Day 88 of 100 Indian Tinder Tales
August was difficult and September followed August’s footsteps. It started with a small problem on my new laptop, followed by viral fever. Viral fever actually came as a relief. I could finally sleep and not answer the numerous interviews I had to. I slept. I knew after a few days I was going back to the life I knew. To routine. To drawing, reading, exercising, dancing, meeting folks when I felt like. The life of comfort and where I was in control. But my laptop decided not to power on and an eye infection that seemed mild, suddenly aggravated and became ungainly and painful. I spent days chasing the customer care folks figuring out if I’d have to pay Rs 42,000 or if it would be covered under warranty and my eye started to throw out gunk and pained. I couldn’t read a book or work on my old laptop and before I knew life as I knew it was slowly slipping away. I watched a lot of romcom and felt very inadequate.
During the day I I told myself, “this was my time to rest and I am allowed rest, my work is a part of me, it doesn’t define me and I am more than my face. I have been meditating, am mindful, this is totally under control.” But I just wanted to escape, wanted to lead the life I knew, with the eyes I had, without the pain and uncertainty. But these are things i thought -“Are you just your work?” “You don’t even have a lover!” You don’t have kids!” ” Your life has no meaning.” “Where is your life going?” “You have no money.” ” And what if you look like this for the rest of your life, with this yellow stuff coming out of your eye, will anyone love you?” ” What if you can never work like you could?” “You are becoming an invalid.” “You are not loveable.” To add to it, the incessant rain was not helping.
Friends tried to help, some of their concerns came wrapped in their anxiety – “Why is your eye taking so long to heal!” Some said, “You will be fine soon, don’t worry.” While some others reminded me of my beautiful soul. Most of it just added to the chatter in my mind.
Around the time, I aimlessly swiped on Tinder. I had nothing to do. I didn’t want to meet friends and certainly didn’t want to meet any of these men either but I was on it.
I matched with a Scotsman who was here on work. He specified that he was only looking for friendship. I wasn’t looking for anything. He wanted to move to Skype and we did without much conversation. He was bored and I wanted to feel better, we chatted into the night. I am not sure when regular everyday conversation took a sexual turn. He sent me pictures of his gorgeous body and I noticed his beautiful blue eyes and in return I sent him a nudie, a picture taken by an artist friend. I knew what it does to men and I wanted just that, to feel sexual and powerful. Him to want me, just virtually. I quickly slipped in for a shower and when I came back I saw that he had called me on Skype. I didn’t want to video chat (I had never video chatted with a stranger) and told him so. I also told him about my eye infection and how I felt conscious.
But soon we video chatted. Every night we found each other online, we video chatted. He sent me pictures of himself and typed away in a frenzy, while I wore sunglasses (in the night) and let go of my inhibitions. We discussed positions, bonded, laughed and went back to sleep. Some mornings, I’d wake up inspired by his perfect body, wanting to exercise. On other mornings, I’d want to fix my body after having seen myself on the iPad screen. (These were days when getting out of bed seemed like an enormous task.) This arrangement seemed perfect but on some days I worried about finding my naked self online. I Googled my name hoping to type naked next to it but Google instead prompted that I search Tinder with it. I laughed and assured myself given the terrible internet connection I was safe.
One Saturday afternoon as we chatted, I felt a great amount of gratitude for him. I said, “I don’t know what I was doing but your wanting to see me on video made me feel great about myself. Everyday, things were falling apart for me. Going to sleep with an orgasm was awesome. Sexting helped me through those nights.”
He is back in his country now and I have deleted Tinder (no, not because of him) but we still chat on and off and he has promised to wear a kilt whenever we meet. Talking to him hasn’t cured my eye infection, I am still very morose and find dealing with self is difficult business but he does make me laugh a lot from time to time.