"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
By any other name would smell as sweet."
- William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
"What's in a name?" William Shakespeare says, well what the hell did he know? He was famous and nobody pronounced his name wrong. Iam Anuraag Seshadri, Iam not famous,yet. And people pronounce my name wrong almost everytime.
I love my name a lot, its unique and in Hindi it means that magical feeling which we all must have felt sometime in our life - "love". How many on-screen heroes have had their name as "Anura(a)g" ?(the extra 'a' is supposed to bring me luck, some numerological stuff). The masses can relate themselves to a "Raj" or a "Rahul" or a "Vijay", but not to a "Anura(a)g", that is because the others are monosyllabic, easy to say, and your average-Joe kinda name. But alas, everytime I make acquaintance with new people, I tend to hear a new and irritating version of my name. In a city like Chennai where Hindi is spoken few and far between, my name has gone through various permutations and combinations. Some words were left and some extra obscure words were added. I've been through that for 23 years now, and I shudder with the thought of what new version are they gonna come up with tomorrow.
From k.g to high school to college and now at work, I've met quite a few people who have made a mess out of pronouncing my name. Mentioned below are some really weird versions of my name (a much harder last name doesn't help either).
1. Und-raag or Und-raj: The first time I heard someone say this was at school when I was in 1st std. I did not mind that much, for I really felt thats how my name is supposed to be said. And I vaguely remember being called "Underwear" as well (seriously), that was during my 10th std.
2. Anuraj or Anu-roj: When people call me this, I sometimes feel if I've said it wrongly,I hear it almost everytime I introduce myself to a South Indian Anna.
3. Anuraaga or Anuradha : I can forgive the ones calling me Anuraaga(though I may feel like bashing their heads against a wall initially), take of that last 'a' (Anuraag
a) and you got it right. But not the pricks who've had the nerve to call me "Anuradha", what kind of a deaf/dumb c*** would even think of a guy named "Anuradha"? I've even been asked if I was named after the singer Anuradha Sriram!!... stupid f***s
4. Anu-rung: One of my friends in college used to call me this even after he knew me for as long as 2 months. That bloke is now at the "bottom rung" of my friends list.
5. Anu-rodh: My personal favourite, even though I don't prefer being called that, I sometimes feel that people must have thought that I was a by-product of a torn Nirodh condom, thus the name as a tribute to the company.
6. Anu-ro(c)k: I am thankful for the ones who came up with that, my desks in college are adorned with "AnuRocks". Iam the only person who thinks so, even though they maybe the ones calling me like that.
7. Bond: This should not be on the list, but there was a guy who used to call me "Baand" (Bond) because my roll number in college was 007. I preferred being called that, not only because it sounded cool, but also because that guy could possibly not say my name without f**king it up. To this day that guy probably doesnt know what my real name is.
If I introduce myself to a group of five, am sure to get five different versions of my name. There are times when Iam scared to even introduce myself fearing a dreadful mispronunciation of my name.
When you call out a name, there is some emotion attached to it, it may last for half-a-second, and even you may not notice it, it may be hope, fear, love, anger, respect, and it makes the impact it is supposed to make only when the name is called out right.
To cite an example: I will get turned on if some average- lookin chick tells me "Oh Anuraag, you look so cute" (Its my keyboard, I type whatever I want, deal with it), but on the other hand, if it were some hot gorgeous femme fatale who would say seductively "Oh Und-raag gimme your Undre-wear!!" (its my blog, and I run the show, if I want her to ask for my underwear, she will ask for my underwear), I can only wince with disgust, not because she asked for my undies, no way!! its because she pronounced my name wrong. Thats how big a role saying out one's name properly can play.
I've been called much cooler versions like "Raag", "Raagz", most of my close set of friends still prefer calling me "Anuraag" after all these years, inspite of the closeness we share. I've never asked them to shorten it, I never will, as long as people call me right Iam fine with it.