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The Namesake

india Updated: Jun 03, 2007 02:46 IST
Highlight Story

What’s in a name? Sunday HT finds out from five people who share theirs with famous personalities.

Rahul Gandhi, security solutions businessman

“Being Rahul Gandhi is good for business. Whoever meets me and asks my name, remembers me for life. Since Rahulji started campaigning in UP, I have become very conscious of my name and have come in for some good-natured ribbing from many quarters.

‘Stand up here comes the great leader’ is how some of my friends greet me whenever I enter the room. Being Rahul Gandhi, however, has its drawbacks.

I get petitioned for gas agencies all the time. I even get requests from MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh and Goa who find me out from telephone directories and think I’m Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s son.

What surprises me the most is that some of these callers say they have got my contact from the party office.

When I’m in a good mood I play along and say ‘Hmm, it will be done’ but most of the time it’s a bother, especially if I’m in the middle of a business meeting. I’ve even had to change my mobile number – but somehow the calls don’t stop. I can’t even change my name on the passport, but Rahulji can. Maybe he could add a ‘Kumar’ –– Rahul Kumar Gandhi –– and why, that’s a fine name too.”

(as told to Paramita Ghosh/New Delhi)


paramitaghosh@hindustantimes.com


Shilpa Shetty, B.Com graduate

“It’s completely surreal how I’ve managed to follow Shilpa’s steps in everything I’ve done. I live in Chembur, and everyone in our area knows that she grew up here. Then when I changed schools and went to St Anthony’s Girls High School, I found out that she had also been a student there.

After school, I enrolled at Podar College and on my first day there, when the roll was being called out, the professors told me that Shilpa Shetty had also studied there. But she left after the 12th grade because by then she’d started getting film offers.

However, I managed to graduate and now I’m going to start looking for a job in banking or finance. I’d love to do a bit of modelling or ad films but full-time acting is not my cup of tea.

Growing up, I was teased about my name a lot. Even the nuns would tease me at school. At college, the professors would pull my leg about the fact that Shilpa Shetty (the actress) had stopped studying very early. Friends used to call me ‘heroine’. It’s hard when you’re a child but now I’m used to it.

Still, when I have to fill out a form, I write my name as Shilpa S. Otherwise, there are too many questions and weird looks that I have to deal with. I’m also distantly related to her and would love to meet her some day. Imagine being able to walk up to her and say, ‘Hi, I’m Shilpa Shetty too.’”

(as told to Riddhi Shah/Mumbai)


riddhi.shah@hindustantimes.com


Boman Irani, Real estate developer

“I’d hate to share a name with someone I despise so it helps that Boman (the actor) and I are actually great friends. But there’s a flipside.

When I was marrying Perizaad (Zorabian, the actress) all the newspapers carried a little clarification saying “She’s marrying Boman Irani, the builder, not the actor”.

I even got a midnight phone call from an inebriated fan from Jalandhar who insisted that I laugh like Dr Asthana from Munnabhai MBBS. I threatened the other Boman that the next time this happens I’m going to give out his number.”

(as told to Riddhi Shah/Mumbai)
riddhi.shah@hindustantimes.com

Sunil Mittal, Sanitaryware dealer

“Thirty four years ago, when I was born, double digit economic growth wasn’t even a dream, banks did not call up people selling loans and there was no Airtel. At that time, my father could not have anticipated the kind of attention sometimes cherished, sometimes unwanted that would be showered on me.

Bank executives selling loans over the phone almost always focus their sales pitch around my name. It feels good when someone associates my namesake’s qualities with me because I am an entrepreneur and want to make it big in life.”

( as told to Mayank Tewari/NewDelhi)
mayank.tewari@hindustantimes.com


Yuvraj Singh, maths teacher

“Growing up, it didn’t seem such a great name to be born with, as the opening line, each time, after the introductions was: ‘Yuvraj

Kahan ka yuvraj? (Prince –– of which kingdom?)’ I would say ‘of Bulandshahr’ because that’s where I come from which felt sadder still. I perked up a bit when Prince Charles came to visit India now here was one person, I thought, a yuvraj of Great Britain no less, who had my name and was bringing some shine to it.

It was in ’98, when Yuvraj Singh, the cricketer, was part of the Junior World Cup, that I began to track him. My wife now feels she has married a man.

She wasn’t too happy with me at the time of marriage. At that time, four-letter names were in fashion. She’d have liked me to be called Dhruv, she’d slipped that in once or twice. Now if only Yuvraj would become captain…then my name would become bigger than it is.”

(as told to Paramita Ghosh/New Delhi)
paramitaghosh@hindustantimes.com

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