Stories of love, whether colourful, funny or at times, creepy, are easily found on the Internet. Indu Harikumar, a Mumbai-based artist and children’s book illustrator, is adding to the collection through her project titled 100 Indian Tinder Tales.
After learning of the #100dayproject from a friend, Harikumar decided to start her own series, choosing to focus on Tinder (as it was the only dating app she had used) to curate stories and illustrate them. She put out a call on Facebook for stories about Tinder, and was soon flooded with personal tales of romance, bitterness, sex, misogyny and love from people around the country.
“To be honest, I never thought it would take off, or that I would hear from random people about their experiences” she says. “The reason being – why would anyone want to be vulnerable to a stranger? But I was surprised and happy to be proven wrong.”
The stories are funny, refreshing and poignant in turn. There’s a tragic tale in which a girl from Mumbai finds a kindred spirit in a boy from Delhi but before they can meet, he passes away in an accident; in another, a Tinder newbie shares his funny story of how he learnt to sell himself like a tampon to the ladies on the app. “One of my favourite things to have come from the project was a marriage!” says Indu. “Two people commented on a story, they met and after six months, they got married. I was the guest of honour at their wedding.”
Day 9 of #100indiantindertales I have written about him earlier. Something he said became the title of my book. Yes, this one is about the 'Beauty Needs Space' Viennese guy from Tinder. This story is still frightfully special and here it is. In my first few days in Vienna, my Russian flatmate said, "You MUST HAVE a European lover " and pushed me to try @Tinder. I was jet lagged and woke up at 4 am every morning and had nothing to do. So I installed the app and decided to check it out. Like a noob I would check everything before I swiped right, I almost imagined the men I right swiped would be at my doorstep and that was a scary thought. The criteria was the same – face, age, bio. Guy without a bio had little chance of getting swiped right. He didn't have a bio but he reminded me of a Dutch-Punjabi guy I knew back home and was curious if it was him. We had a match and he couldn't stop gushing over having this exotic person as a match. After the regular set of of questions, he asked: "What would you like to see in #Vienna?" " Gustav Klimt's Kiss, I have loved it from the time I was 17." "Did you know he lived in our neighbourhood?" We were both in the 7th district in Vienna. I was elated to be living in the same neighbourhood as my hero. I also mentioned my love for Rilke and he quickly wrote out a Rilke line in German. “For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so, because it serenely disdains to destroy us. Every angel is terrible.” (Now he tells me that's the only one he knows.) Looks-wise he was okay… a lot paler than the person I knew back home but with #Klimt and #Rilke, he had scored. "What are you doing this Sunday?" "Hmm.. nothing much as of now." "Would you like to come walking with me?" Wow! This was the first person who had asked me to go walking. They all wanted to meet for drinks (which for me was scary) or drink coffee (which I don't drink). "Sure!" "Thank you for making my day and not turning me down." (1 /n)
Harikumar’s illustrations are inspired by her favourite artists, including Edward Munch, Katsushika Hokusai and Roy Lichtenstein which she adapts for each story.
100 Indian Tinder Tales offers an intriguing insight into shifting sexual modes in the country, challenging prejudices and inspiring discussions about why and how we should be addressing sex and intimacy – traditional taboo topics – in a modern context.
Written by Priya Unni
Featured image source: 100 Indian Tinder Tales