Indian Friends Meetup auctions dates for Valentine’s Day
On February 9th, 2008, about 70 Atlanta-area South Asians in their 20’s and 30’s gathered at Einstein’s in Midtown, a classy but relaxed venue, for something pretty unusual considering their shared heritage: a date auction. The concept of matchmaking is not uncommon among south Asians, but the idea of bidding on a date is. Fifteen intrepid ladies and gentlemen stepped onto the proverbial auction block, and all stepped down with a companion.
This date auction was one of many activities put on by the Indian Friends Meetup of Atlanta, a brainchild of Rita Patel, who logged onto www.meetup.com less than a year ago and realized that there were no groups to introduce metro-Atlanta South Asians or people interested in the culture.
Now, the Indian Friends Meetup boasts over 450 members that organize a range of events such as dinner outings, parties, movie nights, day hikes, workout sessions, Indian language and dress demonstrations, and much more. However, the Valentine’s Day Auction was probably the most daring event to date.
“I was not convinced that we would be able to pull it off, especially with a Desi crowd,” confessed Milton Chandradas, one of the group’s assistant organizers. However, Patel persisted, and after quite a bit of behind-the-scenes effort—including convincing people to put themselves up for auction as a fun way to make friends and generate funds for the organization.
One of the meetup’s members really shone in his role as auctioneer, working the crowd and encouraging an excellent show of participation. Everyone crowded around to watch the proceedings with interest, and quite a few people got into bidding wars over the eligible bachelors and bachelorettes being auctioned.
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