One is having the customary sick day. Walking in the freezing cold must have done the deed or maybe I just go distracted by a little thing, yesterday and forgot to keep my head properly, covered. I think either the cold or the lockdown has made everyone, totally frisky.

Yesterday, I had a brilliant day. Went out of Srinagar, (will post later) got shit loads of work done, spoke to a man whose voice and the language he speaks in, send a shiver down my spine and then had the cutest experience of my life. So, I ain’t making this shit up because my imagination, ain’t so vivid!

For some reason, as you walk down the Boulevard now, the hanjis (boatmen) aren’t the only ones who are trying to chat you up. That’s the usual- They’ll stop you and ask if you need a boat ride or a room, which I don’t reply to anymore because how many people will you have the same conversation with? I just nod my head and keep walking, listening to some random music. But yesterday, for some reason, a couple of them started asking, if they could walk with me. Maybe they were trying to sell something. Who knows? ‘Kyaa he? Kyaa baat karni he?’ SB yelled at one. ‘Nature ke bare me!’, he replied timidly. Trust me, no one messes with this one, she’s viscous!

Then this happened. A young boy, looked all of sixteen years old to me, started following me on his bike. This is highly unusual, I’m telling you it’s the aftermath of the virus. One of the reasons, Kashmiri men are so decent, I think, is because their women are drop dead gorgeous. I’ve never experienced this before. This how our conversation went.

Faizan- Kyaa me apke saath chal sakta hu?

Me- Kyuu?

Faizan- Andhera he na!

Me- Bodyguard bana he mera?

Faizan- Haan, na please!

He pulled his bike onto the pavement and actually, started walking next to me. His impishness reminded me of my brother!

Faizan- Karte kyaa ho?

Me- Chalti hu. Dikh nahi rahaa?

Faizan- Zindagi me?

Me- Chalti hu!

Faizan- Naam to bata do. Mera naam Faizan he.

Me- Saadiya.

Faizan- Konse hotel me ruki ho?

Me- Pata nahin, naam nahin likha. Board nahin he wahaan pe. How old are you? 16?

Faizan- 19!

Me- How old do you think I am?

Faizan- Mujhe kyaa pata?

Me- 41. Tumhari Umar se double he. Time waste mat kar, bhag yaahan se. (I’m so amused by him, I don’t even know how to get angry.)

Faizan- Umar se kyaa hota he? Apko pata he na, aap itne bade nahi lagt. Pata he na apko? ( He’s smiling) . Itni Raat ko kaha ja rahee ho?

Me- Pooja karne. Jao Faizan.

Faizan- Itni jaldi naam bhi yaad kar liya! Mandir he yaha?

Me- Mujhe wahan Bethna he. ( I take out my new tazbee and show him)

Faizan- Acha misssid ( yes that’s how pronounces it) call de do! Choti se, ek thodi si. Me phone karunga.

It goes on this back and forth banter, with me reminding me him how old I am and him trying to convince me age, is no consequence. In the past three weeks, starting from my father, four people have told me this. The only reason, I’m letting him follow me around is because, I’ve spoken to the Pathan… I’m walking on cloud nine and trying to convince myself of the same.

This one is ofcourse just doing all this for the benefit of the people, who are watching him. You know how young boys are right or even older ones for that matter, they just need to prove to their friends they are studs! It’s just for kicks. So, I’m thinking, ‘ chal someone made my day, I’ll make yours!’ Till, I reach my spot, after which I just ask him to go away which after much sulking, he does.

The reason I write this, in Delhi, men will whistle, pass lewd remarks and even try to touch you. Over here, they’ll tell ‘ aap mujhe ache lag rahee ho na. Please, na.’ So when some UP ka bhiaya, is claiming Muslim men are trying to seduce their women, you should know it’s just a case of sour grapes. They should be taking a leaf out of their books. Learn to switch on the charm. Seekh lo apne aurato se baat, shayad nahin bhagege phir.