Whenever you invest in anything, you become more addicted to that. Today people are very addicted to facebook because they have invested a lot of their time, shared pictures, moments and their life on it. Freebies might sound very catchy but at the end of the day, they cause more harm than benefit. To reap greater benefits from anything, you need to invest in it.
What makes Tango very addictive? The amount of investment you put in an art form is directly proportional to the level of addiction and to your enhanced skills. This investment can be in terms of time spent in taking lessons, attending workshops and festivals, going to milongas, etc.
Delhi had a long culture of free milongas. The was a spillover effect of free salsa socials in the city. Delhi is a city of bureaucrats, politicians, networking, lots of free socials and events held for advertising and publicity.
Tango culture is new and extremely uncommon. In a population of millions and billions, only a handful of them learn tango. Amidst all this, it was/is difficult to promote a paid milonga. But when people get free milongas, they never understand the true value of tango because they have not invested anything. And because they have not invested anything, there is no reason for them to stay in tango for long. Specially because they find it very frustrating to learn, specially because from day one or even for a year, they are not getting good with it and they give up. They give up because there was not enough investment. A paid milonga surely raises eyebrows but people who will invest in it, will will stick to it and will be the ones who will reap benefits later. They will be the ones who will be real tango addicts, wanting to enhance their skills. We as organisers would want to invest in those real patrons not the ones who come looking for freebies.
So now Delhi get ready to shell out some money on paid milongas. It is not going to be much. In fact, it is going to be peanuts but it is just a measure of how serious you are about tango and tango socials. It is not going to be a million dollar project for the organisers. NO. But it is going to be a project where we will be able to separate wheat from the chaff. And then, in the words of my Tango partner Naman, "you reap plethora of rewards which range from learning to pleasure, freedom, feeling exhilarated and stress free always. The sea is so vast that every time you go to a milonga, your happiness level will go up just thinking of what you will explore today. The steps are countless. Few people ever got bored of tango (who learnt it the right way) because they knew "all the steps"." At the age of 60, after having danced for decades, Pablo Veron, in his own words, "had still more to learn about tango".
Paid milonga is a step forward in a more correct direction, taking tango a level up. Not having non serious, non tango dancers in the milonga and creating real tango addicts.