India Uncut

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Destiny in a name

Your name is a matter of some importance if you want to be a writer, writes Roger Scruton in the Guardian. He says:
For those addicted to words, the surnames of writers take on the sense of their writings. Wittgenstein, for me, has the sound of a frozen mountaineer, poised on the apex of an argument and remaining there, aloof, uncomforted and alone. Dickens - whose name is proverbial in English - has the sound of an old-fashioned haberdashery: an accumulation of oddments, some still useful, others left behind by fashion or piled in, a heap of unvisited history, like the objects in Mrs Jellaby's cupboard. Lawrence roars like a lion, and yawns like one too; while Melville is not the noise of Captain Ahab stomping his wooden peg on the deck above, but the melancholy sound of a quiet harbour, where the sheets smack in the breeze and a clerk sucks his pen at a counting desk above the quay.
Read the full piece. I especially enjoyed the bit about the fight in a school playground.

Is our destiny formed when we are named? Sidin Vadukut could say a bit about that. In one of the funniest posts I've read, "The Travails of Single South Indian men of conservative upbringing", Sidin had written:
Our futures are shot to hell as soon as our parents bestow upon us names that are anything but alluring. I cannot imagine a more foolproof way of making sure the child remains single till classified advertisements or that maternal uncle in San Francisco thinks otherwise. Name him "Parthasarathy Venkatachalapthy" and his inherent capability to combat celibacy is obliterated before he could even talk. He will grow to be known as Partha. Before he knows, his smart, seductively named northy classmates start calling him Paratha. No woman in their right minds will go anyway near poor Parthasarathy. His investment banking job doesn't help either. His employer loves him though. He has no personal life you see. By this time the Sanjay Singhs and Bobby Khans from his class have small businesses of their own and spend 60% of their lives in discos and pubs. The remaining 40% is spent coochicooing with leather and denim clad muses in their penthouse flats on Nepean Sea Road. Business is safely in the hands of the Mallu manager. After all with a name like Blossom Babykutty he cant use his 30000 salary anywhere.
Marvellous stuff. Again, read the full thing.
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