An Assembly Line Product

You are walking on the road, holding your sari pleats in one hand and clutching your massive handbag in the other.  In a hurry to reach home before your maid does, your mind hovering over the stack of dirty utensils in the kitchen, you almost land inside a comfy looking pothole.  But today in your Superwoman avatar, no force can topple you.   You hop, skip and jump over the yawning crater with effortless ease and wonder if you have smashed an Olympic record.  It’s then you notice the woman staring at you intently, her eyebrows knit with concentration.  Hell yeah! I am sporty you have a problem with that?  Or is it my glowing skin?  I did switch to an insanely expensive soap with an odd fragrance.  She stops you and asks – Do I know you?  Wondering if the query has some deep philosophical meaning, your mind is now running helter-skelter trying to conjure up a smart retort.  But before you can stun her with your awesomeness, she says – You look so familiar, have we met somewhere?  You roll your eyes, sigh loudly and mumble – Welcome to the club.

When God created me, he threw away the mould and the sneaky Chinese stole it from the garbage bin only to make hundreds of copies.  Imagine being approached by strangers demanding to know why you look so familiar! You smile uncertainly and try giving helpful suggestions – mmm... school? Perhaps we went to the same college? Aren’t you the sis I pushed in the well and left to die?  

As if it’s my damn fault that I have a face that everybody claims to have seen somewhere!  By now I have heard it so many times, from so many people, across so many age groups that I’ve started doubting whether I am the genuine product or the Chinese counterfeit.  

Those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have relatives and friends, who look like me, need not despair.  You can always look up to the stars for inspiration.  I often have to bear comparisons with Moushumi Chatterjee (we have similar teeth) and few more actresses I’d rather not name.  As long as you don’t persist that I look like Shakti Kapoor or Kader Khan, I promise not to snap like Lalita Pawar!

Strangely, despite the fact that there are so many duplicates of me that exist, I have yet to encounter one myself.   A colleague with a penchant for plunging necklines would often insist I look just like her bhaabi!  And when I finally had the misfortune of meeting the bhabi, I attempted Seppuku.  Does she think I’m that ugly! I spent the rest of the evening sounding like a stuck record.

At a club, the music so loud that your heart is pounding in your ears, you are screaming in your friend’s ears to be heard and a gentleman walks up to you and asks have we met!  You turn slowly towards him, try to stretch your lips into a smile say – Yipee! you are the 155th person to make me feel so commonplace! 

It is an age old belief that somewhere in this planet, alive today, is someone who looks like you – maybe not precisely but close enough to be your doppelganger.  Even if the resemblance with your double is flattering, it can trigger a little earthquake in your self-esteem.  

Tragically in my case, nature got carried away and forgot to stop at one.  But I am an eternal optimist – knowing that I have so many replicas can be very liberating.  I can make faces at people I don’t like, walk into a party wearing a red lungi and purple kurta, stand in front of Bappi Da’s house and scream I love yoooooo and insist it was my doppelganger and not me!

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  1. Ha ha. I have got that as late as last night at a party. But only that I have been compared to my father and brother is of relief. Well I was once mistaken to be the brother of one particular GIRL in college!! "Are you Ankita's bro? You two look so similar" was the weirdest comment I had ever received and that too when I myself had never seen her. And NO, she didn't look like me except that the smile did match a bit :D But seriously, I would love to come across my look-alike someday.

  2. I have never really got any such comment so do not know exactly how you feel but your posts give me a more then a fair idea of your feelings :) :)

  3. Haha..I am told I look similar to Maushmi chaterjee (my teeth ) as well as Amrita Singh so by the theory of similarities,you also are similar not only to me but Amrita Singh too :p;p
    BTW,on your behalf,I can shout out ILU to Bappida ,he lives down my lane.

  4. hehe! i am not thinking anything, I am laughing at your sense of humour! Where do you get it from?? Lovely reading.

  5. At least in the profile pic in your blog ... you definitely look a lot like Moushumi Chatterjee :)

  6. I havent met you as yet,....but before you chew me to bits, you do resemble Moushami in your pics. And its a compliment.

  7. I loved this! Especially the part of 'do I know you?'.

  8. Look commonplace?! Whenever someone makes that statement to me I feel like a celebrity and put on that air of 'oh so many ppl I don't know are fans of me and know me :)'. So c'mon, preen some more!

  9. You know, when I saw your profile pic on Twitter, I swear I thought you looked familiar. :D
    It's always annoying when people say you look like someone you don't find attractive.

  10. I think people joke when they say I look a tiny little like Daniel Radcliffe because I do not like that comparison. But honestly, I would love to meet my doppelganger, if I have one, that is!
    As for you, Purba Di, I do not really remember what Moushumi Chatterjee looks like (I am a different generation) and so, you're unique enough.
    So, cheers to being unique until someone points out that we're not. :D

  11. Prosenjeet...There is this site that promises to find one. Can always google it.

    Purvi...You are unique and you can thank your lucky stars.

    Sharmila...Noooooo...not Amrita Singh!!! And it must be a lot of phun habing Bappi Daa as your neighbour.

  12. Fortunately for me, my look-alike's are all long gone, the good old Neanderthals. Unfortunately though, their profiles are splashed all over the text books. It is not uncommon for folks to stare at me with that lost look trying to place me.... But I don't mind. Time to move on N-Man!

    ps. Curiously, even I believed I'd seen you when my eyes met with your photographs! Could be because I had a crush on Moushmi in olden times!

  13. Shazia....Humour is a good stress buster :) am in BIG trouble now!

    Alka...It's just the teeth Alka :) And yes she is a beautiful lady.

  14. Rahul Bhandare....Glad you did.

    Richa...Ha! Will heed your advice.

    Sumitra....And I should now brace myself for the leg-pulling and I have no one but me to blame :p

  15. D2....Aww...I did watch him live on a Broadway show and no you don't look like him :)

    Yep...such comments are enough to break your delusions of grandeur :)

    Blue...SERIOUSLY!!! You took that seriously? you fancy yourself as a Neanderthal? Your wife will be far from amused :))


  16. you know whenever some1 says this to me i go into generous details of how god has put a face that looks so familiar face while simultaneously spitting too much while talking till the person gets the hint :P

  17. Haha... I love the doppelganger concept! I want to find mine, soon.

    For the record, I don't think I've seen anyone like you before. I'm rather used to the Purba Ray face now, and I think we're only months away from convincing someone else that they look like the Famous Mrs Ray. :P

    Also, I get told very often that I look like the Chak de! girl. I give them an odd look, and wonder what the hell they're talking about. Strange people!

  18. AH well THANKFULLY never had this fortunate incidence ever, I look so ugly and ridiculous that I doubt anyone would say oh you look like .. so phewwwwwww Me unique .. phewww

    lucky you .. everyone wants to be like you :)

    and Nope i have not seen anyone like you either but hold on .. wait a minute .. let me goback to that bus ride i had .. yeah tht woman..

    think think ..

    Na she was not as good looking as you , cant remember her face now :)

    take care

  19. lol:)) i had an experience which i can relate to this post just last weekend, where i was at a resort and the recreation manager kept telling me "sir, you look exactly like one of our managerial staff. specially when you smile. I hope you'll cross paths" i was like ok, smiled and walked away.
    Then when i was leaving the resort this guy asks me, "sir did you manage to meet that guy" i was like, No. And then the recreation manager took a picture of mine and said he would show it to my lookalike:P
    that was prolly the first time someone went to this extent to prove his point:P but i dont think i would readily agree to being photographed if my situation was the same as u:))
    But it still feels good to know when people think you look like some known personality (provided you find the known personality good looking:P)

  20. ROFLMAO! i have a theory...what if the people you met were all part of your previous lifetime! hence the connection. ah im a genius

  21. 'Popular among strangers' with the misconception of being known ... hmm, I thought only I suffer from this.

    Welcome to the Club .. or should I ask 'May I join you?' ...:-) Whichever way... now don't ask 'where we have met earlier' :-)

  22. Purba, you are awesome! Where do you get such interesting topics from????Moreover, who ever your look alike is, definitely they would not be rewarded with the same ease and efficiency with words as chill, my dear:)))

  23. I know what u hubby gets that a lot too!! But, surprisingly, he takes it as some kind of a compliment! It's all about perspective, I guess!
    I don't know abt your other look-alikes, but being compared to Moushami is awesome, she was so cute:)
    Great post, as usual!!

  24. Holy batman robin, pzes, you really ARE the chakde girl!

    Or rather that girl is your doppleganger :P

    Incidentally, I can go on record to say this: the "have I seen you before" line is a great for flirting. The confusion persists the time you spend with the other person, and it's a great way to find out where that person went to school / college. Most other approach lines aren't that effective.

    So .. you know .. maybe that guy ..

  25. My god Purbs, you do have a Bappi da fixation-first wishing him in your tweets and now a mention here-uske to life ban gaye:-)

    and you are amazing-let's just say the men are using this line to hit on you and the they also:/

    and if it is such a problem, China bhejon kya mould wapas laane?:-)
    you are cent percent original and unique...take this is a compliment and do put up pictures when you wear that red lungi and purple kurta:-)

  26. I had an interesting encounter... the other day while interacting with Physics HOD I met HOD Computer Science and to my utter surprise he called me with some other senior batch student name and said hows my supplementary papers going on. It was quite embarrassing and to my help the Physics HOD sprang in saying he might be mistaken.

    later that day the HOD CSE told me about that senior... was fun though :P

    Weakest LINK

  27. Even I get such comments all the time. I was shocked when a gentleman aged 55 said, Aunti you look like my bhabi from Delhi...

    I think we have our source of amusement courtesy those who think we were produced in bulk or we are the replicas imported from China.

    Great post Purba...:)

  28. Haven't met anyone quite like you! I've met a few who I've waved to, yelled out to, smiled at and once, even stopped the car and jumped out to greet. Excruciating to discover moments later, they were not who I thought they were. Luckily, they were all good sports.

  29. Madhav....Guffaws!! Reminds me of Satish Kapoor in Main Hoon Naa!

    Pzes...Come to think of it, you do look a lot like Sagarika :p

    Bikramjit I like how you put it - everyone wants to look like you :) But I doubt that.

  30. TD23 ...I can completely relate to that feeling - a mixture of amusement and annoyance.

    Jayanth...Think all of them owed me a lot of money and that's why they prefer to remain in hiding :D

    Aativas....Now I've got to see your pic so that I can tell you - Haven't I seen you somewhere???

  31. Deepa....The anger is manufactured for the sake of my readers :) I usually greet such comments with et tu!

    Neelam...Of course she's a beautiful lady and I know I don't look like her at all!

    Kartikay....That chap looked rather serious and he was with his wife :p

  32. Suruchi...Noooo...I don't have a Bappi Daa fixation. It's just that he's so funny.

    And now I gotta scout the malls for a red lungi :p

    Rachit...So did you meet the senior and compare notes?

    Saru....REALLY!! These Uncle types I tell you...Should have gifted him a mirror, I suspect he doesn't have one at home.

    KayEm..It can get embarrassing at times :)

  33. O, that w2as so

    It hasn't happened with me at such high frequency, bit it is a fact that sometimes u get that strange feeling of deja vu.

    You needn't feel bad, as NONE of your so called clones can BLOG like you.... so u r an ORIGINAL :)

  34. That's seriously funny and can be pretty annoying too. When I was in school, some friends used to tell me that there was a girl who looked exactly like me and lived in an area a few kilometers from my place. I don't know if there was any truth to this story because only my school mates ever told me that. But, it was quite annoying, and I really wanted to meet this girl, if any existed.

    Yes, your teeth are like Moushumi's in your pic but for so many people to ask you if they have met you, it is a bit strange.

  35. that's tough.. the senior left the college way back... people creep in and say Rachit there's someone like you I saw yesterday... hehe.. routine stuff.. :P

    Weakest LINK

  36. Never good to meet a person they say looks like you, for feelings are two embarrassment or jealousy :D

  37. so I am not the only one....thank god...ppl have even compared me with shashi kapoor, govinda and shiney ahuja,...i dont find any similarity between these three...thank god Shiney's maid does not look like my maid....

  38. Now, when you have pointed it out, you do look like Moushumi Chatterjee!
    Hilarious post..
    Btw, check out the doppleganger episodes of How I Met Your Mother; you will good about yourself and your copies! :)

  39. Hahaha! Witty as usual:) And yes, i myself thought you resemble Moushumi Chatterjee going by your looks:P

  40. You know, being compared to Moushmi Chatterjee isn't such a bad thing. Both of you are Bengali, and in your photo you're turning around and smiling in the same way.

    I've been compared to a younger Rajnikanth when I had a moustache -- if only I had as much money! *sigh*

  41. The look alike funda. But its still funny. I started using a really bad line back in 2007 for this. It either grosses people out or they understand that comparison isn't welcome. I'm a trademark product. I tell them I'm the one who killed them in past life and they have remembered me cuz it was the last thing they saw.. :P

  42. Hahaha... A celebrity (Almost)

  43. LOL.... I am now going to actively start looking for the original / duplicates :P
    Great writing....totally fun to read...

  44. Aabha...That was a wonderful consolation. Thank you so much :)

    Rachna...I know what I"ll do - from now on I"ll insist they produce photographic evidence. HA!

    Rachit...I wonder whether that chap gets to hear the same thing too?

    Harish....Jealousy? Hmm..not really :)

  45. 'Aren’t you the sis I pushed in the well and left to die? ' hahahahahahhaha...

    And I like bappi da, especially after the oh la la...

    :) :) :)

  46. And I have been told that I look like Raj Babbar and/ or Vivek Mushran (if you remember the name at all) :(

  47. SUB...Guffaws! Shiney is not a pleasant comparison.

    prateek mathur...Of course I have watched that episode! How I one of my favourite series :))

    Cloud Nine....Nahiiiiin

  48. Dark Knight...Rich, famous and the genesis of Rajni jokes :)

    Don't we all love him.


    Manu...I better note down that line for future reference :D

  49. Bibek...Far from it :)

    Santa...Count me in.

    Siddhartha...It's annoying right? Why can't I be left in peace and allowed to look just like me!

    Raj Babbar!!! No way. Vivek Mushran...Of course ...Yeh Ilu ilu kya hai~~~

  50. Haha, real funny! But one thing I must admit Purba, you have an excellent hand at writing, you can really a spin a web of enchantment around your words and mind you, that's not too common to find!
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post!
    I guess you are not the only one facing these issues, there are many out there like you. As the old saying says : there are seven alike faces on earth, you got to trust that! The population of earth has also grown considerably since the saying was said, so you can count the numbers yourself now :)

  51. You may say "Oh! Not again" but u do look a lot like one of my engg college lecturers..I'm not making it up, I swear!

  52. My husband and sis-in-law have similar teeth ...looks cute to me.

  53. No.Wait..Hmmm...No No..You don't remind me of any of my friends or relatives.Moushami Chatterjee looks a lot like you... :D :D...
    I wish somebody said that to me..Sigh!

  54. Errr.......excuse me........but do I know you? You do look familiar. By the way, don't overdo the shouting outside Bappi Da's might get a restraining order.

  55. Arnab...Thank you so much.

    I have read the theory propounded spiritualists - that we have seven bodies, each in different dimensions. But in my case, all of them seem to have converged.

    Smiles painfully at Ana-treek

    Alka - I quite like my protuding canines :D

    Blue Lotus..That's the way aha aha...I like it...aha aha ~~~

    Prats...Thanks jee for the timely warning :p

  56. Purba,

    Hope this is written by you and not one of your duplicates. On second thoughts it has to be you as no one, even your doppelganger can meet that wit.

    Take care

  57. If it is of any consolation (!!) it is not just one, but seven of your look-alikes that are supposed to exist around the world. I agree with Abha -- you are the one and only blogger who can write so well :)

  58. I have never had that one come at me as yet, but I am waiting to meet the 7 other duplicates or whatever one calls 7 people who look alike. But I can relate to the irritation and need to scream. People can be such pests sometimes, especially the one's who just won't let go.

  59. Jack - If I were a head of state I could have utilized them for my security. Alas as a commoner, I can just crib and rant.

    Zephyr...That's an assumption and I'll be presumptuous enough to believe it :D

    Rituparna...And how am I expected to answer "Have I met you"? Go figure!

  60. Lol :) But actually it would be nice to meet someone who really does look like us!

  61. Purba you should be flattered-so many people want to strike a conversation with you.I guess the key lies in your personality.Keep going lass!

  62. Good things come in pairs and the worst in multiples :P

    And ya I have got few multiples too (still am undecided considering my bad memory, I might have been the same clones many talked to me about) but then there is one print of me definitely somewhere out there since couple of strangers had stopped, smiled and asked if i studied in one particular college, which i have not. So i have one clue about my xerox somewhere out there...

  63. Interesting! But I have never seen anyone like you!

  64. I hope the poor Bhabi will not read this and attempt an Seppuku. BTW I shouldn't be saying this but you look like .. ooopppsss :) Sorry.

  65. IHM...It will be a surreal experience!

    Indu...Hehe..that's a sweet consolation.

    Lakshmi...Ahha another one. And it can get annoying at times.

    Farida...I am banking on the Bhabi's poor memory and reading skills to save my skin :)

  66. hilarious, yet again :D

    i love the way you narrate the pros of having multiple doppelgangers :D... that would be fum , i would then be never caught for anything that i ever err :D
    i like the way, yet again, how you make fun of the messy/not so pleasant situation you encounter :D

  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

  68. i remember when i went to watch india sri lanka match in chandigarh stadium ..

    a board member came over and asked, you look very familiar to me, have we met before in Sri lanka?? aren't you the lankan representative who goes along with the team wherever the team goes???

  69. oh there are too many comments here, god knows where mine will disappear. but still i ll comment. loved this post, its supercool.

  70. Ha Ha Ha Ha .... ROTFL.. If nothing, you have an opportunity to a few more to tell you who you resemble.. Good Luck with that!!

  71. I am jealous. I have not met even one person who thinks he/she has met me- not to mention,"she" would have been a pleasure :D. But I have met my brother's look alike and it was thrilling.

    I don't even have a name brother myself- few have appeared on facebook in the last year or so but then they do not have the same title :(. I am unlucky :((

    Will try my luck in the upcoming Kumbh Mela :D

  72. Maybe your having seen you before or resemblance is an indicator of your rising popularity:) Missed this post as I was traveling but still rewarded for the wait..

  73. A grain of sand...Humour is the best way to cope with stress :p

    Ano...Should have said yes and enjoyed the VIP treatment :)

    factsandnonsense...Glad you found it cool.

  74. Ruchi....Sigh...yes, I have no one to blame but myself.

    mishraaji...You could try saying Bhaiyaaa to complete strangers at the Mela and see how they react!

    Rahul....Oh no...I have hearing it from time immemorial.

  75. You are unique just like everyone else :-)
    Though you may have doubts about how you look, there are no doubts (atleast in my mind)that there is no blog like make ordinary topics so interesting.

  76. Hilarious post and u have ur reasons for liking the fact that u look similar so many other creatures on earth...infect I too encountered the same but mostly they try to compare my resemblance with Saif Ali Khan!!! I feel happy....sometimes they say that my jawline looks like Anil Kapoor...ooppsss..not that bad...but when they say that i look like Kishan Kumar....yukkkk!!!!!

    Nice post :)

  77. bemoneyaware...Thank you for the consolation :))

    Hemant...Anil Kapoor and Kishan Kumar are a barber's delight!

  78. * will the real slim shady please stand up...!! *
    Great post

  79. has been a constant thing with me too. Almost the same lines..have met somewhere or you look like my bhabhi or didi or what not...and yes the actresses I never ever liked..there were more actresses than one who looked like me ... so ridiculous.

    Some people generalise the looks to my being a Bong or a Madrasan , and this one I believe more. I have been in funny situations when people start talking to me in their regional language know what i am talking about :-)


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