I’m a sucker for a good love story. Call me a romantic, I always wanted to be able to go all misty-eyed whilst telling my imaginary children the story about how I met their father. However, even though it was an absolute fairytale romance when I met my fiance and it was everything I could have possibly hoped and wished for, I wasn’t greatly encouraged to tell the tale. And while I have tried to be as honest about it as I can to people I know who will understand and be open-minded and supportive, I sometimes still have to fib to a few conservative relatives, mainly of my grandmother’s generation, and say I met James through a common friend.
We were offered tremendous support by our mothers and friends, of course. But as a twenty-something Indian girl growing up with ‘inquisitive’ relatives and family friends, sharing that I had met James on Tinder (or that I was even on it to begin with) didn’t really seem like an option with people I knew were likely to judge. Not that most of them even knew what Tinder was. A year ago, when we had just joined, Tinder was still very new in India and it was particularly low on the promiscuity factor that it is now rather popular for.
The idea of meeting somebody online has always been somewhat frowned upon in Indian society. Sure, matrimonial websites may have changed that a little, but if you had found somebody to date without the sole purpose of being married and having parents involved right from the start, you mustn’t be doing things right, right? Wrong. I was raised to be a strong, independent well-educated woman who always has and always will make her own decisions. So why I would need my family to have the final say in the person I spend the rest of my life with was always a mystery to me. Of course, it is important for them to like him, trust him and know I am in safe hands. But as long as he is a good human being, where or how I met him shouldn’t matter.
I recently came across an interesting initiative by Jealous21 called the #ButtOut campaign and felt like it was just the attitude I needed to adopt to stop hiding the amazing love story I am so proud of from a few judgmental naysayers who really need to get a life anyway.
So butt out to everyone who says you can’t find love on Tinder! I’m sharing my story today as living, breathing proof!
After a few months of being single, I did what all girls do and had pretty much resigned to the idea that I would never find my one true love. I was convinced I was destined to die a spinster, or that I didn’t need a man and would go adopt children and raise them as a single mother.
However, a friend of mine played on my very short attention span and I was immediately distracted from being the next Angelina Jolie when she told me about Tinder and how she had met a couple of really nice boys on it. She gently suggested that such a huge part of my life was centered around social media anyway, and that there’s no reason my love life couldn’t be controlled through my phone. This concept appealed to me. She knew how to push my buttons (or double tap my screen, since it was 2013).
A few days later, I found a funny, goofy picture of a really cute guy in glasses with a heart drawn on his neck in permanent marker, and a very drunk photo-bomber in the background. I liked that it was an unconventional choice for a profile picture and thought that must mean he had a good sense of humour, so I immediately swiped right, only to discover that he had, too! It was a match!
We began talking and realized we had a very similar sense of humour and were texting incessantly, non-stop, back and forth till 4am every night for a week. When I was convinced he wasn’t a psycho killer and was actually funny, smart, sweet and responsible (bonus points that he loved dogs as much as I did!), we decided to meet up for a drink at the hotel he was staying at whilst in Bombay.
We had a wonderful first date, having talked about our families, friends and where and how we grew up. There wasn’t a single awkward silence and it felt so amazing that we made plans to meet up the next night after work, too.
We had the most amazing second date! I took him to my favourite restaurant for sangria and fondue. He held my hand across the table and it was absolutely electric! I had never felt anything like it before! We then went dancing and I fell even harder for his super geeky dance moves – the Lawn Mower and the Shopping Cart (which we now do together at social events after a couple of drinks)!
It felt so right that we threw caution to the wind and decided to meet the next night after work again, and the rest is history. We saw each other everyday for four weeks during his business trip and we went on photography dates and to little restaurants and bars all over the city. As luck would have it, work required him to stay for another three weeks, giving us ample time to decide that whatever this was, it felt right and was worth persuing. Something about this felt different, like it was somehow meant to be.
When he left, I was miserable. But we were both so strong in our resolve to make long distance work, that we made it through out first two and a half months of long distance. He then visited again in February to spend Valentine’s Day with me. I then made a trip in June with my mum to meet his family and he popped the question on the 7th of July on London’s iconic Millennium Bridge. It was the most beautiful, magical night of our lives![/one_fourth_last]
A few months on, we have been granted our visa for me to move over and for our life together to officially begin. We’re getting married in January, have just gotten a house to call our very own and are planning a new addition to our little family. Don’t worry, it’s only a dog!
I am so thankful for all our good luck and the support we have received from everybody around us, and to the lovely people at Jealous21 for encouraging me to be brave, tell everyone else to #ButtOut and share my story! I can’t wait to keep you updated on this brand new journey. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on Tinder, online dating or love in general, talk to me about it in the comments below.
Photography: Mehi Shah
Newspaper Article: Snigdha Ahuja for the Hindustan Times (HT Cafe Delhi | November 22, 2014)