November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Friends, Slice Of Life)

What’s There In The Name? — Read…

4 month old Swapnil

4 month old Swapnil

August 29 2007: Sunil Sir, Shilpa (Sir’s wife), Varadesh Sir, Anitha akka (Varadesh Sir’s wife), Mukunda, Raviraj, Shankar, Gayatri, Shwetha, Elvin and i started our journey to Trissur, to attend the wedding of Kavitha- my classmate. We all gathered at Tiger Circle in the evening. We were all waiting for Varadesh Sir and Anitha akka to arrive. I was over the phone when Gayatri alias Chippi came to me with a question mark on her face. “Sam,” she said, as usual, and through sign language asked me drop the phone immediately. I cut the call and asked Chippi what was the matter. “Does Sunil Sir have a son?” she asked me. [Chippi was someone who was always made into a bakra by Sunil Sir, Raviraj and me. We just loved making bakra out of her and pulling her leg every now and then.] Though shocked by the question, within a fraction of a second, i realized that Sunil Sir must have created some story and made her believe. I said, “Yes.” She asked me, “I dint know” “If you dint know it doesn’t mean that he never existed.” “Whats his name?” she asked and i dint know what to reply and realizing that if i delay she would realize that the ‘Sunil sir’s son’ story is a bluff, i immediately said “Swapnil.” “Wow, what a nice name,” she said and exclaimed “Oh my god i never knew that he had a son.”

I immediately messaged Mukunda, Sunil Sir, Shilpa and Raviraj narrating what had happened. In a few minutes when we all walked towards the bus (to Mangalore) Mukunda to add more spice and strengthen the story, asked Shilpa “Swapnil is with his grandparents, is it?” listening to which Chippi told Shilpa “I dint know you had a son.” Mukunda was waiting for this i guess. “What? you dint know? Arrey he is two years old,” said Mukunda and i guess only Raviraj and i knew then, other than Sunil sir and Shilpa and Varadesh Sir and Anitha akka, that it was not even two years since Sunil Sir and Shilpa got married. Luckily Chippi did not see this error by Mukunda.

All way through Trissur and back Mukunda and i kept telling Chippi how notorious Swapnil was and also created stories about his language and his tantrums and the games that he plays. Chippi was believing everything. Mukunda and i got complete support from Shilpa and Sunil Sir.

Once we returned from Trissur, Raviraj and i narrated the story of the fictitious Swapnil and how we made Chippi believe it, to Vishnu and Pavithra. Those days all of us- Sunil Sir, Mukunda, Raviraj, Pavithra and i- would hang out together, always. And in our daily meetings we kept repeating the story of Swapnil and Swapnil became a part of our lives. We would also mention about him to Shilpa whenever we met and all of us felt the presence of this fictitious son of Sunil Sir and Shilpa named Swapnil.

In a week or two Rukma Vasudev joined the institute. Her cabin was next to the cabin of Raviran and me and opposite to that of Sunil Sir and Kavitha maam. Other faculties had their cabin in the first floor. Rukma, like any new comer, was curious to know about her colleagues. Swapnil- our new creation- was in the top of our minds those days and we (Raviraj and i) told Rukma that Sunil Sir had a son named Swapnil, which she believed. Then onwards everyday Rukma, the moment she would see Sunil Sir in the campus, would say “Hi,” in her usual way and ask “How is Swapnil?” to which Sunil sir would ome up with one or the other creative answers. SO now it was not just Chippi but also Rukma who came to believe that Sir had a son. But discussions about Swapnil was more among Sir, Mukunda, Pavithra, Raviraj, Vishnu and me. As i said earlier, Swapnil had become a part of our lives.

Days passed and sometime in the month of February i guess while i was in my cabin getting ready to leave to the most beautiful place- Heggodu, that Sunil Sir came in with a box of sweets and whispered in my ears, “Swapnil is arriving.” I hugged Sunil Sir and messaged Shilpa. As i was eating the sweets that Sir gave me the words “Swapnil is arriving,” started echoing in my heart. I was fascinated by the way in which we all had started believing that Swapnil was Sir’s son, including Sir himself. Or else he would have said “Shilpa has conceived”. But NO. he said “Swapnil is arriving.”

7 October 2008. I was in Sagara traveling to Heggodu everyday from Subraya’s house. Like everyday even on 7 Subraya dropped me to the bus stand and went back home to get Vrinda- his wife- who was to come to Heggodu with me. As i was waiting for Subraya to come with Vrinda i get a call from Raviraj saying, “Swapnil is born.” It was time for celebration!! And yes, Prateek, Jadhav Sir, Lalitha akka (J sirs wife), Subraya, Vrinda their son Papanni and daughter Putti, Phaniraj Sir, Maharshi Madhava Chippali all of celebrated. That day i narrated the story of the fictitious son of Sunil sir to Vrinda and i remember she said, “Now will he name his son Swapnil?” and added to it, “I think Shilpa must decide that.” Later on one day Phaniraj Sir advised Sunil Sit to let Shilpa decide the name for the son.

Swapnil and I

Swapnil and I

Months passed and now i was in Mangalore with The Hindu. One day Sunil Sir called me up and invited me to the naming ceremony of his son in Mysore. The next day i received a message from Shilpa asking me to suggest from name for their son, which i did, discussing with Aishwarya- a student of mine.

I did not get leave to attend the naming ceremony. A day prior to the naming ceremony, at night, i get a call from Shilpa. I thought it was to finalize the name or to shout at me because i had not gone to Mysore. But i was surprised when the “firing” from the other side was directed not just towards me but also towards Mukunda. I wondered what had we done!!! I asked her what was the matter and she said, “Your Sir is staging a Dharna here saying his son has to be named Swapnil and no other name would do.” I burst laughing. “its you and Mukunda who created this fictitious son in who’s shadow now my son has to live,” Shilpa said as i continued to laugh. I thought it wasn’t serious till i was told the next day that Sir and Shilpa actually named their son Swapnil.

Sometime in the first week of March Shilpa arrived in Manipal with Swapnil and i met Swapnil then. I remember when i met him for the first time Shilpa introduced me to to him saying, “Its because of this bearded uncle that you have this name today. Slap him,” and both of us laughed. Whenever Swapnil urinated on me Shilpa would tell me, “He is taking revenge on you for having named him Swapnil.”

By the way today is August 29… Swapnil’s birthday 😀

29 August 2009

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