Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Problem no .1

Some things are closer than they appear.Like Project deadlines.

My life has been buried under a lot of Microsoft Excel worksheets , calculations , figuring out PAT and EBITDA and such things.

By the way , EBITDA stands for Earnings before interest , tax , depreciation and amortization. Ah,the joy of showing off.

Anyways, this post is about a rather dark aspect of my life.Nah.I did not hide behind any bushes and watch any murder happen which still haunts me.Nor was i molested by my neighbourhood uncle who lured a six year old me into some kind of shady room by waving a cadbury eclairs.

Its about a much more realistic , yet hard hitting phenomenon.My name.You read it right.My name.


It starts with an A .Good enough.But what is crucial is this 'B' right next to it.It effectively takes my name pretty high in the alphabetical order.And this can have more consequences than you know.

My parents did not seemingly think of the existence of a concept called "Roll numbers" when they named me.I was the Roll no 1 throughout my school and engineering college.Never did any aastha , aaditya , abhilasha walk into my life to take up the roll number 1 mantle.Abhisheks were aplenty.Not one Aamir.I dont blame my parents for naming me such.Only another roll no 1 could have imagined this.you need to be a "been there , done that" type to have this far sightedness.

In the examinations , I graced the front desk right under the invigilator's armpits . When almost the entire class passed slips ,verified answers upto three decimal places, and used answer chits stacked in their socks , sleeves and a lot of other places , i was subjected to the forced virtue of being a person of high moral standards who would never cheat.
Because When you are perched at the front of the row and havent got an idea what to write in the answer sheet , except for the name and date ,you cannot do much.The most I could do was to watch the teacher pick his nose standing alarmingly close.I wish my dad had been a great fan of zeenat aman.Maybe he would have named me zeenat in her honour.

Then there was this viva we had at school and college.I was the first one to present myself to the panel.The first one to enter the arena.All the eyes zoomed towards me as roll number 1 was called in to start the proceedings.I felt like I was entering a boxing ring with a "ear-hungry" mike tyson in there.

And at that time , the panel guys were as fresh as dew drops.But started off with the vigour of a viagra drunk bull seeing the first lad of the day.I always got the toughest questions.The freshest questions.And there was always this huge crowd of my classmates waiting outside when i finally escaped from the interview room. And they pounced on me asking things like the number of guys in the panel , if they were polite , if they gave me any clues about the answers.Now I know how the CBI chief feels when mobbed by a gang of journalists.

Even at the school assembly we had in the mornings.I was right at the front of the row.Facing the stage with the school principal and the vice principal and a few other frustrated men .They pulled me out if I had hair a little long .They said I was spoiling the decorum of the school by sporting unkempt hair on my head.While guys at the back with perfectly electrocuted hair styles were left untouched.And those boring speeches that were made at those assemblies.The guys at the back of the row yawned , scratched their heads , gawked at the girls while I listened to the principal muse about "corruption in society and what students can do about it."

Even the telecom revolution has added to it.Now as is expected , my name is usually the first name in the phone books of known ones.So sometimes , my number is dialed unintentionally/accidentally by them due to pressing of keys. Once the entire microprocessors lecture was beamed live to my home through the cellphone of a blissfully unaware classmate . Once this "unintentional dialing" happened when the other guy was with his girlfriend.I found out a lot that day.I still manage to blackmail him.

And this roll no. 1 thing somehow stuck to me.Few called me abhinav at school/college.I was jokingly called coolie no.1 , hero no.1 , aunty no.1 , khiladi no.1 , biwi no 1 and a lot other no.1's .Courtesy David Dhawan.

A guy even called me a McDowell.On further probing , i found McDowell had a punchline : mera No. 1 .

And how close I was to escaping this identity crisis.My granny had named me Kunal soon after my birth.Kunal.Starts with K.K of the ekta kapoor fame.But then they could not see a happy cuddly kunal and named him abhinav at a later stage.

But things are partially better now here at IIM Calcutta.the parents of one of my batchmates watched a little too much of "mahabhaarat" on doordarshan.Besides becoming a little more of couch potatoes , they got inspired by the episode with the "chkravyuh stunt" and named my batchmate Abhimanyu.So I am the roll no.2 here at IIM Calcutta.Who says doordarshan sucks ?

But I hope some good comes out of it.You can spare your kid this agony.In true sarkaari style : " Zara si saawdhaani , zindagi bhar asaani."

When you think of naming your little bundle of joy , just remember my story.Dont name him without knowing that one mistake ,and things can be a lot worse.Name him/her zaheer , zayed , zeenat , zaakir, zubeida.If you are running out of names.just name him a simple "ZEBRA".

Aamir Khan.Zebra Khan.I would prefer the latter any day.


rohit kaul said...

phew dint know tht a name can spell so much trouble and sumone said wats in the name...who said tht..doesnt matter :D

now since u have let ur darkest secret loose among us i wud jst advice ya...haan kabhi kabhi main aisa karta hun...dun make ur kids' life miserable :D...go for z*****..or even zz**** jst to play safe

kyunki life mein retakes nahi hote;)


Anonymous said...

I can very well understand the difficulties u faced at every step of life coz I have experienced similar problem all my student life.It became extremely irritating at the time of vivas.

Anyway,I find Abhinav,a better name than Kunal.

mohit said...

Hey Abhinav,
That was an interesting post. But you see, in colleges like ours, even a guy with name starting with M can be unlucky to be the first number.
I have faced that for 7 semesters. So yes you are right, name your kids with Z but make sure you dont send them to NSIT. :-)


indiagenie said...

good to see u back, and in form too.

I totally agree with ur point. naming their children with names starting with "A" is not quite the best legacy parents can leave behind.

I have never gone beyond roll no 5 in my entire life and trust me, being the guy with no answers to most of the questions frequently, I had to resort to some really desperate measures to make it thru yet another exam.

My fav was to spill something like chalk spiked water or some such thing on my desk and then sweetly request the invigilator to allow me to move to the back of the room from where i cud resume my usual bizness of 'optimising inputs for desired outputs' ;-)

Vidhi said...

u remember i had told u a long time back that i liked the name 'abhinav' a lot? that's bcoz i had planned to name my kid, when he comes along, abhinav...! but i didnt knw there cud be so much to a name!!

Nikhil said...

Pity Shakespeare isn't around!!

Have a guy named Vishnu here...has his way through the vivas as he invariably ends up being the last person.

But during the interviews at our placements,he was heard muttering not so good things about his 'appa' for having named him so.After all the poor fellow had to wait for around 100 others to be interviewed before his turn came. And having waited since 1 in the afternoon,his turn came only at 1 in the night!!

Miss Sea said...

LOL. Showing off knowing what EBITDA stands for :P Let's see you make up a ROCE tree.

Was always amongst the last roll numbers. We got the question paper last and the kind invigilator would always start collecting from the end!!!

They made u stand according to ur roll numbers in assembly? what happened to good ol' Height-wise? Was amongst the last in the line again :D

U will probably give the perfect name to ur child. but, will go terribly wrong in some other aspect and he/she will curse u forever for it :P

jun said...


Anand said...

That's why we rechristened you "Obscene" at IIMC! Guess u'll pick that also over ur name. Though I can understand ur plight a bit, I was roll no.2 in college, and even he sits pretty much in front of the invigilator!

karthika said...

hey abhi..i kinda face the same scenario everywhere..toonot becoz of my name but my surname begins with B so...in my school they considered the surnames first..and waz alwayz in the first ten..which is again bad..

Raghavan said...

You are No.1 - even in writing! A good one. Keep it up!

One can also have this opotion - just change the name for the school or college or for IIM - to suit convenience now and get reverted to original later - probably one can try with many names during his/her edu-life. A chance to have sahasra namas.

You may only end up paying a couple of hundres every time.

Angel said...

hey :) can't identify with you here so I'm going to make use of the previlege that most sisters are allowed....I'm gonna rub it in your face...both, my name and surname begins with T heehahaha :) I deleted my blog btw :)

Angel said...

It felt weird to post a comment without putting in my url :(

Neha said...

lol, this was hilarious!!
hey u still hvnt had to face a situation where u hv 4 persons in a class of 40 sharing your name :) there was a time when i was actually thinking of changing my name.. but well.. didnt do it !
anyways.. good one :)

Abhi said...

@RK:wats in a name : a lot of trouble !

@anonymous:ah , a fellow victim.dont worry buddy , atleast our kids r safe.

@mohit:bang on.at nsit , even a mohit wont help.solution : zebra khan + avoid nsit.right.

@indiagenie:hullo buddy ! the "spilling stunt" required a sweet invigilator too .at my school , the invigilators used to be as sweet as a "karele ka soup".

@Vidhi : yea i remember.now ur sonny boy will thank abhinav mamu all his life.

@Quirk : thats a good point.but how about the cellphone , school assembly and the exam tragedies i was subjected to ? vishnu kaka cud have played cards , ludo etc etc while waiting .

@TT : I knew u wud hit back ;).n wat about trees ? im into management , not horticulture .

@Jun : Interesting and painful.

@Anand : dammit dood.no secrets are gettin shared now.

@Karthu : first.and first ten.a world of difference buddy.

@Raghavan : Thank man.but main apna naam nahi badloonga.

@Angel:I know.you killed our bloggie sis :(

Vikram said...

Thanks pal! well, i see ur of my ilk..someone marauded by the sham that is called an MBA;-) anywayz what r u doing at Gurgaon? SUmmerz??

Dreamcatcher said...

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..
tht was hillarious.

Miss Sea said...

U better start worrying about ROCE trees if u plan to be in management. Maximising profits and maximising wealth for shareholders...FM ke objectives ka kya hoga? :P

Vaibhav said...

I completely understand the critical nature of this topic! My perspective was (and remains) from the other end, of course!
Passed all my pracs by carrying the same files for my viva borne by the Abhisheks and the Abhays... in order to give the external enough time to forget about the unique red marks...

Then there was the time, i found out about an viva after landing up in college... survived only on past 200 minutes Questions...

I salute Guys like you! You made me the Man I am today!

Ellie said...

Ossum read! :) Aaah! but then...you have never known the interminable wait for your turn to come in the viva. When you know for sure that the teacher would boiling in anger/frustration/irritation at the weird answers given by your friends, all ready to vent it out on you. You have never known what it feels like to be suffocated under the expectations of all the performers above u...from A to Y, knowing for sure that whatever you speak will be weighed against better or worse...

but then...you have never known all this have you..??

(Melodramatic sigh!)

raven said...

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dikh raha hai kaisi summers chal rahi hain teri... ensoi the moment while it lasts

SonnyBoy said...

man i read a few of ur posts... and you are seriosly FUNNY!!!
love ur sense of humour and wit....
Keep it up


Anonymous said...

well we had a senior whose name was (rather is) aaditya (iim K 2005 batch). nothing so special, if u failed to notice that double 'a' at start. maybe the parents' doing or the guy scribbling on the birth certificate was not given baksheesh! either ways, guess u wud have loved to have him as ur colleague :-D

deepti said...

be thankful for small mercies.. atleast ur parents named you abhinav, simple sweet, normal. unlike some innovative, creative parents who name their kids bubbly, rompy, giggi, tutti, lipsey, jincy, glojer, fruity... ohhh!! the list is endless!

sona said...

hi abhinav

nice post.....vaise inhi names ke sahare to hum jaise log pracs me paas hote hai....:)

u hv done a gr8 job4all ur clsmates n frends...:)

saurabh ohri said...

one of the most enjoyable post i have read
but y cant we start of with using greek letters in front of our normal names which will ensure a last roll number


Sonika said...


Today i read ur post.....

Hey how do u get these kind of things to think over....
May be coz u were through this "roll no. 1" syndrome.
he he he.....

Well, i will certainly advice evryone about this when panditji or parents will about to name a child....

Oh bechare innocent bachche, they even dont know that how their name starting with 'A' or some name if '0' or '1' (duniya ajjeb hain :), ha ha ha ) will effect their future.

anubhav said...

hey u got company but my ordeal lasted only till school

mine is even more dangerous than urs "anubhav agarwal"...so even if they go by surname or first name i was only 1 in my school(though only on roll calls)

wonder didnt u have the proxy problem...guess its harder to give proxy of roll no 1

nice post ...

Abhi said...

@neha :common names , that was never a problem from me.my name was as rare in my school as is water in a desert.

@vikram : hi buddy.yea i am doing my summers at Ernst & Young delhi.

@DC : Good that you liked it.:)

@TT : FM ? are ,radio sunna hai to city bajao.

@Vaibhav : the guy at other end of the spectrum.anything for you buddy.just wait till i name my son zebra.

@Ellie : point taken.that was one of the few advatages fr me.

@ADI : oye choti , gimme a break now.how much time does it take to update a blog ? i dont buy it wen ppl tell me they dont get the time to blog .

@Sonny : Thanx buddy.

@Anon : i wud have paid him to be in my class.cash.advance .

@Deepti : I know.i know a girl called ICE malhotra.her dad was in the refrigerator business.

@Sona : I know.hume to bhagwan ne neeche ke roll nos ki seva ke liye hi banaya hai.

@Ohri:if all think of that , india and greece mein farak hi kya rahega ?

@Sonika : yes.take a print out of this post n slide it under all the doors in ur colony.about ideas , any life is full of stories , just have to try to read them.

AAnubhav : yea yea yea.the proxy problem.prooxy fr a roll no 1 is practically impossible unless the teacher is blind n deaf.

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Well, not just the number 1, the number 111 can land one in trouble too!

I am pretty happy with my name, considering the fact that I always end up somewhere in the middle of the roll no line.

But in K it just so happened that I got the number 111. And guess which number comes to the prof's mind when he wants to do a cold call and blurts out a random number?


Oh boy, one more year to go with this 'random number'. :(


ps - Really good read. Enjoyed it.

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well, imagine my fate- my name is dharmashree rao.
during my initial school days, we had to write our names 100 times to memorise the spellings.
i cursed my parents for this. iamgine writing that lengthy name ?
even now, i am hanged with it. giving the correct spellings can be a handful i say.
my visa documents spelled my name wrong, had a tough time at the SSN & immigration.
god !!!

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fuse me said...

Somehow, I thought Roll Numbers were inalphabetical order of the 'last' names? At least, I think it is so for all India kind of exams.