We had a long chat and there was of course a lot to talk. Yet the one thing he just didn’t speak out loud was the why? The elusive question which should have explicitly brought out the reason for his visit. I knew something was up but then I couldn’t be the one to prod. Now now could I? Of course if it was my mother she would have said yes. because that’s how she is. She doesn’t wait for people to get comfortable, she in fact ensures they don’t.

“Kya hua kyun aaye ho?” such questions to unsuspecting (unwanted) guests.

In our case the comfort was slightly uncomfortable and the paradox of this situation of course was because he didn’t know how to  tell me the purpose of his visit. Now one may ask me how I was so sure that he had an agenda for the trip but then I would smartly answer back how a man with his ego and a woman with her intuition can never go wrong.

Look how pretty his eyes are, I wondered. The soft lips speaking about places from afar. Of course he hasn’t visited Sweden but then his friend had and lets not judge him on such trivial matters. He is good at sports too and then that time he stood tenth in hundred metres boy how proud I was.

I watched him go on and on about Sweden and then Paris and then Venice, all apparently halts of his friend’s world tour. He looked so happy talking about it all. I was just plain dumb euphoric to be sitting there in front of him watching him speak. Speak through this wondrous mouth, etching expressions so vividly on that ever so innocently handsome face.

When had I come to know about it? I guess last Summer. Yes it was last summer. He had walked in and looked so wondrously pretty and me all of sixteen had lost my heart for the first time ever on someone. There was no looking back from then. Not just for me but for him too. That summer he visited our house a total of eighty times in two months. How can I be so sure of the number? Of course I maintain a love journal. Do you not hear me? It is my first love. The first ever, ever so lasting one.

For a while my heart stopped beating, not because he is so recklessly handsome but because mum had arrived in the room. Now I know he won’t stay around here for long, before we both can say hello to her she would be out with her queries.

“Kya hua, kyun aaye ho?” there she spoke the tabooed words even before I could perhaps at least indicate her to stop.

He smiled weakly and like everytime simply walked out of the house. What followed is a ritual particular to this act. I scream mum screams, I tell her she is crazy driving away my friends and she going “Like I dont know how much of a friend he is.”

One more day has passed, my journal needs some new entry. I pick up the little pink and blue lock diary. The key to which is safely hidden under my bed. Mum obviously thinks this lock is for show if she knew it is for real this diary would no longer remain secret.

Pages and pages filled with notes and feelings about each of his visit. And the one thing that strung all of these notes were the distinct, unique words “Kya hua, kyun aaye ho?” Mum had spoken them every single time. This time round she perhaps had stopped him from saying the words that matter. The words that would have ensured that the rest of the diary would get filled with flowers and candlelight and all that is romantic.

Yes he has not proposed me till date. Though there is absolutely no need, I know he loves me and I love him too. But you know how kids are, they need to hear the proposal date, details and even the kiss that follows. Obviously I knew the kiss would have to be created only for them as in vicariously but the rest could be real. I am not averse to the idea, the whole “I love you” charade. In fact I have never told this to anyone but I am secretly waiting for it. Its been almost a year now and everytime I feel like he is about to say it, whoosh something happens, mostly Mum happens.

Knock, Knock.

I got a bit startled. I stared at the door as to who it was who knocked on my door. Mum was instantly ruled out. But there was no one at the entrance. Again I heard the knock and instantly turned to see who it was, no one. Now I could hear someone whisper, “Neha.”

Neha would be me.

Right there on the window was Sachin. He looked so scared and guilty I half thought he would cry. But then remember, if its a woman’s intuition which can never go wrong then of course a man’s ego has to be right always. He couldn’t cry, he may be about to but he wouldn’t. I hoped this more for my ownself, I wanted a man’s ego to remain intact. Especially my man.

“Can I come inside?” he asked in a whisper.

I swiftly opened the window and helped him jump inside. I was so excited. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for. Wait till I tell Srishti, Priya and Anvita. Wow, a secret entry to the house and proposing right there in my room. Now how will I ever get sleep in this place?

“Neha, there is something I have been wanting to tell you for long,” he began to speak nervously.

I couldn’t so much as speak or smile, I remained standing there frozen. I knew any moment he would go down on his knees the position must remain as it is, lest he gets a bit distracted. Where was the video cam? I wish I could switch it on through a remote or something.

“Neha, last summer was the first time I moved to this neighbourhood. And you people were my first friends. I know its all a bit sudden but I have fallen in love,” he stuttered through the speech.

A deep red blush worked my way.

“Truly madly, deeply in love. In love with your cousin. Now I cannot wait anymore for the next summers to arrive, I have planned to visit her right away. I have to tell her how I feel. How desperately I want her in my life. For that I need your help, I would require her home address and Neha something else too. I hope you would understand but all my pocket money is also spent, could you please lend me some money? I assure you by next month I will return. I mean not exactly by next month but over the next few months. Please,” he spoke pleadingly.

This was probably the first time in my life that not only was a man’s ego shattered but even a woman’s intuition went down with it.

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