and it transformed me. I had developed a knack for approaching strangers and engaging in a successful conversation with them. Most of them are my friends now. However this transformation was not just a few weeks affair. It took a lot of repeat visits to party places in Gurgaon, making friends with bar tenders & pub managers initially. Then forming my own wolf pack to feel more confident in approaching strangers (with the right mindset of course). This took 2 to 3 years. That is when one of my mentor cum good friend suggested I write a book on how to befriend strangers (opposite gender that is) in a social setup like pubs. I grabbed on to the idea. My aim was to help singles. I took up the challenge and self-published my first book in 2016. It did help a few singles in my immediate circle and some random readers too. I was happy.

In 2017 I moved to Hyderabad and the parties were not so happening anymore in hyderabadi pubs. I thought my days of making friends and helping fellow singles was over. But still I wanted to keep at it and do something for singles especially from a ‘dating coach’ point of view. I woke up one day thinking I can host speed dating events like the one that happens in the movie “Hitch”! All I had to do was to share this idea with my good friend and team mate (Denis). That’s it. He knew some of his contacts who were already conducting such events in Delhi/Bengaluru. I called them up and they readily agreed to let me host their speed dating events in Hyderabad. In July we started our first speed dating event in Hyderabad! I self-published my 2nd book that dealt more with the ideal mindset needed to approach a stranger. After hosting 8 events in 7 months, I felt I did my bit to make singles meet their ideal partner. It was promising but not as effective as I had envisioned.

The reason why I am telling you all this is that one need not go through the hardships I had gone through to find an ideal partner or make eligible singles find their ideal partner.

Bachata is all you need. No speed dating! No pub hopping!

If conversation starters are the key to breaking the ice, Bachata classes offer you loads of such conversation starters. Its not just that, there are loads of lighter moments that makes the entire class laugh. There are moments when you admire a fellow dancer but you need not just stop at admiring your fellow dancer, you can go and ask them to dance with you too! At this point however you need to follow the protocol of not making physical or unwanted advances. You are getting a lot of time to interact is what I am trying to convey. If not through your good dressing sense or dancing skills, through your casual interactions during the Bachata sessions if you are able to make an impression, voila, your first date is ON over the weekend! But you also need to remember, not everyone in the class might be single!

I regret I had not known about this earlier. I regret not learning an intimate dance form earlier too because although I am a good dancer on my own, I tend to freak out when it comes to dancing in pairs. But not anymore! Better late than never.

Cheers to Bachata.


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Striking similarity between Dark Knight & Federer

“But he didn’t do anything wrong!… ”

“Because he is the hero that Gotham Deserves, but not the one it needs right now, so we will hunt him, because he can take it, because he is not our hero…

He is the silent guardian, a watchful protector, A DARK KNIGHT!”

Now replace Gotham with Tennis and Bruce Wayne with Federer. Both super rich, both brat turned gentlemen, both faithful to their parents, both one woman men, both compassionate towards charity, both fighting against ‘Time’ over and over again.

Consider the time when Federer was in exile from Mid 2012 to 2016. He had not won a single grand slam. The critics would chase him. Write down articles on why he should stop playing. Because he was not the hero that Tennis needed back then. Murray and Djokovic graduated to their prime form. They were taking the tennis legacy to newer heights with occasional help from Nadal. They even hunted Federer down whenever they would come face to face with him. He endured it.

However Federer will script his comeback because he is the hero that tennis deserves, for when the prime players in the Big 4 were bed ridden/ injury struck, he took it as his duty to bounce back in 2017 like the dark knight in his bat mobile after 7 years of exile when Bane’s men take over the stock exchange.

Because the current generation of tennis players could not match the level at which the Big 4 were playing, which would in turn put off the expectations of tennis fans world wide, the Dark Knight of Tennis rose to the occasion and took it upon himself to save it from losing popularity. He is still giving the likes of Dimitrov, Zverev, Thiem, Kyrgios  more ‘Time’ to catch up to the Big 4 league and carry forward the beautiful yet physically daunting legacy of Tennis. Because he is the guardian, watchful protector of  tennis legacy.

He can gift the next generation more ‘Time’ because he has conquered it by becoming the oldest #1 in ATP ranking history! He is no less than a superhero in flesh and blood.

–Varun Mannava




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Maha Kavi Bharatiyar once sang “Jaadhigal illayadi paapa”. This meant that “There are no castes, listen oh little child”. He tried to make the next generation free of discrimination based on caste. His intention behind addressing it to a little child also meant that even a child can understand there is no discrimination, why cant we Indians understand this. He awakened a lot of people through his contemporary and path breaking ideas. However we still have this devil amongst us.

What is the solution, I ask. Oh Spirit of Bharati, tell me what the remedy is?

The Spirit of Bharati whispered in my ears

“Caste is very much present! Caste there in the pulse and nerves of all Indians. Caste gives them pride. Caste system is necessary. Caste System cannot be killed.”

I was surprised to hear this.

The Spirit of Bharati goes on and says,

“Listen to what I am saying carefully. Caste exists. All castes exist. They all exist in me. I am a Sudra, I am a Vysya, I am a Brahmin, I am a Kshatriya. All castes are me. I am all castes.”

I was slightly confused.

The Spirit of Bharati further explains,

“When I serve my fellow Indians, I am a Sudra! 

When I make money for my family, I am a Vysya!

When I spread knowledge or chant the God’s name, I am a Brahmin!

When I defend the powerless I am a Kshatriya.”

And so said the Spirit of Bharati,

“I am all Indians, All Indians are me! I am all Castes, All castes are me!”

–Varun Mannava




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LIVIN’ – Tamil Web series

To tell you the truth, I had no idea what this series was about. I also had my doubts if I would sustain till the final episode of season 1 of LIVIN’.

The series has a feel-good vibe throughout all its 13 episodes. It starts on a very funny, casual yet ambitious and jolly note and slowly turns towards realistic and hard reality kind of ending.

The city of Chennai and its culture is a silent character in this series. Chennai is constant witness to its citizens who are beginning to live in together, who are living as freeloaders, who have fallen in love with AI based app, who have grown old yet refuse to mature with time, who prefer walking home rather than a ride after dinner, who smoke-up bong in their balconies, who do fake poses for their pre-wedding photo-shoot, who want to explore true freedom but are bound by traditions and societal pressure.

Chennai accepts all of them with open heart.

Credit goes to the director-writer-creator – Prabhuram Vyas for choosing such a lovely premise and cast. There is a healthy mix of pride and satire on almost all topics. Take caste and racist feelings for instance. High IQ gyan on movies, books keeps flowing every now and then too!

Kanna Ravi initially seems like a boy next door with wooden looks but his acting skills get highlighted when things get realistic towards final episodes. Talented yet confused kinda look.

Amrutha Srinivasan is pretty comfortable doing her role. When she looks straight at the camera, you cant help but notice her mild squint eyes, cute! Beauty with brains kinda look.

Naveen George Thomas provides comic relief effortlessly. He evokes thoughtful laughter more like ‘Big bang theory’ and not like ‘Lollu sabha’. He is super comfortable in any scenario, be it funny scenes or emotional. I don’t give a f*** about anything kinda look!

Most of the series’ (including the NETFLIX ones), have unnecessary fillers which occupy a considerable amount of time in an episode  but wind up doing nothing in the end. This series has those too, however those fillers gel with the plot so well that the audience cannot name them a filler. Again the credit goes to the writer. The locations chosen for the series are all classy too.

This series is so subtle yet complicated that it invokes a sense of restlessness in the viewer. You would want to wake up and start pursuing something you like. Could be a person who you want to move in with, could be your passion, could be new love after break-up!

Watch all 13 episodes on YouTube in one go. While the first 12 episodes last for around 10 mins each, the final episode lasts for 23 mins. Its less than 3 hour watch.

–Varun Mannava


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