Anita (not her real name) was in awe of Rajiv (not his real name). He was dashing, manly, rode a smart bike, wore smart contemporary clothes and was very much at ease with the girls. Girls he had in plenty, vying for his attention. His attention on the other hand was mostly focused on his bike, weekend treks and mountaineering. Rajiv worked with me while Anita worked in another company in the same campus. Both of us were doing our internships. She with a company that is a major name in web searches. Me with a company that is a major name in making Servers.
Rajiv worked in the same department as I. He was a nice guy, who knew how to treat a college going girl…like a big brother. Anita badgered me to introduce her to Rajiv. I was scared. I regarded him like I would an elder brother and did not think it was respectful to be doing such a thing. But Anita was persistent. One day while we were having coffee at the Foodcourt, she came and sat down next to me. I introduced her to everyone at the table including Rajiv. I let out a sigh of relief. I did not have to do the intro now. During the course of the evening, Anita talked only to Rajiv getting monosyllabic replies. But she was undaunted. Pretty soon she had added him to her Orkut account. But Anita was just another pesky fly for Rajiv. He rarely replied to her scraps. He rarely replied to anyone’s scraps. When he was not working he was battling rock faces.
Sometimes I felt bad when I saw her waiting at the exit to catch a glimpse of him or get to talk to him. She looked like an eager kid waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa at the mall. I could not advice her as this was way over my head. I could not dissuade her, as her feelings were genuine. I could not encourage her as I felt that Rajiv was definitely not the guy for her, besides being way too older than her.
One day Anita managed to tell him how she felt. Rajiv looked at her affectionately and told her to concentrate on her studies and think of passing exams instead of nursing her crush. She was a little put down, but vowed to him that she would make him like her one day. Rajiv smiled that indulgent smile, reserved for kid sisters.
It’s been a year since I have seen or talked to Anita. I saw her yesterday when she walked into my office. She was joining the External Communications Team. In the afternoon we had lunch together. She had been seeing Rajiv off and on for some time she told me. However she stopped some time back. By now Rajiv is 28 years old. Way too old for her. Besides she realized that it was no fun trying to get the attention of a man, whose main interests in life were trekking, mountaineering, traveling and other outdoorsy activities.
I did not tell her that Rajiv had possibly done the most gallant and gentlemanly thing…by not leading her down the garden path…by being himself. He might be a vagabond, but he definitely was not a cad.
Rajiv is married now. To a quite homely gal. Someone who is willing to be just a wife. It is a match made in heaven.
And that led me to think, what makes so many girls attracted to such guys?