Thursday, March 18, 2010

So Who Said What's In A Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

 Hmmm...Does this new post require a poetic beginning..No it really doesn't..But that's the first thing that struck me as I sat to write it..And I remember in school beginning an essay quoting Shakespeare was supposed to show your command over literature..So there.....

Ok, now I must give you a little background...To sustain the excesses of a debauched student life, I try to fit in some extra work to 'pile on the pounds'. Didn't I hear a snigger there? Don't go cheeky on me, I mean the Sterling Pound...the holy Brit currency that keeps me checking the foreign exchange rate in shrewd calculation to ensure my rupee pounds a little longer! So that brings me to the part-time job that I have managed to find...

Romanticise my work place a little, will you and imagine this wonderfully chic place that transports me to a Supergirl-ian world from my Plain Jane student life is just so exciting, isn't it?

Ok, now that you have made me feel good by imagining such a wonderful alter-life for me here, let me tell you, my workplace consists of an abandoned computer that hardly ever boots without two kicks and shoves, a work table that has 6 pens, a paper rack and nothing else and a really really old and grimy window, that can time and again be coaxed open, so that I can say hi to the occasional seagull that takes pity on me and flies by my dirty window...

Now that does not mean that amidst what is often mechanical, quite literally ctrlc + ctrlV work, I don't find my guilty pleasures. Amidst reams and reams of lists with names of people from all parts of the world that I juggle, I look for those which make me laugh, sometimes wince, very often groan with empathy for the burden of having to live a lifetime bearing your parent's sudden whim or fleeting fancy...

So these days as I write personalised mailers - Hi Godgift, Hello Queen Elizabeth, Hey Darlington - I observe a minute's silence in shared empathy. How many before would have laughed a tiny wicked laugh( like I confess I did, before the nobility in my soul told me not to snigger at a person for their parents' fault)when they wrote the very same words? I wonder, I wonder...

Then again, what right do I have to snigger at these names when the land I happily claim as my own has been singlehandedly responsible for some of the weirdest names to be inducted into the Dictionary of Indian Names? I'm from the land of Blissmols and Beautys( Warning: It's not a spelling mistake...How else do you refer to two girls named Beauty?) and Happymons and also the assorted Gandhis, Nehrus, Stalins and Boses who keep the flag of the politically active Malayali flying across the world...

I went to a Convent College, where ragging was merciless...And drawing blood from new 'arrivals' began with asking them to introduce themselves...And there would be enough grist for the ragging mill....Out would pop 'Pretty Thomas' and 'Jane Beauty's - almost whispering their names out lest the seniors hear it clearly...I particularly remember one poor soul who admitted to the latter name, only for a Cruella De Ville senior to sneer at her about whether she had chosen the name herself...And with an audible wince, the poor girl had very candidly wondered if she would inflict the torture on herself...Point to be noted, my lord!!

A friend and I have an ongoing exchange of emails over just strange names that we have encountered...This mail chain has been going strong for over a year, I think..Every new mail assures a chuckle for a good day...This post is my mega-bumper contribution to our growing list..

I still haven't understood what moments of insanity trigger a parent's decision to permanently scar their children's life by imposing their eccentricities on them. And I salute the children for respecting their parent's wishes and not changing their names despite constant provocation to do otherwise.. I also know a certain Ms.Hole who has a name that begins with an A..(And in England, most of your correspondence is addressed as the initial of your given name followed by your surname)I wonder if she winces as much as I do on her behalf at the thought of receiving no less than five letters in a week addressed in that fashion...

Now if Shakespeare were alive and if he were to croon, What's in a Name, I'd ask him to please re-consider!!!

(P.S : I mean no offence to anyone...Those who have names that resemble any of the ones stated above are requested not to send out hit-squads to avenge this post.)


  1. hahahahaha. firstly what a cool job yu landed, babe. :) Secondly, godgift? mwahahahaha. this one had me in splits. but like you so rightly pointed out, nothing can out-beat indian names- esp mallu and 'pet' bong names. ooooooh.

  2. Mallus have a way with names...No name is complete without being suffixed by 'mon' or 'mol' (literally translated means son & daughter respectively). Can't blame them when most names are go 'tutu-mon', jinju-mol, jini-mon, jissy-mol and so on... Identifying gender is a tough one for sure.
    A moment of fancy/eccentricity of the parents has the child cringing everytime he/she is called out for.

  3. Enjoyed the ruminations on name. I can identify with a lot of stuff here. 'Major Major Major Major' of Catch 22 has got to be the touchstone of parental whims.

    Do check out the para 1 at the link below:

  4. Oh there are plenty of good name combinations. I used to correspond regularly with a woman whose surname was Gallop. I never knew her Christian name, just the two initials - G G. G G Gallop. It's true. My sister had a friend: surname Bunn, Christian name, Chelsea. And I'm sure that if I were to look in the telephone directory I'd find a Mr R Sole or Soul. In fact I seem to recall some of us amusing ourselves with a local phone book in the school library many, many years ago.

  5. @USPandey: Similar words indeed..can I be curious and ask you if you use an abbreviated name now?

    @Paul: The latest in my list: Ms.M De Kock..

    @ Sree: So true, tintumons and the joyfuls - the bane of mallu taste..

    @ Ketchup Girl: I wonder how I forgot to make a special honorary mention of the Bong names as against their 'good names'. I used to know a Lodduda...and he was 'gol' too...hehehe

  6. "@USPandey: Similar words indeed..can I be curious and ask you if you use an abbreviated name now?"

    USP; andey? Ha ha ha!" I have slept, my lord, already." I'm past caring.

  7. Hmmm....i never thought of that...but i guess those with Pande spelling wince more when the 'P' gets dislocated...

    Talking of which I must put up a picture of the funniest name that we came across when we were in Pune. Someone has put up a picture the other day on Facebook. He is an architect i think name Ranjeet Banchhod..Now how scarring is that? And he had a huge board in his society to get clients to come in I think...But wha he got most was sniggering Pune college students who very often took pictures standing right under it..

  8. my husband had a well known famous classmate. whoelse but 'sonia gandhi' how weird is that? a nice little tamil girl, with no italian or parsi connection whatsoever.

  9. @desifunda: hmmm..that's like a great load of parental admiration that reflects through. By the way, during the last General Elections, there were over 10 Gandhis who contested from Tamil Nadu...Fun statistic, don't you think?

  10. LOL! Nice long read! I could never put so many perspectives to a topic ever! Some of the most wackiest names I have come across are:

    Dr. Ashok Banchod (Marathi surnames crack me up all the time!)
    A girl I met recently, her name is Beauty. Why?
    But what takes the cake are the bawa surnames especially screwwala!

  11. Vinni..well another African 'lovely': Chuka Chuka..and I swear on everything holy I did not make it up... :)

  12. this post remended me of the process in which we named my daughter. i think we need to take little efforts as it is going to remain the identity of the person till the end unless hey decided to change it in between.
    we too had lots of discussion in naming my baby.. finally i took a stand and said this is what i am going to name her..i had too written a post long back.. link is here..