Saturday, March 19, 2011

Naama-Sutraa

[Disclaimer: This post is an utter waste of time and space. Read forward only if you have a LOT of time to kill. This was written on some day when I was a bit "mental", but now that it is in my drafts - I am posting it anyway.]
About 9 or 10 months ago, I had come to Bangalore in the company of the great Anand Radhakrishnan (when I was still living in Mangalore) apparently for only speaking on a random topic for 2 minutes. And then  they asked me to speak on: "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying". I had no clue that this was a famous quote from a certain Ralph Emerson and the phrase was actually a positive one. I spoke some shit (there is a Youtube video of that apparently but please do me a favour and don't watch it) and came back from the stage and the first reaction I had was - Oh ! I could have cracked a few Navjot Singh Sidhu jokes - he certainly is a loud personality and most of the time I can't hear what he is saying.
Identity and personality can be tricky to establish as this dialogue sequence from the most awesomely awesome Tropic Thunder shows
Kirk Lazarus: I know who I am! I'm a dude playing a dude disgused as another dude!
Kevin Sandusky: What?
Kirk Lazarus: You're a dude that don't know what dude he is!
Tugg Speedman: Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is and claims to know what dude he is...
Jeff Portnoy: What the fuck are you guys talking about?
Tugg Speedman: - by playing other dudes?
Haha.....

But let's leave aside all these deeper, philosophical thoughts about identity and personality and just focus on simpler thing such as names.
If people around the world would also have been as obsessed about our "bhalo naam" (Good name) and "daak naam" (Pet name) concept, some famous dialogues/ quotes might just have been a little different:
William Shakespeare would have written:
"What's in a good name?
That which we call a rose
By any other good name would smell as sweet."
Ian Fleming's super agent would introduce himself as :
The good name's Bond.... James Bond.
And the man known as The Gladiator would have said this to Commodus: “My good name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance...."
Then again all these are foreigners who know little about Indian culture and language. What pisses is me of is the lack of common sense on the part of Indian film directors - Why shouldn't the famous hit song be called - My good name is Anthony Gonsalves ......  And why o why is the Karan Johar movie not called - My good name is Khan........Had he told the blokes at the airport - Mera Bhalo Naam Rizwaan Khaan haai - they would have immediately identified him as the bloke who is pretending to be a Bong as the owner of KKR but is actually an actor but certainly not a terrorist.
Let's face it - we Indians take our names extremely seriously. The good name part of it at least. Pundits and priests determine what would be the first letter for a kid's name - no less. One of my friends had a son and it was determined that his name was to start with a "Y". As we were working in the IT industry, I suggested the name "Yahoo!" very enthusiastically, but it was not really met with much appreciation.
The only movie that gets this apparently simple but complex issue spot on is The Namesake. An exceptional movie which talks about identity and names. The Good and the Nick(or Nikhil) part of it, if you know what I mean.
And one last thing - having a good "good name" is not good enough. The spelling has to be just right as well. No wonder people are changing Ks and Cs, adding the extra H here, the extra K there and the extra I somewhere in between. But it is still all very confusing. When I read this link some time back from @supriyan . Granted he is a dictator and a very powerful man, but having 29 (and counting) different versions of your spelling is a bit much I think.
So come on now - tell me what is your 'Daak Naam' ? What is your 'Bhalo Naam' ? Do you have a namesake ?
For the record - they call me Babuntoo at home.

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