What’s in a Name?


“Tell me something which is yours, only yours but others use is more than you?” one of my friend asked. We were standing in a group. Everybody started thinking seriously. Then one of my friend said ‘Name”. That was the right answer. You own your name more than anything else. It is not just a word, it has your personality, social status, financial status as well as your attitude, When somebody mentions your name, they just do not mean the word but you in totality.

Slight change in the pronunciation or spelling can make you another person. That is because there are many people in this world who have similar names. There are many in this world who are very touchy about their names. If anybody does not spell or pronounce it correctly then they get irritated. In my view, it is justified, because your name is like your image, how can you let anybody spoil your image?

In India, there are many who have long, very long names. They have set their expectations from the beginning that most of the people will call them with some short name. Like Palaniappan as Palani, Thangavijayan and Thanga, Appandaraj as Raj etc.

I have even seen many people whose name is not so big but still people call them or they promote their name in some short form. Like Vikram as Vicky, Shakti as Shuks etc. Here it is not because the name is long but friends want to give some different name. Like you own yourself, some good friends, family members and relatives own you as well. They like to give a different identity to you which is different from others. Just to distinguish their friendship/relationship with you  from others. Mostly parents have a different name for each of the children other than their real names.

Now, how can I write a blog without talking about me (selfish soul)?

My name as all of you know as ‘Sakti Bagchi’ and most of you know as ‘Sakti Prasad Bagchi’ is something as per records. My parents and family members call me as ‘Kanu’/Kanhu’/’Kana’/Kanha’.  When they call me lovingly they call me ‘Kana’ or ‘Kanha’ but when angry ‘Kanu’ or Kanhu’. That was a good hint for me to prepare myself before going to them. There is one aunty who calls me as ‘Makara’ as a movie with that name was released on the day I was born. Then went to school. There were nobody in the entire city whose last name was ‘Bagchi’. Also, as per British methods usually people are addressed by their last name. So all my friends called be ‘Bagchi’. Some modified it and called ‘Bagha Chhua’ (Tiger kid in Oriya) but never meant it. Then some of my friends secretly called me ‘Bangali’ (People who speak Bengali ) to distinguish me from others. While I never protested about it they started calling me publicly. Only girls and handful of boys in my college used to call me as ‘Sakti’.

Then I came to Bangalore and the professional world. Everybody started calling me as Sakti. But surprisingly people from banks and credit card  company used to call me as ‘Prasad’. Then I made some friends who were very close to me in office. They started calling me as ‘Shukks’. As I worked in a US multinational company, I had to interact with many people in US. Some found my name strange and unfamiliar.  They modified it as they found it convenient. Then some addressed me as ‘Sat ki in emails and some others called me as ‘Shock-T’ so that they can make it a familiar name. There are some who call me as ‘Baba’ or ‘Saktida’ as well. This made me realize I am getting older but did not change my belief that I am the youngest among all.

None of the above variations to my name, changed me or made me different. I remained the same. But everybody got their share of me. They all could distinguish me from anybody else. So, I never bothered about it. The reason I did not bother was because they did that with love and respect. If somebody does it by disrespect and carelessness then I would mind.

I make sure when I pronounce or spell somebody’s name, I do it with utmost respect and care so that I do not make any mistake.

Note: Real meaning of my name ‘S(h)akti Prasad’ is ‘Gift of Power/Energy’. Here it should have been ‘Shakti’ but due to some typing mistake it became ‘Sakti’.

Stray Dog

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Sakti, I really liked how you started with the importance of the spelling and pronunciation of a person’s name and then proceeded to show how a name gets adapted by others for good reasons, so finally we learn that what bothers you is if a name is changed out of malice or carelessness. I like how you take something ordinary, such as a name, and create an original story.

    Swapna, “dream girl” :-), i liked reading your comment!

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