Added: Jamye Despres - Date: 22.10.2021 13:47 - Views: 33547 - Clicks: 6934
Tamil actor, professional dancer and photographer Sunder Ramu has dated women in the past few years. But he says he is still 30 short of his target - dates. Although he's divorced and "not averse to romance", his dates are not all romantic ones - and his aim is not just to find love.
I'm looking for love every day, but the idea behind dates is not to find women," he told the BBC from his home in the southern Indian city of Chennai. The actor, who did theatre before transitioning to Tamil and Malayalam films a decade ago, kicked off the project on 1 January A trawl of his Facebook tells the stories of women he went on a date with - his year-old grandmother, a woman who collects rubbish from his apartment block, an Irish nun in her 90s, an actress, models, a yoga teacher, activists, politicians, and many others.
And I went to a school where there was no gender discrimination and boys and girls weren't considered different. But when I stepped out into the world, I realised how deeply embedded gender differences were and it was a big culture shock to me," he says.
The turning point for him was the Delhi gang-rape of December when a year-old student was brutally assaulted on a bus in India's capital. I couldn't sleep for so many nights," he says. It also rankled when during holidays abroad, people would ask him, "why do Indians treat women so badly"?
But I began thinking what can I do to make a difference? They have lots of misconceptions when they go dating, but women are not just legs and curves, each person is different from another. Sunder Ramu announced the dates project on 31 December on Facebook. The women will have to "ask me out, plan, pick a place and pay for - or cook - the meal", he wrote. At the end of each month, he said he would use the money he'd saved on meals to buy food for lesser-known charities.
Within minutes, a friend invited him for a lunch date on New Year's Day. His first dozen dates were with known people. By the 10th date, local press picked up his story and it spread, bringing in many more invitations. He was dubbed "The Dating King", "the dates man" and the "serial dater". In a country where arranged marriages are still the norm and dating is looked down upon as a "Western import", his friends were "appalled". What is wrong with you? You sound like a playboy," they chided him. The idea is to start a conversation, ask questions, get another person's perspective.
My final objective is achieving gender equality. Since the project started, the actor has dated women from several countries and met his dates in different Indian cities, as well as in Vietnam, Spain, France, US, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Although he describes each of his dates as "special", he says one of his most magical dates was with his grandma, who passed away two years back, aged So, I bought a Merc and went and picked her up from her home in the Kullanchavedi village. She hadn't stepped out for 22 years, except to vote, since the death of my grandfather.
They went to the local temple and then drove to Sooo many times and still looking lake to watch the sunset. We wore matching aviators and she joked that if she were a bit younger, she'd give all my young dates a run for their money. And I realised I wouldn't have had this conversation with her if it wasn't for the date. He also shared a meal with Sister Loreto, an Irish nun at a convent in Chennai.
She came to India to the church when she was nine. Sunder Ramu says he had initially intended to go on dates in a year, but a devastating flood in November that submerged many parts of Chennai forced him to stop. He d the following year, but decided to pace it. The idea is to keep the conversation going. I ask him if he thinks we are living in a more gender equal world today than when he started his project. It's not going to happen overnight, there's no quick fix solution. It will probably take a couple of generations, but we have to start in our lifetime and keep at it.
Image source, Getty Images. Image source, Sunder Ramu. The opinionated feminist and her viral wedding ad The Indian kitchen serving an unpalatable truth. And that's where the idea of dates came from.
A question for Indian men: What does your wife do? Related Topics. Women in India Asia Dating India.Sooo many times and still looking
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