I have a long name. A name that would take more than couple of minutes filling up in the answer sheets, not to mention about the shading sheets for the entrance exams. And how can I forget about the confusion around my name and initials.
As a kid, I never liked my name. It was so old fashioned and long and confusing and a part of it was cliched. I have fought with my parents on why they had to have such a long name for me and every time I hear the same story. And along with it, I had to hear my full (I mean my entire name they gave me during my naming ceremony) name. I am not kidding but its made of 13 different names. Amma used to tell me, dad just picked the first and last names of those and made my name! I being the first baby from maternal side of family, everyone had a suggestion it seems and my parents couldn’t deny them. On top of it, amma was thinking I must be a boy only for she could feel me so tall in her tummy. She had decided a boy name for me and when I was born, she was clueless. And that’s when one of her uncles got the news that our family is blessed with a girl on the same day as Lord Ram’s birthday, and he sent a postcard carrying the possible name my parents should give me. Parents just accepted. Everytime I heard this story, I got so cross as to why should he decide my name unlike my sister’s which was selected by dad.
But as I grew, I realized that my name is unique. Not one will have this combination of names. Lets say my name is F1 F2, L1 L2 (Oh yes, I have two initials too!!) I am affirmative that I won’t find anyone else with the same combination as my first names. F1 is too common, F2 is quite common too but the combination is unique. On top of it, all my school friends and teachers called me as F1 F2 – not F1 only or F2 only. Everyone knew me, because of my unique name. Now this is only until Std 10, where my set of classmates remained the same for almost ten years. When I moved to high school and college, I had my name issues again! Before I start on that, there is a story with my last name too.
Most Telugu people carry a family name that traces back to previous generations which forms the last name (unlike carrying the initial of the head of the family as other South Indians). These last names are usually the places where the family has flourished. As usual, a girl carries it only until her wedding and later takes up the husband’s family name. When my great grandfather decided he would just give initials of the family name, instead of the full name – English wasn’t very prominent. He gave two characters (going phonetically) instead of just the starting letter. So, we all carry two letters in initials.
Being in Chennai, where father’s name (or initial) being taken as the last name, I always had to explain everyone why is mine different from my father’s name. Some just assumed I went wrong (yes, even until Std 7) and changed it in the register for me. Sigh. As such, there was hell lot of confusion and guess what happens with my 10th transfer certificate – they put a space between those two initials and I have to carry it that way until now. I could have changed it right away, but that called for too much work and I just left it the way it was. Now technically, my initial is different from rest of my family 😀
As I joined a new school for 11th and 12th, teachers couldn’t get used to my unique name. I was usually called F1 F3 (now F3 is another very common name and goes well with F1). I had to correct them every time. I was in for such a shock, when I got a memento with my name engraved as F1 F3 on it. And this is not some memento – I was the school topper and district 2nd in std 12th. I cribbed and cribbed for days together. Until now the memento stands majestic with a name, that doesn’t belong to me. Sigh!
I decided enough was enough when I joined college and started addressing myself as only F2. That resolved a few issues, but attendance call every hour meant, I got a different version of my name 😀
When I joined work, I made sure I filled the field “Nick Name” with F2 under my personal details. Most people from Asia pronounced it OK, but my name still had issues with people from rest of the world. Some assumed and pronounced my name as though I am a man. Some changed it to sound like a festival. Some made it sound like a fruit. Some misspelled it. But till date, this is the best conversation I had at work around my name –
I am calling a lady in US, pretty early my morning for an emergency issue. Guess what she asks me after we are done with our discussion. “F2.. why are you called only F2 when you have a beautiful name F1?” I was speechless. I mean, this lady doesn’t even understand these names, she doesn’t know me well enough and how I do I explain her the story of my name 🙄 She said I should let people call me F1 and that she is going to call me only that, as she felt its as beautiful as my voice. I gave a hearty laugh and we ended the meeting on a happy note!
Phew! This is all the story about my name 😀 And this is only part of the confusion as I haven’t changed my last name after marriage and don’t plan to do so. If possible, I want our kids to carry on my family name along with S’s name – so I guess lot more confusion is expected 😆