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Delhiwale: The fruity secret behind Ram Phal’s name

There can be so much in a name — sometimes the entire story of a person’s life.

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2017 09:54 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhi wale,Ram Phal,ITO
Ram Phal Rai at the ITO crossing where we met him. (Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Here we were on a smoggy afternoon at the busy ITO crossing — with a burning sensation in the eyes.

We spotted a nearby tree and immediately decided to plonk ourselves beneath its sheltering branches. Just to catch our breath.

We weren’t alone, and fell into conversation with a young lawyer who was also taking a breather while occasionally flipping through office files.

An exchange of names ensued.

“I’m RP Rai,” he said, barely lifting his eyes from the files.

And the initials stand for…?

“Ram Phal!” he replied. Which literally means lord Ram’s fruit, Mr Rai explained. Turns out that his birth had been difficult. His parents weren’t at all certain he would survive.

“But of course I did, against all expectations, and my grandfather was so grateful to lord Ram that he gave me this name.”

Mr Rai hails from Chitrakoot, which figures hugely in legends around lord Ram. His mother, who was gravely ill when he was in her womb and survived a close brush with death, told him the story of his life’s initial uncertain days. She now lives in Mr Rai’s residence in Delhi, along with his wife and daughter.

“Now I must leave for court,” he said, picking up his files, leaving us to contemplate the sweet fruit of the Lord as traffic slowed to a crawl.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 09:54 IST