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“This is Vivek Thakur,” brother-in law said waving his hand at a man standing next to him.

Sis and I had just joined him near the musical fountain, after a leisurely stroll, enjoying the sights at the aquarium in Dubai Mall.

Huh???!

I did a double take, giving a second more closer look at the man in front of me. A man in his mid-fifties, very fair, clean shaven, a mop of grey hair, glasses.

Nah! It couldn’t be him, not even in a disguise!

“Hello” I said politely accepting the man’s hand in greeting.

Turning back to my brother-in-law I asked,

“You said Vivek Thakur, right??”

“Yes, Vivek Thakur…” he said. “What’s the matter??” he asked raising his eyebrows, noticing the look on my face.

The man concerned was also looking at me curiously as was another common friend of theirs standing nearby.

“Ohh, I have a very good friend by that name” I replied at the same time that my sis said, “She has a friend by that name.”

“An engineer to boot,” added my sis. It turned out that there was a difference apart from the spelling in their names. Unlike my Civil Engineer friend this man was a Chemical Engineer by profession.

There were smiles all around at the coincidence, more so when brother-in-law, in that mischievous way of his, asked me,

“Are you sure this is not your friend?? Take a proper look!!”

“I am pretty sure!!!” I replied laughing out loud. I have met my friend Vivek Thaokar, you see. It was just that the similar name caught me off guard for a moment.

Now, this isn’t something extraordinary, I am sure. There are people with similar sounding names.

Take my own example. I know there is a writer by the name ‘Shailaja Mohan’ who has published books (stories for children) to her credit. I have had some people asking me if those books have been authored by me. That is one of the reasons I stick to the shortened version of my name Shail, hoping that there is none else around by that name. To my chagrin I found otherwise.

One day, preparing to comment on a blog I had just read, I found to my surprise that I already had. Perplexed to the extreme, I read the comment. It looked like something I would say too, which confused me even more since I was dead sure I had only just then read the blog. The mystery was solved when I realized it was Shail Raghuvanshi. She had left out the Raghuvanshi part of her name in her comment just as I leave out the Mohan part of mine.

Coming back to Vivek Thakur, as the evening progressed, I found him to be a good an intelligent and well read gentleman. Predictably so, Wodehouse figured in his ‘have read’ list, in fact the whole lot of them.

“Did you tell him about your son??” my sis asked me.

“What about him?? Ohh ahhh.. yes!” I replied

I had forgotten something.

“My son is also Vivek.” I told him.

Though I did not tell him the rest of it, once again the thought struck me about how I seem to be inextricably connected to the name Vivek.

It is a name which I chose for my senior son more than a quarter century back, from all the thousands of names available. No, I did not have any other alternatives in mind to choose from, only this one name and I was pretty sure that is what I wanted to name my first born. The Lord & Master was okay with it and so Vivek he became. He had a few classmates by the same name during his Engineering College days and one of them used to be a frequent visitor at home too.

When I began blogging along came a penguin by the name of Vivek Thaokar and we became friends. Besides him I have five different Viveks commenting on my posts.  Sometimes I add an extra alphabet to their name to keep track of who is who.

Once when I remarked to Vivek Nicholas about how I seem to be connected to more people by the name of Vivek than any other, he told me something about there existing a cosmic connection between the name Vivek and I. He did not go into details though he said he could tell me more later on. I tend to believe him by the way I seem to bump into people who are named Vivek.

By the way my favorite singer Jagjit Singh and his wife Chitra Singh had a son named Vivek too. And of course it goes without saying, I admire Swami Vivekananda.

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