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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My name, my identity

The first time someone mispronounced my name, Aparna, was in the school assembly when they were announcing the winners for a recitation contest, and they called out 'Aprana Kar'. I waited for a moment before one of my friends pushed me,' Go! It's you!' I was amused. I thought it was a relatively simple name; there was no reason to jumble it. Maybe they just misread it from the certificate. Some of my friends had it worse. Imagine what a barista at a Starbucks would do. Your coffee would never reach you.

Aparna is a name of Goddess Parvati, given to her during her severe penance, where she went without even a morsel food (not even a leaf/parna) to win over Shiva. I didn't starve for any penance, but I tried my best to score well in GMAT by closing the doors and windows to the world for several months. I consider that my hardest effort to date and I am proud of it. Shiva doesn't necessarily mean a person. It also signifies liberation. I was aiming to be liberated from the shackles of a limited existence. I think the motivation worked.

I have come across people of different countries who have more exotic, harder-to-pronounce names. They often Americanize it and use a diminutive form for ease of use. French Camaraire becomes Cameron, Greek Christos becomes Chris, Italian Rossellini becomes Russell and so on and so forth.

Friends call me Apu, Appy, Aps endearingly and I love it in every form because it signifies a unique bond. But officially, I have stayed Aparna. A name which I hated so much once because I thought it was too common. I even tried to convince my father to let me change it to Apurva (meaning unique). Now, I love it. It does not matter if your name is unique or uncommon. Are you, as a person, the first of anything significant? Then your name will live on.

Most of my American colleagues pronounce Aparna very clearly. Occasionally, it becomes Aperna. But that's cholable. A French friend calls me Aparnita affectionately. All are some aspect of my personality that only they have sensed and loved.

I grow and learn to give some significance to my name. That one day you might proudly say, 'Aparna? Of course, I know her. She is my friend.'

1 comment:

Rohit Aggarwal said...

‪Well it reminds me of the old debate what's there in a name! And when I debate b/w Lara and Aparna, I get to know what's there in a name!! ‬