Amit is one of the most common Indian names in my generation, thanks to immense popularity of Amitabh Bachchan, who also goes by Amit (the shortened version of his name). Hence, in my school days, I was always one of three or four Amits in the class. When I came to the US in 2009, I thought this would end, but instead, I started meeting Amit Bhatnagars too, in addition to lots of just Amits!

This has led to many memorable incidents: some amusing, and some irritating and frustrating. I am listing a few here in no particular order:

  • When I came to the business school, I did not get the standard firstname_lastname B-school email address. Why? Because there was another alumnus from class of 2008 with the same first name and last name! Later when I met this guy at a university event, his first reaction on meeting me was "I have a bone to pick with you. One year, after graduation, I have suddenly started getting emails asking me to complete questions from team-assignments!" Apparently, my teammates were picking the first name suggested by auto-complete, and this was sending emails to the wrong Amit Bhatnagar!
  • During one of the job-interviews, I did not receive the second round interview invite by email. Instead, I got a call from their travel desk asking for my details to book travel for second round. I followed up and got to know that I had indeed made it to the second round, but it appears that the recruiting coordinator had just assumed that my university email ID would be firstname_lastname, like everyone else from my school, and sent the second round invite to the other Amit Bhatnagar!
  • At the pre-interview breakfast before the second round interview of the same company as above, all the candidates had an introduction session with the HR, where  each of us had to share some elementary information and a “fun-fact”  about oneself. I couldn’t think of a better fun fact than the Amit-story, and  everyone had a good laugh at my situation! But more was to come: the  fun-fact for the girl sitting next to me!
    Believe it or not! Her  husband’s name was “Amit Bhatnagar” (Yes, a third one!) and her university friends in the  common interview invite list were thinking that both of them were  appearing for the same interview!
  • When I moved to SF, I met a distant cousin with same first and last names (Fourth, if you are counting!) We meet regularly at festivals and family gatherings, but thankfully, no confusing incidents so far!

Some incidents around just first common name:

  • In the first year of engineering, four guys used to share one hostel room. Three out of four in my room were Amits! The hostel had a common phone for incoming calls from  families of students (Most of us didn’t have cell-phones at that time),  and one day, when Amit#2 turned  up twice for phone calls meant for Amit #1 (me) and Amit #3, he  instituted a rule: The callers should be asking for the person they want  to talk to by their last name!
  • At my B-school, there were four Amits in my class! Apparently, my B-school has a tradition of admitting Amits.. There were at least three Amits in each of three classes senior to mine!
  • My wife's name is Priyanka Amit Bhatnagar. Now, Priyanka is another very common Indian name. Incidentally, one of my very good school friends (another Amit) recently got married, and his wife is also named Priyanka! We haven't met after his wedding, but I can imagine the confusions, when we meet!

I had shared these experiences (and some more) on my blog some time ago:  Plight of being an “Amit”

See question on Quora

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