WHAT IS IN A NAME?
What is in a Name?
What is in a name? People may ask; and readily quote Shakespeare in support; ” What is in a name that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Yes, certainly so, for, even if you call a rose a sore (using the same letters), rather than being an eye-sore, it will still be a delight to watch it’s beauty and enjoy it’s fragrance. While it may be so, would not names mean something? The immediately identify the particular objects, persons, places etc. Which carry a particular name and make one conjure up in his mind that very object and nothing else. For that matter, the name rose may indeed refer to rose (and rose only ), as a flower though it may still not smell at all! In some case,names can be great fun too – or at least so when I reflected on my on name – and the changes that occurred it from time to time.
Where is my ‘Bala’ gone?
The name given to me by my parents was ‘Balasubramaniam’ and in the school records the entry was, of course with the initials C.V. But to my surprise, when I took a T.C. To join another school, after my fifth standard, the T.C. Only I dictated C.V. Subramaniam; may be, I. Their wisdom, the school authorities thought that the word ‘Bala’ (meaning boyish) stage is now no more relevant. Who would fight it out – my parents also did not mind it. And, for me, I found the advantage; my name would now come within the space provided in the ‘labels’ I used to get from book-sellers for use on my covered text books and note-books – what a delight!
Crossed All Barriers
My delight suddenly took a turn for the worse, when I was asked to fill in my full (fully expanded) name in the Certificate Book to be issued after SSLC. The headmaster looking stern at me insisted that in write my name truthfully, Inc,using surname. Lo, I suddenly discovered that the length of my name crossed all barriers – it read ‘Chittoor Venkitachala Iyer Subramaniam Iyer’. No wonder, Goldsmith had fascination with longish names like ‘Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Tibbs in Vicar of Wakefield (though he would fail, if he were to compete with me). Since I detested the four letter word ‘Iyer’ (being synonymous with ‘priests’ generally for fear that my friends would poke fun at me), I actually hesitated for a while, but the headmaster’s eyes terrified me and I had to oblige.
When I started applying for jobs, I still continued to write my name as C.V. Subramaniam (though some of the certificates I had, still gave those 38 letters ). I did this for fear that by the sheer length of my name, perhaps, I may miss a call for the interview.
A ‘Doctor’ turned Superman!
Came my chance to work with scientists (I was at thenTatar institute of Fundamental Research) where the title ‘Doctor’ or ‘Professor’ was a common word I had to use.
When I had to correspond on behalf of my boss (who is a Professor), the reply I got from scientists from abroad invariably contained the title of Doctor or Professor for me! I started feeling some inner pleasure at these given free by scientists (some of them eminent). But the greatest delight I got was when I found on a letter that I got from a scientist abroad, my name typed on the envelope as Prof. Super Maniam. My happiness suddenly rose to dizzy heights what thought that what a Super-man-I-am!
Short and Sweet
Though I continue writing my name at all conceivable places as ‘C.V. Subramaniam’ much to my delight again, most of my friends and colleagues, and even my bosses, call me just ‘CVS’; even those who write to me start with ‘dear CVS’ – may be an acronym for Contracted Version (of) Subrananiam – what a change all these years – my name suddenly becoming shorter, longer, shorter and to being the shortest (very few names have just three letters!).
I am popular in US too!
My immediate boss in DOE called me on the intercom one morning, immediately after landing in his room after returning from a foreign trip to USA. When I went to him and greeted him, he just handed over to me an empty paper carry bag (what gift if at all, could be there in an empty paper bag, that too folded) and asked me ti open and see.
While I saw the letters CVS printed on the bag, my boss said: ‘I say, CVS, you are great, see your name is already well known in USA, and upmost laughed – it was the CVS Pharmacy’s paper carry bag. I also had a big laugh and thanked him for preserving it and remembering to ‘present’ it to me.
As Tastier as a South Indian Food!
Just this New Year day, my son who came from USA gifted me an iPad. And he started at once to create an e- mail account for me (after the Internet and wi-fi connections got activated) and asked me to tell him what e- mail address I wanted. He said cvs and tell something after that. Since he was making me hurry up, the name of my Society building came ti my mind immediately; and I said ‘Ambar’. He had finished the account creation. Little did I realize then that it could be read as cvsambar. Both of us laughed.
I allowed him to retain the same, since I had made my name somewhat tastier! And iy would be easier for everyone to remember.
As I had mentioned earlier, even when I send some mails to Mr, Vittal regarding some of my recently started writings, in the reply I get he always addresses me as ‘Dear CVS’
While tending to agree with Shakespeare that finally I continue to be what I have been (whatever way I am referred to), to the question ‘What is in a Name?, I could at least say: ‘isn’t there some fun in a name?’