Its A Small World

We may have reached the 1 billion mark and we may be the second most populous country in the world, but in some respects, we are still a very small community.
Last night, we went for a small, surprise birthday party that WFM’s friend’s wife, Pushpa had thrown for her dentist husband, Paresh. Pushpa asked us to be present by nine, which is when she was going to get Paresh to the party-room, in a small hotel in Chembur. We did not know how many people she had invited, but we presumed that we would not really know anyone except Paresh’s elder brother who had been in medical college with me. Paresh and WFM had been friends since their years in Ruia college in the early 80s; as is the norm, all the other mutual friends from that time have migrated to the US.
The party-room had no board or valet outside and we opened the door slowly wondering whether that was the correct room. I saw two couples sitting on a sofa at the far end. One of them we knew; Suresh, a dentist and Roma were family friends; Suresh and Paresh had been in dental college together. Brijesh and Parul, the other couple got up for introductions and Brijesh startled me by saying “Hi ___”. He remembered me from school, having been one year junior to me. Parul looked at WFM and said “Hi, weren’t you in Vachha? Don’t you remember me? We were in the same class.”
Four more people came in about five minutes later. As we got ready to introduce ourselves, assuming them to be Pushpa’s or Paresh’s friends, one of them, Vasu, walked up to me and said, “Oh, I know you. Weren’t you in college with Mukesh (Paresh’s elder brother?)”. I couldn’t place him, but he told me that he used to study in Khalsa college and would often come over to play cricket, etc. in our college. He even remembered that I used to keep wickets for my college cricket team. A little later when we got talking a little more, he told me he worked in Lintas, which is where a very close friend of mine works. Obviously he knew him; apparently they had also studied advertising together at XIC.
A little later another couple, Meeta and Shravan, good friends of ours from medical college, walked in. Shravan and Paresh had been in school together in Chembur and were very good friends.
I was then introduced to another couple; Priya, a dermatologist and her husband Krishnan, a computer and web-related entrepreneur. Somehow I didn’t get to talk to Priya, but I am sure we would have found a whole bunch of common dermatologist or other medical friends. Krishnan and I chatted for some time and it was interesting to talk to an unfamiliar person who had nothing to do with medicine or dentistry. A while later he asked me quietly, “Were you in Ruia? You seem very familiar.” I said yes and we found that we had been in Ruia during the same years, but in different divisions. Two of my batchmates in medical school had been in the same division as he. He had lived in Matunga for most of his life and we used to frequent the same circulating library, Abbas.
All in all, there were about 20 people at the party and we found that we knew or had connections with everyone except five or six of them. The only ones we didn’t know were Pushpa’s cousins and sister, the other couple that had come with Vasu and his wife and a couple of Pushpa’s friends.
This is not the first time such a thing has happened. Each time we attend a party of peers, we land up meeting people who we either know, but didn’t expect to see at that particular party or people with whom there are connections related to school, junior college or medical college either directly or through mutual friends. I have stopped being surprised and I have definitely stopped using the clich

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