It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman with a largely straight persuasion must be in want of a boyfriend. Except what is truth, anyway? Is the person you dated for a couple of weeks, your 'boyfriend'? And is wanting to date a couple of cute strangers every once in a while the same as wanting a boyfriend?
While the answers to life's viva voce are few, with Tinder around, you're pretty much studying English for your German test. Either way, I've been part-amused, part-messed up with this app for almost a year and a half now. And while I've neither found true love, nor sexy one-night-stands, what I have found is this: there are too many Karthiks on Tinder, and that's just completely messed up.
Let's back up a little to explain my particular issue with this situation. Like many young south Indian girls, I came into this world with an older brother named Karthik. This was not an issue until I reached the ripe old age of ten. Until then, we were just your regular brother-sister, never missing an opportunity to bring the house down, or give the parents a heart-attack apiece.
But at the age of 10, something horrible happened. I was "teased" with a boy for the first time in life. And his name was... Karthik.
Before I could process what this meant and what it would mean in future and why this was happening to me, I was 11, in a different school, and being "teased" with a different boy, called... Karthik.
Was the universe trying to tell me something? Should I have paid attention then? (Oh, I see you, you creature with a winkwink nudgenudge at Jaime Lannister, and don't you dare...)
And so I moved through life knowing several Karthiks, never once allowing myself to be "teased" with another one, hitting my twenties with relative ease and almost forgetting about all the Karthiking of my childhood...
And then Tinder happened.
The first date I had off Tinder was with a boy named Karthik. He was sweet, I was well behaved, we had a pleasant date and we never messaged each other again. One-date-wonders are after all not uncommon, right?
His name didn't particularly set off any alarm bells ringing in my head, but that was before one particularly boring weekend where all I did was swipe on Tinder and exchange a couple of "Hi" and "Hey" with several men... And suddenly, I realised I didn't know what was happening because I was literally chatting with 5 Karthiks, and a Rahul.
It scared me, I unmatched everyone, deleted my account and refused to make eye contact with brother dearest for 24 hours. This was clearly the stuff of nightmares, right?
But such is the power of Tinder and the absolute loneliness that has plagued our lives that I was back before long. And this time, I read and registered the names I was swiping right on. Over the period of a few months, I was only chatting with one-Karthik-at-a-time, and as fate/luck/universe/perverse-god would have it, I ended up meeting another one.
And this one, I dated for half a year, before the convenient entry of an ex and incompatibility (no, red is NOT the best gems colour, PURPLE is!) led to a low-key breakup.
By now, I was done with Karthiks. I mean, we have one brother named Karthik, assorted "teased with" named Karthik, a first-Tinder-date named Karthik, several Tinder-matches named Karthik, and now an ex named Karthik.
Enough, really, right?
Except, apparently not. While my phone and I have taken the executive decision to swipe left on everyone named Karthik in future, apparently that pretty much eliminates half the dating pool. Why, parents of twenty-something years ago? Why you all name your sons this? Whatever happened?
As I swipe left, left, left, while sipping on a cuppa, I click on a couple of interesting faces to check their profile, only to realise that 70% of the time, they're called Karthik. With another 20% who tak lyk dis and 5% who "swipe left if you're not adarsh bahu who looks like aishwarya rai and worships the awesomeness of the mole on my left butt", a single girl with heterosexual persuasion is left with very few matches.
But no, I shall continue to swipe left on the Karthiks, no matter what. I look at my brother and replay his most irritating lectures in mind-voice to drive the thought of any other Karthik away.
And even as I exercise my new resolve, I want to send a question out to the universe - where are the Roshans, the Michaels, the Abbases and Karanjeets who look like the Karthiks, swipe like the Karthiks, talk like the Karthiks, but aren't Karthiks?
Disclaimer: While some parts of this post have been embellished, the part about gems is absolutely true.