December 16, 2008

What's in a name?

I say it's all in the name.

I love my name and I can’t be happier that my parents have good taste.

Now that I have made my thank you speech, I would like to dedicate this post to everyone in this planet (and beyond) who’ve had the misfortune of having lived and who are living with the most dreadful names. This one’s for all you people.

I remember reading somewhere that you are what your name is. A name is so important in defining a person. And in most cases it is the one thing that you live with all your life.

In this post I shall talk about the people who I know in person, people who I have seen walking around in the schools and colleges where I have studied and a select few I have had to work with and a couple of people who I know off. I love you all I have the utmost respect for each one of you.

Jijo. J. Jajan – This poor mallu friend of mine had a name that was so bouncy and slippery and he was just like that. Short, stout and with greasy hair smelling of fish all the time. He was the target of all insults and ridicule throughout his school life (am sure he is still being poked fun at wherever he is right now). Imagine him in some exotic country where the alphabet ‘J’ is silent or pronounced as ‘H’- Hiho. H. Hahan. My god, Santa would probably like to adopt him as his personal assistant.

Jetty Jean Joy Kutty - Another mallu (what is it with some mallu’s and their names) person who studied in the college where I did my undergrad. She was very silent always. Initially I didn’t know why she was like that, but when I got introduced to her, I knew the secret. How can someone be an extrovert with a name like that? People always had this thing of shortening a person’s name and calling them while in school or college (even now?). Imagine how it would be to call her. Any which way you try and truncate the name; it either sounds corny, cheeky or just plain stupid.

Latha. K. Lund – I feel so bad for you girl. In fact I feel bad for your dad, Mr.Lund. But on second thoughts, I don’t feel bad for your dad. If he had to live all his life with a name like that, he should have had some sense to not add his name as your surname. And for a girl to have that as her surname is just plain SAD. In school the teachers always had this annoying ritual of calling people out with their full name and initials while the roll call to check the attendance. No wonder you always had a proxy person say ‘Present ma’m’ in the morning. Get married or move out to a country where people don’t understand Hindi.

Brooke Shields - She was my junior in college. Slim, dark and a very nice person no where close to her namesake celeb. I guess her dad must have had the hots for the actor and thought it a good idea to name his daughter that, so every time he called her, he got his share of joy.

Infant - I met this man a few years back and he was 39. And he introduced himself as Infant and I was like, Get out of here. You’re kidding me. Felt the whole time I was with him and people calling him by his name and all I could picture was this man of 39 sitting on his office desk with a feeding bottle and a bib. I couldn’t sleep for a good one week thanks to all the nightmares.

I met a friend from kerala. He told me the secret behind some of the most bizarre and weird names from malluland. A couple get married, say John gets married to Jincy (Yes, Jincy is a name and I didn’t make that up) and they have a kid. What do you know, it’s a boy. Now comes the part of naming the boy. They take the first two alphabets from the dad’s name and add the first two letters from the mom’s name and voila they have a new name: Joji. It doesn’t stop there. They need to add the name of their village, the name of their street and the name of their house. So in the end the boy’s name is: Joji Kutty Thillaberambil Vincent. And by the time he learns to spell his name he is a 40 yr old Infant.

A good friend’s grand dad when he was working in the US of A had a girlfriend who he just couldn’t forget. So what does the old man do, name his grand daughter that. And no wonder she is grand pa’s favorite. This helped her with a lot of pocket money and our best friend.

Some more names of people who I don’t know really well, but know off: Steffi Graf, Michael Jackson, Mother Mary (I know you are devoted and all that, but how can a new born be called Mother Mary), Rajnikanth and finally Madhuri Dixit (her dad’s surname is Pundit).

Now that I have spoken about all this. How could I not mention the various Baby Mami's and Puppy Mami's in an Iyer family. I remember this very old paati in my family who was still called Baby when she was 92. It is not an affectionate name, but their actual name that is Baby and Puppy. To top this there are the chaachi's and the chachu's. Lallu's and the paapa's. 

And after all the love, I just want to add this special note of hate to the guy who typed my name on my voter identity card. I don’t know how in the world he ended up typing that, maybe he sneezed while typing and just didn’t bother correcting it, or maybe he didn’t sleep the previous night and dozed off on the keyboard, or maybe he couldn’t type, maybe he was blind, maybe it was a new born who was given the duty to type names on voter identity cards. But whatever be the case he typed something that has made me think twice about taking the card and going to a voting booth and admitting I am in fact that person. Yes, the name of the card reads: dfhkuyhdi!!! (That little son of a…)

December 12, 2008

Short Series - The letter

I don’t think I can stop thinking about you. In fact I don’t think I want to….

He sat down in a coffee shop and began writing a note to her.

There have been times in my life when I have met a lot of people. Some have stayed on for a while and some left in a hurry. But you’re the one person whom I love (d) with all my heart and I don’t think I have ever felt this way before.

I have wanted to do this for a while now, but never really got along doing it. Enough is enough. Today, I just want you to know how I feel about you.

Taking a deep drag from his cigarette he continued writing.

I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight. Because my feeling towards you had already started before I even met you. I saw you smiling when I saw a text from you; I pictured the glint in your eyes when you laughed while talking to me on the phone. The way you spoke to me in your mails, I could sense your presence next to me and the words flowing effortlessly. Meeting you was the only thing left.

The cigarette had gone off by then. He lit it again and chucked the matchstick aside. Looking at the smoke, he smiled to himself and exhaled the smoke. His eyes were moist.

What is it that am going through? If I have to put words to this feeling that am experiencing, it would have to be ‘Peaceful Pain’. I feel happy every time I think about you and it’s painful when you are not here with me. I want you to see how happy you make me and I want to see that smile on your face. I know I can make you smile.

Would she even read this? Would she understand? Those were his thoughts. He stopped writing. He read the lines again and again. Slowly and then he read it out loud. He paused and stopped in places where he wanted her to stop. He closed his eyes and saw her. A smile escaped his lips. She still had this spell on him.

I remember the time when we sat in my house and spoke. About life, about the many things we want to do in life, about our goals. I remember the passion in your eyes when you told me the things you wanted to do in life. It all seems like yesterday that you were with me and now when I think about it, it has already been a while since I saw you or heard from you.

He was feeling emotional now. His hands were trembling. The third cup of coffee that he had ordered was now cold and almost over. The packet of cigarettes that was on the table next to him was almost over. He closed his eyes again and was thinking about what to write next. He slipped into a zone, a comfortable zone and was shaken back to reality when a car began honking loudly. He settled down and continued writing.

I want you to know that I will always be there for you and I want you to be happy in life. I want you to go out there and achieve everything that you always wanted to. I want you to know that everything that I have ever told you I meant with all my heart. I want you to…I want you.

He took one long look at the letter and sighed. He folded the letter and scribbled 23 on the back of the cover.

He placed the cover in a bag. There were a bunch of covers in that bag. He placed this one next to number 22.

December 11, 2008

Short Series- Showdown

‘There is no us. There never was. And please don’t call me again or try and meet me. It’s over’. Those were her final words. He could still feel the intensity of her voice, the look in her eyes. It ended as suddenly as it had started.

‘I have always wanted to show you this place’, Anoop said while holding Maya’s hands. It was love at third sight for Anoop. He saw Maya for the first time at a friend’s wedding. She was the bridesmaid and Anoop just had to be the best man. They hit it off so well like young teenage girls in a washroom. They had so much to talk about and so many things to explore.

‘I don’t get it man, you see a girl and you know her for three days and you say you’re in love’? Avinash barked at Anoop. That was the second showdown in as many days between the two men. Anoop had made his mind. He was ready to leave everything for his love. His true love.

Maya was everything that Anoop ever wanted in a girl. In fact Maya was someone who everyone would fall for in an instant. It had to be her eyes. Those big brown eyes, sparkling like a rare diamond every time a smile escaped her lips. Her hair falling soft on her thin face. The way she nonchalantly brushed those thin strands off her eyes with her fingers. The nose ring… Maya was sensual.

The last three days had been the best three days of Anoop’s life. He had never felt this way before. He had never felt attracted to someone so much before and here he was smitten completely by the beautiful Maya.

It was on the fourth day of their time together when they decided to go on a drive. Maya loved long drives, sunsets and the mountains. Anoop decided to surprise her when he showed up at her doorstep at 4 in the evening with some lovely orchids. He could see how happy she was to see him there. Her surprise was made even more fruitful when Anoop asked her to get into his car and they drove away towards Anoop’s farmhouse near Malay Hills, a 100km journey from Maya’s house.

The music in the car was Maya’s favorite. Anoop made it a point to do everything to please his lady love. He had remembered in detail every little piece of information that Maya had given him in the time that they spent together.

Anoop had his eyes locked into Maya’s expressive eyes and for what seemed like ages didn’t want to look elsewhere. Then it happened. Crash! A loud thud and the windshield came crashing in close to their face. Anoop ducked to avoid the broken glass from hitting his face and Maya. He turned around to figure out what had just happened and he brought the car to a screeching halt.

There was blood all around the car, the windshield, the seat and on the tar road near the car. What did he just hit? Anoop got out of the car and stood there confused, shivering and sweating profusely. ‘Maya are you alright?’ he asked. Maya. Maya. Where was she? What happened to her?
Maya was lying motionless in the next bed next to Anoop. She refused to talk to anyone. She had a fracture on her leg and bruises on her pretty face and elbows. Anoop on the other hand had three stitches on his chin and a dislocated elbow.

“I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt that man. I didn’t see him there’, Anoop was trying really hard to convince Maya of the unfortunate incident. ‘You didn’t see him there coz you were not looking Anoop. You were supposed to look at the damn road’, Maya was trying to make her point across, but barely managing a squeal. It was a difficult time for both of them. And they were dealing with it in the way they knew. Their friends decided to stay out of it and left the two alone in their beds and walked away promising to come and look them up the next day.

For three months after the accident, Maya refused to neither meet Anoop nor answer his calls. Anoop was left wondering why Maya was acting this way and he was feeling let down, disappointed and deeply hurt with the whole turn of events.

And the day when they did meet it made Anoop’s world crash in front of him, with him feeling sucked in with great force. Maya had come to his house on a Saturday evening dressed like she would on any given day. Lovely, sensuous and breathtaking. She stormed out of her car and walked towards the door. Anoop was on a phone call with a client and he stepped out with a cup of coffee and the phone to his ear. He saw Maya and didn’t know how to react. He could barely talk on the phone. He was overcome with emotion and it was a surprise that he didn’t think would ever happen. ‘I guess I might have to call you back’, Anoop managed to speak these words to the client who was on the line and disconnected the call and placed the cup of coffee on the table next to him and walked slowly towards her.

Anoop gave her a soft smile. Maya looked cold. She seemed cold and she acted extremely different.

‘There is no us. There never was. And please don’t call me again. It’s over’. Those were her final words. It ended as suddenly as it had started.