This post is written by Floh Member, Ryan Chadha
By now, you must surely have heard about the Floh Singles Festival in Goa.
I’ll be honest. When I first heard about the festival, I was excited, but skeptical at the same time. Some folks I spoke to before I had signed up clearly thought the ‘doubts’ outnumbered the benefits, so they were pretty sure they wouldn’t go.
Just the idea of bringing 20 strangers together to a place away from home could easily back fire, right? It is like inviting 20 strangers to a party, without being sure if they will get along.
I am definitely more a ‘screw it, let’s do it’ sort of guy. I often sign up to things even if I am not very sure about doing them.
But here’s what was so epic about the weekend:
Some of us were put up at the Taj Holiday Village, while the others were at the Taj Fort Aguada. Both are stunning properties, and the fact that they mesh into each other meant that people didn’t even feel like they were at different hotels. Scenic views of the sea, a private beach, fantastic food at every meal…what else could one ask for? Most events over the course of the 1 day festival were held at the Village, and it definitely is one of the most charming hotel properties I’ve been to.
This was definitely the kicker that led to the magic. There was the perfect balance between activities conducted by Team Floh and time where all participants could just mingle and get to know each other better. Some of the most enjoyable moments for me were:
Sidman’s Sacred 7, where Sidman took us through what he thinks are the 7 most important points to living a good life. My favourites were:
- Attain Excellence — In Anything. I wholeheartedly buy into this philosophy. Gaining micro skills like learning sudoku appears like a useless activity to most, until people start seeking you out for those things. Over time, you become known as the guy / girl who does that particular thing very well. Attaining excellence becomes a habit, which ensures that you have the confidence to take on new challenges and eventually excel at them.
- Earn your FU Money — Making money shouldn’t be the exclusive driver of everything you do in life, but it does bring a certain amount of freedom. It is important to earn enough and get to a stage where you can tell your boss to f*** off, so you can go do whatever you want. Dipti chimed in here, saying she felt good that her boss was giving her the right advice 😉
- Act like a big dog, and you will become one — Bringing the right attitude to the table probably determines your success more than your degrees, your past successes and your connections. Act like a big dog, and you will probably become one.
Simran held a session where she spoke to us about things that she had learned over the course of the 8 years since she founded Floh, knowledge gained from speaking to singles from all over the country. It was riveting to hear that the mindset of singles seems to change every 3- 5 years, and the impact this seems to have on the way we approach relationships in general. Dating in India now seems to be very different compared to 5 years ago. I agree!
Dipti held a touching session where we wrote love letters to ourselves — one of self-love, one of forgiveness and a third of us imagining our best life going forward. While these were anonymous with each person writing to themselves, we got to read other people’s letters the next morning. It was humbling to realise that so many of the letters had similar hopes, dreams and visions for the future. It reinforced the truth that there is a lot more commonality to our shared human experience on this planet. We might be different in the way we look, what we eat and what we wear, but we all want the same things from life, in essence. We all face hardship, loss and heartbreak. Even though I didn’t know who had written the letters that I read, I felt more connected to everyone there after this exercise.
Talking about Dipti. Since I joined Floh last year, she has always come across as an individual who oozes confidence and ability. At the festival, she literally blew everyone’s minds. The way she conducted the activities was as if she had been doing this for decades. Good on you, Dipti! Keep going, girl!
The sessions on Saturday ended at around 6 pm. At 6:30 we all got together for a sundowner at the beach. Beers were sponsored by the Arbor Brewing Company, and this was the first point during the festival where we all got to really engage with each other. It was fascinating to hear everyone’s stories — about travel, hobbies, work and plans for the future. It was during this 2 hour period when I figured that we had a very special crew assembled there. Whatever reservations people had about each other just a few hours earlier all seemed to have been downed with the beer. The conversation flowed just as fluidly as the beer did.
From the beach, we moved to the moon deck for dinner. As you can probably imagine, dinner was pretty elaborate. The sky was crystal clear, and gazing at the stars while listening to the waves roll up against the beach was nothing short of enchanting. This was the Taj after all. I don’t think I will be able to list out everything that was on offer, but it was enough to keep most of us going back for third, fourth and even fifth servings! I ate a lot! It was at this point that some of the crew (all the Delhi folks, I think!) decided to go to the casino. I’ve always been a bit of gambler, but I was having too much fun talking to people, so I stayed put. As time went on, the conversation started to segue into topics you could only bring up with people you were very close to — what a difference from just about 7 hours earlier! From making small talk at 3 pm, we had moved onto detailing our best, worst and most awkward experiences of single life by 10 pm.
Post 11 pm, yawns were becoming increasingly visible. People had travelled at odd hours to get to Goa, and it was starting to show. They started to head back to their rooms, albeit reluctantly! A few of us, mainly of the male variety, continued to spill the beans on what made us tick, what we found irritating and what we were doing to improve the odds of finding the right partner. We had some crazy stories doing the rounds, which only reinforced the fact that assembled here in Goa were some very interesting people with some very absorbing stories to tell! We called it a night at around 2 am, with the ambition of attending a yoga session which was due to start at 8 am!
The Next Day
Even though I had not had much sleep that night, I was up in a flash the moment my alarm rang at 7:30. Yoga seemed like a great way to infuse a bit of much needed energy into my body. I was at the designated place before 8 am, and our yoga instructor (also a Floh member) was nowhere in sight! Where was she?! Well, she did show up a few minutes later and she helped us through some very relaxing asanas — just what we needed after an intense 18 hour day the previous day!
After yoga, I decided to take a quick dip in the pool. Breakfast was only till 10 am, so I had a quick swim before heading to the sun deck to gobble up some freshly made scrambled eggs, pork sausages and bacon. It had been ages since I had devoured an English breakfast, and the yoga session had helped work up a solid appetite. Some of the waiters gave me quizzical looks when I went back to ask for a second serving of scrambled eggs. Whatever, I was hungry!
Post breakfast, we convened at a conference room with Simran and Sidman leading a QnA session. Our Qs and their As, to be specific! I thoroughly enjoyed this session — members came up with some very relevant questions, which were as thought provoking as they were vexing. Some of the questions people asked were:
‘I find that I tend to intimidate men, what should I do about this?’
‘I meet plenty of women through my family, which I am not a big fan of, but most of these matches don’t seem modern enough for me. Is it me, or is it them?’
‘I have a very busy work life, often working more than 60 hours a week. This makes it so difficult to meet men. How do I go about dating people with such a busy schedule?’
‘I meet men on other dating apps, and many of these say they are in open relationships or open marriages. What should I do?’
Some of the questions really made me think. Our generation of millennials seems to be caught in between the traditional Indian values we have all been brought up with, and the less traditional values (or lack thereof) we have been exposed to via the media and our own experiences of having traveled abroad. We seem to be the generation that is caught in between — and it appears as though we need a value system unique to our situation in order to combat this confusion. Personally at least, the singles festival did give me ideas on developing a value system for myself. Perhaps a topic for another post!
Post this very enlightening session with Simran and Sidman, we spent time being goofy and taking plenty of photographs. I am sure you will get a glimpse of these via social media in the weeks to come. One could sense a tinge of melancholy by this time since the festival was coming to an end. It had been such a blast, in such a short span of time. We headed over to the lunch hall, and that was where some of the people, me included, started to say our good byes.
Personally, it was one epic weekend. It started with a hiccup, since I developed a minor form of ‘Goa belly’’ after dinner at a seafood restaurant on the Friday night. I didn’t sleep very well that night as a result. Luckily for me, it didn’t get worse and I was able to enjoy the festival.
Interactions with some very interesting women were obviously the highlight for me. I won’t give away too much here, but suffice to say, I felt like I made some great connections to explore in the weeks and months to come.
Given that we had a full 24 hours together, we found we had significant time to bond with each other. Unlike regular Floh events, which last anywhere between 2–4 hours, this one did not feel rushed. I spoke to everyone who attended, even if only briefly. This was significant since we came away having made friends (and more) in just a day! This is undoubtedly the USP that Floh has to offer — everyone joins with the aim of finding a significant other, and whether that happens or not, one inevitably comes away having made some great friends and connections. Apparently, you can have your cake and eat it too!
All said and done, I can’t wait for the next Singles festival. I am not the only person who had a whale of a time. Pretty much everyone there expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the folks from Floh for having organised this for us, and for having meticulously planned such an engagingly vibrant 24 hours for all those who attended. It truly was EPIC.
By the end of it, it almost seemed to get over a little too quickly and we all wondered if a 2 day festival might have been more apt!
I can’t wait to see what format the next singles festival takes, and where! Phuket? Sri Lanka?
See you at the next one?