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Mr Elphinstone, I presume?
"Are you Mr Elphinstone?"
The question surprised me. To be mistaken for Mr. Elphinstone! That was indeed surprising.
I am dark-skinned, of medium height by Indian standards, and regret to say that I have a personality which does not attract attention. In the midst of a crowd I shall certainly to go un-noticed; but even when standing apart from the crowd, I am more likely to be ignored.
The name Elphinstone has an aristocratic ring to it: a name that stares at you mostly from history books. To tell you the truth, I therefore felt quite important to be mistaken for Elphinstone! I thought I had been unfair to myself all these years ... I had un-necessarily blamed Nature for creating me in a hurry. No, I was wrong. I did, indeed, have an impressive personality!
Let me tell you how I met this gentleman. I was walking along the road ... Actually, I was walking in the middle of the road. It was a hot summer afternoon and there was hardly a soul in sight. I had the road almost to myself, excepting for an occasional two-wheeler rider, who coming up suddenly, had to do some hasty manoeuvring to avoid me. They rode away swearing under their breaths but, fortunately, did not think it necessary to remind me that I did not own the road. Since I was not reminded of that fact, I continued to behave as though the road belonged to me.
This man on his motorcycle came up suddenly. He, probably, was lost in his own thoughts and it was only at the very last moment that he discovered an obstacle, in the shape of my person, right in the middle of the road. He was a skilled rider and deftly managed to avoid an accident.
He turned off the engine of his motorcycle, put it on its stand, and alighting came up to me with a hand extended to shake mine.
It is then that he put the question: "Are you Mr Elphinstone?"
"Nice to meet you, Mr Elphinstone," he said without waiting for me to reply.
"I am not Elphinstone," I managed to mumble.
"Oh no, you are Mr Elphinstone," he brushed aside my denial.
This surprised me all the more because I am supposed to know who I am.
"You have made a mistake," I told him.
It was his turn to be surprised now. "Then, why are you walking in the middle of the Elphinstone Road?" he asked me.
Things became clearer. The road was named after Lord Elphinstone. "You are behaving as if the road belongs to you," he said.
I was never more embarrassed in my life. If he had he been rude, I probably would have countered with some caustic remarks of my own. But the humorous manner in which he pointed out my mistake, made me realize my folly instantly. The road may be empty, but I had no business treating it as my personal property.
I apologised profusely, and immediately took to the side.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu