Aashna was her name. She was a moderate looking girl with long hair, a beautiful laugh and a strong jawline. But it was her kohl-lined intelligent eyes that caught my attention. I wanted to know more about her, everything about her, her views on food, politics, society, family, culture, everything. 

I waited for moments when I could talk to her, rushed towards her when she was alone, and generally spoke on what happened that day in the class. She was my classmate, after all. She never denied giving me accurate information. It soon became our routine and we began discussing issues different from studies. Our informal relationship was similar to a Bollywood movie and it progressed. 

I believed, or atleast I thought she was sincerely interested in me. The elephants in my stomach never relaxed. Whenever I felt the time had come to declare my love towards her, I felt an urgent need to pee. 

It was Wednesdy, the 2nd of May which was soon to become the most memorable day of my life. After class ended, Aashna and I walked back home. The ring in my pocket felt heavy. I pulled it out and offered her. She asked, “What?” and unapologetically I answered, “The symbol of my love. I love you.” It happened in seconds but I would never forget it, not in the next five lifetimes. I was slapped, publicly. She burst with a rant of how she thought I was her real friend, I don’t feel for you the way you do and other degrading things which I soon lost track of. All I could feel was shame, guilt, revenge and the burning red hot feeling under the skin of my cheeks. 

Fast forwarding to two years hence, I still feel the same. I’m unable to approach any girl with the same level of honesty, happiness and a hint of nervousness. In fact, I cannot summon my strength to approach any girl at all. I’m left shattered and vulnerable because every time I’m attracted to a girl, I’m reminded of Aashna and the public humiliation. 

Women are mysterious being who makes a man wonder what exactly it is that they seek. If we ask them for pizza, they are offended because of our failure at reading their minds which screamed for an ice cream! 

Why aren’t men given this kind of sugar-coating? Why has it become a stringent rule that men should pay, men should propose, men should ask, men should console, men should make the move? Why can’t it be a two way street wherein both genders take equal interest and responsibility? It is a question worth pondering. 

Image credits – Google.