I was on a trip to USA a few years ago. One evening my cousin, with whom I was staying, took me to a party hosted by his friend celebrating the fortieth wedding anniversary of his parents. When we reached the house, I was introduced to the father of the friend, and surprisingly I found his face was very familiar. While I still could not recall the connection, his face brightened with joy and he shouted, “You are Varadha, no? I am Vaidyanathan.da.. We studied in the same class in SIWS School in Mumbai”. Immediately I could recall my friend Vaidyanathan’s face when he was in school. We were meeting after fifty years. And with the passage of time, his looks had completely changed . Needless to say that during the rest of the evening we spent a lot of time, going down memory lane and trying to connect from where we had left off.
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On another occasion, I was in Singapore on a holiday and was visiting Sentosa Island with my wife. I had gone to the toilet to relieve myself when I found that much to my irritation, the gentlemen in the next urinal, was repeatedly peeping at me over the dividing wall. When we both stepped down he said, “I think you are Mr. Rajan, we have met before at a CII Conference in Mumbai. I am so and so”; and he extended his hand, which I scrupulously avoided as both of us had not yet used the wash basin to clean our hands. Needless to say, we got talking later and found many common friends we knew. He suggested that we meet over a drink one evening while in Singapore. Of course, my wife ensured that I did not waste an evening on a stranger I met in a “loo”!
I have had many such experiences of meeting total strangers in trains, airports, at parties, visiting places in India and abroad to find that they were either related or connected to scores of people I knew.
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The betrothal ceremony of my brother’s daughter held recently became very memorable because of the many pleasant surprises it had in store for all of us.
My brother had found a good alliance for his charming daughter through a well known marriage portal. When the family details were exchanged we found that the father of the bridegroom was already known to us, as an old client of our advertising agency. While one of his elder brothers in Mumbai was a celebrity in the corporate world, I had known another elder brother living in Chennai for over 40 years, initially as a client and later as a Round Tabler. As the Big day approached we found many more such connections.
My elder son-in-law’s cousin was related to the groom’s family. One of my office colleague’s eldest sister, was related to the groom’s family. On the day of the event we not only found more relationships but also common friends. When I met a long lost friend at the ceremony, whom we had not invited, he told us that he was an old friend of the groom’s family living in the same neighborhood for some time. I met many other common friends at the function.
By the end of the ceremony we realized that what started off as an alliance between two strangers turned out to be a happy union of two families, already connected with each other in more ways than one.
Anyone can have such experiences. More so if one is involved in voluntary organizations or belong to a large family whose offsprings are spread all over the world.
Come to think of it:-It is a small world indeed!
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