March 30, 2006

What’s in a name?

I wish when my grandson Sidharth grows up he shouldn’t work for a call centre in Bangalore, where, I hear, anyone with a perfectly sensible Asian name has it distorted into something popsy and western. I dread the prospects of Sidharth being truncated to ‘Sid’, ‘Sidney’ or ‘Saddy’. I am told the tabloid version of Bollywood actor Madhavan is ‘Maddy’. Founder of the Mysore-based software company SPI is Sid Mookerji, though I suspect they ‘namkaran’-ed him as Sidharth.
My own name got distorted, during s stay in England in the sixties; Krishnan became ‘Kris’. There was this elderly lady who had problem rolling her tongue to say ‘zh’ (for ‘sh’) and so, settled on calling me ‘Kristian’. Mercifully, such mutilation didn’t survive my UK stint. But then, a Wodehouse-mad neighbour of mine in Coonoor insists on addressing me ‘Geeves’.Another Coonoor friend, Ashika, couldn’t figure out why my grandson is named after a hotel. Sidharth is a hotel in Mysore; and she knows of no other Sidharth. Ashika, aged three, goes to pre-school.

1 comment:

Madhukar - VU2MUD said...

That would really be unfortunate. Imagine me working for a call centre and having to truncate my name from Madhukar - would I really be mad if someone called me "MAD"! I had similar problems when I used to contact foreign amateur radio operators (HAMs) and get them to pronounce my name and location properly.

My shortened name Madhu would be mostly pronounced as "Mad-who"(?)and Mysore would be split as My-Sore.

So call centre guys/ gals are not the only ones facing that problem. If they enjoy the truncation - no complaints. If they dont - like me - it is time we gave them a course in Indianised pronounciations. (Like they run courses in American or other accented English pronounciations). Then I would not have to answer to "Mad-who" and remain as Madhu

Madhukar - VU2MUD