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.

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