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It’s raining outside. You feel like officially declaring Rim Jhim Gire Saawan as the soundtrack for your life. The object of your affection (girl you only know as “yellow dupatte-waali”/a longtime friend or classmate/that work acquaintance whose hair is always freshly shampooed) is standing right before you.
You manage to ignore the dry mouth and sweaty palms, and you say how you feel.
You look to her, waiting for her reaction. The soundtrack in your head has shifted to, Ey, kya bolti tu?
Here’s how to steer clear of Creep Chowk, regardless of the scenario, no matter kya bolti woh:

Scenario 1: Heartbreak Highway

She turns you down quite directly, ekdum seedhi baat.
There are a thousand roads leading to Heartbreak Highway, but she chooses one of the many shortcuts. Some of these are her saying:
  • She is not interested in you/not looking for romance
  • She is only interested in her career/studies right now
  • She has a boyfriend/her parents are looking for a groom for her as you speak
  • “You are like a father to me/My favorite uncle used to say the same thing/Even when I was a child I used to admire your work/I feel you could be a great mentor to me.”
Despite the directness, it seems like she doesn’t mind going back to normal, and continuing as friends. Think you can handle that? Or are you feeling more of a dost dost na raha vibe inside? Either way, be nice about it, don’t make her uncomfortable, and don’t baar baar pester. Remember, that energy is better used allowing yourself to like someone else!  Count your blessings that she was straight enough to take a shortcut instead of ghumaoing you and you can carry on.

Scenario 2: Crossed-a-line Crossroad

Her face turns red. But it’s not out of sharmaana-varmaana, so maybe hold off on distributing those laddoos. If she:
  • responds with anger and outrage
  • threatens to call your mother/boss/professor/anti-sexual harassment committee/the police
It seems like, despite your best efforts (or maybe because you’ve put too much faith in Bollywood love lessons), you have either really made a mess and said something terrible, or what you thought was only a confession of your feelings has far exceeded her cultural comfort zone.
Calm down, it’s not some big paap. You may not have done anything bad as such, but if she’s feeling ill at ease, she has the right to that..
So getting defensive and responding with reverse anger definitely won’t help.
Dil pe mat lo yaar. It’s embarrassing but don’t take it to heart or ego. If you get hung up on ego, that won’t make you a real man, it’ll just make it feel bigger than it is. If you take a deep breath and wait for your embarrassment to pass, you can move right on.

Scenario 3: Rejection Roundabout

Think “hansi toh fasi” is gospel truth? Think again. If she:
  • smiles but in a tight, quick way
  • laughs a little but goes back to whatever she was doing immediately
  • seems stiff
You’ve definitely made her uncomfortable, but she does not want to be rude to you or know how to turn you down.
We live in a society where that’s a comfort level women still aren’t allowed to get to – so don’t be someone who adds to that problem! If you’re going to pick up women, learn to pick up hints, too! This is clearly not a situation for a follow-up “aati kya Khandala”.

But MERA kya?! (How to feel bad without being a creep)

You’re feeling rejected. You are probably feeling upset. Ok, you’re feeling like shit. You have two options: you can either help yourself and heal, or feel even shittier. This is a crucial moment in establishing yourself as a decent person or a creepeshwar.
1. If you are colleagues/classmates/neighbors and generally see the object of your affection frequently, it gets tricky. Your heart says dard-e-disco, but your brain says slow down and salsa. This is quicksand territory and you can still end up being a creep if you act on your feelings of rejection and dejection, by ignoring her or being rude.
Remind yourself it is NOT her fault that she doesn’t return your feelings. Be polite. Good manners were created to help us get through tough stuff without being asses.
2. Remember: you are NOT a loser if she doesn’t like you “that way”. It happens. Life is not kabhi khushi kabhi gham only, but kabhi haan kabhi na also. Don’t get so hung up over it that you fail to notice that other interesting girl on your bus. The one who always turns around to smile at you… maybe there’s something there? Point is, keep up the Devdas act and you’ll never find out!
3. Speaking of Devdas…that guy sure knew how to mourn! Maybe you can take a page or two from his book. You’re allowed to be sad. You’re allowed to drown all this sadness in one drink too many. Hell, you’re even allowed to writhe on the floor while singing Maar Daala. The louder and more off-key, the better. But not in front of the person who rejected you, ok? Do it alone or with friends who will grin and bear it and give you tight hugs.
4. If you feel like your sorrow is not quite so Sanjay Leela Bhansali in scale, great. Talk to a friend. Do something nice for yourself. Think about your own feelings, rather than trying to decode hers. If you find yourself at the tempting junction of “Why didn’t she say yes?” and “What is so bad about me?”, turn up the music and drive right past. Don’t go down either road, it’s a dead-end baba.
5. Gaali-galoch doesn’t help.
6. Use your imagination. Fantasize yourself back to normal. You might dream up all sorts of bizarre scenarios, like egging her window, or hijacking her date by turning up at her table and belting out Jag Soona Soona Laage (we’re not giving you any ideas!), but remember that all fantasies come with an expiry date. Indulge them for as long as it takes to make you feel better, but don’t let them translate into real life.
7. You asked her out, she rejected you. But a week later, you see her with some other guy.
Hota hai. She’s not obligated to like you (or any guy, for that matter) just because she has shown interest in somebody else... Respect her choices.
Ishq is hard, but who said it was easy? Grown up fun comes from growing up. So ishq farmaofy, but slowly slowly, one step at a time. And if you’re lucky (and decent about it), you will see hearts and flowers soon enough.
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