Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name..

What's in a name, a rose by any other name would sound as sweet - When Shakespeare muttered these lines, he probably hadn't imagined how he would have felt if someone referred to him as Adolf Hitler. Now don't you reason out that Adolf Hitler came a lot later so the chance of Shakespeare imagining it didn't arise.

A name gives you an identity. It creates your first impression in today's e-world where you don't necessarily need to present yourself in any physical form - A world where your i-dentity gives way to e-dentity.

Just the other day I had a chat with one of my friends who goes by the name of Amit Gautam, no its not the name of two separate people!

Me: Hey Gautam, I had to ask you something out of curiosity
Gautam: What? Go ahead.

Me: What does Gautam mean? Is it 'Gau + Uttam' meaning the superior cow, a cow that can gives a lot of milk? Milk that..
Gautam: Holy cow! Shut the f*** up. It doesn't mean anything. The name just caught the fancy of my parents while they were visiting Sarnath. Never mind the visiting Sarnath part of the story, but for God's sake I am not the cow that can be milked.

Me: Another quick question - The devil in me didn't want to give up so easily
Gautam: Now its also not 'Gaa + uttam', a superior singer! - He knew what was coming

Me: No, I wanted to ask another thing. What's your brother's name?
Gautam: It's Sumit Saurabh

Me: And you are two brothers, right?
Gautam: Yes, we are two.

Me: Amit, Gautam, Sumit and Saurabh are names of four different people. Let me make a guess. I think your parents had thought of four names and since they couldn't decide the two better ones among those, they used all four, right?
Gautam: Wrong. It was the fad during our era. And why the hell are you pretending to be an exception? -Gautam tried getting aggressive in his stance.

Me: Ahem..I was supposed to be christened this way but better sense prevailed on my parents and they settled with the largely acceptable 'one name-one surname' type
Gautam: What surname? Surname is the family name. Sinha gave way to Chandra. You ate up your surname.

As heat gathered in our conversation, we decided to wave the white flag of peace. I then wished them (the Amit and the Gautam) a good night.

Now there definitely was a fad in our childhood (and I am talking spcifically about Bihar) when all kids were named using the following naming convention signed by the then Chief Minister of the state and forcefully included in one of the several oaths taken by the bride and the bridegroom during every marriage of the time (I can't see any other reason why our parents did it!):

a.) Name him following the 'Amit Gautam' template
b.) Name him sans the family name, aka 'Anurag Chandra' template

c.) Name him follwing the 'Kumar Saurav', 'Kumar Gaurav' template
d.) Name him/her following the + Kumar/Kumari template
e.) Name him anything; it will sound as funny. I am not going to take names, not because that'll be indecent but because I can't actually spell them.

The template (a) died its death by the turn of 90s following a resolution in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha. It was reasoned that India's population had nearly reached a 100 crores and that these people with two names only added to the confusion as they were sometimes counted as two instead of one in many census related activities.

The template (b) is difficult to sight. They are actually called perpetrators. So they never die. You might have a Anurag Chandra whose family name is something different but there would also be another Anurag Chandra who would infact be proudly flaunting his family name. But at a distance you would never get to know who is who.

The template (c) came into being post the successful foray of Kumar Gaurav into hindi films. So all the first borns were called Kumar Gaurav. Crisis struck when his films started failing and when the families with first born Kumar Gauravs had to deal with another one of the uglier sex in their household. They had no choice but to name him Kumar Saurav, just to make the name rhyme with their earlier born.

The template (d) is used by people suffering from the 'whats the big deal' syndrome. The first name of the kids is chosen with extreme care but then the parents lose the enthusiasm by the time they finalise the first name. So they just add a Kumar or a Kumari and get over the fuss with naming a child with a shrug - "Hey, what's the big deal!"

The template (e) falls under the funny category. The people naming their kids by such names actually possess a terrific sense of humor and their kids bear the testimony to that fact throughout their lives. Chiraunji Lal Khosla is one such name that comes to my mind if you have seen the film Khosla Ka Ghosla. I too would love to see my kids carry forward a certificate of my self praised sense of humor. How about Patwari Lal and Champakali?

And then I will probably lie down on my death bed with a sense of fulfilment. "Mera naam karega roshan, jag mein mera raj dulara" (Raj Dulara is also quite a unique name)

Friday, February 16, 2007

My Valentine's Day Gift!

Its been two months since I last scribbled anything and letting it go just by saying that I was busy would be doing an injustice to the people who really are 'busy' and don't use this just as an excuse for being incommunicado. Being an inherently lazy dog who would even forego the ability to breathe in and out if given an alternative, I face a real harrowing time when I am asked to meet deadlines and when I am paid to do so, I have no other option but to adjust by doing away with the luxuries of life temporarily. So, sitting in a comfy chair on a bright and sunny day and imagining stuff goes out of the window, Orkutting takes a back seat and phone bills take a dip.

Talking of laziness, I am in for some severe losses owing to my failure to pay back my credit card bills for the last month on time. The ATM was just about 100m away from my home and I was supposed to just drop in the cheque after filling in the amount but since it came at the expense of subjecting my body to strenuous physical activity ona week end, I had to fight hard to convince my body to take up the challenge. The nitrous jolt was provided by the call from the bank when some Ms Srivastava reminded me of the lapse of my due date.

The word 'Srivastava' always gives me a sense of attachment to the person (Call me a pig for still sticking with the caste dogma!) and I decided to actually give her a patient hearing rather than hanging up with a discourteous - Mujhe koi loan nahi chahiye, mujhe koi investment nahi karna hai!

Ms. Srivastava: Hello Sir! Am I talking to Mr. Anurag Chandra?
Me: Yes, and just to mention that Chandra is not my family name and I am not a bengali. I too am Srivastava..ha ha ha - I know that even Siddhu wouldn't have laughed at this and expectedly, she was not amused either.

Ms. Srivastava: Sir, have you cleared your credit card dues yet?
Me: No, I was actually very busy - Busy? Sleeping or lazing around doing nothing??

Ms. Srivastava: Sir, I would like to remind you that the due date has already passed. Can you get the payment done today?
Me: Today? I am actually going to be out of town from today afternoon. Can I do it next weekend? - Out of station?? What a silly excuse to defer the work by a full 7 days?

The still very pateint Ms. Srivastava: Sir, you would be charged on any other payment made post your last due date in case we don't receive any payment within the next two days. Can you try making the payment for the minimum due amount?
Me: No, actually I am already on my way to the airport so I cannot do it. Anyways, what exacty will I be charged? - I sensed that she was thinking that my bank account read ZILCH and so she got down to asking me to pay the 'minimum' due amount. How disgusting, I immediately stressed on the word 'airport' to reaffirm my social status though I was sitting in my living room!

Withering patience of the very patient Ms. Srivastava: Sir, You would be charged X amount of money as late fees and interest will be charged on the payments made after the last date of the statement period.
Me: It hardly makes a difference, - face saving act
anyways, what exactly would that amount be? - ground realities
Say I have made a payment of 30K after the last statement period? - Simple Arithmetic

Impatient Ms. Srivastava: Sir, it would be a decent enough amount. But its totally your wish. You can pay it now or whenever you wish to. Have a good day!

A bolt from the blue literally! Not only had I failed to pay my dues, I had also failed miserably at convincing the girl that I was not all broke and its just a habit that fails to leave me. I was reminded of her when on the 14th of Feb, one of my friends' girl friend called to wish him a happy Valentine's day. She worked in a call center.

..And you know what I got on the 14th Feb? A new credit card bill with late fine/service tax/X,Y,Z charges to ruin the day some more.

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