I decided that it was time I grew from a girl to a woman, with all the accompanying wiles and guiles that went with womanhood. And one of the indispensable weapons in a woman's formidable armoury, was her undisputed skill in attracting men with the mesmeric power of her eyes.
To cut a long story short, I decided to pick up the art of winking.
Because to wink successfully, delicately, without scrunching up your eyes, or squeezing your eyelids tortuously, or hamming up the whole thing like a lascivious Johnny Walker (the comedian, not the whiskey), seemed to my 11-year-old mind the epitome of the femme fatale.
But the mirror was not enough, I needed a guinea pig to practise upon.
Being essentially timid by nature, I chose a safe venue. The top deck of the red double-decker bus - L20 - that took us from safe, suburban Barrackpore to big-city Calcutta and all its dangerous fascinations. A window-seat gave me a good view of the people down below.
I chose a safe victim. I decided to bestow my virgin wink at any old man who would look up at my window, but would not be strong enough or fast enough to follow it up with any other action.
So, in one of the innumerable bus-stops on the way to Esplanade, I winked at a doddery old man who was gazing bemusedly up at the bus. Most probably he had cataract, or short-sight, but I fondly imagined him to be gazing straight at me when I WINKED - not a sly, barely-there wink, BUT A BOLD, LASTING-FOR-QUITE-SOME-TIME, EYE-PROPERLY-SHUT, MAKE-NO-MISTAKE-ABOUT-IT WINK.
The poor man hardly noticed a thing.
Now that was a wink gone with the wind.
TELL ME, WHEN DID YOU FIRST WINK A WINSOME WINK?