It’s the early 90s. A baby girl is born. Her parents, after months of thinking, give her a name which couldn’t possibly be more common.
You yell this word in a street full of people and approximately a tenth of the ladies will turn around.
I have another friend of mine with the same name, we both are the class representatives and when the teacher yells out “Shweta!” the whole class chimes in
I was never left alone in any class as the only one with that name; may it be pre-school, middle school, high school, junior college or even college.
And it is even more frustrating when your colleagues treat you as integers or assets adding a plural ‘s’ to your name for the sole benefit of calling everyone with your name at once. “Hey Shwetas!”
No, we’re not watermelons you can buy in bulk in your math problems, and no, don’t say “chalta hai”.
Getting calls or messages intended for the ‘other Shweta’ is equally frustrating.
I have numerous half conversations in my phone which were supposed to be directed to someone else.
Image Source: BuzzFeed
So, the solution? My extremely intelligent friends thought of nicknames:
- Mussu mussu haasi (reference to the over innocent Nepali song)
To avoid the confusion, our friends started calling us by our surnames. So I became Mustare now. Not Shweta Mustare, just Mustare. And it has become so habitual of them to cry out my surname that they eventually forget my name. It takes them seconds to remember.
And we Punekars have this rule to call our besties by their surnames. So whether it is Patil, Deshpande or Deshmukh we don’t care, as long as we can connect the faces to the right surname. One of my friends is so used to calling me Mustare that her mother has come to think of it as my name itself.
Indian women change their surname after wedlock. But I don’t have to think of carrying my family name forward as a girl.
I am sure my friends will call me by my surname even after I join another family.
So that’s sorted.
That said there still are disadvantages to have a common name. Apparently sirf naam kaafi nahi hai.
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