Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Naming Game

When I see Dhirendra becoming Dhiren and Atindra becoming Atin, I realise that there are many who hate their names.I was happy to change a student's name from Devgiri to Mayank in the new session. He'll not have to carry the burden of an unwanted name throughout his life.

My sister is one of the victims.While enjoying a long drive in the lower Himalayas, once she told in a grave tone, " I wonder how could grandpa, a veteran astrologer with a sound knowledge of Sanskrit, give me a name as petty as Meena? Meenakshi would have suited me so well." I tried to console her by saying that it means, 'a colourful gem' or a fish (meen), which is not bad. Her disappointment multiplied manifolds when one of the kids in the car spotted a signboard on the way stating, 'Meena Bar.'

I have always been at ease with my name, though during most of my school and college life I was known by my different nick names. My games teacher who knew me for two years, stared me with wide eyes and asked, "You are Vandana, not Vandy?", while giving  the certificates for some event.

I was also convinced that I didn't have a very hap name as my friends had, like Anindita, Parul, Shalini etc. But I sympathised with  my Sikh female friends who had very masculine names as Upinder, Harjinder and even Rajender. On the other hand I loved Simran (before DDLJ), Mehar and Divjot Kaur.

As a child whenever I could get to watch a movie, I used to have this secret wish that the main character was my namesake. But it never happened, not even during the Doordarshan days. Then Youtube happened and I could watch all the movies I wanted to. I was so happy, for old time's sake, to see in one of  the super hits of Indian cinema, with Rajesh Khanna in the lead and gorgeous Sharmila Tagore sharing my name in Aradhana