I am dumb when it comes to girls. My friends are quite good at involvement with them, but their company hasn’t had a great deal of effect on me; they often think I am not interested because I am either too much of a geek with my computer and stuff, or I love to sleep more in the world of fantasy while they enjoy the butterflies flying here and there, dancing, gossiping, singing... In my culture, though, there are too few women for men to try their luck on.

Peshawar lies in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, and due to its Pukhtoon culture that is not as modern — though it is — as the other cities of the country, interaction between men and women seems a bit awkward, though those who are doing it are doing it well. When I shifted to Peshawar three years back for study, I was a town-raised boy who went to the best modern schools in early childhood and learned to cross the barrier that is laid in the Eastern culture. But that school turned out to be a hard nut to crack, and I was forced into a local town school that was not as good as the former, and that is when things went bad. Fewer were the girls around in class and school and less was my interest in them as I thought of myself as “high.” I passed out of my metric and went to college in another city before I realized I’d started liking someone for the sake of liking. It was too late.

Now that I live on campus, the environment is as good as it can be, the couples and triples (yes, we have them here) are having fun all around me. When I have free intervals during lecture hours, I lie alone or with a group of friends who mostly have good ties in the girls’ section, and they often leave me alone when they get a “come to the lawn” message. When they move out, I think, Why don’t I have friends? But coming back to the college time, it’s too late again. I know I am not much interested, but it’s not as though I don’t have a heart that beats — I am still a teen at heart, though I will turn 21 soon.

I am a big-time Facebook and Orkut addict. I find many women online, but then they are either too young for me or live and study hundreds of miles away, and they added me up on their buddy list because they thought I was a decent yet naughty “lad.” Some live thousands of miles away, usually on different continents, and chances for one-to-one interaction are nil. So, where do I stand? Ah, thank God my interests in music (I’ve started taking guitar lessons) and Internet are keeping me alive, or else I would be still burning in the wood and ashes of frustration and desperation. The music and Internet are probably the things that are keeping me far away from what I now on the eve of Valentine’s Day wish I should have been.

Valentine’s Day is probably being celebrated today and the Teddies and Roses must have been on fire by now in Australia, at least while I am writing all this. Tomorrow Valentine’s will be celebrated in the university where a stall for chocolates, roses, pizzas, etc. is planned to be installed just to help the day be more colorful. I think I am not in love, but just for the sake of it I really want to rose someone this time. She’s someone who wears abaya and a stylish hijaab, looks pretty modern and decent with the Arabic outfit she has on, and speaks good English. This is all that I know about her — no name, no class, nothing else, but I still want to go over and sing the Pink Floyd song “I Need a Smile from a Veil” to her and make my day. Since I’ve never tried this before, I am really scared of a severe rejection, as my ego and respect are both at risk. Time will decide whether my ego won or my heart did, but I hope that whatever happens, happens for the best for me and for everyone.

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