Saturday, September 12, 2009

When Tony became Tara

Back in my Delhi University days, I used to do the rounds of college festivals, participating in the one event that I ever had any chances of winning -- creative writing.

At one such event, I registered with a girl sitting at the front desk, and she clearly had too much on her plate.

"Name?"
"Tony Tharakan"
"What?"
"T-H-A-R-A-K-A-N"
"Again please"
"Tharakan. T-H-A-R-A-K-A-N"

Tharakan is a fairly common surname in Kerala but in New Delhi, it never rolls off people's tongues as smoothly as it should.

An hour after the creative writing competition, the twenty-odd contestants gathered to hear the results.

The top prize had been won by Tara Khan. But no one came forward to collect the cash.

As the rest of us looked at each other, wondering who or where Tara Khan was, the lecturer-in-charge went through the list of participants, reading them aloud and ticking off the names of those present in the room.

I was not on that list. But the mysterious Miss Khan had the same registration number as my winning entry.

The problem was solved, I got the cash and Tara Khan was history.

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