Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's in a name?

I have a very strange sounding and a very rare last name. I know that. I have seen a fair amount of people twist their face and repeat my name with a bookended question mark.You would think, being Indian you would pronounce the D as in Indu but you do it as you do in ghoda. To be frank I am myself quite new to the name. While I always knew that Adimari was my family name and my last name on the birth certificate, all through school I was Arjun Raju. Thats right,two first names. If I was in Hyderabad, where Raju is a common surname, I would have fit right in. But I was not, so as it happened, my name got mistaken and mashed up with another similar sounding name, my dear friend and the next name on the rollcall, Arun Raj. So there would be people calling us Arjun Raj and Arun Raju.

The two things I am most proud of about myself, I can honestly take no credit for. One is that I am tall, and the other is my name. Arjun is probably the coolest name you can find in all of Bharat. Mallus are known for having horrible names, so in a sea of shijin, vijin, lijin, tijo, rijo, sijo, mijo, qijo my name does stand out. You know it. I am not being pompous, its just plain facts. If you are a Rakesh or Ankit or Anoop, you know that when you hear my name you automatically assume me to be better than you (I am not). The name carries expectations with it, responsibilities. People assume you to be a leader (I am not), they expect you to jump into a raging fire to save a baby or throw yourself in front of a bullet to save Nirupa Roy or climb a tree to get a kitty down (I hate cats). The bar's been set very high, I know and even though I am not living up to it, I would like to take a moment to salute those brave parents who choose mediocrity (whats my blog called?) just to keep it alive. Those who put on a brave face and decide to name there kid Prateek or Chunnilal or Sushmakumari just to keep these names alive. Really brave stuff.

Now, till Facebook came along I did not know that my very uncool sounding last name is in fact a name from historic Italy. I was friended by a whole family of Adimaris from Argentina and Italy who were very keen to know what their kin was doing in India. Of course there is no remote relation between the Adimari famili indiana and the italian ones but still its nice to know. The most famous Adimari of all time is one Ralph Adimari who was apparently a pop culture enthusiast , very much like me.