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    How to embrace the perks of freedom and feel sexy and fabulous this Valentine’s Day

    LET’S set the tone on this straight up. This ain’t no pity party. Whether you’re male or female, there are so many reasons to own your single status — on and off the romantic playing field. From solo wanderlust expeditions to spa time to sculpting that perfect bod, ‘saving all your love for you’ may well be the most fun thing you do this year.

    Some folks definitely pull this off with more swag than others. Like celebrity photographer Sunder Ramu, who is one of Chennai’s most eligible bachelors. “A lot of people ask me, are you not settling down because you are nervous about commitment or because you want multiple partners. The truth is — I am genuinely happy with my life,” he offers with a smile. Here’s what sets Sunder apart from the flock, though. He’s been on 278 dates in the past two years, covering everyone from Shriya Saran to Lekha Washington — and he hasn’t paid for a single one! “I get the girl to pay for the date and then put that money into an NGO of my choice,” he lets on.

    Before you lament that there probably aren’t that many single ladies out there, or the classic ‘all the good ones are gone’ — check this out. According to a census data in 2015, there are 71 million single women in India, that’s a 39 per cent rise over a decade. So there you go, guys and gals. You are not alone, and there’s certainly no need to hurry for fear of ‘running out’. Possibly one of the reasons why, according to Bengaluru-based dating expert Sudhir Udayakanth, is that the difference in the dating game these days is that it happens at a much faster pace. “In the age of apps like Tinder, the difference is the pace. Who has the patience to woo?” he asks. So choose rush hour if you prefer, but if you don’t, remember you could always opt for the rush of the chase instead.

    — Sonali Shenoy

    teena“Depending on someone else to make you happy is not the way it should be. I think it’s healthy to first be comfortable and content with yourself”

    — Teena Vellara, Actor

    sunder“A lot of people ask me, are you not settling down because you are nervous about commitment or because you want multiple partners. The truth is, I am genuinely happy with my life just the way it is.”
    —Sunder Ramu, Photographer

    Take advantage of being single while mingling with couples

    There’s one surefire way to write off being the third wheel here. Ask the couple to bring along other singles. If the couple is self-involved and you have to fend for yourself, practice your flirting skills to bring it on at the party or club you are at. Healthy flirting has no age. Practicing it can keep you physically and mentally fit.
    • Look lost, get desperate and focus on disinterested or taken individuals.
    • Bury your face in your phone — you could have done that alone at home.
    • Take over the music, food counter or the bar if possible. It’s a great way to break the ice and scan the crowd
    • If none of these are possible, set a few ground rules with the couple so that they don’t get too self-involved and freeze you out.

    — Sudhir Udayakanth
    (Sudhir Udayakanth is a dating guru and expert in body language. He is also the founder and CEO of edge Academy in Bengaluru)



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