At 22, my life seemed perfect to me. I was in my final year of college at Delhi University, pursuing the course I was extremely passionate about, with a big friends’ circle and, not to forget, the fairy tale love story.
Nipun and I had been dating since the first year of college; it was love at first sight for us, and ever since then we had shared anything and everything. I had first met him at a Delhi University Fest, and things had gone uphill from thereon. We were compatible in every possible way and life was beautiful.
Soon, we graduated from college, and while he got placed at PWC, I decided to take the year off and prepare for my GMAT and focus on my Master’s applications. Things were going smoothly. Even though we got to meet less often, we compensated by keeping in touch over the phone. Four years with Nipun passed by rather quickly, and by then, I was certain I could imagine spending the rest of my life with him.
Time to leave for Paris to pursue my Master’s in Culinary Arts had finally arrived. Most would have been sceptical about long distance, but we were certain we would work this out. The first few weeks in Paris saw me very occupied, with settling in the new city, a hectic schedule and making new friends. But Nipun and I stayed well in touch, thanks to Facetime, Snapchat and Whatsapp. However, this did not last for long. Shortly after my first term ended, Nipun’s behaviour became very aloof. He started missing my phone calls and would be very withdrawn and disinterested in most of our conversations. Initially, I consoled myself about this, assuming that he must also be adapting to me being away and there was no reason for me to read between the lines. However, this went on for over two months, and then it finally occurred to me that something was wrong. To my dismay, I found out that he had been cheating on me with my best friend all this while. My entire world came crashing down and I went into what they call, “depression”.
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I finally put myself together and decided to focus on my studies, career and delete the word “love” from my dictionary forever. I was done with it. Soon my Master’s course was complete and it was time to return to India. Back home, I worked long hours and spent all the time off from work, hanging out with friends and colleagues and indulging in casual hook-ups. After all, the body has its needs. Whereas, emotional attachment with anybody was off the table. I occasionally met Raghav, an old friend from school as he and I had a lot in common. We had seen a brutal end to our respective long-term relationships and shared the same sorrow and had lost faith in the goodness of people. This gave us a lot more to talk about, and not to forget the sexual tension that had weirdly always existed between us.
One night, the two of us had gone out drinking, when one thing led to another and we started making out. It wasn’t awkward at all; in fact, it was one of the most sizzling nights of my life. Who knew Raghav,had such interesting hidden talents. Maybe it felt so good because of the comfort factor as we had been friends for a while. But the fact that he was a good kisser surely helped. After that day, we met several times, just for quickies post work, and became what they call “friends with benefits”.
This wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am was working wonders for me. Even Nipun had never managed to send my lady hormones into such a crazy frenzy during the several years that we had dated. As for feelings, emotions, love and the likes of it...we steered clear of all those. Our relationship was simple: friends with the same need, who met to mutually fulfill it.
Life was amazing once again, even though conventionally you couldn’t call it perfect. The long hours at work were paying off, Raghav and I were having crazy monkey sex and the weekend clubbing nights with friends were the icing on the cake. And emotions? There was no space for them in my life anymore. Because one, from the beginning, Raghav and I had been clear that this was just a physical thing and it did not even have to be exclusive. Literally no strings attached. Because two, I would marry the guy my parents would choose and bank on an arranged marriage for a happy life, given that my own choice of life partner (a.k.a. Nipun) had been terrible.
Seven months later, I lost my grandmother, whom I was extremely close to. Losing her left me in a terrible, depressed state. I visited Raghav’s place that very night with the aim of just having mindless sex to make myself feel a little better. Instead, he and I ended up talking to each other till the wee hours. Raghav was there for me. He tirelessly listened to me talk about Dadima for hours, consoling me as I broke into tears every few minutes. For the first time, in such a long while, we did not end up having sex. For the next few days, he did everything in his capacity to save me from plunging into depression. If it weren’t for him, the grief of losing Dadima would have shattered me completely.
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After my grandmother’s death, and that night, the equation between Raghav and I had completely changed. He had always been my friend and then had graduated to become my friend with benefits. But now, I saw a life-long companion in him. Somewhere between the long conversations about life, drinking till we dropped and crazy sex nights, I had unknowingly fallen for him. However, scared of losing him, based on our “no emotions clause”, I never expressed my feelings. But from then on, I felt extremely intimate when we got close and I felt emotionally very connected to him.
Keeping my feelings aside, I allowed things to continue the way they were going. Until one day, Raghav rang me up and frantically told me to directly come over to his place post work. In a frenzy, I requested to leave early and rushed to his place, my mind blazing with all kinds of thoughts and scenarios as to what could have happened. As soon as I parked my car and stepped down, there I saw Raghav, kneeling at his porch, with a ring to put to my finger.
In my wildest dreams, I hadn’t imagined this would actually ever be happening. And yes, of course, smiling to my ears, I said yes and had my magical fairytale kiss. This is how I ended up marrying my friend with benefits. After all, what more does one need in a partner? Friendship, physical compatibility (and by that I mean wild, wild sex) and a deep understanding of each other! So what if our story was twisted and had proceeded in the most unexpected and non-traditional way...but hey, life had an unbelievably amazing plan for us!
* Names changed to protect privacy.
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