I am a hopeless romantic – and this is not an easy world for hopeless romantics. Chetan Bhagat and Nicholas Sparks rule bookstores, Baadshah the air waves and Bollywood still hammers on the head of formula. Alongside, there is the grisly world of Tinder and Grindr, where sex is just hooking up – a quick “cum ovr r8 now” (double entendre intended). There’s barely any romance in the air.
Yes, I enjoy a healthy amount of casual sex, but I like my fornication peppered with a drink, and a smoke, and a side of conversation. How am I supposed to enjoy something that intimate with a stranger without knowing their tastes in books, or wine? Can they tell their Ghalib from Mir, their Faust from Foucault? If that sounds too highbrow, do they enjoy cinema and stay abreast with the latest pop cultural developments? My encounters often lead to the other person being a tad overwhelmed by my taste in art and literature. They sheepishly smile and say: “Oh, you are Bengali, na? Of course you will be creative types, no?”
How would I confess to them that I compulsively do every Buzzfeed quiz on Sundays and have watched DDLJ 176 and a half times (I fell asleep the last time, right after Bauji drags the whole family to Punjab)? Those are dark, secret, shameful pieces of information that only my closest friends are privy to. And honestly, these tiny nuggets, simple incongruencies, petty guilty pleasures, tell you more about me than my reading list.
As adults, our closest friends often know us better than ourselves. We have partied with them, gotten horribly drunk, blabbered life philosophies over some good hash, run off to beaches and mountains, nursed heartbreaks and celebrated promotions. We have been at our worst with them. Like Kate Hudson insightfully said in an episode with Jimmy Fallon, love is openly farting.
Remember the struggles of appearing the best version of yourself during dates? Or hurriedly setting your hair and popping a handful of mints before a quick hook up? What if you could take that stifling pressure out of that interaction? What if you could, quite literally, fart around someone you are attracted to, without fear of judgment and abandonment?
It’s easier to fall for friends, because our lives have gotten busier and more crowded than they used to be. Adulting is overwhelming these days. We are expected to be perfect at our jobs, have an active – and happening – social life (or else what will people think of your tepid Instagram account?), spend time with our families, groom ourselves, work out regularly, watch what we eat, keep up with what’s happening around the world, have opinions, read books, watch the latest films FDFS, catch the latest episodes of all the TV shows available on the planet and find time for holidays and travel to exotic destinations. On top of that, we are expected to actively date and have sex and somehow find that perfect someone in this crowd of God-only-knows how many billion. Are you kidding me?
And we try. Most of us try to have it all. I know I do. I don’t succeed every day, but there are some days when I go to bed a satisfied man. But after a bunch of failed relationships and enough casual fucking to publish a juicy autobiography when I turn 60, I am tired. Don’t get me wrong. I am not lonely. But, like I said, I am hopelessly romantic, and some days I would just like to curl up in a ball with someone, with a tub of chocolate chip icecream, and watch DDLJ another 20 times, at least – with someone who doesn’t need me to have abs to be attracted to me. Or who doesn’t need me to be intelligent all the time. Or who doesn’t need me to hold my farts back. I’ve been there, I’ve had that and I know it’s a beautiful place to be.
So, when you are too tired of looking for that perfect someone and starting that round of lovely-meeting-you-what-do-you-do-wheredo-you-reside-dogs-or-cats-Trump-or-ModiTendulkar-or-Saurav questions from scratch all over again, for the hundredth time, hoping that this person will be THE person, you might just look at people who have already answered those questions. What is friendship, if not a relationship minus – or hitherto unexplored – chemistry?