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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT For their conviction in me and their continuous emotional and practical support to give my ‘intimate’ project an academic shape, I extend my sincerest gratitude to my supervisors, Shelley Budgeon and Louise Brown. For inspiring me to conceptualize a sociology of intimacy and for believing that this research is both plausible and desirable, I am indebted to my teachers in Kolkata, Abhijit Mitra, Prasanta Ray, Bula Bhadra and Monjir Ghosh who taught me to live sociology in everyday life. I am very grateful to the School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham for granting me a bursary to carry out this research. My friends and subjects of this research whose stories of intimacy are mine too, wrote with me my thesis through their narratives. I thank each one of them for granting me a part in their intimate lives and for making me appreciate anew a sociology of personal life through this shared space of intimacy. To every piece of musical, literary and cinematic creation through which I am growing a sensibility and an imagination of the ‘intimate’ within and beyond Bengal, I extend my heartfelt gratitude. Sociology or otherwise, my family always gave me ‘home’ to all my unanswered questions, and meaning to all that is apparently meaningless. Even before I was formally trained into feminist schools of thought; my grandmother, Anjali and her daughter, my mother, Arpita, unwittingly sensitized me into the generational nuances of a woman’s world, her ‘bargain with patriarchy’ and her ‘situated feminism’. My research is dedicated to them and many more Anjalis and Arpitas. Unlike what most of my friends think, these four years of rigorous research on heterosexual intimacy, romance and coupling have possibly made me less romantic and more sceptical like most feminist sociologists. For living and sharing with me my scepticisms and for loving me precisely because of my contradictions; I cannot thank enough Rajarshi, my best ‘friend’. His gender sensititized perceptions that are emerging not from any direct feminist training but in his narrative,