Most of us like our names and I certainly do. I am grateful that my parents called me creation (Rachna). Many Hindu names have lovely meaning till Indian parents of my generation got lured into naming their kids Ahana, Arahan and what not. But when it comes to my husband, his Punjabi father went the traditional way, in naming his son.
My husband, Gurdev’s name is as traditionally Punjabi as they come. Must be the nostalgia which my father-in-law felt, but he surely must have not envisaged all the sticky situations that would arise due to this, as his son spent his growing years in Hyderabad. Now, we Indians have a peculiar habit. We have an autocorrect in our heads. No Sir, you possibly can’t know how to pronounce or spell your name. So here, let me do it for you, you silly person! So 8 out of 10 times, his name becomes Gurudev (godman) for people. Maybe they see the shining halo on him of a godman!
Then there was this time he remembers when for a train journey to Chennai, his name was spelled as Gurupaad Swamy. Some railway clerk drawing up a list said, “Let this boy have a region-appropriate name. Who cares what his real name is!” His teachers in school were very amused by the Singh in his middle name. He was called Singhu nee burra Tingu and some such things.
The other day, he got a call from one of the bank representatives who asked for Gurwa Deva. I kid you not! Man, how the two of us laughed. I mean how completely creative.
A lot of his friends call him Guru which is quite fine and better than the other abominations.
This trait is such a nuisance that even in identity documents and papers, people just go ahead and modify his name’s spelling and of course, the pronunciation is always flawed by default. You know it also hurts because his email address is often spelt incorrectly because yes, the autocorrect is at work. So much so that now we spell out the email id and impress upon the people 2-3 times that the spelling is g u r d e v not g u r u d e v.
Surprisingly his foreign colleagues always speak and write his name correctly. It could be because all Hindu names are anyway Zulu to them, and their autocorrect has nothing fed in them. That reminds me how a few times I have received emails addressed to a certain rajma. I know I like rajma (kidney beans) too but am yet not ready to change my name to that. Yes, you got that right. Must be some autocorrect.
Living in the South with a very typical North Indian name can make for some really amusing memories that are guaranteed to give you the laughs when you remember them later.
Have you guys faced funny incidents when it comes to your name?