What's in a name ?

 "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Shakespeare lived in easier times. If he had to create a Facebook account, a yahoo mail box or simply book an airline ticket, he would have had second thoughts.

If there is one chore I dread in today’s world, it is filling up a renewal form – be it for a passport, a driving license, a PAN card or anything else.
Take my Passport. The Father’s name, First name and Surname columns ensure I end up with MARUDHAVANAN RAJAN KANAGASABAI - not a simple set of alphabets that you can write on little boxes and hope they are not being misspelled – leave alone pronounced right. No wonder, I have had my passport redone thrice over and my PAN card twice (honest – and I am not joking for once).

I guess my parents were in a awfully fouled up mood, when they gave me my name. Rajan, in Sanskrit, means, a King and Kanagasabai is a combination of two words, kanagam meaning gold and sabai meaning hall. They had decided then and there, that the biggest domain I would rule over is a hall and to add some consolation, allowed for a golden hall!!
There have been some hilarious true life incidents – thanks to my parents and their naming creativity. Once at the JFK New York terminal, the announcement over a Public Address system seemed like a barrage of foul language, which upset quite a few folks. I later figured, they were paging for me!!

 Another was during an award ceremony at one of my ex employers Digital Equipment Corporation. I was one of the few from my region qualifying for the DEC 100, and equivalent of a local Grammy for Sales performances. These are normally on exotic locations, like a cruise ship on the Hawaiian coast and the master of ceremonies nearly fell off the podium calling out my name and ended up saying something that sounded like ‘Lanasoki’. Not a soul, including me, moved  to receive the award and he had to physically move to the audience to hand hold me on to the stage.

This also has some benefits. Direct marketing callers dread pronouncing the names and invariably skip difficult names. I once had a bank offering me a personal loan call me and was stuck on the greeting line for minutes, giving me ample time and reason to hang up.

My respect for my parents grew multifold, until I met a colleague, who’s second name was Mysore, who lived in Bangalore.

My best consolation was that my parents were very consistent with their skills, for these same parents named my brother Marudhavanan Muthiah and he, being a literary scholar and a leading Tamil poet has been confimed the title of 'Kalaimamai' by the state government and the literary title "Marabin Maindan" conferred by the Tamil Scholastic community.

So, imagine a name on anything, be it an invitation, a visiting card or even a Master of Cermonies introducing him. The name would be KALAIMAMANI MARABIN MAINDAN MARUDHAVANAN MUTHIAH!!! . . . I am sure he would be leaving behind a huge group of Jaw locked, Spell struck, tongue tied, embarrased folks in this world . . . . .


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