What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name?”, you ask. Some would say everything. Ask a person who has changed his/her name based on numerology/astrology/some success formula or just for the heck of it. Well your name is important. It identifies who you are. Does it also define who you are? Umm may be. But my point is how much does it say about you? When you haven’t seen or spoken to a person but just hear the name, you conjure an image of that person based on the name. Talk of first impressions.

Most people have nicknames or real names given by their family or friends which at times doesn’t project a very good image of them or the right image of who he/she really is. It sticks with you throughout your lifetime no matter how much you try to get rid of it. I have a tough time imagining some guy with a funny name taken seriously in the corporate world. But people with such names do manage to be taken seriously. Do they need to put that extra effort for the desired result? Again may be.

Of course there’s no such thing as a funny name. Every name has its meaning(may be in a different culture that you aren’t aware of) and it should not be made fun of. Then again that would an ideal world not the one we inhabit in.

So many times the names are quite contrary to the individual’s personality. Imagine a cash-strapped aamir, a not-so-great-looking sundari, a Prakash/Jyothi/Deepak/Deep being the black sheep of the family, a Soumya who is extremely brash and the list can go on. I am quite sure you have met at least one such person 🙂

Years ago, I heard my aunt tell a bedtime story to her daughter which included a character called Pinky rakshas(rakshas – demon in Sanskrit/Kannada). I laughed my heart out on that one. I mean who would, in their right frame of mind, give a cute name like Pinky to a demon. But turns out she was just following a global convention a little ahead of its time. A naming convention of giving cute girl names to devastating cyclones. Katrina/Sandy/Athena/Rita/Nargis…. They are no where close to giving you the right image of what to expect. No match to the havoc they wreak or the planning and preparations these calamities warrant.

May be they just want people to sit up and take notice or at least hope the reporters will be able to report the events. Remember ‘Eyjafjallajökull’. Yes, I am talking about the Icelandic volcano. Reporters had a tough time getting that one right. Try pronouncing it. Considering that only 3,00,000 people speak Icelandic and that in spite of the same origins it isn’t very close to the other Scandinavian languages, I doubt if you will be able to get it right. If you are able to get it right the first time and without googling, you deserve a prize.

What image do you think your name gives to other people?

Anyway whatever may be your name, and whatever impression it gives the first time, it only matters for a while before people actually know who you are in terms of your words and deeds. As Shakespeare says, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

P.S: Prayers for everyone affected by storm Sandy and more recently Athena.

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