Thursday, April 01, 2010

What is your name?

What's in a name? Why bother if it has 20 letters or too funky. Everybody has a name! Even a man who does not have a kidney would have a name. But what's in a name?

My name is 'Anuradha', it means, a 'star' says Google. I gave it as 'Anuradha Vasan' in my credentials, having my father's name next to mine, following the traditional rule. Well, its been more than a year since my marriage, and still I have not gone for a surname change. My husband has left the choice to me whether or not to change. Well, that's not the topic here. I am addressed as Ms.Vasan in most places. My father's name 'Vasan' has a history again. His original name was Vasudevan, that of lord Krishna's. Since their were two Vasudevan's with the same initials, he decided to shrink it to Vasan and thats how my surname came up. Now back to myself. Here in the United States, people who are not Indian natives call me Vasaaan; thats Va-sa-aa-an(rhymes well with Nissan of Nissan Altima). I tend to correct them in most places. Now that I have become sick of it.

My husband's surname is Krishnakumar, and again since people in US call by surname, he goes mad spelling his name over phone even for a Pizza delivery. Most times his email ID would be mis-spelt. He is pretty much having a tough time. And his first name is Ramgopal. Most people prefer calling him Ram (that used to be my most favorite name even before I knew I am going to marry a guy called Ram). But here in the US, its addressed as RAM (as in 25MB RAM (memory)). Again he got fed up correcting people, hence he got used to himself calling it RAM. Now he says, RAM as in Dodge RAM. Easy for them to follow.

In India, people say that every body's name is related to god somehow or the other. Modern Indian parents want their kids to have a traditionally-funky name. That's because the most common factor that comes in their mind while naming their child is, the revenge against their own parents. In those days parents named their children only with traditional names not knowing that their child would someday become a CEO of a multinational company. Well, I am not complaining the way they named. But I learnt from few of my friends , how dissatisfied they were with their names. A girl named 'Abhithakuchalambal' would get bullied big time at college. 'Pichai' would find it it very difficult to survive in a Tamil speaking state. And so does 'Gundu Rao'.

How about 'Champakavathi', short form should definitely be Champa. Even short names like 'Dhruthi' doesn't seem to be fluent enough. Friends of 'Godavari' would like to call her 'Goda'? or 'God'? 'Hansanandini' shrinks to 'Hansa', I know a person named Hamsa; I would definitely get confused between the two. How would 'Kamakoti' or 'Kamakshi' be called at home? I don't think either would prefer being called with a short form.

Jothika's name in the movie 'Sillunu oru Kadhal' was 'Kundhavai'. This reminds me of the Vivek's comedy in 'Sivaji' about 'Anga-vai'. I had a friend named 'Mrinalini'. At the same time I knew another girl called 'Mirnalini'. Phew!!! That was a tough time differentiating both names. American Indian, 'Vera Mindy Chockalingam' from the US TV series 'The Office' ,is better known as Mindy Kaling here in the United States. While watching the serial sometime, I heard from one of her dialogues, that her parents named her 'Rajnigandha' and she does not like it.

My very own, most common name, 'Anu' was also bullied at times. People used to say Anu's shirt, Anu's cycle, Anu's ring as Anus ring. A small apstophe would change the enitre meaning and would help my enemies bully me.

Most Indians have remodelled or even completely changed their names according to their wish. Based on numerology or even profession, people prefer others to call them with names they choose for themselves. What about film actors. Name a few who haven't gone for a name change. Rajnikanth is a magical name for Tamils or even Indians across the globe. If he was still Sivaji Rao Geakwad, it would sound like some character artists in 1950s. But that's business. People love calling him Rajni though they know he is Sivaji Rao.

I often used to tell my husband that we must be very careful while naming our child. The name should be crisp and easy to pronounce and definitely not a one which our child would want to change in future. There are parents who name their child after a very close relative of them or one of their mothers or fathers.

I came across an English name 'Cupcake' which I recently saw on TV. And I met a person called April. Another beautiful name called Melissa of a person whom I know; I used to say Melissa romba meleeesa aayita...(which means Melissa has become thin, in Tamil).Well that comes under sarcasm which cannot be helped. But lets not forget the genuine cases.There was a girl in my college whose accent and attitude stunned me. Her name was 'Paapathi'. That was the biggest shock for me. Her name was not at all related to her by any mean. But people called her 'Pops'. Now isn't that funky enough!

*Picture - Savannah, Georgia


Anonymous said...

What a lovely post! I had (?) a friend named Anuradha - she liked to be called Anu, but I preferred calling her Radha to which she objected rather violently!! Radha is such a romantic name. Particularly, the place I was then had a number of Kadamba trees and when I collect the fresh flowers on my morning walk, I could not but be reminded of the eternal lovers. But, this Anuradha did not share the sentiments. Sometimes I wonder, did she not like the name Radha or the caller!!

Anuradha said...

Ask her and find out!

Ritesh4u said...

Wow! what a post. I enjoyed going thru it. I remember such an incident with my name. I had ordered for net connection and when the guy turned up, he asked if Mr Rye-Taysh in? And my roomy told him there is noone with such name here!!!

Anuradha said...

Rye-Taysh! Yes, and again accent plays a major role. Also Americans will most probably wont know the meaning of Indian names and it naturally becomes difficult for them to pronounce.

Neha said...

Loved this post thoroughly. First time in your blog and enjoyed this one the most. Happy Blogging. Hope to see more from you.

Anuradha said...

Thanks Neha. Sure you will see more...