Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Naming Convention

What drives a respected Professor at a U.S. university to write an article on his webpage explaining his name?(reference: http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~raj/name.html) Why am I consistently referred to as T. Asha in Bangalore, or my friend called "Dibba" in Kharagpur? I call it the naming convention...or rather, the conventional naming.

Here's my theory: The human mind tries to fit everything to a recognizable pattern. We see a  grassy field with lines on it, we automatically start pattern matching it against football/hockey/baseball grounds. We see a name and we break it up to fit our predetermined format for names, translate it to our mother-tongue, re-translate it to English and generate what most obviously must be the actual name! Then we smugly think "Stupid fellow! Can't even spell his own name!"

Next comes the phase when we, in all our magnanimity, repeat the "correct" name over and over again to the person, hoping that they'll someday pick it up! Usually they do. I, for example, reply to anything between Tisaya and Treiasha without so much as a flinch, Divya knows to pick up her mail whenever they announce "Dibba courier!" over the intercomm and I am sure each one of you have a similar story to tell. But often people turn out to be exceptionally thick headed and continue to argue on how their names are supposed to be pronounced. I was that way at one point of time, and I remember the patient sighs as people explained to me that given the spelling, my pronunciation of  Tiyasa is gravely erroneous! Today I laugh at my ignorance...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have done my very best to conform to your naming convention. But there's always a point where one must draw the line. And I have identified my point to lie after the T and before the Asha. I hereby declare that I absolutely, solemnly and wholeheartedly refuse to be rechristened T.Asha, no matter what part of the world I reside in. I will not respond to this name and will forever boycott any person/organization that addresses me by this name. Be Warned! I will fight this injustice till my dying breath!


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  2. Nice observations presented in good humor :) You can urge people who found the closest pattern in 'T.Asha' to change to 'T.Mitra' at least for God's sake, for some day they might treat a response from a real 'T.Asha' as yours!! That apart, no point making a fuss over a mispronounced name so long as the person addressed to can understand - after all 'naam mein kya rakkha hai ji?' All 'thick headed' guys should learn from Google! :P

  3. Good point Dipanjan. But talking of google maybe I should carry a board around that says "Did you mean TIYASA" :P

  4. But isnt that the correct bong pronunciation of your name ? Tiyasha ?

    1. Like I said, the next logical step to T.Asha is miss Asha... :(

  5. The first few times it did seem like they wanted me to exercise and look less of a dibba and more of a Divya.. But then I realized (to the delight of my lazy side) that nothing could possibly help my boxed case!