November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

On how names affect ex-es

It was once said by a very wise man, that what is in a name. A rose by another name would still smell the same. That’s what he said. What I say is, there is a lot in a name. Especially when it is of an ex. Let it be said that a wise man said so. For I am wise. Mostly.

Names are strange creatures. A name which may have once brought a smile onto a lip might someday turn out to be the reason of years of anguish and turmoil. A name which one made the heart flutter may turn out to be the cause of severe heartburn sometime later. These are snippets of stories of such anguish, boiled down to specifics, and yes, there is a moral at the end too (As Aesop’s Fables is famous, these shall too be someday be famous as Mithun’s Fables, but for age appropriate audiences wonly)

Sheela cries a lot. He ex boyfriend’s name is Raj. Which would be fine if not for the fact that the guy in the next cubicle also bears the name Raj, as do 2 other people in her office. Now, whenever somebody calls those guys out, a feeling of overwhelming rage encompasses Sheela. Then she cries. Just the other day, her friends took her to a movie, to cheer her up. It was a Shahrukh Khan film. The hero’s name was Raj. Sheela kept yelling “b*****d” throughout the movie. And crying.

Monil cries himself to sleep. He watches reruns of ‘Mehekta Rishta’ where the lead’s name is Poonam. Monil’s ex girlfriend’s name is Poonam. Monil yelled “Nahin” so loudly one night that his neighbours called the police, thinking he was being molested or something. Which the police concluded was the not case, and if it was so, it would necessitate a change in Monil’s lifestyle, as his roommates were all guys. Monil got further depressed when Poonam in Mehekta Rishta dies a gruesome death at the hands of her husband’s 3rd wife. He felt elated at first but then realisation came in that another Poonam had left him beech majhdhaar. Which further depressed him. He became a little stable as Poonam’s character came back from the dead 10 episodes later.

No pencil that comes within Sripriya’s grasp is left unbroken. Sripriya has an ex named Nataraj. The sad part being that her company stocks only Nataraj pencils and erasers. She tried to burn the erasers but backed off once she felt a little asphyxiated. She still harbors a deep derision of all pencils in her company stationary room.

One guy cannot watch one of his favourite movies anymore. The movie bears part of his ex’s name. He flinches whenever the name is announced on the TV screen and has to control himself not to fling something onto the screen.

There are many such stories that you may see around you, but will ignore. The guy at the office not calling a particular girl by her name, but by her surname while he calls all the others by their first name, is actually trying not to say a name out loud or the girl who declines a marriage proposal from Abhilash because his nickname turns out to be the same as her ex’s, which was Abhi from the name Abhishek. Its a strange world this. Where names are not just identifiers, where they are memory. Where they are not just someone’s present but someone’s past as well.

What was the moral here you ask? The moral is: Do not choose a gf/bf who has a common name(or at least has a product named after them). Someone like Muthuswamy is ideal here, simply because you are less likely to find Muthuswamy Cyber Cafe and more likely to find Vicky Cyber Cafe. And if you already have one with a common name, stick to them, it will save you a lot of heartache.



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:

Dinku Baby

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