August 17, 2010 § 6 Comments
Names are a peculiar human trait. We build our lives around our name. A name which is given to us without our assent. A name which we are aware could make or break our social life. Ever heard of a guy name Muthuswamy rocking the party scene? No, right? But with a name like Vikram or Vicky, the same guy could be a party hopper with multiple girlfriends instead of the computer programmer/geologist/nuclear scientist he is today.
Names also lend themselves to much disintegration during childhood. For example Muthuswamy will never be treated with respect by the school bullies (usually named Vikram, Vicky, Vijay or one of the more ‘hip’ names). Muthuswamy’s name will be dissected and much fun will happen at his expense. Muthuswamy’s friends will call him Muthu. The bullies will call him a shorter name which will leave poor Muthuswamy scarred for life. (True story: There was a guy in my school whose name was such. 6-7 years of that torture and he decided to have his name legally changed. He was renamed Kaushik. The bullies responded by calling him Cowshit.)
Now, let us do an imagining exercise. Right. Close your eyes. But then, how will you read this? Right then, don’t close your eyes. Your eyes are important to this blog. Imagine if you will, Muthuswamy. What is the image that comes to your mind? I know. Fat, dark guy with snot in his nose and oil in his hair. Right? Absolutely. It wont matter if the kid is thin, fair as milk and his nose is clean as a whistle. All that matters is that people who hear that name think of the fat, dark kid. Now imagine Vikram. Tall, strapping young guy with a close up smile, right? Won’t matter if he’s a short, fat guy with a smile that can break mirrors. People who hear that name will think of the former. The power of names. Quite something, right?
Muthuswamy will also face the curse of the funny name while in college. The college studs will ridicule his name in order to impress the girls. To the girls, Muthuswamy might as well not exist and they will remember Muthuswamy only when there are notes to be had. Muthuswamy will not be boyfriend material because of his name* but he will be friend material because of his class notes.
Muthuswamy will also be unlucky in lowu. The girl he finally proposes to will say no. Not because of any inherent problem with Muthuswamy. Its just that being called Muthuswamy’s girlfriend is not exactly cool. Muthuswamy will finally settle down with some girl his parents choose for him.
But its not all bad for Muthuswamy. Due to his name, Muthuswamy is most likely to go on to top his school, college and university. His name might cause him to be ridiculed on the social circuit, but it is pure gold on the education circuit. He is most likely to get a plum job, a house, a car and most likely to become a millionaire fastest among than his peers. Muthuswamy will not have to endure the perils of relationships, because his name predisposes him to an arranged marriage. Vikram/Vicky is most likely to become a struggling model/actor/BPO guy or star on Emotional Atyachaar and have a string of relationships. Marry divorce, remarry, divorce etc. His name predisposes him to such things. Such is the power of names.
So, parents or would be parents will do well to know this. Naming your kid is a very important event. What name you give them will decide what direction their future goes. Not really. All this is my theory. Which like my other theories, may or may not be true. But try not to name your kid Muthuswamy or Rameshwaram Murthy or Perunambiar. It will save many counselling sessions.
*not always true. A girl named Lakshmipriya might find his name charming.
The video which planted the seeds of this post: