Money may not buy you love but it can certainly get you a love guru for that picture perfect romance or tear-free break-up. When Mumbai girl Kerani Bapat, 21, fell in love with her friend, she enrolled for a crash course in dating at the Anupriya Patel School. From dressing and dancing to SMS seduction and smile language, her love guru coached her to ensure a tailor-made date. When love came crashing down a month later, the Mumbai University student's best buddy was Breakuphelpline.com where a 'side effects manager' chipped in to erase memories of her ex, 'unfriend' him on Facebook and even send her comforting, fat-free ice cream before she could jump back into the dating game. "Just as we take tuitions for exams and interviews, these coaches help you meet the demands of relationships which are also hard work," she says.
, 26, CEO, Breakuphelpline.com
Teaches people how to break up with their ex,get over heartbreak AnkitAnubhav and start dating again.
Cost Rs 500-Rs 10,000 per course.
For Gen Z, love is no longer about matinee film shows, cappuccino-at-cafes and stolen kisses away from the prying eyes of parents. Be it dressing up for the first date, bagging casual hook-ups, perfecting the demure look for matrimonial dekkos or announcing a dramatic break-up on social media, life coaches design relationships to perfection. "There's too much pressure to achieve anything, anyhow. People feel 75 hours of sessions can fix anything," says Kavita Golechha, CEO, Panache, The Finishing School, in Hyderabad. Eager to make the right impression on a potential partner, Young India is willing to spend big bucks to woo Mr or Miss Right. If the four-day bootcamps at Mumbai's Real Man Academy (RMA) cost Rs 18,000 and have at least 30 applicants a month, at Pria Warrick's Finishing School in New Friends Colony, Delhi, workshops range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh, bringing in 450 participants in a year. Break-up experts, too, are in demand with Breakuphelpline.com lending an ear to around 600 people a year. IBISWorld's market research on personal coaches states that this global $64 billion industry is set to grow at a rate of 11.4 per cent a year, with India as an emerging market.
If there's a need, there's a workshop. From sessions on being the perfect trophy wife to tips on steamy sex and courses to prep you for a perfect Shakespearean-style proposal complete with a bespoke love poem, when it comes to relationships, there's little you can't get. "Today's problems are so varied that relationship coaching can no longer be generic, it has to be custom-made," says Pia Kumar, 52, a Delhi-based relationship and grooming coach. A decade ago, she'd have young girls asking for beauty tips to attract boys, but her present clientele asks for guidance in specific situations such as a makeover for a blind date, make-up for a garden party or wardrobe tips for meet-the-suitor dos.
Bagging the perfect date
Finishing schools are padding up their programmes to help customers "present" themselves well in relationships. Be it brides and grooms-to-be or teenagers wanting to top on-campus popularity charts, there's help for every need. A few months before her wedding, Delhi girl Shilpi Mehrotra, 22, enrolled for the 'celebrity girl' course at Pria Warrick Finishing School. "I've seen young women kicked out on their wedding nights because they failed to impress, and young men trying hard to recover from failed relationships. Our courses give them a complete psychological and personality makeover," says Pria Warrick, a clinical psychologist and founder of the school. Be it perfecting the walk in saris with six-inch stilettos, dancing the foxtrot or being an efficient hostess, Warrick says refined manners are often a mandate required by prospective grooms. "Their families give us specific instructions on how we must ready them for marriage," explains Warrick.
, 48, CEO, Pria Warrick Finishing School
From makeovers to formal dining, she teaches individuals how to be confident and refined in relationships.
Cost Rs 50,000-Rs 2.5 Lakh per course
Mumbai boy Shiva, who opened RMA seven years ago, holds on-field bootcamps and personal training sessions with role play to help men approach women the right way. "It's not about pick-up lines. Women look for personality, confidence and strength in a man, not just niceness. We teach men to interact with women in a way that they don't come across as too desperate to please the girl," he says. At Jasmine Kaur's World in Chandigarh, young boys learn how to deal with first-time meetings, arguments, romantic holidays and anniversaries with the opposite sex. Through a mix of mock plays, counselling and self-reflection, Kaur, 40, tries to make her clients happier and wiser in love. "I want to help boys understand the female psychology. Be it breakfast in bed or roses for no reason at all, knowing how to treat your wife or girlfriend right can make all the difference," says Kaur.
A shoulder to cry on
Coaches are the new 3 a.m. friends for the broken hearts. "From day one, we position ourselves as your friend who can be reached 24/7 on WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, phone or video calls," says Ankit Anubhav, 26, who started his website with a group of friends after a rough break-up in 2011. In need of someone who "wouldn't judge" him, he realised there was a demand for this non-judgmental friend when dealing with heartbreaks. Sessions are a mix of clinical psychology, empathy and friendly advice. If need be, they'll even talk to the ex and send chocolates to cheer up broken hearts. Services can cost between Rs 500 and Rs 7,500, and he gets around 70 customers a month from all across India.
, 41, CEO of Panache, The Finishing School
From social skills and confidence building to grooming for meeting potential suitors.
Cost Rs 22,500 per course
There are no tear-jerker chats; instead, it could be all about playing a game of snakes and ladders to identify what you are doing wrong in relationships or going on mock dates to test your confidence levels. "Talking to a relationship coach is easier than friends. During my sessions, I also discovered a lot about my own personality and have become much more self-reliant," says Abhilasha Soni, 23, a Bangalore-based techie.
For those not looking to get into a serious relationship, sex coaches are a one-stop shop for a wild night of passion and fun. At anything between Rs 2,500 and Rs 8,000 a session, your personal wingman will teach you all the tricks of seduction and one-night stands.
Even as the trend grows, Golechha says that most sessions focus on working on a client's inner personality. "Eighty per cent of the problem lies in us; these workshops only help you realise your potential and develop confidence," she says. It's not always about candyfloss romance. She's helped young women walk out of oppressive relationships. "There's a hollowness in society, where people are obsessed with appearance and social status," she says.
, 42, relationship coach
Helps couples improve upon their relationship through 5 to 10 week coaching sessions.
Cost Rs 25,000-Rs 50,000 Per course
Riding on this demand, love coaches are expanding their offering and adding to their already burgeoning clientele. As finishing schools chart out programmes for under-15s to equip them to date well in high school and sign up foreign trainers for an international outlook, new-age love is turning out to be all about big bucks and bootcamps.
Reproduced From India Today. © 2013. LMIL. All rights reserved.