Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Did you just say "What's in a name"?

The discussion was on "common nouns" and "proper nouns". Anjali Shankar, my friend was in one of her petulant moods. One of her pet peeves is that her older sister has always been allowed to make major decisions concerning her life. (She is roughly 10 years older than Anjali).

Anjali has been told that even before she was born, her sister had decided what she would be named. I suppose her parents gave in to the whims of a 10 year old and in the hope of nurturing a caring bond between the two children, allowed her to have her way. It would make her feel important and as the "Akka" (older sister/didi/tai), you see.. In the process, she had (in Anjali's words) made her a common noun. The world seems chockablock with Anjalis.

Now 24 years later, that decision had come back to haunt her. Anjali had just finished doing her M.Sc and had recently found a job at a famous medical diagnostic centre and laboratory in the city. There she worked in the Microbiology lab. There was another girl called Anjali Shintre in the same lab. Poor Anjali, she hated having a duplicate namesake in the same room as her.

To make matters worse, there was an Anjali Sonalkar in the biochemistry department. Since the diagnostic centre had just been started up in their city, they were told that they would have to go to Hyderabad for a month's training. The first and original unit of the centre operated from there.

It was terrible when all of them found themselves having to share the same room in the guest house . As all three were Anjalis, someone came up with the bright  of calling them by their name and the first letter of their surname. (This idea was of course that of one of the employees of the Hyderabad unit, who did not know their full names).

What a futile effort it was when all turned out to be Anjali S, Anjali S and Anjali S. Reminded me of the episode in one of the P.G. Wodehouse books of a lawyers' compamy
where all the partners were named Smith. So whenever anyone called and asked for a Smith, the first two replies would be, Mr. Smith was not there, he had gone to the bank, Mr. Smith was on leave that day and only at the end would the person responding to the phone say "yes, i am he" when asked for the other Smith.  Well, something to that efffect.

Similarly try finding the number of Madhav Joshi, or Himanshu Patel or V. Ramachandran in a telephone directory and see what happens.

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