As he lived in a fantasy world inspired by Bollywood, he felt the needs for a “Heroine” of his own to be a real “Hero”. Now this was a major problem in a small conservative town. The girls were brought up in a very traditional manner. The plan was to get them some education, trained in household chores and marry them. They were not even allowed to go to movies but for religious movies and that too accompanied by female family members. These girls had no idea about romance and love. This drove my cousin crazy. His opinion in general of girls was poor. He felt that god has played a cruel joke on him by surrounding him with this town’s girls. He would tell me that if he was in Delhi he would have at least 10 girlfriends. He believed that in Delhi girls walked around looking for a guy just like him.
It was impossible to reach these pious virgins. The schools were separate. The school gate was permanently shut and all communication with outside world was cut. Doormen guarded it and police station was not far away. All these measures were in place simply to discourage characters like my cousin. The girls would walk to school in groups, constantly monitored by all the self-appointed Mohalla (neighborhood) watchdogs and chaperoned by hawkish matrons. The same routine was repeated in evening. The school headmistress had a fierce reputation for beating the Romeos with a stick if they were found to be loitering around girl’s school. Such were the odds against which my cousin was fighting.
His methods of reaching these thin pickings were strange to say the least. The modus operandi was that you write something like a love note and get it to the girl somehow. My cousin used colored ink for this purpose. As per him girls were more likely to respond if the letter was written with colored ink. He would mix blue ink with red to get some kind of a pink shade, which he felt was sufficiently romantic. But it could not be too pink otherwise girl might laugh at you for being “girly”. You also had to make sure that girl knows who sent the letter but your name is not there. If you wrote your name and girl’s family found out a thrashing was in order. The girls’ family also reported to boy’s family, which sometimes resulted in another thrashing. He also never wrote letter himself because that carried the danger of writing getting identified.
His partner in crime in these endeavors was a buddy of his. His academic credentials were even more impressive. He had already failed so many times that he had been officially removed from school. Such students could only take state board exams as “private”. Everybody called him private from that time on. The Private lived on farm next to ours. He was a result of prayers and offerings to all kind of gods. His parents already had 4 daughters and off course how can a family be complete without a worthy son. The prayers were answered and they were blessed with Private.
Private was living a dream. He did not go to school, slept for close to 12 hours a day and pretty much did not do anything that can be considered productive. Any time his parents would ask him to do anything, he would threaten to run away. The family was hoping that if private somehow managed to pass 10th grade they could marry him off. If my cousin had zero ambitions, private had negative ambitions. He already felt that he has achieved a lot. All he lacked was a “Heroine” in his life to make it complete.