Monday, April 03, 2006

What's in a Name?

I guess that was the title of the Amar Chitra Katha or Panchatantra story I had read gazillions of years ago. I had read and re-read the story many times because I loved the illustrations and the book had many other nice moral stories..

This story was about a brahmin boy named Lowly. Lowly was enrolled in his brahminical education classes under a very learned teacher (Don't remember his name). Lowly graduated with flying colors but was very unhappy in spite of it. His teacher wondered what the matter was. Lowly explained to the teacher that he did not like his name and would like to have it changed. The all-knowing teacher tells Lowly to pack his bags and travel a little around the country to decide what his new name would be...Lowly prepares for the trip.

At his first stop he meets a man who is very sick. Lowly helps him and gets acquainted with him only to find out that his name is Healthy. Shocked Lowly continues his journey. Next he meets a beggar with whom Lowly picks up a conversation only to realize that the beggar's name was Rich. So Lowly moves on and finds a very rich man whose name was Poor...and so on.

Confused, Lowly heads back to the ashram. His teacher asks him if Lowly had decided what he would like to be called henceforth...Lowly replied that he was very happy with his name and would not like to have it changed. His knowledgeable teacher replied that he wanted to Lowly to step out and see that there is nothing in a name. It is the person and name is just an identification. Just because his name is Lowly did not mean that he was Low...

This random story came back to my mind after almost twenty years. Maybe I was fascinated by it because I have a very peculiar name myself...Which almost every one I have met have reminded me till date...But still a story worth reading...

6 comments:

Seashells said...

Recently, my Mom asked me why i don't sleep at night and why i was turning nocturnal. I told her that i had to live up to the name she had given me... hahaha...

Anu Russell said...

Ok I have a wierd name...People mistake me for a Christian, a Muslim, before shockingly believe that I am neither...Everyone I have met in my life have questioned the origins of my life...

As trivial as it may be I believe name is very important...

Did you ever hear about a desi kid born in US being named as GOPI? All kids made fun of him in school (GO PEE!)...:)

second_wind said...

Have you read Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake"

Anu Russell said...

Secondwind, Yup...I have read the book. I found it very interesting and I was not sure I agreed with everything the character went through. My pop raised me telling me how and why I was named Russell...Which made me only feel proud and not different or get an identity crisis...and Trust me a name like Russell for a girl in India is surely very difficult to carry off...

:)

Isis Panthea said...

I still HATE my name! I mean...in all those millions my grandma HAD to like this!

Anu Russell said...

Wow! ISIS! What a beautiful name! One of the Greatest Egyptial Godesses! Please do not hate your name...It is just so beautiful!

I really love my name in spite of all the questions...think of it this way...once a person meets me it is very rare for them to forget me because of my interesting (can be read as ODD) name!