I don’t hate you at all. I’m just glad I met each and every one of you. Thank you for making me wiser and stronger.

Dear school fellow, I heard you saying about me that I’m very “sariyal”. I know I’m not a 24/7 cheerful person but I decided to talk to you nicely after this and that’s when you concluded “vou shareef nahi hai.” Thank you for teaching me that I shouldn’t care what anyone thinks of me and definitely shouldn’t try to be nice to people because some people just don’t deserve it. Dear other boys (some of which are actually really nice), here’s one answer to all the times you have asked me why I’m not always laughing around with everyone and why I avoid talking.

Dear stupid suitor, remember when I wasn’t replying to your messages and refused to talk to you at all? Remember when your fragile ego got hurt because you don’t like being rejected? Remember when you started conspiring against me? I cursed you and now that you have a broken leg, I feel a little bad because it might just be because of me. Dear friend’s suitor, remember when you slut shamed her after she refused to date you? Please be careful next time. Dear boys, I apologize that I heard your conversation when you were talking about how girls’ legs look like “pencils” when they wear tights. I feel sorry for all the girls whose legs were a victim of your gazes.

Dear guy, remember when you told me a story about how you accidentally dialed my number when your voice recognition software messed up or when you were asking me for chemistry notes at 2 am (even though there were 10 other people you could have gone to)? I’m not that stupid. I replied to you out of courtesy and no I am not saying you were hitting on me but please admit you were finding ways of making new friends.

Dear friend, you’re amazing and I know you respect me but I know your sister as well and I also know that she doesn’t talk to any guys. So can you please understand why I’m replying to your messages late? I’m not being rude. It’s just that talking to you makes me overthink a lot.

Dear academy guy, remember when you started arguing with me just because I didn’t reply to your message? I didn’t realize I was obliged to reply to all of the strangers' messages. Dear guy who called me bhabhi as I passed by, I get it that you want to joke around with your friend about me but can you please slow down your volume so that I feel less awkward (more like less enraged?) Please? You’re young and juvenile so it’s probably all just a joke for you, but please remember that one day you might just see your own daughter stressing over boys passing such remarks.

Dear unknown enemy, you made fake accounts with my name once and I cried because I was upset. I was stressed out when you did this for the second time too. But the third time? I just laughed out loud at your life. Thank you for making me care less now. Dear friend who told me that “colleges tou hain hi but as plan B gol rottiyan banana seekh lou” when we were talking about admissions, you’re a great guy and you might have said it as a joke, but trust me, it made me feel small for a second. Did you think once before saying it? Did you think of all the dreams I have for my future? It’s okay though, not your fault. It’s mine. I let you say that.

And why just teenage boys? Let me make this an open letter to all my dearest uncles too. Starting from you Mr. Manager of the bank where I interned last summer. Do you realize how I uncomfortable I was when you randomly started messaging me one night at 11pm, one month after my internship had ended? I thought it was going to be about my stipend but I quickly realized it was not. I’m an A Level student and you’re a bank manager, there was never any friendship between us. Thank you though, for making me see the struggles of a working woman in such a small age. A great life lesson.

Dear sir from the administration, I was a little surprised when you first reached out to me on Facebook. I thought maybe I was one of your favorite students. I was a little uncomfortable when you asked me to go lie down in your office the other day when I fell sick, but I thought you were just being nice. My fingers are trembling as I type this down but I wish I could tell you how I felt really awkward when you started messaging me daily after you left the job. I’m sorry because your intentions might not have been wrong, but I hated myself a little for replying to you in the first place.

Dear attendants at the academy, thanks to your infinite stares I now hate going to that academy. Dear unknown uncle from the road, remember when you chased my car from the parlor till my school? It was my farewell and I was so excited. You almost ruined my special day because thanks to you, I was unnecessarily freaking out a little.

No, I don’t detest boys or men but the next time you decide to ask me why I’m being “sariyal” around you or why I’m a little serious most of the times please understand that I have learnt a lot of lessons in such a small age and I’m done.