I wanted to share this story with the people I know, and a few of you already know about it, but this is the first time I am mentioning it up in one of my writings.
Let me ask you this, Do anyone of you had difficulty telling your name to someone when you were a kid? I don’t think so, but in my case it was a different story.
I was about 7 years old when we moved to our newly built house in New Delhi. I vaguely remember visiting the house when it was being built. I also remember asking my dad to build a walk-in closet (we call it store in India) in my room.
Anyway, that is not what I am going to tell you about. Yah, so I was like 7. We just moved in to this new house, my mum dad and dunno who else were still taking boxes and boxes inside, and during that time, the prince aka “I” declared that he is hungry. My dad said, no problem. He went out, and there was a lady standing in front of the house next to ours. He exchanged greetings like he knew her for loooong loooong time, maybe they knew each other cuz my dad did spend a little over a year in building that house, so God knows! And next thing, I know she invited me in for food, yeah!!! Don’t ask!
While, I was in there all by myself with her and she asked me the obvious question. “What is your name?”
Oh my my my!!! Believe it or not, what I am going to tell you now is something so weird but true..
I was like, what is my name, hmmm let’s see. In school teachers call me “Kamal”, cuz my grand father gave me that name and neither my mum nor I ever liked that name, so that is a NO NO. One of my aunts would call me Monu but that is the only one who used to call me Monu, so nah that cannot be my name. One of my Dad’s friends would call me Vikki/Vicky, AGAIN, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. I dunno why, but people would call me with different names for some VERY SOLID ODD reason (I think I might wanna do some research on this one at some point)
Anyway, back to the lady. And then I thought about saying Shalley, cuz that is what my mum calls me. And then I was like NO FUCKING WAY, my mum calls me that, so there is no way, I would let this lady call me Shalley (I guess I was unclear about the concept of having the name, or why we have names and stuff)
And the Irony is, at that time, I had no Idea that my legal name would be Sukrit, so there was no way of me knowing that, and telling her that name to end this agony.
Well, it’s not over yet. To make a poor 7 years old more confused (trust me, it can’t get worse), my Dad would never call me twice with the same name. He would call me, Beta, Bitti, Bitto, , Shaan, Son ETC. ETC. ETC. (he still does that) .. and god knows what else, and honestly speaking, I still don’t know with what name he addresses me most.
So, there I was poor me! trying to answer one of the MOST difficult question of my life. Even though, half of the people in my family do call me Shalley, but I wouldn’t let this lady call me that, cuz it’s what my mum calls me!! Go Figure!!!!!.
So, after doing some calculations, manipulations and other thinking, I opened my mouth. I swear to God, I dunno why and how, but this four letter word came out from my mouth. And that was “RAJU”. And then for next 10 years this Raju was the most popular kid of the block, the menace, the devil, the charmer, the player, who was the favourite of all his friends mums and who was the biggest flirt till the date he lived in that neighborhood.
There are many more stories about this name business of mine to tell, like the kids would ring the door bell on the next day “when I invented this new name for myself” and would say to my mum , Is Raju here?, and then my mum would say RAJU WHO.., alas!, she had no idea at that time that at one point of her mighty son’s life time, this Raju name will overtake all his other given names.
And now, if I think about how many people call me Raju, Even though in the States no one calls me Raju, but that still stand strongly around 25%. Yeah!. That many people still know me by that name and call me Raju. It is closely followed by Sukrit and Shalley with 20-25% each and then Shaan a distant 4th.
So, this is the story about my names!!! And Shakespeare once very wisely said “What’s in a name”. I guess he was right!!!!!!