The Agnihotri siblings are now married to people they met at their own mixers, Abhishek with “a convent-educated MBA graduate working in a large organisation,” and Varsha with a man who quit his corporate job to become a music composer. We have seen 52 marriages in five years,” Agnihotri said.The mixers thrown by these networks, whether a cook-out or a painting workshop, need the members to perform, from putting on their best clothes to turning a conversation into an opportunity, and the pressure is often more on men than on women.The more you observe their rise, the more they seem to have everything going for them. The reasons: They have too much work, too little time, saturated social circles, few outlets to meet new people like themselves, cultural baggage, and too many expectations.Given their social prominence, it was only a matter of time before new-age entrepreneurs realised the market potential of helping India’s professional elite pair off.If you belong to the US military you may have a problem.From what I hear, you are banned from this area by your command. I guess they check people who they think are soldiers.
The networks are targeting singles who have had no option a few years ago but to fall back on family connections (what Agnihotri calls “the auntie network”) or submit to the tediousness of matrimonial websites.It was after being single for several years that Varsha Agnihotri, aged 35 at the time and working as an ad filmmaker in Mumbai, founded FNM in 2010 in partnership with her brother Abhishek.“We were both single, had a large circle of friends, but rarely saw someone outside of it,” Agnihotri told me over a salad-and-sandwich lunch at an upscale restaurant in Vasant Kunj.Over the past five years, a dozen gated singles’ networks have sprung up in the big cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune—to serve the social group they refer to as “cultured professionals.” You could be a lawyer, a banker, an entrepreneur, a consultant, an architect, a pilot, a news anchor, a graphic designer, a TED fellow.It could be any job that broadly came under the purview of cool—engineers are mostly missing from the professions outlined—as long as you could pay anywhere between Rs10,000 and Rs50,000 as annual membership, excluding the considerable cost of attending mixers, and wouldn’t be out of place at a BBQ lunch or wine tasting.