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.