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What’s in a name?

Rahul Bose's tale of tragedy laced with humiliation all because of a forgotten name!

entertainment Updated: Sep 05, 2010 01:58 IST
Rahul Bose

This a tale of tragedy laced with humiliation and physical pain. It’s about forgetting names. I was at a noisy party with a friend when a girl yelled out a warm ‘hi’. Instantaneously, I knew I had forgotten her name, but was genuinely happy to see her. She was an Irish actress, and a group of us had had great fun at the Berlin festival. “Hi, Rahul! See, I told you I’d come to India!” I was sure her name would come to me in a second, so nodding animatedly, I turned to my friend and said, “Vishal, meet…” and then I knew I had been fatally optimistic, like someone who blanks out in an exam and starts writing, thinking the answers will come pouring back into his head. It was too late to turn back now. I began to laugh a happy, excited laugh. “Ha, ha ha! Vishal meet, ha!ha!ha! Urbdrghn, Urbdrghn ha! ha!, meet Vishal,” The girl froze. Her eyes narrowed. “What? What did you say?” “Huh? Ha! Ha! What?” “Who is Urbdrghn?” “Urbdrghn? Ha! Ha!” “You just introduced me as Urbdrghn, Rahul.”

Rahul BoseThe party began to quieten down. I felt like wetting my pants. "Ha!Ha!Ha! No I didn’t." "Okay then, RAHUL, what’s my name?" By now, you could hear a pin drop. "I… I don’t remember.’ She came really close to me, whispered "Coward" and walked away. It took four years for people at that party to stop laughing at me.

I swore it would never happen again. This time I was with another friend when a woman hugged me warmly saying, “Hi, Rahul! How’s it going?” I reciprocated, thinking – Producer. Spunky. Bright. Don’t Remember Name. I knew as soon as the hug was over, I would have to introduce her to my friend. I hugged her more. She began to wriggle.

Suddenly, I remembered she was an ‘M’! Melissa? Margaret? Miranda? It was on the tip of my tongue. I hugged her a little longer. The wriggling stopped and she stiffened. Yes! Yes! It was a soft name with ‘M’! Margaret was too hard, it was more like a Melissa. Come on, come on, Rahul! You can do it! By now she was striking me, shouting, “Leave me, leave me! What the hell are you doing!” I held on. Miriam? Melinda? Mystique? My mind was racing, only dimly aware of the blows she was raining on me, my friend desperately trying to prise my arms off her. MIREYA!! That’s it! It was Mireya! I released her and said, “David, meet Mireya!” “You frickin, pervert! What the hell is wrong with you?! A**h***!” she screamed and ran away. I beamed at my friend. I had not forgotten. I had not embarrassed myself. What a close shave.

Read more Rahul Bose columns