She smiles patiently as I sit down, five minutes late. She is in her thirties and she is definitely not a girl. She is a woman with worries and responsibilities.
The most common reason for being on Tinder amongst people my age seems to be: “I spend too much time online and need an app to get laid”. But her reason is much more substantial. Until this very moment, I have never considered the possibility that some people might actually need Tinder.
She lost her husband last year to an unexplained, mysterious illness. He was her first serious boyfriend and the man whom she had hoped would be her partner for life. She has a toddler at home. She is here because her life has been tinged by tragedy.
She tells me that about two months ago, she decided that she would stop being sad and start living for herself. Tinder, it seems, is just a small part of her transformation — a way to meet men whose lives may never have intersected with hers. She prefers expats, she tells me, because they tend to be more respectful and gentlemanly to her than the Indian men she’s met online.
Dressed in a casual black t shirt and flowing linen pants, she is composed and sweet in person. She smiles frequently, enough that I forget all about the horrible misfortune that has befallen her.
It is very easy to talk to her. Neither of us are nervous. My daily routine rarely brings me into contact with people like her, and she rarely meets many people like me. We are anomalies to each other, but luckily we both enjoy knocking back beers. She fights me over the bill when I insist on paying it.
Maybe Tinder isn’t just a lurking ground for the socially awkward after all.
By Kunal Bambawale
Photography: Karan Khosla