Don’t you find me attractive…

Excerpt B from Chapter 7
       We had an early pack-up that day and I was enjoying the sunset as I walked to the Film City gate, swinging my bag, when I realised that Rahul was nonchalantly walking by my side. I looked at him, too exasperated to say anything.
       ‘My jeep broke down. Again.’
       Sure. The same way it wouldn’t start yesterday when he’d wanted to walk with me and had been coaxed into life after I’d asked him out.
       ‘Look, I’d said to you, very clearly, hadn’t I – just a one-off – don’t you understand?’ I said.
       “‘One-off”, of course I understand, not like the Rin ads.’ There was a pause as we walked together and then he said quietly, ‘But why? Why just a one-of-a-kind, why not a series, like the Rin ads?’
       I wondered how to reply, then decided to be straightforward. The last thing I wanted to do was to lead him on.
       ‘Look,’ I said, ‘to be truthful, my going out with you didn’t have much to do with you, as such. Means, I went out with you because I saw my ex-boyfriend with some girl. I could just as well have gone out with Manoj or Kapil or… or anybody.’
       We walked together in silence for a while. I hoped that he wasn’t feeling bad, but even more than that, I hoped that the score was clear.
       ‘By the way,’ I said, ‘can I have my jooda pin back?’
       He took it out of his pocket, twirled it a couple of times, making the bells tinkle, and then handed it to me.
       ‘I’d grown a bit fond of it,’ he said.
       I wanted to frown, but I couldn’t help smiling. The weather was much too pleasant. I stopped to tie my hair into a knot with my jooda pin. It felt nice to have my pin back.
       ‘Tell me something,’ he said abruptly. ‘Don’t you find me attractive?’
       ‘No,’ I said, but since I didn’t particularly want to do a hatchet job on his ego, I added, ‘Obviously you’re very good-looking and all, but you’re not my types.’
       ‘Types, means like…’
       ‘Means like… I go for dark guys and you’re fair.’ Karan was very dark, and I’d fallen for him at first sight.
       ‘No problem,’ Rahul said confidently. ‘Kryolan Pancake, Shade No. 626 E.’
       I smiled, and shook my head.
       ‘Aren’t you ever going to give up trying?’ I said.
       ‘Of course I will. Very soon. As soon as you say yes.’
       ‘Ooh, like that! You’re going to be interested only till I’m hard-to-get. As soon as you get me…’
       ‘I don’t want to get you, Paro,’ he said, suddenly turning serious. ‘I don’t know why, but my heart feels drawn…’
       ‘Save these dialogues for the screen.’
       ‘OK.’ He made a face, then switched back to being non-serious. ‘So tell me, what else is your type – what kind of guys do you go for?’
       What kind of guys did I go for? Oh yes, of course. Kavita’s patterns.
       ‘You know, I’ve got this pattern of falling for all the wrong kind of guys. And of having these really fucked-up kind of relationships,’ I said. ‘I mean, if you’re like, Prince Charming, I’m obviously not going to fall for you.’
       ‘So… What do I have to do, to qualify?’
       ‘Well, get married, for starters.’
       ‘My God!’ Pause. ‘Won’t having another girlfriend do?’
       ‘No,’ I said. ‘I’m the old-fashioned types.’