Ever since I was fifteen, I was brought up on a double diet of mush, lavishly sprinkled by the Mills & Boons and the Harlequin romances that I read. Friends at the strict convent school always talked about boys, a topic of conversation that was sure to make the nuns pass out in shock! What a double life we were leading, in and outside the classrooms! At home, it was a different story altogether.My Dida was one potent figure at home, who made sure that we girls were brought up properly, as befits women! The infinite ways in which she brought all her hopes and aspirations in marrying us off at eighteen and declaring the Shashtras over and over again about marriage, family, children, etc., was a horrifying experience of sorts for my progressive parents! She would always make them feel like sinners with her patent- “Do you know the Shashtras say if parents die without getting their daughter married, they will be condemned to perpetual rebirth.” My father would give a feeble, “I don't believe in all that stuff, and I think, as an educated lady, neither should you.”Every time we had a puja at home, Dida would insist that I sit next to her. And I always followed obediently…well most of the times. Every time I closed my eyes obediently a delicious image of a romantic, somewhat shadowy young man holding me in his strong manly embrace conjured my mind. “Are you praying?” My grandmother would ask suspiciously. “Of course I'm praying,” I would reply indignantly, “you never trust me.”Giving a soul-killing sigh, I would think how would Dida dear know that I was prey to inchoate longings, desired almost every boy I saw, then stood long hours before the mirror gazing at my pimples, bug’s tooth, and the unmanageable pouffé of frizzy hair, before getting ready for school again!