Light from the window cut through the smoke of the incense sticks and the dust rising from the old books and cupboards, and played with the gentleman’s rather impressive beard.
He stroked it softly and looked at me through the spectacles which were so lens heavy that they had created a clear deep furrow on his ridge.
I continued to look at his beard as he continued to stare at me.
“Purvind,” he said, “That is the way you should spell your name. The results will be instantaneous. Your domestic life will be sorted out; you will forge ahead in your business, and anything that you do will meet with great success.”
Madan Mohanji was a numerologist who suggested to people that they could do better if they changed the way they spelt their names. In all ways possible, as what he told me would bear out.
“Err.., Sir,” I said, “Purvind? With a ‘P’?”
“Absolutely!,” repeated Madan Mohanji who was not used to meeting my kinds who looked hesitant to do his bidding.
“That will be Rs. 500/- and you may leave the money on the plate in front of the puja over there,” he said.
I was obviously dismissed and poorer by the said Rs. 500/-.
But I would be damned if I were to change my name to Purvind. I mean, it sounds like a medium sized breaking of the wind. I would be the ‘butt’ of all jokes amongst my friends and foes.
In fact, I could come up with a few good ones on the subject of myself with a name which at best would sound something like a cat in the breeze.
So, ‘Arvind’, I continue to remain. There are plenty of Arvinds’ around, but I refused to call myself Purvind.
‘What’s in a name?’, you might well ask?
‘A rose would smell just as sweet by any name,’ said Shakespeare, if I’ve got my school lessons correct. But Mr. Shakespeare definitely belonged to a different generation altogether.
Today’s ‘get rich quick’ kids will stop at nothing to be there, do it and get rich. Except, of course, to think for a second or work hard. More on that later, as I am afraid I will face a lot of flak from the younger generation who are scheduled to take over the world, armed with their mobile phones, iPod’s, low-waist jeans and large bottles of hair gel.
I suddenly see a perfectly fine Ramakrishna, spelt Rrramakrsna. Or a Dilip turning to Deelip. This used to apply earlier to guys who spoke too much’ De lip. Get it?
The craze has not just been with their own names. The politicians and the ‘I want my two minutes of fame’, guys have even renamed streets. A centuries-old Bowring street might suddenly become Muthuswami Periya Mudaliar street. Or something even more difficult to pronounce.
They haven’t spared the cities either. Bombay turned to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai and good old Bangalore to Bengaluru.
Spare a thought for the amount of new stationery that has to be printed for all those addresses identified with the street or worse still, with the city?
‘Meaningless?’ You said it. But then there are the masters of hijacking areas and projects with names.
A new airport, conceived and designed by one political party gets the name of a prominent leader of the new party in power. An auditorium built by one party a decade ago, gets a face lift and a new name going with the new party in power.
‘So, what sez you, Mr. Shakespeare’?
Month: December 2010.