“Dear!” I exclaimed as we walked few steps, “Is it possible for a person to be present at two places simultaneously”. “No!” she replied in disbelief, “But it is certainly possible for two identical persons, may be twins, to be present simultaneously at two different or same place”. I kept mum and accelerated the pace.
After we returned back and were having our morning tea, she put forward Sunday newspaper in front of me, “Read this… now NASA shall be using two identical twins as guinea pigs for their studies on the genetic impact of long duration flight.” There was the news w.r.t. Kelly brothers, the two identical twin astronauts. One of them i.e. Scott Kelly will be sent on one year long space mission abroad ISS while the other one Mark Kelly will be on the Earth to be used as reference sample.
“But it is not essential to be identical twin for being look alike,” I murmured while sipping tea. She snickered,” What you mean to say?” leaving aside the newspaper. I laughed. But her expressions remained solemn. “Have you forgotten the experiences we had earlier in our lives” I continued. As I started recalling, her mind also re-wound backwards. It is really hard to believe how suddenly twenty years have passed. ………..July’1993.
It was my first day at University, the day of registration and counseling for first semester, when we all had gathered in our administrative building famously called “Main Building”. Admissions were going on in full swing; a great excitement was there in the atmosphere, meeting new friends, batch mates etc. I could still remember my excitement, my long awaited dream of living in a hostel was about to come true. During those days, it use to take an entire day for this purpose and every new student had to move in a row sequentially from one room to another for completing all the formalities which included: submission of admission form, registration, verification of testimonials, deposition of fees etc. I was waiting in a queue outside one of the rooms where I was suppose to verify my documents and testimonials. My turn came and as I was about to enter a room, I witnessed a near collision with a person who was hurriedly coming out from that room. The bunch of file, I was carrying got scattered on the floor. I hurriedly collected all the documents and proceeded towards the counter. As I submitted my testimonial file to the clerk who was gazing at me in shear astonishment then suddenly started screaming, “Why don’t you understand? I think you need good thrashing. I’d refused your offer and again you’d turned up. I’ll take you to the dean just wait…". My face turned red in a complete sense of disbelief and astonishment. In a stammering voice, I urged, “What you are saying I can not understand? He screamed,“Just wait, when I’ll take you to the Dean, then only you‘ll understand”
The clerk called a peon and appraised him, “Dekho janab ka abi admission bhe nahi hua aur rang dekhane lage… jab kagaj poore nahi hai to mujhe sau ke note de rahe the…. Maine bhagaya phir aa gaya isko pakad kar Dean ko dete hai….”
Without giving me a chance to speak both of them picked me up by my shoulders and started dragging me towards the adjacent room. I was shocked in disbelief… I’d never expected this. As the two were pulling me towards the Dean’s room, face of my father flashed into my mind, who was very proud to announce my admission to all his colleagues and relatives… What will happen to him when I’ll return back without being admitted? My thoughts were disrupted as I entered the Dean’s room. He was sitting on a big table. Several people were standing encircling his table, who were giving him one paper after other. The dean was signing all of them with great pace. We kept waiting. After few minutes, he suddenly lifted his face. With great surprise, in a very soft voice, he asked the clerk "Kya hua… kyun aye ho yahan…??”
The clerk narrated the whole incident in a one go, "Sir! This fellow came to me about an hour ago. His paper were not complete therefore I refused to submit his papers and asked him to come with all his testimonial completed if he wanted to get admitted to this renowned university. He then offered me a hundred rupee note (may be equivalent to thousand rupees in that period). I scolded him and then he ran away”. He further continued, “Just now he again turned up”. In order to prove his smartness in front of Dean the clerk proudly exclaimed, "Sir! Before he could make me fool, I had caught hold of him and brought to you. I know these smart fellows very well”. The Dean gazed surprisingly towards me and then asked sternly, “What he is saying is true? I hurriedly replied in a stammering voice, “No Sir! Not at all”. I continued in a shaking voice" I don't know what he is saying". His face expressions softened a little bit. He politely asked the clerk, “Just wait, I’ll talk.” We waited there for about ten minutes when he signed all the documents he asked the group that had brought all papers to leave and then he called us, “Come here!” He exclaimed in a very polite voice, “All your documents are complete or not?”. The cooperative gestures of the Dean gave me some confidence. I groaned, “Yes Sir! I think so. The clerk haven't check them yet”. He then turned towards the clerk,” Are you sure he was the guy?” “Yes Sir! I’m 100 % sure” cried the clerk, “He was the guy who offered me a hundred rupee note”. I interrupted him, “Sir! You please check my wallet. I don’t have any…” I showed him my wallet. There were four notes of rupee 50 each. The Dean’s gestures further softened and he directed the clerk to bring the list of successful candidates. He angrily asked the clerk, “Show me the name.” The clerk choked, “Sir! Yeh hai… ***** Dutta …. The Dean turned towards me and asked, “What is your name?” In a chocking voice I told my name. But Before I could finish, he exclaimed, “Come on, Show me your documents. I hurriedly put forward my certificates in front of him. His eyes were wide opened. He then turned towards the clerk and in a firm voice he cried, “Look what you have done ... You are unnecessary harassing a new entrant. Do you want suspension?” “No... No Sir”, moaned the clerk,” Sir! Yehi tha .. yehi tha belkul iske jaisa tha!!. The dean stood and scolded the clerk, “Are you stupid? That student is from a different department. Don’t you see the complete form? Now go and complete the process for this student quickly. You had already wasted lot of time.” The clerk ran and returned back within seconds, “….Ho Gaya Sir!”, he announced and gave me the receipt.
“Take this and complete the remaining procedure” excitingly said the Dean, “and … best of luck”.
I thanked him and ran to the cash counter to deposit my fees. Later on I came to know that he was actually Dean of Student's Welfare and also a Senior Professor of my department.
In the evening, when I was strolling with my friends that clerk suddenly appeared in front of me. The poor fellow still seemed to be in great shock. He pleaded, “Maaf kar dejiye bahut badi galati ho gaye". My friend asked, “Sahi batao tume aisa kyon kiya” He turned towards me and shrieked, “Meri aankhen dhookha nahin kha sakti, voh ladka bilkul aap ke jaisa he tha…” (My eyes cannot be illusioned. That guy was exactly like you)
That night, I rang my parents and told them the entire incident. Initially they were very upset but later on we use to laugh a lot whenever we remembered this incident.
But let us think seriously….Is it true that there is someone unrelated to you who is having the same appearance as you? Can we believe that most of us have at least one person in this world that is having very close resemblance with us? Let me tell you one more incidence:
Just two years back I was visiting famous hill station of Panchmari located in the dense forest of Satpuras. A large portion lies within a reserve forest. In order to visit the destinations located in the reserve forest area, one has to apply to forest department. The forest department generally makes group of two to three families, one guide and a vehicle is allotted to that group for entire day. In the group assigned to us beside our family, two more families were there. One family was from West Bengal (Senguptas) with their children and the other was middle aged couple (Mrs & Mr Damle) from Goa. We all became very friendly within few minutes of our association. It appeared as if we had known each other for quite a long time. My children started playing with them. After visiting several destinations, we reached other part of the forest area where we had to trek several kilometers to reach one ancient Shiva temple, known as Churagarh located on the hill top. We started with great determination but as we reached half way point I found myself lagging the rest of the group as my daughters insisted that I should walk with lesser pace to be with them. My wife was ahead with the rest of the group. Suddenly, I saw Mrs. Damle returning back…I tried to intercept her but she passed by avoiding me. Didn’t she recognize me? I Thought. How is it possible that just half an hour earlier we all were so friendly and now she didn't even respond? A thought came to my mind that she might have had some argument with her husband that is why she has got annoyed and returned. But suddenly my daughter jumped exclaiming, “Papa! How aunty could change her dress so quickly? Don’t you remember she was wearing blue jeans and red jacket? But now she has changed to white suite?” I stammered, “Let’s go fast and catch them”.
As I reached the temple, I saw rest of the group waiting for us… including Mrs Damle… I could not control myself. In a chocking voice, I cried, “Mam! We had just seen you downstairs near the Mahadeo temple.. ..”
Before I could complete, they all started laughing at me. Mr Damle came close to me and whispered into my ears, “You might have seen a ghost... This forest is full of mysterious things...” They all started laughing again as if I was a great fool.
“No more fun please” shouted Mr Damle, “come on Mr Khanna…. just look at this photograph…” As I gazed onto the photograph on his camera's LCD, I was surprised. “What???… “,I exclaimed. “Yes! This is an experience of a life time for us…”, announced Mr Damle.
It was a snap of Mrs Damle in red Jacket with the other lady in white suite taken at the very location where we all were standing at that moment.
Mr Damle clarified, “Just now we had taken this snap. We were also surprised to see her. We talked for some time with her. She was also equally surprised. He continued, "Actually that lady doesn't know Hindi. Her English was also poor that is why we could not talk much. However, she just informed us that she was from Coorg, Kodagu district of Karnataka and she was visiting this place with her mother-in-law”.
They both had met for the very first time on that day.
Today a very small conversation has led me to recall these two incidents from my life.
The very thought of a person who might exist in an unknown corner of this world, somewhat resembling ourselves gives a very mystic feeling. But, believe it or not!...there is someone…somewhere…just like us in appearance...a duplicate.
(Post dated: 11.08.2013)