This Indian Life

In an age where love is literally on your fingertips, why not go mate hunting for your pet on a dating app!

Shoba Narayan
Hindustan Times

Is there a Tinder for dogs? Ms. Rose and I are looking for one. Ms. Rose is my daughter’s piano teacher, an unmarried Anglo-Indian who wears lacy white frocks. She calls everyone “child,” with a clench of teeth, and raps the knuckles of any errant who plays Bach like it were Bharatanatyam, as she calls it.

My daughter is terrified of Ms. Rose. I, on the other hand, am seduced by her crotchety integrity, mouth-watering shortbread cookies, and most of all, her beautiful golden retriever, Tenzing.

So here I am, a few days before Christmas, in her living room dotted with baby Jesuses and candles. I hand her a plum cake from Thom’s Bakery. She brings out a plate of cookies. Tenzing bounds over and stares expectantly. I oblige. “He really is the most handsome dog I know,” I murmur, mouth full of butter and sugar.

“What’s the use, child?” says Ms. Rose, disconsolately. Tenzing, apparently, has been rejected by all the dogs in his neighbourhood. This, in spite of enrolling him for “Doga” or dog yoga classes.

Ms. Rose has walked him all over Cox Town, Cooke Town, and Frazer Town – now wretchedly called Pulakesi Nagar, she says.

Tenzing needs a “good mate,” not a “half-breed.” The irony of an Anglo-Indian being snobbish about half-breeds is lost on her.

If my own dog, Inji were alive, I would happily have tried to play matchmaker. But Inji died of kidney failure five years ago and I cannot think of replacing her.

Swipe for love

Have you tried advertising for a mate, I ask.

Ms. Rose looks interested. I pray that she doesn’t launch into her oft-repeated tale about how one Colonel Saunders fell in love with her to the point where he proclaimed his love with an advertisement in the Herald Tribune.

“What about trying something like a Tinder for dogs?”

I ask hastily.

When I explain what Tinder is, Ms. Rose is horrified. Something as sacred as love is decided just by swiping right or left, she asks, outraged.

“All the kids are on it, Ms. Rose,” I say. “Ask any of your piano students. If they are over 13, they are on Tinder.”

Ms. Rose looks like she has swallowed tamarind. What do these kids know about love, she asks.

“Ms. Rose, Tinder is the quickest and most efficient path to romance. Come now, let us look and see if we can find Tenzing a bride.”

Meet the matchmakers

I download the app. Both of us are not sure what to do. So I Google around for how to create a Tinder profile. An article says that I have to be honest yet provocative. We begin with the basics:

Ms. Rose Godfrey, 68 years old. Piano Teacher. We amend that to “Music Lover.” Sounds more inviting. “Looking for love for my dog named Tenzing,” says Ms. Rose. So I put that in.

You need an anthem, Ms. Rose, I say. We debate between Jana Gana Mana, and the British one. Ms. Rose opts for God Save the Queen.

The articles recommend that we make a list.

“About me or Tenzing?” she asks.

“About you. Tenzing cannot read. You can be his filter.”

We start with. “Only dog-owners need apply.” She amends it to, “I am an unmarried Christian woman looking for a mate for my dog.”

I protest. “Ms. Rose, no one will swipe. We have to make them want to meet you.”

I show her samples of profiles. She catches on quickly. Pretty soon we come up with a list.

Love Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff, she says, even though I push for Bach and Mozart. “Nobody can pronounce those Russian names,” I protest. She doesn’t budge. It will tell them that I am sophisticated in my music taste, she says. Point taken.

“Makes the world’s best shortbread cookies. Loves to feed people.” We move that to the top.

“Look for a kind man who loves dogs and has a great sense of humour,” she says.

That would be half the population, I reply, nixing the line. Make it unique.

Finally, we come up with a winner.

Sushi > Biriyani

British > Germans

Long walks > Sex in the shower (that was my insert without telling her)

Dogs > Cats or any other animals.

If you dig this, let’s do this. (I copied this from the Tinder profile of one Raquel, 24)

Now, we are waiting for a match for Tenzing.

As for Ms. Rose, she is swiping right furiously.

(This column addresses the issue of parenting our parents, an integral part of This Indian Life and our culture. If you have stories about the weird and wonderful relationships that enrich or enervate your life, write in.)

This Indian Life appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, December 23, 2018

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