Chennai, India -based fashion photographer and actor Sunder Ramu is on a journey that he says is exciting as it is beautiful.
Sunder plans to go out on 365 dates this year and has already been to 110 of them till now. He has just one rule- that women must take him out on the date and pay for their meal together or, they can also cook for the occasion.
At the end of each month he goes to an NGO and sponsors a meal for all the residents of the home which they all eat together.
“I was getting too comfortable being alone, which scared me. I decided that I was going to explore life and meet more and more people. Going to the club feels fake, and so I thought of going out on dates,” says the ace photographer.
Since then, as Sunder puts it, he’s been having some of the best times of his life.
The youngest women who took him out on a date was a 21-year-old, whereas his oldest date till now was a 105-year-old woman in a village near Pondicherry.
“I drove for ten hours, to and from her village, just to be with her,” says Sunder, who hails from Bengaluru.
He’s gone out on a date with the woman who collects garbage in his building and the two ate a simple meal, that she had cooked, sitting on top a sewage tank where she eats her meals regularly. A woman took him jogging once and both gorged on idli-vada from a local eatery, whereas another taught him sailing.
Chandra is a sweeper and garbage collector
Celebs and actresses too have taken him out on a date. He had a meal with Shreya Sharan and the experience was a wonderful one, he says.
Singer and RJ Suchitra Karthik Kumar also went out on a date with him.
He even had a home-cooked meal at DMK leader Stalin’s house, a date with Stalin’s wife Durga.
A date however is not just limited to going out for a meal. They can go for walks, shopping or any other activity they want to before or after the meal.
“One of the women who took me out on a date took me fishing in Chennai,” says Sunder, adding that he has till now gone out on dates in Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai.
“I do not have any agenda behind going out on these dates. I am not looking for a romantic relationship. It is not a playboy thing. I think this is something that women understand and that is the reason they agree to be a part of it,” he says.
Since men can’t take him out on a date, they often contribute to his cause of sponsoring meals to NGOs.
Although a professional photographer, he does not carry a camera on his dates. “I do not want the camera to be a distraction or interfere in our conversation,” he says adding that he uses his iphone 4 to take the pictures.
Sunder has plans to launch a book about his adventure so far and is also working on a script for a film around it.
How does a typical date look like?
Sunder says, “No two dates are the same and I am glad about it.” Every person he meets has a different and interesting story to tell.
Are there days he does not feel like going out on a date?
“Yes. There are days that I have too much work or when I am exhausted or I don’t want to meet anybody. On those days I do not keep any plans. I do not want the experience to be a forced one. But such days are rare,” he says.
The idea is to go out on 365 dates this year and this does not necessarily have to be one date per day. Sunder has also gone out on two dates in a day and is eagerly looking forward to the rest of the year ahead.