Everyone knows that line from the classic Casablanca. Probably used it too, with undoubted good reason. And those who haven’t had a chance are just waiting for the right opportunity. Sunday night was when I got mine.

Now there may be all of 3 or 4 people living in Berlin – a city of 3 1/2 million people in roughly 3 times the area of Mumbai – that I had met before in my life,  who had nothing to do with the Max Planck Institute or the meeting I attended there. In order of my having met them, Maria, a friend from the Yale days, the Assmann siblings, and Niklas, cousin of the latter. Maria I’d gotten touch with soon after getting here and we met up. I’d tried to contact the Assmanns via email but to no avail, and so had given up being able to see them during this trip. Which meant, I assumed, that I had no expectation of meeting up with Niklas, because I had no real contact info for him, didn’t even know his last name (I knew it was NOT Assmann but that’s it) and as I just found out, couldn’t spell his first name properly either.

And yet, on Sunday night, at a small, quiet neighborhood French restaurant where I was enjoying dinner with Jan (Dietrich – host and new friend) who but Niklas  should approach my table with the words, “you may not remember but we met earlier this summer’? Talk about a Bogey moment. There are thousands of restaurants in Berlin, dozens in the very neighborhood as this one (called Kirk Royale) and there we were . Responsible (along with our respective dinner companions) for half of the restaurant’s clientele that evening!

Thanks to that chance encounter I did get to catch up with the Assmann brothers  as well as Niklas the next evening (last night) in typical fashion over a meal that went on forever. Along with Jan, Maria, Nicky and (I kid you not) someone who’s nicknamed Bogey! Coincidence come full circle oder?

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