The Right Swipe

About Pankaj Dubey

Pankaj Dubey is a Bestselling Bi-lingual Novelist and Filmmaker. Both his titles What A Loser! and Ishqiyapa-To Hell With Love, published by Penguin Books India have been written by him in Hindi as well.. He accentuates the socio - political undercurrents with quirks and humour in his style of writing. He has been a Journalist with the BBC World Service in London. He was also selected for the prestigious Writers' Residency in the Seoul Art Space, Yeonhui, Seoul, South Korea amongst three novelists from Asia in 2016.

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‘Hit it or Quit it’ yelled the boy with gelled spikes and overstuffed mouth.

‘Just shut up and f**** off’ yelled back the girl with distressed jeans and red crop top.

Three Wise Men had an overload on Christmas décor. Between the girl and the boy stood a tall glass of drink with miniature Santa hooked up to the rim of the cocktail glass.

“Such middle class girls should not be on Tinder…Go and fly your profile on some types website”. He got up and picked the Santa miniature from the glass and threw it on her.

“Spend the night with Santa…Ho Ho…HO”. The tease in his voice pierced her heart out.

She was Supu, Suparna!

She sat lonely amidst the loud music of David Guetta’s Bang Bang!

Life was certainly not getting her ‘The right swipe’.

Supu worked as an Assistant Costume Designer with Bagchi who was a Bollywood veteran. The fancy dress of her life was not getting any lesser dramatic.

It was just 6 more days to New Year and she had taken up this challenge from friends that she would not be single by then.

It has been almost a 40 day ordeal now. She was living in her 1 Bhk Apartment in Andheri and virtually on tinder land. Her life was stuck somewhere between the ‘Right Swipe’ and the ‘Left Swipe’ and when she got lucky ‘It was a match!’

The Christmas match turned ugly when the venom mouthed brat hooked up with her and proposed to rush for a quickie in his car. When she described herself as a Demisexual (someone who needs to be emotionally associated with the person to have a physical relationship), he got furious and yelled at her for wasting his Christmas.

Supu came back to her apartment crying. She looked like one cherry tomato with a red face. She was feeling miserably miserable about the whole episode of him accusing her of middle class values. She always thought that she is the most liberated carefree soul, a hybrid of Rumi and Osho.

She unlocked the doors of her studio apartment, went inside and opened the windows to let the fresh air come in.

She called up her best friend Rashi.

“You free to meet up?’ asked Supu.

“You okay, babes?” Rashi sounded concerned.

“I feel like a loser Rash,” said Supu in a broken voice.

“You have taken that challenge seriously? Really? How can you be so stupid” Rashi tried comforting her.

“Raghav thinks that after he dumped me, no one has shown interest in me or ever will..I will show him Rash.”

“It was a stupid, drunk state of mind conversation and challenge and you took it literally”.

“Chal…we will talk later.” said Supu.

“You coming to my party right? 31st?” asked Rashi.

“Don’t know” Supu was in no mood to talk and that too about a party.

She took a deep breath and decided to get out of her caterpillar mode. It was just 6 days left for the New Year and she had to get the match right! When everyone around was indulging she was on Detox.

Next morning was like a tonic, with a jog near the Sea; all the worries were washed away by the new waves. She sweated like hell and dragged herself to the vegetable vendor to get some vegetables for her Detox juice. He was busy fiddling on phone.

“Baby ji….Don’t take Doodhi….take Palak…mix with Tomato and try some Amla with it” suggested the Bhajiwala.

“Give me Doodhi..That’s what I take. Also give some Tindas…They look fresh,” she kept it curt.

“I like your picture …New one…Baby,” the Bhajiwala tried to be over friendly.

Jo bola hai…do that!”, rebuked Supu.

“New Smart Phone na…I saw you on tinder….” said the Bhajiwala.

Supu felt disgusted! Person selling ‘Tinda’ was also on tinder.

He gave her the polythene with veggies.

Supu walked with a heavy bag and a heavier heart.

The virtual world was playing mind games like a chessboard with her.

She went back home, showered, dried, cried.

Lights and happiness had enveloped Mumbai but the singlehood challenge had made Supu slip in an emotional coma.

All of a sudden, she did not want to meet friends or family. She wanted to meet them only when she had her challenge right.

She was happy to see 112 new swipes for her profile. She swiped most of them left and some right swipe.

It was a match! It was with Aarav. Aarav seemed like a ‘good boy’ type of guy. They chatted and discussed their passion. Aarav was a photographer. A guy who talked about food, love and poems and also about costumes and photography!

It was like a ‘La La Land’ weaving around her as she started chatting with him. She did not attend to the other profiles.

“Do you talk as soft as you look?” asked Aarav.

“You need to talk to me for that” said Supu.

“Can we keep the magic saved for our date?” said Aarav.

“And when would be that date ?”Asked Supu.

“We are few more sunsets away!” Said Aarav.

“Hmmm….never met a guy like you!”

“Hehe…I have some guests over. Let me be free. We’ll meet on 1st day of the year. January 1st 2017.”

Supu knew that life will get a ‘Right Swipe’, at least this time.

It was 31st of December!

She got up, made a strong coffee and smiled.

“We are just one sunset away.” she had a message by Aarav.

She smiled, made a loose bun and read the newspaper with her coffee after a long time. Her phone rang. It was Rashi.
“You coming na, tonight?” Rashi sounded flustered.

“Yes Baba…I will.” Supu was in her calm self.

“Raghav is also coming..I thought…” Rashi sounded confused.

“He is my ex…I don’t care about him…His challenge..Supu’s life is much beyond this.” Supu was sounding saint.

“You had sex?” asked Rashi.

“No,” laughed Supu.

“Then, how do you sound so sorted?” asked Rashi.

“Sunsets.” smiled Supu.

“You are mad….come I will make you meet my new fling..He is a clinical psychologist.” said Rashi.

There was a call bell.

“You are one Jet speed dater….look at poor people like us! See you tonight!” Supu teased and ended the call.
This sunset was the special one!

She dressed well in her tiny Black dress.

Party at Rashi’s sea facing studio apartment was on full bloom.

She met Raghav with his new friend who looked like the poorer version of the popular Pop Star Rihanna.

“Oh I thought you are coming with someone tonight!” mocked Raghav.

“I have better challenges to take up in life.” Supu’s confidence was unparallel.

The party was a trippy one with shots of Vodkas and Panipuris.

Supu was constantly on messages with Aarav, in her own groove.

And then came Rashi to clear her space to introduce her new boy friend, Varun.

He shook hands with all. When it came to Supu, heartbeats stopped for both of them.

“She needs your help…Like Alia needed SRK in Dear Zindagi.” Rashi joked as she introduced both of them.

She just looked at Varun with her stark, bare, sublime eyes.

For Supu, all the sunsets drowned together.

Varun was Aarav for her on tinder. The same picture!

She took her bag and walked out of the party.

The sunset was over for her. Her hope to meet Mr. Right Swipe was over.

She sat near the dark beach, all by herself.

The wet sand comforted her sole and soul and she spent the whole night.

She now knew that there was only one way to ‘The Right Swipe’.

She threw her phone as far as she could in the sea.

This was her time to befriend with her own self.

She saw the first sunrise of the New Year and nothing in the universe was more magical than that.


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