Most of us know of at least one person who, while conversing, frequently indulges in name dropping. They lead lives that seem glamorous, where they happen to run into artists, musicians, folks from the world of glamour, business etc. The names of these semi-famous people are usually brought up casually, to give the impression that these folks happen to be a regular part of their lives.
I refer to them as ‘semi-famous’ because most of these people aren’t mainstream newsmakers. Instead they are mostly popular with a certain class of the population, many of who are seen on the society pages of newspapers and magazines. While of course there must be name droppers who drop the bigger and more famous names, I'm thankfully not cool enough to know any of them.
This is how a typical ‘name dropping’ conversation goes with me around.
TOP (The Other Person) - “So (a lot of sentences begin with a ‘so’ now if you’ve noticed. It’s as if there was a related conversation already in progress) I was traveling to Mumbai and guess who was on the same flight?”
Me - “Umm ... Ratan Tata?” (How on earth am I supposed to guess with a population of one billion in the country?)
TOP - “Don’t be silly. It was Adil (fictitious name for the purposes of this piece)”
Me - (Speechless with a blank look on my face, trying hard to think if we had a common friend named Adil)
TOP - “Adil, dude” (almost rolling her eyes. It’s usually a ‘her’). “Adil Salim!!”
Me - (My face, still showing no signs of recognition, but wondering why this person has two first names)
TOP - “Adil Salim man,” sounding a little frustrated now. “The artist who showed his work in Timbuktu recently.”
Me - “Ah” (I just want the conversation to move forward now, so I pretend a little, my expression unconvincing, even to me).
The conversation continues with some more unfamiliar names dropped and after a few minutes I pretend that I have to use the restroom. Fortunately this kind of talk usually happens when there are other people around, so an escape route is not particularly difficult.
For me ‘name dropping’ has a whole different meaning. Recently I decided to take a break from Facebook and deactivated my account. I have no idea when and if I will be back on this addictive, 'brag-fest' (guilty as charged) social media platform, I like to think of this phase as being in rehab of sorts. Considering my fairly high level of activity, I strangely don’t miss it at all. Which doesn’t mean that I will never go back to it, though there is such a possibility. If I however do return, I will be dropping many names from my list of Facebook friends, so that the term ‘friends’ can become a little more meaningful.
The ‘name-droppers’ will for sure be one of those casualties.