Dear Tom and Ray,

Belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year! I was trying to kill time during this prolonged holiday season by indulging in one of the favorite pastimes of the times (pun intended) --surfing the Internet. I did a search on my name and, LO AND BEHOLD!! I came across a few letters written by your loyal listeners. (Unfortunately, I can no longer belong to that elite group, for reasons stated below, though I still try to catch the occasional show.) I read the letters with considerable interest, and thought that I should come out of hiding and set the record straight, for your sake as well as that of your loyal listeners.

Soon after I called your show (from Phoenix, Arizona), I returned to India, selling my 1987 Nissan Maxima, among other earthly possessions. Aparna and I had a beautiful daughter there. Her name is Anupriya. I hope you are as fascinated and enamoured by their names as you are with mine. So now you can have three mantras (Arup, Aparna and Anupriya), like the Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwar), in that order and in increasing difficulty of pronunciation.

I returned to Houston, Texas, earlier this year and acquired a 1999 Honda (read: Hindu) Accord, among other things. So far, touch wood, I have had no need to call Car Talk on account of a car-related problem. However, I have been tempted to call or write to you several times, after my friends (Sutanu Ghosh and Raj Shekhar, who still catch your show very religiously) told me that my name had been mentioned by you or one of your callers in a show. Car Talk is aired here at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, and it is very difficult to catch with a two-year-old daughter at home and the lethargy and/or exhaustion after a long work week. But again, thanks to the Internet, I can listen to an archived copy off your Web site.

I hope you will read at least a portion of this letter in one of your upcoming shows and lay to rest theories on whether I am a doctor on "NYPD Blue," or an actor, or have been driving a Mercury Mystique with an Ontario personalized license plate. You will also give some new mantras for your listeners to chant in the New Millennium, or some nice, new Indian names for their babies.

Faithfully,

Arup Gupta

[ As Read on Car Talk ]