October 09, 2018

When I hear my name

"What’s in a name," said Shakespeare. "A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet."

As a child, I’d often pester my parents asking them the story behind my name. Most children I knew, including my sibling, had splendidly uncommon names...unique, exotic. Tapasya, Mughdha, Narayani...names that would make people stop and ask for their meaning. I’d squirm when my sibling, in all her glory, explained the Sanskrit interpretation of her name to a mesmerized audience.

My name, however, on most occasions, didn’t even get a second’s notice.
And why would it; every third female child in India shared my name. Plain, common, ordinary, that's what it was, or so I thought.

After a point, I started making up imaginary associations to my name. This, I thought, would get me the attention I deserved.
“I’m named after a princess...the finest the world had ever seen,” I’d try convincing my cousins.
I would then let my imagination run wild and paint a rosy picture of this so called princess; the namesake I’d conjured, who possessed all the traits my seven year old mind coveted...intelligence, beauty, royalty, talent, valour and so on.

I’d always pick cousins who were younger than me, that way they would believe my taradiddle. They’d stare at me, open mouthed, as I’d spin stories about the said princess and all her imaginary bravado.

Until one day, my mother noticed what I was doing and called me aside.
“Do you know what your name means?” she asked.

I nodded, hesitant to tell her the bull story I had concocted, knowing fully well she’d call my bluff.

“It means someone who is loved,” she smiled.

I frowned. What was so unique in that?

“But I don’t want to be someone who is loved,” I stamped my feet, all ready to throw a tantrum. “Why did you choose such an ordinary name for me?”

My mother laughed. Then she held me close and whispered to me a truth that got embedded deep within the core of my personality. A truth that has probably stayed there ever since.

“Love is never ordinary,” she said. “Don’t let yourself ever forget that.”

Today, as my mom fondly recalls this little incident from my childhood, I can’t help but ponder on the truth in my name.
In my life, I have loved and been loved. And for that I am ever so thankful.

On a somewhat related note, I watched a movie a while ago, titled 'Call me by your name'---a moving story on loving and letting go.
"Call me by your name, and I'll call you by mine," says Oliver to his love, Ellio.
And that made me think. Our name may be common to the world. But our identity is unique...reserved for only those we consider special.

Yes, there are days when the skeptic in me takes over. But on days like these, my name ‘Priyanka’ reminds me that if there is anything extraordinary in this ordinary life, it is the love we give and receive.


Ending here with a quote from the same movie; 
"We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste!"

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I quite like reading an article tht will make people think.

Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

Sonia Chatterjee said...

As a child, even I resented my name. It was so unusual to be called Sonia in eightees in a small town in Bengal. But as I grew up, I fell in love with it. kudos to your mom wjo handled the situation with so much grace and sensitivity.

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suhavijay said...

Wow what a creative child you were. That's why your blogs are so engaging even now

Aditi Kapur said...

Nice. Your name may be common to the world but your identity is unique. We are known by our unique actions and name is just one among many.

Preeti's Panorama said...

You, my dear, are a long lost friend of mine. I had the same thoughts as you in my growing years. Such a small common name which every third person has. In my class, most of the time, there would be another person with my name.

There is a funny incident as well. On the day of my engagement, it somehow happened that only two of my friends could come to attend the ceremony. After the engagement ceremony, as I stood talking to my friends, my fiancee (now husband) came to talk with us. I introduced my friends to him "Meet my friends, Preeti and Preeti" The way his smile stopped in between made us all laugh. Yes, there was a time in my life when we were a group of 3 friends with the same name.

Pri said...

@ Anonymous
You're welcome! :)

Pri said...

@ Sonia
Yeah. I feel you. I learned to love my name too. Btw, I think 'Sonia' is a pretty name. :)

Pri said...

@ Anonymous 2
Thank you :)

Pri said...

@ Anonymous 3
Every time, I see 'Anonymous' commenting, I silently hope it is not spam. :D

Pri said...

@ Suha Vijay
Awww...that's mighty sweet of you to say. I hope your mom feels the same too ;)

Pri said...

@ Aditi
Indeed! :)

Pri said...

@ Preeti
Ah! We do seem like soul sisters.
That incident got me laughing. Thanks for sharing it with me. :D

Sudip Saha said...

कर्मों से ही इंसान की पहचान होती है।

Sanjota Purohit said...

As a child I always searched for the meaning of my name. Since it is kinda unique none knew the exact meaning. I found my name in few Hindi songs. Then I connected the meaning from them. Your story brought some sweet childhood memories. Pri(love) you! ;)

Esha Chakraborty said...

Lovely post...know something I used to feel very nice since Esha was a very uncommon name when I was a kid but then came Esha Deol... And I hated her because I knew now every other name will be Esha...LOL