On Diwali, children had joined us, and so my wife made sweets, including her favourite rice kheer, that we decided to share with friends and neighbours. In one case, two small containers, one containing kheer and the other ladoos, were sent to a retired lieutenant general in the colony.
Diwali passed but we did not hear from him. My wife was keen to get a feedback on her cooking. After a few days, the general and his wife visited the CSD canteen, where I am manager. He was his cordial self, while the lady made the purchases. As he was leaving, I just enquired from him: "Sir, hope you liked the Diwali sweets we sent to you."
The general was taken aback, thought for a moment, and giving an affectionate look, said: "You had sent the delicious kheer and those rai ke ladoo?" "Yes sir, my wife made those at home, as Diwali special," I replied. "Oh my God, I thought it was lieutenant colonel RD Singh (retd), my neighbour, so I even conveyed my thanks to him. I am so sorry. I will just tell my wife," the general said. "It's okay sir, happy Diwali once again," I said, seeing off the benevolent couple.
It was not the first time that my namesake friend had been recipient of the "goodies" meant for me. Some months ago, a retired brigadier friend was annoyed with me because he had invited me to dinner and I did not accept. "Heard you were busy with your daughter's upcoming wedding?" he said. "But I got no invitation," I said, "and my daughter is married already."
He realised it was the other RD Singh he had sent the invitation. The annoyance was over thereafter, and the good old man was laughing again.
One day, I met the other RD Singh during an evening walk. "Very nice of you," my namesake confessed, "Sir, I get a lot of accolades and credit because of you. Many people ring me up to congratulate when they read your write-ups in newspapers, assuming I am the author." I smiled and let him be. At least, someone was enjoying because of me.
At times, people stop outside our house looking for my namesake. Then, we guide them to his house, even help them find it. In my entire service, wherever I was posted, there was no other RD Singh, so there was no confusion and even the postman was relieved. After retirement, I finally had one in neighbourhood. Thank God, he is a pious man, who prays religiously, and in some way, I also enjoy his reflected simplicity and devotion to God.
When goodness is shared, it doubles. Cheers, lieutenant colonel RD Singh!