The Elusive Name Game


What was Hema Malini’s name in Sholay?…..The struggle to recollect haunts Bikram Vohra

Hamlet Skull Shakespeare mentalThese search engines have taken away all the wonderful stress and tension and misery of not being able to recollect the name of someone’s wife, some shop, some author anything at all. There was a time one would lie there at night racking one’s brains because there was no way you’d get that elusive gush of relief and peace of mind till that final piece of the puzzle got off the tip of your tongue and leaped into your mind. A trivial pursuit became an obsession.

I remember years ago having that chain of thought from a desert drive to race horses to meeting Hema Malini at a studio and suddenly there was this overwhelming need to know what her name was as the gabby girl in Sholay. 

So there I am tossing in bed thinking, Chambeli, Veena, Paro, a scatter of names and it is uncanny but in this self inflicted sport we all engage in you know immediately when you have the right one and now it is two in the morning and I cannot sleep, is it Bindu, Vidya, Charu, so I shake my wife awake and say, what was Hema Malini’s name in Sholay?

It’s 2 in the morning?

I know the time, I have a watch, but I need to know the name.

Have you finally lost it, go to sleep or leave the room.

Pyaari, Neelu, Lekha, none of fit the bill. My friend Mani is an aviation doctor and he is also a movie buff and lives in Bengaluru so I call him and I say hi, sorry to wake you up but what was Hema Malini’s name in Sholay the movie, you know the girl who talks too much.

Who is that?

It’s me, Mani, give me the name.

Do you know it is nearly three in the morning?

Why does everyone keep telling me the time, just give me the answer.

Have you gone completely bananas, even Hema Malini doesn’t care, there is no conceivable reason why you should need to know this at three in the morning but for old times sake it is Bayanti, now beat it.

Some friend, right. Got it. Got it. Phew. But the phew hasn’t got enough power in it. Something is not right. It isn’t Bayanti, it is like Bayanti but I am not getting that happy feeling of accomplishment when it is right on.

Now it has gotten worse. The sun is carving itself on the edge of the window and the first rays are dripping into the room and old bleary eyed sleepy man has still not got it solved. Come on, Veeru, help.

These days, hit the button put in the question and presto, you get 99,976 hits saying, Basanti.

Not quite the same thing.