Staying on top of the dating game




NETFLIX series Indian Matchmaking isn’t the only new dating show in town.

Newly launched radio show Up Your Game sees Meera and Jaya team up to discuss all things associated with finding love. The show that is available globally on Rukus Avenue radio gives dating tips, tackles taboos and has important discussions associated with love, romance and finding a partner.

The bubbly British duo aim to use their platform to empower women to live their best lives and open up a communication channel between the sexes. Both are hopeful everyone will connect with the show, including older listeners.

Eastern Eye caught up with Meera and Jaya for a free-flowing conversation about their new show, romance, nightmare dates, finding love in lockdown and how to up your game.

Tell us about your show Up Your Game?
Jaya: Our show is about all things related to love and dating. We have different guests every week that discuss their journeys. We also have our Ask The Auntie G section, which is our desi take on an agony aunt. We have fun on our show, but also discuss important topics the Asian community need to face like interracial marriage, gay rights and colourism. We hope to create a platform for our community, where we have open and honest discussions that help elevate us all.

Tell us about other subjects you cover?
Meera: We touch upon relevant and relatable topics such as dating in lockdown, speaking to celebrity guests about having a relationship in the public eye, to name a few. While the show is about dating, we also look at other aspects like not being in a rush to get into a relationship or feeling pressured to get married. We will hopefully create positive change by talking about important issues.

What is the secret of upping your game?
Jaya: Being open minded and wanting to grow. Meera: Self-love! If you love yourself and know your worth, things start to change for the better.

Do you both use any personal experiences as a guide for the show?
Jaya: Of course! I am a wise old auntie and Meera is a hopeless romantic in search for love, so we deffo have a lot of stories to share.

What according to you is a common mistake people make during dating?
Meera: We have our own preconceived ideas, meaning we reflect how we want someone to be onto them. We have to start taking people for how they are, not how we want them to be.

What top dating tips would you give?
Meera: Stop playing games. Say how you feel, don’t think for the other person, be yourself and communicate. Let’s uncomplicate dating.
Jaya: Know you are the sh*t and dating you is a privilege. Confidence and self-love is everything.

Have you had nightmare dates?
Jaya: How much time do you have? My worst date lasted about three seconds. I got my friend to drop me off after a studio session. My date showed up with a creased white t-shirt with food stains and some Sports Direct shorts. Like make some effort man! Oh, and he smelled weird. I immediately texted my friend and asked him to pretend there was an emergency so I could leave.
Meera: Yes! I went on a date in LA last year – the guy turned up with a bottle of milk, wearing a stained t-shirt and sweatpants, and didn’t have his shoes fully on. It was downhill from there.

How do you escape a nightmare date?
Meera: Just be honest, say the date isn’t going well and leave.

What do you think of the latest Netflix series Indian Matchmaking?
Meera: While I don’t agree with the comments made in relation to colourism, how a woman should be the one to change, etc., it’s showing what happens. If anything, it should spark conversations within the community and hopefully, change the mentality. Otherwise, there were some relatable positives, such as a grandmother telling her grandkids not to rush into marriage. It also shows women as modern and driven, who happen to be looking for a partner via a matchmaker, and why not! I also liked that aunty Sima matched an older woman with a younger man, which we don’t always see. It shows the good and bad. It is reality TV and kept me entertained.
Jaya: It is absolutely hilarious. I watched the entire series in a day. Sima is so entertaining and I love that they have so many different characters on the show. From the rich kid and picky/stubborn girl to the super independent feminist. I’m looking forward to season two.


How do you know you have met the right person?
Meera: I haven’t met him yet, but I feel like you get a positive vibe from the get-go. You have common interests/ goals and it’s someone you can build and grow with. They complement your life – you don’t need them, but you want them. You both add value to each other’s lives.

How can people find love during this lockdown?
Jaya: Dating apps are a great way to get to know people during lockdown. Our first episode saw us discuss this topic and interview Natasha Sandhu, who is the celebrity ambassador for the app Love at First Swipe, which has some really cool features. I would highly recommend you try it.

There are lot of options today from dating apps to social media and matchmaking, but what is the most effective?
Jaya: When it comes to love and finding someone, one rule doesn’t fit all. I always say that dating should be fun and one must enjoy the journey. It’s not about finding a husband. Stay open minded, try different things and see what works for you. If all else fails, DM us and the Auntie Gs will help you.

What are some of the taboo issues in dating we should confront?
Jaya: There are so many, but ones that hit home most for me is encouraging women to find out who they are rather than worry about who they should marry. Women in the Asian community are put under so much pressure when it comes to marriage. We are brought up with the message that ‘we must compromise’ in marriage and life. But men are not taught the same. This idea that our life goals should be about finding a man is ridiculous. I want to encourage women to live their life according to what they want, not their parents or society. I want to take away the stigma that women are cursed with, for being free spirited and confident.

Why should we tune into your radio show?
Meera: It’s a relatable take on dating and relationships from two females in their 30’s. We share funny, personal stories, along with some notable guests. We also have great advice segments and solve dilemmas sent by listeners. We want listeners to think of us as those aunties we all wished we bumped into at weddings, who tell you to live life on your own terms and pass no judgement. We’re giving a new meaning to the term auntie Ji.

Visit Twitter & Instagram: @JayaWorld, @MeeraSharm & @upyourgameshow