There are few things quite like that frisson of delight that you experience every time you drop a name. "Just the other day, I was telling Rats (Ratan Tata) that he really should get into the refinery business." Now, of course, you have had this conversation in your head when you saw the Tata monarch in the distance at a function where you were in row 506 from the dais. But the beauty is that in the eyes of the recipient of this information, your stock, gilt-edged or otherwise, has gone up. And what's more? You'll get away with it since the listener is unlikely to be able to check with Rats whether you know him well enough to advise him.
But, you might have to watch your social stepladder if you happen to tweet your connections. Your artful name-dropping could then end up with you dropping a clanger. As Mallika Sherawat, she of the serpentine fame, recently found out. When she tweeted on her new best friend, no less than the curvalicious Salma Hayek, the latter dismissed her in an interview as someone she had met briefly. The trick should always be to ensure that there is a safe distance between the dropper and the dropee. But, as always, we Indians are one up on the world in this fine art. In many cases, upon spotting an important personage, we rush to his side and greet him like a long lost friend and inundate him with details of our last meeting, omitting to tell the hapless individual that we just happened to be at the same function. The photographer whom you have primed is upon you in a trice. The photograph, which speaks a thousand words, is now in hand and will be one in the eye for that annoying colleague who thinks no end of himself.
The Salahis have copied us to good effect in the US by getting up close and personal with Barry, sorry, Barack, in the White House. We'd love to give you more tips but we've got to run. A tete-a-tete with a gent in a blue turban, you see.