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Happy holidating

Published : Aug 7, 2016, 8:43 am IST
Updated : Aug 7, 2016, 8:43 am IST

Looking for a quiet and peaceful holiday, away from obnoxious uncles, selfie-obsessed cousins and nosy aunts

A still from Tamasha
 A still from Tamasha

Looking for a quiet and peaceful holiday, away from obnoxious uncles, selfie-obsessed cousins and nosy aunts The idea of going out for a ‘holidate’, one of the latest dating and travel trends among youngsters, could just be what you’d love.

The Urban dictionary defines holidating as: “The person, of a romantic nature or not, that you take with you to mitigate the insanity of being near family during major cultural events that require a lot of gathering, eating and spending quality time together.”

Combining a date and a short trip to another town or a weekend getaway, holidates are most suitable when in a long distance relationship, suggest relationship experts. And novelists with an expertise in romance and relationship genre feel it’s just the thing to spice up a holiday, and give it a naughty edge.

Holidating is perfect for those with a yen for travel, believes Reetika Nijhawan, author of Kismetwali and Other Stories. She asserts, “It offers the thrill of a footloose adventure that calls for discovering both — place and person. Abstinence from physical intimacy during the jaunt — unlike an arranged marriage that by definition demands immediate consummation and urgent procreation — presents its own advantages for men and women alike.”

In the long run, the glue that keeps people together goes way beyond Kama Sutra chemistry. Reetika says, “Holidating gives people the opportunity to disengage the autopilot, to navigate and appreciate a different terrain. Getting to know people when they are out of their comfort zones offers much valuable insight into the person beneath the cultivated facade. It is interesting to see what someone does when one can’t call in a favour to get a table at an exclusive eatery in a foreign country, or when you can’t summon your favourite aesthetician to take care of the unsightly zit erupting on the tip of your nose!”

During one of his summer vacations, Vivek Gopal, Delhi-based mediaperson, decided to go out for a holidate at Pataudi Palace in Neemrana, Rajasthan. Sharing his experience, Vivek says, “It is more like a bangcation, which makes abundantly clear what this trip is, a chance to suss the other person out, to see if you can connect without the conversational mores of talking about work, family or television. The worst case scenario is that you don’t click, in which case a vacation is still had, with possibly sex and lazy afternoons. Of course, having been trapped in a non-refundable acrimonious date, I’d have preferred a group in which to conceal my date and my awkwardness following a ‘What are your favourite temples ’ conversation, where faking my own death was not an option. But yes, all dates far from prying eyes of dirtbag friends and neighbourhood aunts are the best.”

Recalling her experience of making friends while vacationing, author of The Mistress of Honour Bhaavna Arora shares, “I’ve a friend almost in every part of the globe. Once on my trip to Pattaya by myself, I ended up meeting two boys from Lebanon. We were in the same group for an ATV (All terrain vehicle) ride. We ended up clubbing in the evening, and I had a lot to learn about the West Asian crisis and Christianity from them. To my surprise, I had questions on the same topics during my MBA entrance. The examiner was quite impressed with my expertise.”

“How can you date seriously without intimacy Isn’t that just friendship ” exclaims best-selling author and screenwriter Madhuri Banerjee. She elaborates, “I’m all for holidating if it means you don’t have a serious relationship back home. If you’re cheating, then that is bad sexual karma. And you need to be clear with what you want from the other person, so there are no expectations that could lead to hurt feelings when the holiday ends. You don’t want a tamasha in your life!”

Lavanya Shanbhogue Arvind, winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Special Prize (2011), feels that if two people share a connect, and mutually decide what to do with it, the vacation might be a good, fun break! She says, “At one level, I’d think that deciding on an expiry date and the shelf life of a relationship, just as it begins, amounts to consumerism in relationships. So, let’s call a spade a spade and agree that this amounts to the commodification of relationships and hence, caveat emptor would apply! Buyers, please be aware of what you’re getting into! However, I wouldn’t necessarily view it through a moral lens. People get hurt when there is an unequal emotional investment, so it’s necessary to be upfront about what’s on offer and what’s not, as an immediate thing.”

The best part about holidating is that you always have someone compatible and interesting to share your experiences while vacaying, points out Madhvi Ahuja, author of Cupidity-Ping Me, Love. She says, “If you are single, you are travelling, you want company over a meal, the theater, some sightseeing or a game or concert, why not have someone with you Holidating will give you an opportunity to have a conversation, flirt a little (if interested), discuss the events of the day, and basically, live the experience.”

Adding a word of caution, Savi Sharma, author of Everyone Has a Story, advises having an exit plan while holidating, “You never know that an ex might try to rekindle romance when you’re on a holidate or your date might start howling at the full moon or something. When planning a holidate, always keep an exit plan in place, in case things go bad and you want to cancel the rest of the trip, and try the idea another time. Maybe, in Paris and with a totally different person! By making sure those expectations are well defined in the beginning, both parties agree to the rules of engagement and have a good ‘out’ if necessary, holidating can be a huge success or at the least, a very fun adventure in the wide world of dating.”

No-strings attached fun By Savi Sharma Priya was a 28-year-old fitness instructor who was counting down the days until her long-awaited vacation to Hawaii. She’d been planning this trip for over a year, carefully budgeting and saving, so that she and her boyfriend Rohit could afford a beachfront hotel room, and wouldn’t have to scrimp on meals and the much-anticipated helicopter tour of Kilauea and the Wai’anuenue. Unfortunately, the one thing she couldn’t plan for was Rohit running off three months before the trip; well after all the deposits had already been laid down. To be honest, she wasn’t even that put out that he dumped her — he was fun but not exactly the guy she would ever bring home to meet her papa, the police lieutenant — but who was going to put the suntan lotion on her back now

After some frantic calls to her best friends to see if anyone wanted to go in Rohit’s place, someone suggested looking into ‘holidating’ — a fun, new dating trend that combines dating with holiday or vacation plans. “I wasn’t looking for any sort of commitment,” Priya explained. “Just a warm body to hang out with in restaurants and at the beach. Stuff like that.”

Don’t settle for social media Priya had heard enough horror stories about the dangers of just hooking up with someone who sounded good on Facebook or Instagram. After meeting a couple of guys, she found someone, she felt, would be a fun companion during the Hawaii trip. She and Arjun met for dinner two months before her trip. He was funny, smart and after nursing a broken heart himself, was looking for great adventure with no-strings-attached vacation plan.

Lay down the ground rules Priya and Arjun both were in agreement with one of the cardinal rules of holidating — no intimacy. “But Arjun had just broken up with someone and I had no desire whatsoever go hop into bed with someone either. We both thought it was a good idea to keep sex out of it while we were in Hawaii,” Priya said.

Split costs Even though Priya had already paid for most of the vacation, Arjun was more than happy to pick up the tab on other expenses, like dinners. That way, they both felt like they were contributing fairly to the vacation, therefore eliminating any awkwardness of who would pick up the tab for what.

Keeping options open “For us, it was more like a trip with a companion,” Arjun said. “She was hot, and yes, I thought about knocking at her hotel room every night, till we were there. But even when things started to really warm up with us, we both made sure that each had a good exit plan in case our holidate went sour.”

Srishti Khanna, author, DilliLeaks, on the five high points of holidating 1. Unwind and relax: The pressure of perfection one looks for in the right partner is not applicable for holidating. The ‘happily ever after’ only lasts till the vacation lasts. To top it all, scientifically proven, no better way to unwind than a little fornication in the foreign lands. 2. Adventure: Explore the unexplored. Ride the unknown terrain. Hunt the new game. And, I mean not just the new sport but also being a ‘good sport’ and broaden your horizons. 3. Pamper your soul: With holidating, you also get to pamper your body and nourish your soul. The glow of a new beau is definitely a go! 4. Take the annual leave: In this case from your senses. Claim the quota of the crazy that we all deserve and need. Do the unexpected with all puns intended. 5. Education: There’s a lesson to be learnt from every experience. Do it for the knowledge, do it for your pleasure, do it for passion, if nothing convinces you, do it for your country! P.S: Holidating comes at a high emotional cost, risk of guilt bombs, reality checks and almost never lasts. Kindly check with your psychiatrist before and after indulging in it. This warning is generated in the interest of love and self-respect.