The bard got it wrong; it is all in a name

A name actually does much more than just providing a person identity.Usually, parents sift through lists of names to find rare, meaningful and poetic lexical tags for this kids. I have always laughed at names that sounded awkward, and have pitied those  who have to bear with the taunts and smirks for the rest of their lives.

I distinctly remember this girl in my school called Golden Nisha; I still wonder why her parents chose such a dazzling name for her. Quite often she became the butt of all jokes.  And, yes I joined them, too, because the name not just sounded awkward but also was pronounced by many with an unusual emphasis on the letter ‘d’.

To be honest, I have  disliked my name, only because it is too common in South, especially in Chennai. Every Tamil Brahmin household has a Janani. In school, I  found umpteen Jananis, and some happened to be my classmates. I silently sulked and kept asking my parents why they picked a common name for me. My dad assured me it was a beautiful name with a lovely meaning. I retorted, who cares for the meaning, it sounds corny.

Initially, I was Janani. S. But, in class X when I registered for boards, I promptly added my dad’s name to make it sound complete, and a little different. At least it didn’t sound like a flat note, I thought.

Another thing that bothered me was the way it was pronounced. Especially, in the north, since there it is hardly known, people assumed that the second ‘a’ in the name had to be stretched. As a result, it became ‘janaani’. I vividly remember this bus journey in Delhi, when the conductor asked the driver to stop the bus, “Mod pe dheere jaana, ek janaani ko utarna hain wahaan.”  I jumped from my seat and looked around, wondering how he knew my name. But, later I was told that ‘janaani’ in Punjabi meant woman.

Maybe, I earned Golden Nisha’s wrath.


8 Responses to “The bard got it wrong; it is all in a name”

  1. Even though my first guess was “Janaani”, I figured that one is much more likely to be named ‘mother’ than ‘women’. So, all is not lost.

    And yes, I can totally understand your frustration with not having a first name unique enough for everyone to refer to you by that. I have been through that too. Maybe you could try to choose a nickname for yourself, and popularize it. 🙂

  2. Nice , interesting post. To think that one has no say in this most important aspect of one’s life- that marks one’s life forever!
    aside, I love my names- both – my real and virtual names. The latter of course, was my choice.

  3. Hilariousss….that Janaani case was hilarious…guud that u dint hav to do a cross-over to North…otherwise u wud hav had a nightmare…i hav been nithin from differnce is nt tat much so i dnt mind 🙂

  4. Tell me about it. I am called priya by all my friends and family. Line up 15 girls and there would be the highest probability that 15 out of 15 girls would be named priya. Finally i ended up putting my name as priyadarshini venkataraman. Damn its too long to fit in the passport. Many places My name comes as priyadar venkat. Now how corny is that.

  5. LOL at Priyadarshani !

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