Saturday, April 29, 2017 | ePaper

What's in a name?

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Life Desk :

Born in the family of Shrivastavas, after intense brainstorming done by all the intellectuals, I, the younger daughter, was named as Shringi Shrivastava. Shring means the peak of Himalaya so my parents thought I would always be at the top of everything in my life and the name would be so unique that I would be the only soul in the world to be called 'Shringi Shrivastava'. I was also expected to be an ardent lover of mountains, as my name suggests, but to the contrary, I am terribly scared of heights and just can't tolerate cold. The only expectation that continues to be fulfilled is me being the only soul in the world to be called by the unique name.
The first time I realized that my name was so unique was when I joined school. Every time I introduced myself to anyone, I would be addressed with the same question, What... what is your name? Can you repeat it? What does it mean? How do you spell it? My young classmates could hardly call out my name. Forget about my classmates, I could myself hardly pronounce it properly.
Writing my name is English was still okay, but the real trouble was writing it in Hindi. In one of my Hindi tests, we had to write a letter. In the letter, while concluding I wrote 'Yours Jhingi' instead of 'Yours Shringi' in Hindi. My teacher made me write my own name 10 times as a punishment. Then, there was a Maths teacher in my school who did great amount of research on my name and concluded that this name belonged to the Ramayana yug and was the name of a saint and he strongly objected my name, saying it was supposed to be the name of a boy and not a girl.
I went back home, cried my heart out and told my mother, "Why could you not name me Sita or Gita, why did you find such a name for me?" My mother consoled me saying, it is my name that makes me so unique. There could be many Sitas and Gitas in the world but the world will have only one Shringi.
So, my struggle with my own name went on for few more years. Finally during 10th board exams, when our documents were being submitted in the school, I got an opportunity to change my name. I had waited for this day for years and my parents , though not happy, agreed to accept any name that I would suggest. I spent days and nights to find a new name for myself.
On the day I was supposed to submit the form, my mom asked me - "Shringi, so this is the last time we will be calling you 'Shringi,' what shall we call you from today onwards? I told them it was a surprise and I would be revealing my new name after filling the form. I went to school, completed my form and came back home.
My entire family was waiting to know what would be my new name so I declared - I, Shringi Shrivastava, daughter of Pradeep and Bina Shrivastava shall continue being called 'Shringi' forever. My parents were surprised but had smiles on their faces.
Yes, of course I could have changed my name that day. I had thought of some names also in my head, but whenever I called myself with those names, I felt like a stranger. I felt I did not own those names. My identity felt borrowed. 'Shringi' may not be the best sounding name to me but it was all mine. Shringi is the only gift given by my parents which shall stay with me forever. 'Shringi' has their warmth, love and belongingness which cannot be replaced with anything else. Whatever my parents have given me would be gone one day, but it is this name that would stay with me all my life and even beyond. This is the only immortal thing that I own and even when I am gone, I would still be called 'Shringi Shrivastava'.
Toi

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