Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It is just a name, isn't it?

A child took birth. People started suggesting names for the baby boy. Father said “Sumit”. Mother said, “Amit”. And many other people unanimously said, “Rudra”. Without any consideration, the name “Rudra” was rejected. Just as the other proposers of the name, I questioned the rejection. And all of us got amused by the answer – a notorious person in the locality had named his son “Rudra”. We thought, "What the hell? That fellow's surname was different. And as it is, how does it matter?"

Yes, how does it matter if someone has the same name as mine? Does it make me the same person? No. But still, a majority of us would refrain from sharing the first name of a person known for wrong reasons. What about the last name? Well, we can’t help but accept it. I would like to cite some interesting facts here. Pran is one of the best known supporting actors in the Hindi film industry, mostly known for playing characters with negative shades. Let us only concentrate on the name. Pran means life. There is another name – Jeevan, which also means life. Ranjeet means the one who wins battles. Gulshan means a garden of flowers. However, very rarely we will find a person with one of these names, reason being people who played negative roles in the films had these names. There is one name, I must say, has scored over the notion. You may find many people named Prem though Prem Chopra is the name of the famous actor who played many negative roles. Maybe it is because of the nice and sweet characters created by the films of Rajshri productions. However, you may not find a single person whose first name is Prem and last name is Chopra though.

Let me analyze my name as well. It’s Ganesh – my mother says it is because I was born on a Ganesh Chaturthi. But whenever I mention my name, people don’t ask me if I was born on a Ganesh Chaturthi. They say, “Oh, you don’t have a belly like Lord Ganesh” or “Oh, then you must be intelligent”. Though it can be taken as just a joke, the expectation from the name cannot be denied. Though it depends on people, some would think, “So what if his name is Ganesh. I know one Ganesh who is no way close to being called intelligent.” Why someone would be named Ganesh? He must have posed some characteristics of Lord Ganesh – maybe a huge belly, or a broken teeth, or a longer nose, or a craving for Laddoos, or an interest for books, or affection for rats. Believe me or not, I have seen people searching for these characteristics in me when they get my name. I find they sometimes give credit to my name for my intelligence and sometimes when I act stupidly, they ask me, “who the hell named you Ganesh? You don’t deserve it.”

So does a name create expectations or impact one’s personality? A research article by BBC says, “People walk around with stereotypes in their heads that can influence all sorts of decisions, yet don't even realize it”.

As we say - everything matters in life, is it a name that matters more than everything or doesn’t matter at all? You didn’t have a choice but accept the name that is given to you, but think about it when you name your children. If they are proud of their name, they will definitely be proud of you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Topic Least Written about

Every day of my life, like numerous others, gets started with the news channels on TV. So what comprises a general news bulletin is not at all a difficult question. One crime story, one story related to corruption, a story about a protest against the government, one take on what happened in the parliament, some inputs from the entertainment industry, etc. Some days when I miss catching up with the news channels in the morning, I don’t forget to take a glance of the newspapers. And what I find – the front page of every news paper consists of one crime story, one story related to corruption, a story about a protest against the government, one take on what happened in the parliament, some inputs from the entertainment industry, etc. After so many days of routine, I have developed a curiosity about the topic least written about. Obviously, none of the above topics that we find in a news bulletin or a front page qualify to be listed in this category.  And what else we cannot include in this list – all the subjects being taught in schools or colleges.

These days we don’t find topics related to dowry system in the newspapers. However, it can be concluded that people who proudly take part in this practice are no more proud enough to be known as the follower. And somewhere in the mid pages, we get to know about any crime occurred due to this practice in our society. Be it this system or any other social norm, it’s being reported and written time and again as and when there is an update.

Topics about women, if they are not covered in the newspapers, we have many magazines dedicated for them. The case is same for men. We write about forest, mines, mountains, ocean, rivers, sky, stars, satellites, etc. We also write about every single profession like doctors, actors, engineers, teachers, laborers, etc. We find articles of liquor, cigarettes, tobacco, etc. So what is being left out? Human nature, animal behavior, global warming, floods, cyclones, volcano, earthquakes, de-icing of glaciers, tsunamis, or anything else?

It may differ to person from person but one topic I always keep looking for in a news bulletin, in a newspaper, in the book stall and in the internet is Writing. And I hardly get satisfied with the quantity and quality. All the topics that I mentioned above and many more can be brought to us by more people with more accuracy and in a more interesting manner, if the topic of writing had had its presence broader, higher and clearer.

We won’t get an appropriate overview of Gandhiji’s lifestyle and ideology without going through his write-ups and of course his autobiography My Experiments withTruth. The constitution of our country couldn’t be so effective without the contribution of its comprehensive writing. All the arguments that social activist Arvind Kejriwal gave through interviews about India’s current political scenario wouldn’t have been that effective without his book Swaraj.

With a hope of getting more inputs on writing and more of writing….