A few of our readers share some unforgettable experiences they’ve had with their names.
When I was small, my sister and my cousins used to tease me about a song in the Hindi film “Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon” that goes ‘Sanjana, I Love You’. Believe it or not, I was actually teased with Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan! At the time, I used to get so upset that I used to sit and cry for hours together. Now, I laugh at my own stupidity because it is something of every girl’s dream to have Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan sing to her! Even today, when my sister occasionally pops out with that song, I beam at her, break into a toothy grin and say, “Thank You!” Also, as my sister nastily points out every time, all the headstrong and bratty characters in Hindi cinema are named after me! (Kareena Kapoor in “Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon”, Amrita Rao in “Main Hoon Na” etc).
SANJANA GAUTHAM, Std IX C, Kendriya Vidyalaya C.L.R.I
My dear parents (bless them) named me Mrudula, 23 years ago with a fantasy lurking in their mental eye, of an exotic future akin to my moniker. When the programme director of my postgraduate course at the university, benevolently decided to call my name out, all she could manage was a “Mouuullaaa”. Although it sounded closer to being mistaken for a sudden retching noise, my friends assured me that she might have aimed for “Modular” after all. “Kitchen” was appended to it soon. So, here I am, Mrudula aka Modular Kitchen. Oh, you can call me Modules…
“Sorry, what’s your name again?” Yashasvini. I haven’t heard THAT too often! Having spent most of my childhood in North America, not a day would pass without someone messing it up. The closest any of them has ever got is ‘YashAsweenee’ with ‘a’ as in ‘apple’. Even today, in a country supposedly steeped in Sanskrit, I come across weird looks, weirder pronunciations and spellings that scare me. As recently as last week, someone spelt it as ‘Yesheshvinie’. But I won’t change it for the world. For one thing, it’s a great byline! ‘ Yashasvini’ (note spelling!) is my identity and a unique one at that!
My name is J. Sowmya Varma. I don’t find my name awkward until people ask me what ‘J’ stands for. Because ‘J’ stands for Jhetty, which doesn’t mean underwear, though it sounds similar to the Tamil equivalent of the word ‘underwear’. If not elsewhere at least in TamilNadu, I really get embarrassed when people ask me to disclose what my initial means. But never am I ashamed to use it. To people who offend me, I explain that Jhetty is short for ‘Jyeshta Malla Brahmins’. So even when my college friends make fun of my name, I don’t care to change my name just for a bunch of ignorant minds, because I AM PROUD OF MY NAME!
J. SOWMYA, II Year, St. Joseph’s College of Engineering
The regional touch
Being in South India and having a not-so-‘Southie’ name, I have been there and faced all those cringy, squirmy, awkwardly embarrassing situations and of course continue to, but cheers to indifference! The ‘ha’ becomes ‘ga’ and strangely, the ‘ka’ also translates into ‘ga’. N.I.H.A.R.I.K.A now becomes N.I.G.A.R.I.G.A, not to forget the ambiguity with respect to ‘a’. It is sometimes even pronounced- N.i.g.e.r.i.g.a. If I begin with my second name that is spelt MALLIMADUGULA, I am sure to create a brain rattling situation here! But that’s what I love about India — even a name gets its vernacular touch.
NIHARIKA M., II Year, BA Lit, Stella Maris College
My name, my identity
I love my name although its complicated. I need to repeat my name minimum three times for the first timers and if its a foreigner, well, forget it. I generally have to break my name into parts like MA-NAS-WI-NI and even before I’m done they want to know if I’ve got a pet name or whether they can call me Wini, Manu etc. It’s my identity and I would appreciate some effort in calling my name as it is supposed to be called although its a ‘proper noun’!
MANASWINI P., I Year, M.A., M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women
I have always been known only by my father’s name which is Francis. In school everyone teased me with names that rhymed my real name like ‘Even Steven’, ‘Eleven’ and so on. At that point I used to regret having such an old-fashioned name.
FRANCIS STEVEN, working professional
My name is Sorry. And no, am not saying sorry but I am actually telling you my name. My name IS Sorry. Well, as a part of our tradition in Africa we have names based on vices and virtues. My siblings are called Believe Me, Patience and Honesty and so on. My mother quite a task naming us because she had septuplets and she had to think of so many virtues and vices to name us all. When I came to India to study as a scholarship student, I had a tough time because such a naming tradition was not a part of the culture here and when people said sorry they were not necessarily calling me. My name at first it was more of disbelief to people here but then some also made fun. I have to live with it and maybe it is difficult but I wish people could also understand that its culture in my part of the world.
As told to ARCHANA SUBRAMANIAN
My name is Gowrishankar and let me clarify right away that I am not a girl. But, yeah, if you are among the several others who mistook my name to be that of a girl, I won’t be surprised. Having to tell many people that my name is not broken into Gowri + Shankar and that it’s a traditional one too, has, in fact taken up most of my growing years. I thought it would be easier now that I am out of college but it’s actually going to get more difficult as I am starting my new job in a company that’s dominated by North Indians and I do fear being made fun of because of my name.
GOWRI SHANKAR R.
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