About Me

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What's in a name?? Talk to me I say!

There are few things that stick to a person, through his lifetime. Alright, if not through the life, certainly for that time period when you want to approach pretty things at parties with some Scotch in the hand, and make gentle conversation. Pretty Stranger things included, mind you! Asked me for an example of what these things can be? Go to the cardio section of a gym and the majority would raise tired, 5 Kg holding hands and wait patiently for their chance to answer - tyres. I may not be F1 material when it comes to that part of town, but at the prime of my adiposed past, did give a run, or a wheelie, to the Indian manufacturers.

There are few other things of higher importance that one carries around and takes for granted over a lifetime. One’s name! Wasn't very long ago, before the elders in the Chivukula family sat in a circle to zero down on a name for the second born. Ideas flew thick and fast and they say, overlapped with rounds of coffee and bhujia.

The requirements were laid out clear like extras in a Jeetendra movie from the 80s - it had to belong to the new generation, it had to be catchy, easy to say and sound like poetry. Wasn't a tough one did someone remark? Rahul, Raj and the likes would have been instant choices even in the early-80s I'm sure, assuring namesakes in a fair number of Shahrukh Khan movies too. "Yeah, my name is Rahul, you know, the same one as Shahrukh's in those movies with body-hugging T's. I could drop you home tonight. Yes, in an auto.", I could have remarked in all those parties. But no, the family was clear that it wasn't good enough to meet the requirements. The elders huddled in closer, peered through Deccan Herald, stared down the requirements once more and called for more coffee. From collective wisdom, they zeroed down on the name and it was bestowed upon me - a hapless, silent toddler, with not much of an opinion on names, Laetitia Casta or WMDs.

Chivukula Venkata Subramanya Suresh. There were no nay-sayers in the group. The arguments would have gone thus - sounds like one from the current generation - in the deepest interiors of Andhra; catchy enough that you had four to catch from; mixed with Hebrew words, would have felt like Bengali poetry. All criteria satisfied. The future owner of the name, in close proximity of the discussion, was lulled into good slumber by then and couldn't have cared better. You don't deny yourself a name only because it sounds outdated. It is, indeed a strict Andhraite tradition. A game that families with newborns play. It’s called "How many letters of the English alphabet can we cover in our baby's name". The babies always lose.

By nursery I had taken to the name with gusto. It took me that long. I was the only one who could pronounce the full name in UKG, and I'm not even discounting Miss Brown. By LKG, Vineel Kumar Reddy was a sitter for most. Even Syed Khaleelullah had been long conquered. He cried I remember! By sixth standard, the Math teacher figured out that a roll call in the start was making it difficult for him to complete the day's lesson. A good amount of time was being spent on my name, which the entire class agreed in spirit, wasn't very value-adding. Attendance was moved to the end of the period. After-class I was moved into the coir dustbin, face first, because attendance ate into the games period. A shortened version had to emerge pretty soon. 'Soon' followed the Darwinian path and out came the shortened version - Suri. Years later, Tom Cruise would come by and upset the apple cart by thinking, plagiarizing is a Scientology belief. The jerk! To date, when asked the full name, I cringe; I twist and in alphanumeric order search for alibis. Patience being a diminishing virtue, most folk stop me halfway through saying it. And to the rest, I just mention the four-lettered version.

And sometimes I wonder, Numerology applied, what would I like to change my full name to? Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

True...n true!!! But at the end of it....i love my name now :D like am sure u do too!

Viji said...

venkata subramanya suresh chivikula is cool man..dont change ur name...:))

el pollo del infierno said...

Buddy ! I feel your pain ! trust me ... and we're not just talking about matters of abdominal adiposiousness here. Don't even get me started on MY name. You thought that 'gult' parents were bad namers ... I happen to have a 'mallu' mother who in a spate of religious fervor decided to name her first (and only) born after the gOD of her husband's (tam) culture. Hence I would come to be called Srimurugan Veluswamy ... not exactly the kind of name you'd associate with a cute wide eyed infant staring up at you from it's crib. I still can't imagine how my mother could look at me tenderly and whisper into my ears ... "I love you more than the world little one ... I think I'll call you Srimurugan Veluswamy ... " Geeeeez !! Over the years, I would be called a number of things (I think I've had more names than Lord Vishnu himself at some point in time) ... Friends call me murgi ... but my foes know and fear me as 'el pollo del infierno'. (er ... I've always wanted to say that). The mutant cannibal chicken from hell hath spoken.

el pollo del infierno said...

I think I'm going to write a li'l bit on the same subject ...

Darth Midnightmare said...

Then what the Hell is that 'H'???

Suresh C H said...

@ Midnightmare - That H was a cheapshot from my parents.
CHviukula... that's how the C H comes about. Why didn't I do that with the rest of the names? :)
No idea .. it just stuck.. alas!
And now @ IBM my mail goes 'Suresh Vs Chivukula/India/IBM".
All I can say is - Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sticking a knife into my unhealed wound, bro!

Guruchina Chenchu Chengala Dharanipal Koteshwara Rao

(GCCDKR for short. Gets me all the girls in the party every time I tell you.)