“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Drama and skits are out of bounds for me and definitely not the romantic Romeo and Juliet but I invite William Shakespeare to resurrect in India and apply for the myriad applications for various identities, right from genesis to bidding farewell to the world!
Wisdom of having the shortest possible name with no middle and last names, dawned on me at the time I filled up the form for the Unique Identity and the Permanent Account Number for my son when he turned eighteen. These are identity numbers issued to citizens to prove their existence, individuality and status and this process can be extremely arduous and knotty if your name is a mouthful.
As tradition, customs and faith demanded that I name my child with a first name, normally used to call, followed by the paternal grandfather’s name for the first born son and maternal grandfather’s name for the second ( wonder what would be for the third one!)and this would manifest as the middle name and the official one too and finally tagging behind, the father’s name as the surname! So my son’s appellation was a mile long and did not have a clue then as to what the repercussions would be.
Not realizing what was in store for me, I merrily filled up the square boxes under the category “First, Middle and Surname or last name”, the asterisks reminded me that no initials were allowed; now here comes the cliff hanger, I had to provide proof or evidence of his name which could be either his birth certificate or the school graduation certificate and in both of them, the initials were not expanded and my form was rejected as the names could not be corroborated!
I tried to explain my predicament to the issuing authorities and the conversation that ensued between a harrowed me and the customer care representative drove each other up the wall and finally I blew a fuse with her parrot like repetitions of the things that were already known to me and was on the verge of calling her names! The nomenclature duel was not getting me anywhere and the next couple of hours were spent in a kind of jigsaw exercise as to what letters would go in what boxes.
There is a silver lining in every cloud and that’s where appendices come into play, I jumped with joy on a distant probability of cracking the code like Alan Turin’s decoding Christopher and headed to the nearest gazetted officer who wielded the green pen and one who could vouch for my son’s existence and give a certificate to that effect. This deal came in the absence of my son’s physical presence, with a price of course and further pleading, cajoling and convincing for the Photostat copy of the officer’s identity.
Yet another time I submitted the form attaching the required documents to support my claim and as I wait with fingers crossed for the successful verification completed check, all I can say is the name of the game is ‘keep your name short, sweet and simple’ and why in God’s name is filling up forms so cumbersome!!!