He stared at me for a good part of the six hours bus journey from Jaipur to Kota. He kept smiling as though he had seen a girl for the first time. At first, well I felt very flattered being stared at like that, but soon flattery gave way to my being very conscious about every move I made. He kept staring. He kept smiling.
He giggled out loud and when I looked at him with a natural reflex he bowed down his head. He blushed. I decided enough was enough; he should talk to me outright rather than making me so uncomfortable with his staring looks. He did not agree, his mischievous smile and the glint in his eyes told me so. He wanted to continue the game. He kept staring. He kept smiling.
The bus was crowded as there were many people on board. I was the only one who caught his imagination though. I exulted in the glory of this new found secret admirer. Even whispered into my mother’s ears “maa look he’s been observing every move I make.” Surprisingly my mom did not object to the guy’s staring or his sly smile. She started to tease me. While he kept staring. He kept smiling.
The route was beautiful. Rajasthan blossomed yellow with mustard fields. Here and there and almost everywhere we spotted many small yet extravagant forts. I was enjoying the traveling escapade as well as the attention bestowed so generously by my secret admirer. The journey was coming to an end, our destination was approaching fast. I just could not take leave without the exchange of words. I mustered all the courage I possessed. Giving my sweetest smile possible I asked, “What is your name?” He looked at me, a bit surprised and I think a bit shocked too. I knew at once he was at a loss of words. He did not reply, turned his head away. His brother came to the rescue, gave me my secret admirer’s name— Vaibhav. But Vaibhav, he kept staring. He kept smiling.
We reached Kota exactly on time. I helped my mother haul down the heavy suitcase. We were waiting for a cabdriver. Vaibhav came down and shyly he said, “Pleeyanka didi, your shoes are very nice.” And again he started to smile.