Somewhere in January, I went for an interview in Juhu area. As the interview finished sooner than I expected and as I had some time to kill, I went to this mesmerizing beach I have always been fan of.

It was around 2 in the afternoon but the weather was cloudy, my favorite. I was walking on the beach alone, thinking about things, smiling to myself. For more dramatic effect, I unclutched my hair. Now cool breeze was piercing from between my locks, pace of my walk slowed down with the song “O re manva tu kya sochta hai” in my head, imagining myself in a music video I would never be in (don’t judge me, every girl does that). Just then, I felt two taps on my shoulder from behind.

I turned back and saw a guy with a bright smile looking right at me.

“Umm.. okay?”, I asked.

“Hi, I have been looking at you from a while, now I don’t mean to creep you out but I saw you walking here… engrossed in  your world and how your hair were waving in the air… it just… can I sketch you??” , he said.

I was startled, like what the heck!

Now some background information, I studied in a Girls School, went to a Girls Junior College and the number of guys I saw in my UG and PG years were as good as studying in a Girls College again. So, you see, I had no clue or experience about handling situations like these. So I carried on by having a polite conversation.

“Sketch me? Haha, why?”

“Umm… you know, sketching is a lot about feeling. You see someone and feel what they’re feeling and that is what drives you to sketch them. In this case, You! Don’t get me wrong, this is like my hobby. I have sketched many people before, some of them had been published in bla bla magazine.”

and he started showing me his sketches. His hands were shivering.

I took a good look at him. He looked like a regular guy. Average height, average built, age around 24 or 25 and decently good looking. He looked like a guy who has a younger sister and they daily get into a fight on breakfast table over futile things. I thought maybe he was just nervous for approaching a stranger like that. But still it was bothering me, why he wants to sketch me? Now I know I’m pretty good looking, but definitely not “Lemme sketch you princess” kind of good looking.

He observed my expressions, how I was still skeptic, so he tried to develop an interesting conversation on how he’s relieved that I simply didn’t shoo him off like other girls with ‘backward’ mentality. He also mentioned how it was easier for him to sketch girls in U.S. and how hard it is to find an ‘open-minded’ girl in a country “like India.”

 By now I was counting the blackheads on his nose. Can’t help, no regrets, there were plenty. He also added that this is just his hobby and that he works at Deloitte. Back then I was living in Elphinstone and I knew that there was one around which I read as ‘Dettol’ initially.

“Like in Elphinstone?”, words slipped from my mouth.

“Yes, actually I also live there so… it’s kind of easy you know. You live there too?”, he inquired.

“No… no-no, B..baldlapur.”, I stuttered as that was the farthest I could imagine. A little trigger and I might as well had thrown myself in Pune.

“Oh that’s far… I guess your boyfriend doesn’t mind that you travel this far alone.”, he asked expecting I would deny one and smiled creepily.

“Aah! No he doesn’t, he’s really nice. Great that you reminded, I actually had to call and confirm if he’s back from office as we have some plans”, I replied, hastily taking out my cellphone, hoping he would disappear at least now.

“So the sketch? C’mon it would be fun, it won’t take long.”, he insisted.

Seeing no way out to out-throw his politeness I agreed smiling meekly.

“So…” I said scanning his shoulders for an artist jhola, “where’s your stuff?”

“Oh, that? Actually I have a small studio across the road. We can go there and I assure you it will hardly take 45 minutes.” , he said with his hand half stretched in the air quite impatiently.

“So… you have to sketch me and for that you will need me to come to a studio with you? Sorry, I don’t think I’m that ‘forward’ (read stupid). I hope you can understand my hesitation in a country “like India”.

I just stared at him with a fake smile on my face also for a final confirmation of his genuineness but his annoyed face and grinding teeth simply confirmed.
He left. I thought I would feel better now knowing how years of reading crime news and watching criminal minds finally came to some use. Might even gloat! But no. Nothing. It actually saddened me a little. Knowing how easy it is to fall prey… how easily many people might have already fallen for this, but I can’t be sure… maybe that wasn’t the case whatsoever. 

Sometimes you take your chances, Sometimes you make your choices.

In any way, you have to assess your situation. 

Why does a mediocre sketch artist (hobby) needs a studio near a beach? 

If he’s genuine, how can a guy just ASSUME that stranger girls will go with him anywhere rather than bringing his tools to the beach in order to lessen the awkwardness? 

But no, why?

At the end of the day, we make a choice and always choose to stay firm by it. I make mine , I hope you do yours as well.