How does love blossom in the world that is the internet? What do you feel as you swipe left or right, deciding instantly on a pose, or a hashtag or just the numbness in your thumb? I’m always fascinated by how love shapes itself online. Which is why when I came across #100IndianTinderTales, an art project by the fantastic Indian artist, Indu Harikumar or Induviduality, whose work I’ve been following for years, I just had to share some of it on my site. The project has “true stories and experiences of people using Tinder in India and Indians using Tinder abroad” with images by the artist. They’re full of glee, sex, intrigue, crushes, obsessions and in some cases true love. Curl up this Valentine’s with a few of my favourite ones. For more, head to the artist’s Facebook or Instagram page.
Day 22: P from #Delhi writes about a night of unbridled passion
“By age 37, I have experienced the truest of loves and its devastating loss. A heart that has loved so singularly & lost so purely becomes either fearless or reckless. So when a chance Tinder encounter (truly chance because he is only in the same location for a couple of hours when we ‘match’) reveals himself to be perfect in all ways except that he’s married, I don’t disqualify him. It is the coldest thing I’ve ever done – to pursue an intensely sexual encounter with an absolute stranger from whom my heart wants nothing. It also makes me feel alive. We meet and have a spectacular night without an ounce of sleep. I get a cab in the early hours of the morning and as I ride back, there’s a smile on my face, a glow in my body and an absolute absence of guilt.”
Day 27: K from Edinburgh shares her story.
“It was perfect. You don’t expect that from @Tinder. Even outside India, in lands we hail ‘progressive’ and sexually liberated, there are stigmas. Tinder is for desperate people. Why don’t you try another platform? There’s Happn for the classical romance kinds, Bumble for the gender equality-loving ones, Plenty of Fish for the slightly quirky; but Tinder is the worst. Horror stories abound, I ignored it, new city merited new people.
He seemed perfect. Artsy and intelligent, he cut straight across the niceties and demanded we meet, because he wanted to get to know ME not a virtual shadow. My friends freaked out, he could be a serial killer, don’t go! He could. But it was a cake date, it seemed perfect. I first saw him, I remember his kind eyes. We spent the next 3 hours discussing politics, literature, music, society, and of course, cake.
The next date was 5 hours of chatter, the cafe had to ask us to leave. The next one 7 hours. We frequented sushi bars and book stores, collaborated over academics, there was no pressure, but open communication between two wonderful minds.
My friends said something’s wrong, he’s okay with no sex? You met him on Tinder? He’s probably gay. He’s just fascinated by your Indianess. You’re a multicultural experiment, an anecdote for his next pub night. Was I?
He challenged every stereotype I held about men. He was open and polished, he cooked with a passion bordering erotic, he played music pieces from my favourite composers, he smelled divine, he adored his work, he’d let me pay on dates after joking about the fragility of masculinity. He helped me accept the body I had been so systematically trained to hate, he loved bits of me I was most ashamed of. Everything was perfect. Too perfect.
Doubts crept in. Constant barrages of ‘but-he’s-on-Tinder-someth
My friends swooped in, he used you. We told you that’s how Tinder works. Honestly, I wish I had told them to back off. I wish I had shut everything out. I wish I hadn’t over-analysed and always held back. I wish I hadn’t lied, I wish I hadn’t escaped. I wish I had genuinely enjoyed the moments. I wish we don’t always strive to live risk-proof lives, we don’t approach things with preconceptions and don’t let pride or prejudice get in the way. I wish we don’t make checklists, because people can’t be perfect, they won’t ‘fit’ your wish list, and that doesn’t make them any less likely to be amazing.
A friend asked me if she should try Tinder, I said do it. She hesitated, what if I see someone I know on it? It’s about experiences and meaningful lessons, it’s about figuring out who you are and making peace with your own intersectional identities. We we’re swiping across guys together, I saw his profile, all refurbished, and weirdly enough, that made me happy. It’s the circle of life.”
Day 36: S from #Delhi writes about getting lucky and finding love on Tinder
“After going through two tedious, abusive relationships, I had given up on love. This is how my Tindering phase began. I met some nice people, but the idea of a future never really blossomed through any of those meetings. So, I uninstalled it seeing that it was just boring and served no real purpose.
Then at a Holi party in office, while talking to a friend I decided to give Tinder one more chance. I saw this guy’s profile and noticed that I have a mutual friend with him who was just standing next to me in the party. Turns out that the mutual friend had been this Tinder guy’s roommate for a while. I asked him if the guy is nice or not. He said yes, and I swiped right instantly.
Few minutes later, I got a ‘Hi’. We talked through our insobriety as he was drinking, and I was already drunk. After 2-3 days of talking, and me delaying the meet up. He finally asked me to meet him. I said ok,
We met at Connaught Place, had chai, talked about everything under the sun till it was time to head back. He generously offered to drop me home, and I obliged. As soon as I was getting off of the car, he asked me if I’m free tomorrow. I really liked the guy, so I said yes.
The next day we met again for chai. Drove around the city till 4 in the morning as I couldn’t go home because people were partying at my place, and I needed some peace. So he asked me to come over to his since it was already so late. This whole time, he didn’t touch me, or made a move, so I agreed. But as soon as we reached his place, all hell broke loose, and so did our buttons. We had crazy sex that morning. May I add, the best.
He dropped me to my office, and we decided to meet up again. We kept meeting everyday. A few days into this, he expressed that he loves me. I was a bit taken aback, because I surely liked him but I wasn’t sure about love. I told him this as clearly as possible, and he understood.
Then, one night when he was staying back at my place, I realized that I was falling for him. I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t let him go because honestly he was the best man I have met in my life. And I know this because I have been abused by every man in life, and I mean every.
It’s just been two months now, but I have never been more sure about anything or anyone else this much. We have started living together although temporarily. But now, I am all the more sure about him.
My story seems impossible considering that it’s Tinder, but I got lucky. I actually found love on Tinder. And I have never been this happy ever. ”
Day 51: A from #Delhi shares her love story.
“I always associated Tinder with hooking up and easy sex. While you’re in your late twenties, you’re well educated and your friends are delivering babies every now and then; that’s what you need: hook ups and easy sex.
So sometime in January this year, I logged on to Tinder. I wasn’t looking for anything, except some respite from all the “cultured” “good-looking” “mama’s boys” who my parents wanted me to check out on these creepy matrimonial websites. I wasn’t particularly looking for company either, since I am quite social in real life. It was perhaps my curiosity.
A few matches and a few creeps later (maybe in another post), I found someone interesting (let’s call him J). We started off by confessing our mutual love for the mountains and hatred for Delhi summers. We had much in common, and yet we were so different. We exchanged numbers, and like the loyal woman I have been, I uninstalled the application from my phone. One man woman (at a time).
Got texting each other, decided to meet. J made me wait on the first date! But he made up for it by telling me such stories of his experiences with people, the world, food experiments, travelling and what not. I was charmed like a little girl! The second date happened three weeks later, and J asked me out. I ended up saying yes.
Not only is J a gentleman, but also someone who makes me feel very comfortable in my skin. We can just be ourselves with each other and not fear about being judged in any sense of the word. He isn’t a “sapiosexual” in the urban sense of the word, but he knows his shit. The ideal man, as I would say, who loves his space and is secure enough to give me mine.
It was awkward in the beginning, but guess what? We are in love, we’ve made it official and we’ve spoken to our families about it!
Are we getting married? Yes.
When? No idea (hopefully not too soon).
Tinder is not the place you go to looking for love, but sometimes it’s waiting for you out there. Don’t stop looking till you find it, or it finds you! 🙂”
Ending this blog with a few more images from the powerful artist. Hope they inspire you to go online with renewed faith!