A recent Hindi film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil had me thinking for the longest time. It is a super mushy movie with all sorts of popular ideas associated with romance added in it. During the various stages in life, I have essayed the roles played by the three main protagonist in the movie: Ranbir Kapoor, who is almost obsessed by Anushka Sharma, who doesn’t consider him anything more than a friend. Aishwarya Rai is the third angle who is an older woman and has a no-strings attached relationship with Ranbir Kapoor for a while.
As a young college girl, I was very much in love with a friend, almost to the point of obsession. After repeated efforts I finally had to let him go. But while it lasted, like Ranbir Kapoor, I also couldn’t believe that my good friend had no feelings for me. It seemed perfect…but only to me. So, of course, it wasn’t. Unfortunately I have also been on the other side of the table. I have been repeatedly wooed by a friend for whom I had no lovey-dovey feelings. In fact for a while I actually deluded myself that I might be feeling something for him because I totally loved spending time with him. But no…there was nothing there. It added a lot of friction in the friendship and for the longest time I didn’t know how to resolve it. I didn’t want to lose him as a friend but at the same time I didn’t want him anything more than a friend. It was a very stressful time with a lot of emotional undercurrents from his side and me trying my best to save the friendship. Today we are in touch with each other but it is not the same. Sometimes he brings up this topic and predictably I clam up.
Now as a much older woman, I am at a similar position as Aishwarya’s character in the movie. I was in a no-strings relationship with a much younger guy till some time back. I genuinely did believe that I could pull off this no-strings relationship or friends with benefits equation I had with him. But I did get emotionally involved. It literally took my breath away when I realised my true feelings for him. There was no point in telling him because it was always based on no-strings attached equation and well lets say I had a fair bit of idea of what he felt about regular relationships. I hated (still do!) myself for landing in this situation. How could I allow it to happen? I wish I knew but the fact was that I had developed emotional feelings for him. For a while I decided to pretend that all was well but both of us realised that something was missing. I just wasn’t able to behave normally and well, in retrospect his behavior was equally weird if not more.
Nevertheless something had to give. I doubt if this no strings attached can actually work on a sustained basis for a longer period of time. It is just too fucking complicated. And if a practical person like me was able to develop feelings for this jerk then I feel it is going to be difficult for others as well.
Well suffice to say that it just doesn’t work for me. Either you can be good friends or you can totally spoil a good dish/friendship by adding benefits to it. It is super unlikely to work. It comes with a cautionary warning, you tread forth at your own risk.